Thursday, September 14, 2017

When Hurricane Harvey made landfall on the gulf coast of Texas in late August, it led to widespread flooding in Houston and other cities and towns. In some places more than 15 inches of rain fell in a 24-hour period, quickly inundating roads, highways and entire neighborhoods. Damage from the storm is expected to be in the billions of dollars.

Then, even as commentators and onlookers invoked the word “historic” for Harvey in one breath, the very next breath was given to the historic proportions of Hurricane Irma, relegating coverage of Harvey to a backseat as one of the largest hurricanes ever recorded took aim at Florida.

As these areas work to recover, we face a compelling question: Given that weather extremes are expected to become even more severe and frequent, how can and should efforts to replace lost and damaged infrastructure aim to make it better able to withstand disastrous events to come?

Monday, September 11, 2017

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – California lawmakers unanimously approved sweeping legislation today that could mean hundreds of thousands more at-risk children would be tested for lead poisoning each year. The legislation would bring major improvements to a long-struggling program that researchers estimate fails to identify almost two-thirds of lead-poisoned children in the state.

AB 1316, by Assembly Members Bill Quirk, D-Hayward, and Cristina Garcia, D-Bell Gardens, requires the Department of Public Health to revise regulations for when doctors test children’s blood for lead exposure. In writing the new rules, the department must for the first time consider various factors – such as proximity to lead smelters or freeways, or drinking from lead-contaminated plumbing – that could expose the child to the potent neurotoxin.

Friday, August 18, 2017

When a therapy dog refused to drink at a San Diego grade school, it was the first clue that something was wrong with the water.

Tests revealed why the pup turned up its nose—the presence of polyvinyl chloride, the polymer in PVC pipes that degrade over time. But further analysis found something else that had gone undetected by the dog, the teachers and students of the San Diego Cooperative Charter School, and the school district: elevated levels of lead.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

The Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to back a state bill that would expand childhood screening for lead contamination.

Supervisors Hilda Solis and Kathryn Barger joined in asking colleagues to send a letter to Gov. Jerry Brown and state legislators in support of AB 1316, sponsored by Assemblyman Bill Quirk, D-Hayward.

Monday, August 7, 2017

This legislation might be hard to swallow: Lawmakers are considering a bill that would clear the way for California communities to put highly treated wastewater directly into the drinking water supply.

“The media likes to start off with the catchy phrase toilet to tap,” said Jennifer West, managing director of Water Reuse, about the intensive purification process. “But there’s a lot that goes on between toilet and tap.”

Those criteria could incorporate a level of public health protection as good as or better than what is currently provided by conventional drinking water supplies.” — Water Resources Control Board.

Assembly Bill 574, authored by Assembly Member Bill Quirk, D-Hayward, would require the State Water Resources Control Board to develop regulations in four years for “direct potable reuse” provided research on public health issues is completed.

Friday, July 21, 2017

SACRAMENTO – Furthering the State’s continued efforts to address the effects of climate change, California Natural Resources Secretary John Laird today announced the appointment of 14 leaders in state climate science and infrastructure design to the Climate-Safe Infrastructure Working Group.


“I am proud to announce the appointees of the Climate-Safe Infrastructure Working Group,” stated Secretary Laird. “These dedicated professionals, with expertise in engineering, science, and policy will provide science-based recommendations to California decision-makers to enable the best infrastructural investment strategies for the state.  As changes to the environment continue to affect the public, the establishment of this Working Group reveals California’s ongoing leadership in climate adaptation.”


Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Anne C. Mulkern, E&E News reporter


California's Legislature passed a 10-year extension of the state's cap-and-trade program for greenhouse gas emissions with a robust, bipartisan two-thirds vote, a move leaders hailed as evidence that the Golden State will lead on climate change.

"Tonight, California stood tall and once again, boldly confronted the existential threat of our time," Gov. Jerry Brown (D) said in a statement after yesterday's vote. "Republicans and Democrats set aside their differences, came together and took courageous action. That's what good government looks like."

Lawmakers approved A.B. 398, which extends cap and trade through 2030, and partner measure A.B. 617, which sets up rules aimed at cutting local pollution. They also passed A.C.A. 1, a constitutional amendment. Starting in 2024, the Legislature have a say in how all program revenues are spent.