FROM Bettina Boxall
Mandatory Water Usage Cuts Loom Nearly 40 years ago, a drought stricken California ordered growers with the oldest water rights in the state to stop diverting water from lakes and streams. Now it's deja vu all over again. Last week the State Water Resources Control Board announced they’re preparing to order many growers with rights that pre-date 1914 to turn off their pumps. Bettina Boxall is a staff writer for the LA Times covering water rights and the environment.
Southern California Struggles to Stave Off Drought Instead of reducing water use by 20% as Governor Brown has called for, California has increased it by one percent. In the Southland, it’s up by 8%. The State Water Quality Control Board is cracking down by establishing fines for wasteful practices, and LA’s Department of Water and Power says it’s going to beef up enforcement of rules that are even tougher.
John Boehner Heads to Bakersfield to Talk Drought Speaker John Boehner held a news conference this afternoon in Bakersfield, advocating emergency drought legislation in Congress. Sasha Khokha is Central Valley Bureau Chief for KQED public radio in San Francisco. Bettina Boxall reports on the environment for the LA Times .
Governor Brown’s Massive Water Project In 1982, then-Governor Jerry Brown proposed a canal to divert Northern California water around the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and bring it to Southern California—irrigating the nation’s bread-basket along the way. Voters turned it down, but Brown’s back again, backed by the Obama Administration with a new plan worth 24 billion dollars. Even some Democrats think it’s a bad idea, and there’s no guarantee it would work even if it could be paid for. But with US Interior Secretary Ken Salazar at his side, Governor Brown today proposed a new version of the old idea. For 24 billion dollars, massive tunnels would take water from Northern California, pump it under the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, then use it to irrigate big farms in the Central Valley on its way to residential customers in Los Angeles and San Diego. Brown called it, “another test of whether we can govern ourselves…”
Fighting Mega-Fires More than 100 years after the federal government declared war on wildfire, wildfire is winning. The US Forest Service reports there are 40 large fires currently burning, from Florida to California, with 564 contained so far this year. They are "bigger, fiercer and costlier to put out [than they've ever been]… and there is no end in sight." Ten years ago, the National Forest Service spent $307 million on fire suppression. Last year, the bill was $1.37 billion. Private contracting for firefighters and their equipment can turn potential disasters into bonanzas for local communities. Does firefighting itself create future problems? Would preventative management save big money? What are the roles of politics and the media?
Will the Senate write a healthcare bill in secret? While Democrats and Republicans argue White House relations with Russia, another question is being decided behind closed doors: who gets help buying health insurance and who doesn't? We hear how the pros and cons are being shrouded in secrecy.
Ex-FBI Director Comey tells his side of the story Today, former FBI Director James Comey came close to calling the President who fired him a liar. The White House denied the claim and called it insulting, but Republican Senators did not challenge Comey’s truthfulness. Many questions remain: did the President try to obstruct a federal investigation? Later, we’ll go behind the “velvet rope” for a look at 5-Star health care for the richest Americans.