State plans $30 million wall to stop saltwater intrusion into delta
San Francisco Chronicle – May 20
California Department of Water Resources officials are planning to build a giant rock wall across a river in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta to save the vital freshwater estuary from San Francisco Bay’s saltwater. The emergency measure resulted from last decade’s drought when the delta, a maze of sloughs and man-made channels east of the Bay Area, was at risk of becoming too salty to provide water to the nearly 30 million Californians who depend on it. As in 2015, water levels in the freshwater rivers that feed the 1,100-square-mile delta are now so low that they no longer counter the brackish flows from the bay.
U.S. Supreme Court backs energy companies over Baltimore in climate case
Reuters – May 17
The U.S. Supreme Court this Monday ruled in favor of a group of energy companies, including BP, Exxon, and Chevron, contesting a lawsuit filed by the city of Baltimore seeking monetary damages for costs arising from global climate change allegedly due to the actions of the companies. The 7-1 ruling, authored by Justice Neil Gorsuch, did not address the merits of the city's claim, but was based instead on a procedural issue regarding the standard of review of lower federal court decisions to remand to state court a case that the defendants – in this case, the oil companies – had removed to the federal court on the theory that the allegations raised an issue of federal law. The ruling could affect about a dozen similar lawsuits brought by various U.S. states, cities, and counties, including jurisdictions in California.
L.A. City Council urges state agencies and Governor Newsom to shut down Aliso Canyon gas facility
Los Angeles Daily News – May 19
The Los Angeles City Council on Wednesday approved a largely symbolic resolution seeking to decommission the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility, five years after the plant was the site of a massive methane leak. The resolution asks the state and Governor Gavin Newsom to support "legislation and regulatory efforts associated with reducing the need of the Aliso Canyon natural gas facility and its eventual decommissioning while ensuring reliable energy services for the Los Angeles region." The resolution comes a few weeks after the City Council voted in support of a resolution to close the Playa del Rey natural gas storage facility owned by SoCalGas.
Federal appeals court upholds $25 million Roundup verdict
The Mercury News – May 14
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals last Friday upheld a $25 million judgment and trial verdict finding that Bayer’s Roundup caused a California resident’s non-Hodgkin lymphoma. The court rejected Bayer’s argument that federal pesticide laws barred allegations that the company failed to warn of Roundup’s cancer risks. The ruling was the first by a federal appeals court in a case linking Roundup and cancer.