CCKA Testifies Before the Legislature on Ocean Desalination

On Wednesday, September 24, CCKA led a diverse group of ocean experts to speak before the California Legislature on the potential impacts of ocean desalination.  The hearing, "Seawater Desalination Impacts and Perspectives", took place before the Assembly Select Committee on Coastal Protection, and served as a critical opportunity to inform lawmakers about the harmful impacts associated with desalination, and California’s alternative water supply options. CCKA has been in the vanguard against the unrestricted development of desalination facilitates along California’s coast and was asked to organize the hearing into three expert panels. The first panel informed legislators on the hazards of desalination’s seawater intakes, which kill literally billions of aquatic marine animals and undermines the recent successes of California’s Marine Protected Areas.  The second panel served to illustrate the dangers of the byproduct of desalination, a hyper-salty brine which sinks to the seabed and proves toxic to seafloor organisms – like crab and squid. A recording of the full day's hearing can be found here

Due to its high energy costs, ocean desalination backtracks on the hard fought progress California has made to reduce carbon emissions and combat climate change. Speaking to this often ignored impact, the day’s third panel quantified the embedded energy of desalination, and explained how a “water loading order” is a needed component of California water policy. A water loading order would require the assessment of water projects based on their carbon footprint, and prioritize projects that are less energy intense and provide multiple benefits. In this way, projects such as water conservationstormwater capture and reuse, and recycled water, which provide more bang for the taxpayer’s buck, would receive priority over the “one trick pony” of ocean desalination.
Read more about water loading here

Read more about CCKA’s position on ocean desalination here.

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California Legislature Passes Major Reforms on Groundwater & Trash

Credit: Laurel FirestoneDuring the last days of the 2014 legislative session the California Legislature passed a flurry of landmark environmental reforms. The Legislature passed a statewide ban on single-use plastic bags at grocery stores (Senate Bill 270), legislation to improve beach water quality monitoring (Senate Bill 1395), and three groundwater reform bills (Assembly Bill 1739Senate Bill 1168, and Senate Bill 1319). Governor Brown has now signed each bill into California law.

Senate Bill 270 marks the first statewide plastic bag ban in the nation, and a hard fought victory after six previous attempts by environmentalist to pass a statewide bag ban. The bans received a groundswell of grassroots support, and will bolster parallel CCKA initiatives, such as the development of the State Water Board’s Trash Policy, to keep waste out of the state's iconic water bodies. Senate Bill 1395, the Rapid Beach Water Quality Monitoring Bill, saw CCKA as the lead group for gathering support and working with both the Author (Senator Block) and San Diego County to ensure water quality was protected. The law now allows counties to use the EPA-approved rapid beach water quality monitoring test, which will reduce testing time from two days to four hours. This law will provide beachgoers with quicker warnings of unsafe beaches, and advance the science of rapid beach monitoring testing. 

Marking the most significant water legislation in a generation, the groundwater reform laws establish a framework for more sustainable groundwater management in California. The three new laws will provide a framework for communities to develop groundwater sustainability plans, and requires local water districts with critically overdrawn basins to meet groundwater management goals by 2020. CCKA worked with a dedicated coalition, including Klamath Riverkeeper, environmental justice organizations, and tribes, to ensure that the groundwater reforms are enforceable by state agencies. During one of the worst droughts in recorded history, CCKA urged the Governor to support and implement reforms to improve California’s groundwater management. Follow @GroundwaterCA for updates on these new laws.

Read CCKA's Press Statement on the Governor signing the groundwater reform bills here.

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Spotlight On

  • SF Baykeeper Keeps Toxic Industrial Pollution from Bay

    Congrats to our SF Baykeeper, who in a critical win for stopping toxic industrial pollution in San Francisco Bay has secured an agreement with the Levin-Richmond Terminal Corporation to install controls to protect the Bay from toxic runoff. Under the terms of the agreement, Levin-Richmond will invest approximately $1.4 million in pollution controls and contribute $50,000 to the Rose Foundation for Communities and the Environment. 

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  • LA Waterkeeper Gets Dirty for the Drought

    Our Los Angeles Water keeper is urging Southern Californian motorists to take bold measures during the unprecedented drought and conserve water with the “Dirty Car Pledge”. Those who sign up and refrain from washing their car for 60 days, and collectively save millions of gallons of water, will be sent a “Go Dirty for the Drought” sticker to proudly display on their cars. 

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  • Ocean Protection Council Supports the Trash Policy

    undefinedCongrats to the Ocean Protection Council for passing a Resolution supporting the State Water Board’s Trash Policy.  The Resolution describes the Trash Policy as precedential, and finding it the “first statewide plan in the nation” to reduce trash entering waterways. California Coastkeeper Alliance strongly supported this Resolution, and we are happy to see it come to fruition at a pivotal time in California’s decision making about preventing trash pollution.
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