Geology 300: CRC Physical Geology Lecture

Geology 300: ARC Physical Geology Lecture

Geology 301: CRC Physical Geology Lab

Geology 301: ARC Physical Geology Lab

Geology 305: ARC Earth Science Lecture

Geology 306: Earth Science Lab


Instructor: Arthur Reed


January 2020 Earth Sciences topics/events making news…

 ...with emphasis on California news


Remember the principles of the scientific method when evaluating news stories!

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·     (link to 2019 news articles)

·   (link to 2010 news articles)

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·   (link to 2011 news articles)

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·   (link to 2012 news articles)

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·   (link to 2013 news articles)

·   (link to 2018 news articles)







Oxnard oil field waste site closed | Anterra disposal wells shut after violations

According to a letter dated Dec. 17, 2019, posted on the website for Anterra Energy Services, LLC, the facility on Wooley Road in Oxnard is temporarily closed and is not receiving any fluid for disposal. The company has previously been subject to a district attorney investigation, and later paid a $500,000 fine. Last year the company’s injection wells failed pressure tests and the state issued violations. 

          Ventura County Reporter, 1-15-20


Hahn joins call on Newsom to consider practicality of closing Playa del Rey natural gas storage facility

Local state and environmental watchdogs have used the aftermath of the Oct. 23, 2015 natural gas explosion at Aliso Canyon’s underground gas storage facility near Porter Ranch as a cautionary tale of what can happened at other gas storage facilities, including the 58-year-old Southern California Gas Co. Playa del Rey site.

          Culver City Argonaut, 1-15-20


PHMSA finalizes rules for underground natural gas storage

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) soon will issue a final rule for underground natural gas storage facilities to prevent another Aliso Canyon natural gas leak/blowout. The new standards will apply to about 200 interstate facilities.

          Kallanish Energy, 1-15-20


Iraq oil supplies vulnerable as Mideast tensions flare, IEA says

Oil supplies from Iraq, the Middle East’s second-biggest producer, are “potentially vulnerable” amid rising political risks in the country and the broader region, the International Energy Agency warned. Still, the clash between Washington and Tehran hasn’t yet caused any supply disruption, and protests inside Iraq have had only minimal impact on oil operations, the agency said. Global oil markets have a “solid base” of ample inventories and swelling U.S. shale-oil output to weather any shocks it said.

          Bloomberg, 1-16-20


Green groups sue to stop Trump admin from allowing fracking on 1 million+ acres of California public lands

Environmental groups are suing to stop the Trump administration from fracking in California. The suit, filed in Los Angeles Tuesday, comes in response to the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) decision to open more than a million acres of public lands to oil and gas leasing. The decision was finalized in December and covers eight Central California counties as well as land bordering national parks.

          EcoWatch, 1-15-20


Lawsuit filed against plan to open 1.2 million acres of CA land to fracking, drilling

A lawsuit was filed Tuesday challenging the Trump Administration's plan to open up more than 1.2 million acres of land in California to drilling and fracking. The plan includes land in Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, and Ventura counties. The lawsuit was filed in Los Angeles by several conservation groups and said the Bureau of Land Management violated federal law by not considering the potential impacts of fracking on public health and recreation.

          KEYT (Santa Barbara television), 1-14-20


Air pollution from oil and gas production sites visible from space

Oil and gas production has doubled in some parts of the United States in the last two years, and scientists can use satellites to see impacts of that trend: a significant increase in the release of the lung-irritating air pollutant nitrogen dioxide, for example, and a more-than-doubling of the amount of gas flared into the atmosphere.

, 1-15-20


Chinese imports of U.S. oil to pick up following Trump’s trade deal

American crude oil shipments to China are poised to pick up again after the two economic superpowers signed a landmark trade deal. Under the terms of the agreement, U.S. energy exports to China will jump over the next two years, with the promise of an additional $18.5 billion worth of additional purchases in 2020 and $33.9 billion in 2021.

WorldOil, 1-15-20




Ten years after Haiti's deadly earthquake, country still recovering: 'Keep praying for us'

A decade after Haiti’s most deadly earthquake that claimed 316,000 lives, left 1.5 million homeless and another 1.5 million injured, the Caribbean country has seen little progress after billions of dollars were promised in aid.

          Fox News, 1-14-20


Displaced by the earthquake, Puerto Ricans cope with constant aftershocks and uncertainty

Ana Sofia Rivera would have started first grade this week. But classes have been postponed by a string of earthquakes that have struck Puerto Rico over the past two weeks, killing at least one person and damaging at least 800 homes islandwide.

NBC News, 1-16-20




Canadian firm pushing to reopen Idaho Maryland mine

A Canadian company, Rise Gold Corporation, aka Rise Grass Valley, has filed an application for a permit to reopen the Idaho Maryland Mine.

          Yuba Net, 1-14-20




California governor restarts giant water tunnel project

California’s governor has restarted a project to build a giant, underground tunnel that would pump billions of gallons of water from the San Joaquin Delta to the southern part of the state. Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration on Wednesday issued a Notice of Preparation for the project, which is the first step in the state’s lengthy environmental review process. The new project will have only one tunnel, and it will carry less water. State officials don’t know how much it will cost.

          Associated Press, 1-16-20


California moves toward single water tunnel under delta

California is moving forward with its biggest water project in decades, a single tunnel beneath the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta that will help move Northern California water south to cities and farms, state water officials said Wednesday. The proposal piggybacks on plans by former Gov. Jerry Brown, who wanted to build a pair of 30-mile-long tunnels through the delta but was stymied by funding shortfalls and controversy.

          San Francisco Chronicle, 1-15-20




California is behind on its 2030 climate goals. What’s at stake if it doesn’t catch up?

California has done surprisingly well over the past decade meeting many of its big climate change goals, even as its economy has steadily grown. But now, as Australia burns, global temperatures continue to rise, and the Trump administration prepares to take the final steps this year to pull the United States out of the Paris Climate Agreement, California is falling short of where it needs to be to hit its more ambitious 2030 targets, according to a new report released Thursday.

Bay Area News Group, 1-16-20




Record crowd shows up at Kern County supervisors meeting in support of oil industry

If the Kern County oil industry wanted to send a message, it did. At the invitation of the Kern County Board of Supervisors, more than a thousand oil workers, executives and individuals associated with the industry packed the Kern County Administrative Center on Tuesday, filling the building completely. An estimated 850 people watched the meeting inside the building, with around 250 relegated to listening to the proceedings on speakers that were set up just outside the entrance.

          Bakersfield Californian, 1-14-20


County supervisors take aim at state oil policies

Kern supervisors joined oil industry representatives, local politicians and residents Tuesday in warning state officials that Gov. Gavin Newsom's regulatory crackdown and moves to wind down in-state petroleum production gravely threaten the county's economy and tax base.

Bakersfield Californian, 1-14-20


Hundreds turn out for passionate Board of Supervisors meeting on oil

At least 800 people attended the Kern County Board of Supervisors meeting on oil Tuesday. There, many who work in the industry voiced concerns over new regulations imposed by Governor Gavin Newson, including a ban on new permits for steam-injected oil drilling, and a mandate that any new fracking projects must be reviewed by an independent panel of scientists.

          KGET (Bakersfield television), 1-14-20


Governor's office reps hear frustration from Kern County oil industry

Tuesday’s afternoon session at the Board of Supervisor was packed house, with hundreds of members of the public gathered in the main auditorium, and overflowing to listen from outside. The reason? To address the guests from Sacramento in attendance, representatives from Governor Gavin Newsom’s office, invited to hear presentations from oil industry leaders about how their clean energy initiative is stifling Kern’s economic future.

          KBAK (Bakersfield television), 1-14-20


Hundreds turn out as Governor's office meets with Kern Board of Supervisors

Hundreds turn out as Governor’s office meets with Kern Board of Supervisors

          KERO (Bakersfield television), 1-14-20


Hundreds turn out as Governor's office meets with Kern Board of Supervisors about oil

For months, many in Kern County’s oil business have felt attacked and frustrated as California Governor Gavin Newsom has taken major steps to squash the industry. Today, the governor’s administration was in town to discuss their plans, and to hear from locals about how the potential loss of the oil industry would impact Kern.

          KGET (Bakersfield television), 1-14-20




The best case for and against a fracking ban

Researchers and analysts have been studying fracking for years and still continue to debate its merits. It’s a microcosm of the broader policy discussion about the role of fossil fuel industry in the carbon constrained future, whether it should be fought as an adversary or embraced as a partner. Here is a summary of the best arguments for and against a ban on fracking.

          VOX, 1-15-20


Groups sue to stop California oil leases, citing dangers of fracking

Environmentalists sued the Trump administration Tuesday for approving new oil-drilling leases on federal land in eight Central California counties and the Sierra foothills, including sites near Yosemite National Park. Six groups led by the nonprofit Center for Biological Diversity filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles accusing the Bureau of Land Management of illegally failing to consider public health concerns, groundwater contamination, increases in greenhouse gas emissions and the potential for earthquakes from the drilling method known as fracking.

          San Francisco Chronicle, 1-14-20


Conservation groups sue BLM over California fracking plan

A coalition of conservation organizations filed a lawsuit against the Bureau of Land Management on Tuesday, challenging a plan to open more than 1 million acres of public lands and mineral estates in California’s Central Valley and Central Coast for new oil drilling and fracking permits.

          USA Today, 1-14-20


Green groups sue Trump administration over California fracking plans analysis

Environmental groups sued the Trump administration Tuesday over its fracking plans in California, arguing that a federal analysis it adopted didn’t adequately review “serious environmental and health impacts.”

          The Hill, 1-14-20


Trump Administration Sued Over Plan to Open California to Fracking

A consortium of conservation groups sued the Trump administration Tuesday to try and stop it from opening a million acres of public lands in Central California for oil and gas drilling.

Courthouse News, 1-14-20


U.S. oil production hits estimated record 13 million barrels per day

U.S. crude oil production rose to an estimated record-high of 13 million barrels per day last week as the nation's energy growth crossed a new threshold, according to a weekly report from the U.S. Energy Department.

          Huston Chronicle, 1-15-20


Improved economic outlook in 2020 bodes well for oil demand, supply growth: OPEC

A rise in oil demand growth this year will be offset by a sharper increase in non-OPEC supply, the producer group said in its monthly oil market report published Wednesday.

          S&P Global, 1-15-20


County supervisors take aim at state oil policies

Kern supervisors joined oil industry representatives, local politicians and residents Tuesday in warning state officials that Gov. Gavin Newsom’s regulatory crackdown and moves to wind down in-state petroleum production threated the county’s economy and tax base. The opportunity to impress upon Sacramento regulators the local impact of the state’s oil-unfriendly policies drew an audience estimated at about 1,000 industry supporters.

          The Bakersfield Californian, 1-14-20


Up to 2,000 show up to discuss Governor Newsom’s oil regulations

About 1,500 to 2,000 people showed up for the Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday afternoon, where a six-hour discussion about the oil industry took place. Hours before the meeting started, it was already standing room outside the chambers.

          KGET, 1-14-20




Empowering the public with earthquake science

Risk communication in the aftermath of an earthquake can provide actionable information to help vulnerable societies prevent further damage. It is most effective when scientists convey what they know about earthquakes and earthquake risk, instead of focusing on the unknowns.

          Nature Reviews Earth & Environment, 1-13-20


Philippine volcano still threatening massive eruption, forcing residents to flee

Thousands of people in the Philippines were being warned to stay away from their homes on Wednesday as experts said a massive eruption of the Taal volcano could be imminent. Taal spewed ash and hot lava high into the sky on Tuesday, darkening skies and causing the ground to tremble.

          CBS News, 1-15-20


Galapagos volcano eruption spews lava on uninhabited island, photos show

A volcano erupted on an uninhabited island in the Galapagos over the weekend, spewing lava across the ecologically sensitive and diverse environment. The La Cumbre volcano, one of the youngest and most active in the Galapagos archipelago, began erupting Sunday night on Fernandina Island, Ecuador’s Galapagos National Park said.

          FOX, 1-14-20


This firm spent big to see if ‘earthquake lights’ could warn of temblors. It didn’t work

Aerospace engineer Tom Bleier tramped up a Bay Area hill on a recent weekday to inspect a sensor designed to detect whether the nearby San Andreas fault was about to shake the earth. It was part of a network of 115 sensors deployed along the California coast to act as ears capable of picking up these hints, called electromagnetic precursors. If they exist, they could serve as an early warning system for earthquakes. After spending 20 years and $30 million, he and other engineers at Stellar Solution Inc.’s project never snared a clear indicator of a deadly seismic hazard. But that didn’t keep them from trying.

          Los Angeles Times, 1-15-20




Growers still unclear on how much groundwater they can use

The first question asked at the Eastern Tule Groundwater Sustainability Agency Board meeting on Friday represented the frustration of growers who are still facing the unknown. “It’s 2020,” the grower said, who went on to ask the board, referring to growers, “what can they pump?”

Porterville Recorder, 1-13-20


Balancing water supply for all is 2020 priority

California water policy leaders say balancing the supply of groundwater by implementing the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, or SGMA, and addressing policies related to water supply and water quality, will continue to be priority issues in 2020.

California Farm Bureau, 1-14-20




BLM approves large-scale solar project in eastern Riverside County over local opposition

The Bureau of Land Management on Wednesday gave the go ahead for a large-scale solar plant in eastern Riverside County that would cover 3,000 acres southwest of Blythe. Although the project faces some local opposition, regulators hailed its progress.

          Palm Springs Desert Sun, 1-15-20


Draft Report Says Rising Seas Will Significantly Affect Santa Barbara Beach Areas

Santa Barbara's shoreline, beaches and bluffs face serious levels of erosion over the next 80 years. The City Council on Tuesday discussed the potential impacts as part of a larger effort to prepare for sea level rise. The city in 2018 started on its Draft Sea-Level Rise Vulnerability Assessment.

Santa Barbara Noozhawk, 1-14-20


2019 Was the Second-Hottest Year Ever, Closing Out the Warmest Decade

The 2010s were the warmest decade on record, government researchers announced on Wednesday, as global surface temperatures continued their rise linked to greenhouse gas emissions. The five warmest years on record occurred in the last five years, the researchers said, including 2019, which was second-warmest, exceeded only slightly by 2016.

New York Times, 1-15-20





Meeting on oil to take place at Board of Supervisors Tuesday afternoon

Representatives from Kern’s oil industry are expected to attend and present about oil in the Golden Empire at the upcoming Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday. Members of Governor Gavin Newsom’s administration also are set to be in attendance.

          KGET (Bakersfield television), 1-13-20


California’s offshore oil rigs could turn into windmills and dive hotels

Long a scourge to environmentalists, California’s offshore oil rigs may be transformed into ecological trophies. A dozen or more of the state’s 27 offshore platforms could be decommissioned in the next decade. Rather than tearing them down, many would like to preserve the incidental artificial reefs – and the enriched marine habitat – that have formed on their underwater pilings.

East Bay Times, 1-14-20


Incompetent, Corrupt, or Impotent: How public agencies mishandled the San Fernando Valley disaster at Aliso Canyon

Part four: Since the blowout occurred, the topic of whether Aliso Canyon is needed for energy reliability has been a discussed and debated topic every year. While SoCalGas and regulators had presumed the need of Aliso Canyon to be in operation, many residents and environmental groups felt that SoCalGas was deliberately using the broken pipelines as a means to manipulate supply to justify the use of Aliso Canyon.

          Knock LA, 1-13-20


Texas processing drilling permits at record pace

For two years in a row since 2018, Railroad Commission of Texas staff have set a historic record of taking just two days on average to process standard drilling permits, one day below the legislative requirements. During Calendar Year 2019 the RRC processed a total of 11,654 new drilling permits.

          World Oil, 1-13-20




Magnitude 3.3 earthquake jolts Gilroy, Aromas area

A magnitude 3.3 earthquake rattled the residents southwest of Gilroy early Monday morning, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

          Bay Area News Group, 1-13-20


Assemblyman Rudy Salas introduces bill to strengthen seismic safety on residential gas lines

Assemblyman Rudy Salas introduced legislation that would require the installation of seismic gas shutoff devices on any newly constructed or renovated homes. The new bill came as a response to last year’s major earthquakes that struck the Ridgecrest area, during which gas lines leaked and multiple homes caught fire.

          KERO (Bakersfield television), 1-13-20




Jeff Ackerman: There they go again, but not very far when it comes to mining (Commentary)

If history repeats – and it generally does – we’ll probably spend a good chunk of 2020 reading and hearing about meetings and studies and promises and permits relating to the most recent bid to reopen the Idaho-Maryland Mine. The Union archives are filled with stories from the last time someone tried to reopen the mine. The difference this time is the anti-mining sentiment, or better stated, the concerns with climate change.   

          Grass Valley Union, 1-12-20




2019 was a record year for ocean temperatures, data show

Last year was the warmest year on record for the world’s oceans, part of a long-term warming trend, according to a study released on Monday. The study, published in the journal Advances in Atmospheric Sciences, follows an announcement last week by European scientists that Earth’s surface temperatures in 2019 were the second-hottest on record.

        New York Times, 1-13-20


California ranks high for states at risk of negative climate change, study shows

With images of the Australian brushfires being broadcasted and shared throughout the world, folks are talking about climate change, and the impacts it has on the planet. In a recent study conducted by Safe Home, a security-research company, California ranked among the top 10 states for negative climate-change risks.

Signal Hill Signal Tribune, 1-13-20


An ounce of prevention: Australia and California could benefit from forest management

The fires raging in Australia present a sadly recognizable scenario, a new normal that, after two years of devastating wildfires in California, we in the United States have become all too familiar with. Policies intended to return forests to a more “natural” state with less proactive human management have created disastrous conditions that allow fires to burn hotter, longer and leave more destruction in their wake.

The Hill commentary, 1-14-20




Alameda County officials call for statewide phase-out of fossil fuels

A group of mayors and elected officials from around Alameda County plan to gather next week to urge Gov. Gavin Newsom to phase out the burning and production of fossil fuels in California.

          KTVU (Oakland television), 1-13-20


Ballona Wetland Conservation supporters slam restoration project

On Dec. 20, environmental and community leaders who have long been involved with protection efforts for this 600+ acre coastal oasis in Los Angeles have blasted the release — just days before Christmas — of an environmental review (Final EIR) for plans that would be harmful to wildlife, protection of which is one of the key mandates for the CA Department of Fish & Wildlife, which ironically released this report.

Culver City News, 1-10-20


Let's be rational about moving away from fossil fuels (Commentary)

In California we are so reliant on our cars to get from here to there. Yes, we want to move toward a world where we lower our carbon emissions and complement our use of fossil fuels with renewable sources because we all share the same future. But we need to be rational about how we get there.

          Ventura County Star, 1-11-20


CalGEM issues Notice to Operators regarding cyclic steam moratorium

Nearly two months ago, on November 19, 2019, the Department of Conservation’s Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources (“DOGGR”) announced a moratorium on approvals of new oil extraction wells that use a high-pressure cyclic steaming process to break apart a geological formation to extract oil. Finally, on January 7, 2020, the California Geologic Energy Management Division (“CalGEM”) (formerly DOGGR) issued its long-awaited Notice to Operators regarding the moratorium that offered industry some guidance on how the moratorium will be put into place and how it will be tailored over time.

          JD Supra, 1-10-20


Huge turnout expected for Kern supervisors oil meeting with state regulators

Kern County’s oil industry is expected to put forward a strong showing at a meeting between industry representatives, state officials and the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday. Hundreds connected to the oil industry are expected to attend the meeting, which will offer a unique chance for dialogue between oil leaders, local government officials, and state department heads whose jobs could include the managed decline of Kern County’s leading industry.

          Bakersfield Californian, 1-10-20


County supervisors to discuss pushing back on new state oil regulations

Representatives from Kern’s oil industry are expected to attend and present about oil in the Golden Empire at the upcoming Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday. Members of Governor Gavin Newsom’s administration also are set to be in attendance.

          KGET (Bakersfield television), 1-9-20


Take it or leave it

The oil platforms off the Santa Barbara coast are a familiar sight to local residents. The structures tower above the ocean surface like industrial factories. But below the water, the rigs are like high-rise apartment buildings, providing homes to a vibrant community of sea life.

          The Current (UC Santa Barbara), 1-13-20


Emails reveal U.S. Justice Dept. working closely with oil industry to oppose climate lawsuits

In early 2018, a few months after the cities of Oakland and San Francisco sued several major oil companies over climate change, attorneys with the U.S. Department of Justice began a series of email exchanges and meetings with lawyers for the oil companies targeted in the litigation. The messages were among 178 pages of emails exchanged by government and industry from February through May 2018 as they worked together to oppose the cities' lawsuits.

          Inside Climate News, 1-13-20


Experts fear Trump’s weakening of environmental policy could expose North Coast to drilling

A move by the Trump administration to roll back landmark environmental policy intended to ensure vigorous scrutiny of federal infrastructure projects has struck alarm in the hearts of California conservationists, particularly those striving to safeguard North Coast waters from offshore energy exploration and production.

Santa Rosa Press Democrat, 1-13-20




'Sad, worried, inconsolable': Earthquakes trigger anxiety in Puerto Rico, post-Hurricane Maria

After the worst earthquake in more than a century killed one person and triggered an island-wide blackout in Puerto Rico, many people couldn't find the strength to go back into their homes. As if the 6.4-magnitude quake on Tuesday that destroyed schools, churches and homes wasn't enough, it has been followed by more than 80 aftershocks. The biggest aftershock happened on Saturday morning.

          NBC News, 1-8-20


Philippines warns of 'explosive eruption' after Taal Volcano spews ash near Manila

Philippine authorities have urged a "total evacuation" of nearly half a million people near the capital Manila, after a volcano spewed ash up to nine miles (14 kilometers) into the air Sunday prompting warnings of a possible "explosive eruption."

          CNN, 1-13-20


New Zealand volcano eruption: Death toll rises one month after disaster on White Island

Another person has died after a volcanic eruption in New Zealand last month that sent tourists scrambling as ash rained down. Police confirmed on Monday the 18th official fatality from the eruption. Two other people are missing and presumed dead, though their bodies may never be recovered.

          USA Today, 1-13-20




The delta’s sinking islands

A fight over the management of a diked island in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta is shining a light on a growing conundrum for California water managers, farmers and environmentalists over the best way to restore natural habitat on cropland created more than a century ago by draining marshes. The suit, filed in 2018 by a group called the Wetlands Preservation Foundation, accuses the California Department of Water Resources and the Nature Conservancy of failing to adequately protect wildlife or employ sustainable agricultural practices on the property, one of the largest of 57 reclaimed islands and tracts in the delta.

          San Francisco Chronicle, 1-12-20


Environmental group sues Placer County to block major 8,000-home development off Highway 65

An environmental group is suing Placer County over a recently approved housing development near Highway 65, arguing that the project would destroy thousands of acres of seasonal wetlands crucial to wildlife, undermining California’s climate goals.

          Sacramento Bee, 1-10-20




On the Cemex Mine, Public Deserves a Real Voice

The Cemex mine, the proposed mega-mining operation slated for our back yard, would be the second largest aggregate mine in the country. For those of us who live in the Santa Clarita Valley, it is one of the biggest threats to our local environment and will upend traffic on Highway 14. 

Santa Clarita Signal commentary, 1-12-20


Save the San Joaquin? Fresno County should reject Cemex proposal for deeper gravel mine

Remember Jesse Morrow Mountain from a few years ago? This time it’s the San Joaquin River north of Fresno that needs saving from a destructive gravel mine expansion.Yes, aggregate mining on the San Joaquin has been going on for more than a century. But with production tapering off and newer operations opening on the nearby Kings River, it was generally assumed the poor San Joaquin would finally be given a break and allowed to return to something closer to its natural state.

Fresno Bee column, 1-13-20





Farm Bureau gives nod to Newsom's draft budget

The proposed $222 billion budget submitted Friday by Gov. Gavin Newsom follows through on his pledge to elevate issues affecting farmers, ranchers and rural communities, according to the California Farm Bureau Federation.

          Western Farm Press, 1-13-20




Greenhouse gases from oil and gas projected to continue to increase

The fracking boom across the country has resulted in greenhouse gas emissions steadily climbing each year since the United States has become the largest producer of oil and gas in the world. That expansion will result in greenhouse gas emissions across the U.S. totaling 990.5 million tons per year by 2025, according to a study by the Environmental Integrity Project.

          Chicago Tribune News Services, 1-11-20


Rising sea levels threaten California beaches. Here’s how we can help protect them (Commentary)

I recently returned from Kiribati, the low-lying Pacific Island nation that is projected to be the first country lost to sea-level rise. The I-Kiribati are people who smile easily, laugh often and dance before dinner. It’s difficult to comprehend sea-level rise displacing this or any culture, although our California beach culture faces a similar threat.

          Sacramento Bee, 1-11-20


Editorial: Fighting climate change in California will take more than a bond measure

As the wildfire bills stack up and the PG&E bankruptcy drags on, California leaders have become all too aware of the costs of climate change — both now and in the future. But is a climate bond the best way to pay for it?

San Francisco Chronicle, 1-12-20




Conservationists raise $16M to buy world's largest private sequoia grove in Tulare County

Donations flooded in from around the country — and the globe — to purchase the largest private grove of giant sequoia in the mountains of Tulare County. Save the Redwoods League raised nearly $16 million — half of it in the past four months alone — to rescue Alder Creek, a 530-acre property containing hundreds of ancient giant sequoia.

          Visalia Times Delta, 1-10-20


California Wants To Buy Huge Ranch To Create New State Park

A pristine, 80-square-mile ranch within an hour’s drive of San Francisco is up for sale for the first time in 85 years and California wants to acquire the property to create one of the largest state parks in decades. When Gov. Gavin Newsom announced his $222 billion proposed state budget on Friday, he mentioned that he wants legislative leaders to dedicate $20 million from a one-time surplus to help purchase new public parkland. Newsom declined to say where the new park might be, suggesting the asking price could “go up” if he revealed details.

Associated Press, 1-11-20





U.S. rig count plunges by 15

The number of U.S. oil and gas drilling rigs plunged by 15 this week, bringing the nation's total to 781, according to the Baker Hughes rig count. The rig count is back at its lowest point since March 2017, when the industry was recovering from the previous oil bust. The drop was led by the Permian Basin, which saw a net loss of six rigs this week.

Houston Chronicle, 1-10-20




After being buried by mudslides, two communities chart very different recoveries

In the surfer's paradise where Mike Bell has lived for four decades, talking about rain is blasphemy. "We have sprinkles, we have showers, we have mist, but we don't use the 'r' word, because the 'r' word is what kills people," he says. Fifteen years ago, after 18 inches of it fell in just over two weeks, terrain that slopes through his small, tightknit town morphed into a massive mud avalanche and buried several dozen houses. Ten people died, including three young sisters.

Washington Post, 1-10-20



Wilk Introduces Measure to Combat Cemex Mega-Mine Project

In his first order of business for the 2020 legislative session, Senator Scott Wilk, representing the 21st Senate District has introduced Senate Bill 797 (SB 797), a measure that would give the public the opportunity to weigh in before the Cemex mega mine can proceed.

Santa Clarita Signal, 1-10-20




Gov. Gavin Newsom’s budget envisions an activist agenda but limits on higher spending

For the seventh time in eight years, California’s government is poised to collect a sizable cash surplus under projections in the $222.2-billion state budget Gov. Gavin Newsom submitted to the Legislature on Friday — a remarkable streak even in the face of steadily higher spending, most notably on K-12 education and healthcare for low-income residents.

Los Angeles Times, 1-10-20


Gov. Gavin Newsom unveils new housing funding in 2020 budget

Reiterating that housing affordability remains one of his top priorities in the new year, Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday unveiled a budget proposal that builds upon last year’s historic housing investments. After securing an unprecedented $1.75 billion for housing production last year, Newsom this year plans to allocate another $500 million annually for the state’s housing tax credit program — a key source of funding for affordable housing.

Bay Area News Group, 1-10-20


California state budget breaks record, tops $220 billion

California Gov. Gavin Newsom unveiled a $222.2 billion budget proposal Friday with plans to spend part of a projected $5.6 billion surplus on green technology and homeless aid. Newsom’s plan would steer more money to Medi-Cal, the state’s health care program for low-income people. Part of that expansion would boost assistance for homeless people and mental health care.

Sacramento Bee, 1-10-20




Rising sea levels threaten California beaches. Here’s how we can help protect them

I recently returned from Kiribati, the low-lying Pacific Island nation that is projected to be the first country lost to sea-level rise. The I-Kiribati are people who smile easily, laugh often and dance before dinner. It’s difficult to comprehend sea-level rise displacing this or any culture, although our California beach culture faces a similar threat.

Sacramento Bee commentary, 1-10-20


Editorial: Trump drills into bedrock environmental protections

Undeterred by the raging Australian wildfires attesting to the consequences of global warming just months after California’s stopped burning, President Trump rolled out another effort to roll back fundamental environmental safeguards Thursday. The administration’s proposed paring of the landmark National Environmental Policy Act, which subjects infrastructure and other projects to environmental and public review, could allow coal, oil and gas projects to proceed heedless of their effects on climate change or other consequences.

San Francisco Chronicle, 1-9-20


California’s ‘hydrogen highway’ never happened. Could 2020 change that?

California has been dreaming of a clean, modern hydrogen highway since 2004, when former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger ordered preparations for a traffic jam of zero-emission, hydrogen-fueled cars, buses and trucks. That revolution, part of the battle against climate change, never materialized. 

CalMatters, 1-9-20




Supes vote to expedite Aliso Canyon closure

The Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a motion to accelerate the closure of the Aliso Canyon Natural Gas Facility in Porter Ranch on Tuesday morning. Los Angeles County supervisors approved sending a five-signature letter to Gov. Gavin Newsom and the Los Angeles County legislative delegation in support of a proposed expedited closure of the Aliso Canyon Natural Gas Facility, according to Supervisor Kathryn Barger’s news release.

          Santa Clarita Valley Signal,  1-8-20

 How a gas-leak crisis points to air filters for classrooms

An intriguing new paper from the United States suggests that high-quality air filters installed at relatively low expense deliver an impressive boost in student performance by reducing air pollution within the classroom. That’s what Michael Gilraine of New York University found when he looked at what happened in Los Angeles following the Aliso Canyon gas leak – an event that prompted authorities to install the filters.

          Sustainability Times, 1-9-20


 California’s renewable energy targets slashed carbon pollution — now there’s a proposal to pause them

California’s ambitious renewable energy targets helped drive a substantial drop in greenhouse gas pollution that propelled the state past its 2020 climate change goals early, according to a non-partisan analysis released this week. Yet one California lawmaker confirmed Tuesday he wants to put a stop to the mandate, for now.

          CalMatters, 1-8-20

 Friday’s Bay Area king tides offer a hint of what rising sea levels look like

King tides, a naturally occurring phenomenon that received a common name only a decade ago, are heading to California shorelines this weekend — and with them, a series of public events intended to show people the dangers posed by sea level rise.

San Francisco Chronicle, 1-9-20



 Underappreciated Effects of Sea-Level Rise on Groundwater Levels

When most think of the possible impacts of sea level rise, they think of coastal flooding and the growing risks to shore-based infrastructure — but there’s another sea level rise-related threat that is much less talked about.  As sea level rises, so too will groundwater levels in coastal aquifers, and some recent studies have concluded that in some coastal areas, as much or more land could flood as a result of rising groundwater tables than will flood directly from rising tides.

Maven’s Notebook, 1-9-20



 Group raises nearly $16 million to buy Alder Creek giant sequoia grove

The donations ranged from $1 to several million. The money came from across the country and around the world. Save the Redwoods League raised nearly $16 million — more than half of it in four months — to close a deal for 530 acres of the Alder Creek Grove of giant sequoias.

          Los Angeles Times, 1-8-20

 Trump proposes change to environmental rules to speed up highway projects, pipelines and more

President Trump on Thursday proposed a change to 50-year-old regulations that would speed the development of new mines, pipelines and hundreds of other projects around the country, including some that could harm the environment and accelerate climate change. The move also could prevent communities from having as much say about what gets built in their backyards.

          Washington Post, 1-9-20





Magnitude 3.1 earthquake jolts Hollister area

A magnitude 3.1 earthquake jolted residents awake in the Hollister-Gilroy area for the second time in two days, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

          Bay Area News Group, 1-7-20


Mystery of weird hum heard around the world solved

Mysterious seismic hums detected around the world were likely caused by an unusual geologic event — the rumblings of a magma-filled reservoir deep under the Indian Ocean, a new study finds.

          Live Science, 1-8-20




Anti-fracking group proposes limiting Colorado oil and gas drilling

A Colorado environmental group on Tuesday launched a fresh push to curtail drilling in the fifth-largest oil-producing state, citing concerns over health and safety.

          Reuters, 1-7-20


LA County calls on governor to expedite closure of Aliso Canyon

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors unanimously called on Gov. Gavin Newsom Tuesday to expedite the closure of the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility in Porter Ranch -- the site of the largest methane leak in U.S. history.

          NBC Los Angeles, 1-7-20       




How Can Agriculture Be a Part of the Climate Solution?

“Agriculture might just be the single most important industry on the planet for creating negative carbon emissions under current economic policy,” said Professor Benjamin Houlton, director of the John Muir Institute of the Environment and champion of the One Climate Initiative.

UC Davis Magazine, 1-7-19


California energy policy has reduced carbon emissions. By exactly how much, nobody knows

The California Legislative Analyst’s Office released a report Monday on how well the state's energy policies are working in terms of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The analysis found that the state requirement that utilities continually increase the amount of renewable energy they provide has been a "significant" driver in curbing emissions. The LAO, however, was not able to determine exact figures for how much the cut in emissions is attributable to state law versus other factors, and the agency cited as problematic a lack of specific research that evaluates California climate policy.

          KQED (San Francisco TV-radio), 1-7-20


Bloomberg sees California as model on climate change, guns

Mike Bloomberg’s plan for California - export it. The Democratic presidential candidate and former New York City mayor likes a lot of what he sees in the Golden State and thinks its efforts on climate change, gun control and criminal justice reform seta benchmark for other states to emulate.

          Associated Press, 1-7-20




Valley land has sunk from too much water pumping. Can Fresno County fix it?

The Fresno County Board of Supervisors adopted a plan on Tuesday meant to maintain groundwater and keep users from pumping too much from underground basins.

Fresno Bee, 1-7-20


Establishing groundwater allocations under SGMA

As groundwater sustainability agencies prepare their plans to meet the requirements of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA), they will likely utilize a variety of tools to achieve sustainability.

Maven’s Notebook, 1-7-20




Judge orders Public Health officials to release data related to 2015 Aliso Canyon gas leak

A judge ordered public health officials to release data related to the Aliso Canyon gas leak on Monday, Jan. 6. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Carolyn Kuhl instructed the Los Angeles Department of Public Health to produce data collected in the Porter Ranch area following the 2015 blowout.

          Los Angeles Daily News, 1-6-20


Price spike after Mideast drone attack not expected to boost local oil activity or gas prices

Barring further escalation in Middle East tensions, the modest surge in oil prices that followed Friday's U.S. drone strike against Iranian military officials in Iraq isn't expected to have much impact on Kern County's economy, property tax revenues or local gasoline prices.

Bakersfield Californian, 1-6-20


How fracking changed America forever

The combination of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, and horizontal drilling has revolutionized U.S. energy. The country has gone from heavily relying on foreign oil to producing enough for its domestic consumption and international exports in less than two decades. However, the process of fracking is controversial.

          CNBC, 1-7-20




Puerto Rico declares state of emergency after quake rocks residents awake

People across southern Puerto Rico awoke to find broken brick walls and felled power lines Tuesday, after a 6.4 magnitude earthquake struck before dawn. The major temblor hit a coastal stretch near the communities of Ponce and Guanica at about 4:24 a.m. local time, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

          NPR, 1-7-20


Deadly Puerto Rico earthquake leaves close to 300,000 homes and businesses without water

A 6.4 magnitude earthquake jolted southern Puerto Rico on Tuesday morning, killing at least one man, damaging homes and cutting power and water service to swaths of the island a day after a 5.8 magnitude quake shook the US territory, officials said.

          CNN, 1-7-20


Sound Off: Do you recommend buyers get earthquake insurance, why or why not?

We’ve learned that earthquake insurance is one of the least purchased coverages available, yet we know it covers one of the most destructive disasters that can occur. There is no blanket yes or no answer. Ultimately, the decision to buy earthquake insurance depends on the soils condition, location of the property and the structural integrity of the home.

          San Francisco Chronicle, 1-6-20




COLUMN: Protecting agriculture a top priority for San Benito County (Commentary)

Agriculture supports the San Benito County economy. County leaders must protect agriculture from a variety of threats as we evolve. One of those threats is the effects of climate change.

          Benito Link, 1-6-20




Local lawmakers eye Cemex, transportation, disaster preparedness

Santa Clarita Valley legislators joined other California lawmakers on Monday as they reconvened in Sacramento to tackle issues ranging from disaster preparedness to the Cemex mega mine.

          Santa Clarita Valley Signal, 1-6-20




U.S. greenhouse gas emissions fell slightly in 2019

U.S. greenhouse gas emissions fell 2.1 percent last year almost entirely because of a sharp drop in coal consumption, according to the Rhodium Group, a private data research firm. Coal-fired electric power generation, which had rebounded slightly in 2018, fell by a record 18 percent to the lowest level since 1975, the Rhodium study said.

          Washington Post, 1-7-20


A $1 billion solar plant was obsolete before it ever went online

The Crescent Dunes solar plant looks like something out of a sci-fi movie. In 2011 the $1 billion project was to be the biggest solar plant of its kind, and it looked like the future of renewable power. But, by the time the plant opened in 2015, the increased efficiency of cheap solar panels had already surpassed its technology, and today it’s obsolete—the latest panels can pump out power at a fraction of the cost for decades with just an occasional hosing-down.

          Bloomberg, 1-6-20


California rolls out proposed version of Green New Deal

On Monday, California Democrats rolled out the state’s proposed version of the Green New Deal. The full specifics of the bill weren’t released at Monday’s announcement, but the measure would set new climate requirements and deadlines, including doubling affordable housing and public transportation by 2030, accelerating the state’s air pollution emissions goals and improving the standard of living for historically impacted communities of color.

          KRON (San Francisco television), 1-6-20


California could get a Green New Deal of its own as lawmakers aim to address climate change and inequality

California needs even more ambitious climate change goals. That's the message 14 progressive Democratic lawmakers unveiled Monday as part of the California Green New Deal Act, which they call bold and big.

          Capitol Public Radio, 1-6-20


Were the predictions we made about climate change 20 years ago accurate? Here's a look

When it comes to climate change, did we accurately predict in 2000 what would be happening now? Overall, we're running quite close to the projections made in 2000 for carbon dioxide concentration, global temperature and sea level. Here's a look at climate change indicators for 2020.

          USA Today, 12-24-19




3.0 magnitude earthquake rattles Brea Area

A 3.0 magnitude earthquake rattled the Brea area at 8:28 a.m. Sunday morning, the U.S. Geological Survey reported.

KRON (San Francisco television), 1-5-20


Strong earthquake jolts Puerto Rico, causing damage and "state of panic"

A 5.8-magnitude quake hit Puerto Rico before dawn Monday, unleashing small landslides, causing power outages and severely cracking some homes. It was one of the strongest quakes yet to hit the U.S. territory that has been shaking for the past week. There were no immediate reports of casualties but there was significant damage in the town of Guánica.

          CBS News,1-6-20


Quake rattles southern Mexican state of Oaxaca, no damages

A strong earthquake struck the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca late on Saturday, near to the Pacific coastline and the neighboring state of Chiapas, prompting security protocols to be activated. Oaxaca's civil protection agency said there have been no reports of damages.

          New York Times, 1-5-20


Six months later: A 23ABC special report

23ABC takes a look back at the earthquakes that rocked Ridgecrest and Trona on July 4th and 5th, 2019 in this special report.

          KERO (Bakersfield television), 1-5-20




California doubling down on decarbonizing as fossil fuel output declines

California’s chief regulatory agency for oil and natural gas development has been renamed going into the new year, with a focus on public health, safety and environmental issues within the energy sector. CalGEM, created last year by Assembly Bill 1057, comes as the state’s once robust oil and gas industry is steadily shrinking while low-carbon energy sources are growing.

          NGI, 1-3-20




California lawmakers set to push climate bond for disasters

In a state burdened by billions of dollars in wildfire damage, California lawmakers are hoping for an advance loan before the next climate-fueled catastrophe hits. Lawmakers in the Democratic-dominated state Legislature return to work Monday for the second year of a two-year session. Their to-do list includes a $4.2 billion climate bond, an ambitious proposal to borrow money before they need it to prepare for the types of natural disasters that have plagued the state.

          Marin Independent Journal, 1-5-20




Solar surges in the California desert. So why are environmentalists upset?

While California recently surpassed 1 million solar rooftops, clean energy advocates and industry officials say that won't be enough to reach the goals. They argue every possible option will be needed — including solar farms in the desert. That's re-ignited a battle with longtime activists. Area environmental groups say while they are 100% in favor of solar power, it should be installed on rooftops, landfills and other disturbed lands in urban areas — not hundreds of miles away on fragile desert landscapes.

          Palm Springs Desert Sun, 1-3-20








(news updated as time permits…)




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