California oil and gas regulators delay health and safety rules
Associated Press – June 22
It has been a year and a half since Governor Gavin Newsom directed oil regulators to consider new health and safety measures to protect people living near oil and gas drilling sites. But the California Geologic Energy Management Division, known as CalGEM, missed another deadline on Monday for releasing the rules, frustrating environmental advocates who say communities cannot wait any longer for change. CalGEM has not set a new timeline for the rules, which under Newsom’s mandate were supposed to be released last December. The process is taking longer than expected because of “complex subject matter within and beyond our previous regulatory experience,” said David Shabazian, director of the California Department of Conservation, which oversees CalGEM.
Marin Municipal Water District details water pipeline and desalination plans
Marin Independent Journal – June 19
The Marin Municipal Water District has taken the first steps toward building an emergency water pipeline across the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge in order to avoid potentially running out of water during the summer of 2022. The district said last Friday that it has hired a consulting firm to find potential water rights holders in the Central Valley that would be willing to sell their allotments. This water could be pumped across the bridge via the pipeline and into Marin’s water system should next winter’s rains be insufficient to curb the drought. The district is also considering the installation of a temporary desalination plant, which, according to district officials, would likely result in the district having to consider 20% rate increases for a decade.
Los Angeles County Department of Public Health to study impacts of Inglewood Oil Field on nearby residents
Daily Breeze – June 21
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health announced on Monday that it will conduct a study, led by UCLA research teams, into the health impacts of living near the Inglewood Oil Field. UCLA teams will develop and implement the assessment, which will take into consideration residents’ distance from oil fields in an effort to understand better how community health is impacted. The assessment seeks to close the “data gap” and lead to better long-term health outcomes for residents around the Inglewood Oil Field, which has 675 active wells and is located adjacent to schools, homes, hospitals, parks, and churches.
New legal challenge revives dispute over Hunters Point's toxic legacy
San Francisco Chronicle – June 18
Last Thursday, attorneys for around 9,000 Bayview-Hunters Point residents who are part of a class-action lawsuit asked a federal judge to halt construction at the former shipyard, unless the developers can prove that they are controlling the release of toxic materials from the site as required by state law. Parts of the former Navy shipyard were contaminated during the Cold War by ships that were impacted with radioactive fallout from nuclear tests and brought to the shipyard for reconditioning and repairs. Residents allege in the new legal filing that dust stirred up by construction could be harmful to occupants of nearby schools and homes. They demand that the developers stop work for four to six months in order to allow outside experts to conduct more extensive testing, and to develop a plan to monitor the work as it proceeds. The U.S. Navy and other agencies, meanwhile, have already spent decades and hundreds of millions of dollars addressing the historical contamination at the shipyard.
Where did Sierra snow go this spring? Not into California rivers and water supplies
The Mercury News – June 23
Every year, much of California's drinking water begins in the Sierra Nevada mountain range. Snow and rain fall during the winter, and the water moves downhill into streams, rivers, and reservoirs in the spring and summer. But this year, in a trend that startled water managers, much of that runoff simply vanished. In an average year, about 6.3 million acre-feet of runoff comes from the Northern Sierra, according to the Department of Water Resources. State water planners say that 685,000 acre-feet of water that they had forecast as runoff in the Northern Sierra — or 40% more water than the city of Los Angeles uses in a year — failed to arrive. After two years of extreme drought, the ground was so dry that the water soaked in before making it down the mountain. The expected water never made it to reservoirs, which now sit far below historic averages.