CCKA to Testify Before the Legislature on Ocean Desalination

On Wednesday, September 24, CCKA will lead 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", will take place before the Assembly Select Committee on Coastal Protection, and is 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 will inform legislators on the hazards of desalination’s seawater intakes, which kill literally billons of aquatic marine animals and undermines the recent successes of California’s Marine Protected Areas.  A second panel will 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.  

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 will quantify the embedded energy of desalination, and explain 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 FirestoneOn the last day of the 2014 legislative session, the California Legislature passed two landmark environmental reforms.  The Legislature passed a statewide ban on single-use plastic bags at grocery stores (Senate Bill 270), the first statewide ban in the nation. This marks the seventh attempt by environmentalists to pass a statewide bag ban.  The bans have received a groundswell of support at the local level—with  approximately 90 local bag bans in place—but an aggressive plastics lobby thwarted the statewide ban until now. A diverse coalition of allies have been advocating for the passage of this landmark legislation for years. CCKA urges the Governor’s signature of the bill, and supports other source control measures, as well as the parallel development of the State Water Board’s Trash Policy.

The Governor has signed three groundwater reform bills (Assembly Bill 1739, Senate Bill 1168, and Senate Bill 1319) into law to establish a framework for more sustainable groundwater management in California.  California has very few groundwater regulations compared to the rest of the nation, and is the only state that manages groundwater sepa­rately from surface water.  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

  • 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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  • SB Channelkeeper Wins Agreement to Protect Ventura River

    A hard fought agreement with Ojai Quarry will protect drinking water and endangered steelhead trout in Matilija Creek, a pristine tributary of the Ventura River. This important victory was spearheaded by our Santa Barbara Channelkeeper, whose monitoring efforts showed Matilija Creek was receiving high levels of pollution, and led directly to action.

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  • Russian Riverkeeper Encourages Residents to #Saveit

    In the face of dire drought our Russian Riverkeeper is doubling down on efforts to encourage residents to conserve water. As many water conservation targets have fallen short, this outreach is needed now more than ever. Check out Russian Riverkeeper’s water conservation tips here, and be sure to follow on twitter.

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