FROM Paul Rogers
Land in the American West is Vanishing at an Alarming Rate The natural landscape of the American West is vanishing at an alarming rate, and California has lost the most of all the Western states according to a new study from Conservation Science Partners. Urban sprawl is the major culprit in California. Oil and coal development, agriculture, and road infrastructure have also chipped away at natural areas in the West.
Can an Ivory Sale Ban in California Stop Elephant Poaching? It has been against the law to sell ivory or any elephant parts for that matter in California since 1977 -- and nationwide since 1990. But federal and state laws still allow the sale of older ivory imported before those dates. Now conservationists are trying to close this loophole that's creating an appetite for ivory in California. They say it's part of the reason why poachers are killing nearly a hundred African elephants every day.
Water Wars Loom as World Supply Shrinks For decades, countries around the world have ignored warnings about upcoming wars over water and worked hard to build a global middle class — with growing prosperity that depends on what turns out to be a finite resource. Companies whose profits depend on water are worried that it’s running out. The chair of giant, multi-national Nestle told Pilita Clark that the shortage of water is a “much more urgent” than climate change. She’s an environmental reporter for the Financial Times, which recently published her series called, “A World Without Water.”
CA Congressman May Be Blocking Yosemite Expansion The National Park Service has a chance to add 793 acres to Yosemite National Park, extending its boundaries to all the land originally envisioned by conservation pioneer John Muir, who first proposed the park back in the 1880’s. But the Congressman who represents Yosemite and surrounding areas is saying, “No.” He’s Republican Tom McClintock, who’s also in a fight for re-election against another Republican, Art Moore, who came in second in the recent Top-Two primary. Paul Rogers covers science and the environment for the San Jose Mercury News and KQED , public radio and TV in San Francisco.
No Rain, No Water… No Problem? For the first time in its 54-year history, the State Water Project has cancelled all deliveries to the San Joaquin Valley and Southern California. For the moment, there's no rationing here. In northern California, it's a different story.
Condor Cam Goes Live in Big Sur At noon today, high in the hills of the Coast Range east of Big Sur, three endangered California Condors were released to the wild. They'd been treated for lead poisoning at the LA Zoo. You could watch the event on the Condor cam , which began operating on Monday for scientists and for the general public. At the right time of day, you can watch Condors eat. Paul Rogers is a veteran of environmental reporting for the San Jose Mercury News , who also manages the Science Unit at KQED, public radio and TV in San Francisco.
Condor Cam Goes Live in Big Sur The California Condor is a vulture and America's largest bird. After almost becoming extinct, condors have been raised in captivity and released to the wild. Now, in the remote reaches of Central California, there's a video camera where scientists can watch them feed. The condor-cam is located high in the hills of the Coast Range, east of Big Sur, California. Paul Rogers is a veteran of environmental reporting for the San Jose Mercury New s, who manages the Science Unit at KQED, the PBS station in San Francisco.
Defunding the EPA and California's Renewable Energy Standards Developers of renewable fuels might be a boon to California's sluggish economy, but they're being pulled in two directions. In Washington, Republicans are trying to make a budget deal that takes greenhouse-gas enforcement power away from the EPA. Meanwhile in Sacramento, Governor Brown is expected to sign new emission standards for California utilities. They'll have to increase their use of renewable fuel from 20- to 33 percent by 2020. Paul Rogers writes about resources and environment for the San Jose Mercury News and broadcasts on public radio station KQED in San Francisco.
How Safe Are America's Natural-Gas Pipelines? Last week a natural gas explosion killed at least 4 people, injured many more and destroyed more than 37 homes in a quiet neighborhood of San Bruno, a suburb of San Francisco. Pacific Gas and Electric's 30-inch gas distribution pipe that exploded had been installed underground in 1956, some years before the houses were constructed. PG&E oversees more than 6000 miles of transmission lines in Northern California.
How Safe Are America's Natural-Gas Pipelines? After last week's devastating explosion in the San Francisco suburb of San Bruno killed at least four people, two mayors in New Jersey opposed natural-gas projects in their cities. But the 30-inch pipe in San Bruno was laid underground more than 50 years ago, before the 37 homes destroyed last week were even constructed. How many more such disasters are waiting to happen elsewhere in the country? Are too many pipes too old? How often are they inspected? Should homeowners be told about big distribution lines near them? We talk with public utilities, former regulators and independent watchdogs.
Today's Repercussions from Last Night's Failure in Sacramento As we’ve heard, all efforts at compromise failed last night in Sacramento, and today the Governor called the legislature back for another special session to deal with the budget shortfall -- now $26 billion, $3 billion more than it was yesterday. We get an update on the impasse and its repercussions.
Wind on the Water: Will California Accept Turbines Off the Coast? In San Francisco today, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has been chairing a hearing on oil drilling off the shores of California. The Bush Administration left behind a proposal to offer 44 million acres off the coasts of Mendocino and Humboldt counties up north and 89 million acres of the counties of San Diego, Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo.
58,000 Gallons of Oil Spilled in San Francisco Bay A tanker hit the San Francisco Bay bridge on Wednesday morning but until 9 o'clock that night officials were told that 140 gallons of oil were involved. It turns out that 58,000 gallons spilled into the water. Was a massive clean-up effort unnecessarily delayed? Spreading oil from the tanker Cosco Busan has forced closure of 16 beaches and shoreline parks from Richmond, Oakland and San Francisco out through the Golden Gate to Marin County's Headlands and the Farallon Islands. Paul Rogers is resources and environment writer for the San Jose Mercury-News .
Water, Water Everywhere and Not a Drop to Drink The LA Times reports that there won’t be poppies this year in the Antelope Valley. Some butterflies are staying dormant because there’s a lack of flowers in Southern California. Seasonal ponds are too dry for frogs or fairy shrimp. But deer, bobcats and rattlesnakes will be more evident this summer in residential neighborhoods. It’s all about the shortage of water after a decade of drought-like conditions with the exception of the drenching winter of 2005. We begin with Debra Man, Chief Assistant General Manager and Operating Officer for the Metropolitan Water District, which serves almost 18 million people.
Going Green without Guilt From the covers of Newsweek and Outside to a heavily covered speech today in Washington, Governor Schwarzenegger is pushing a new kind of environmentalism. At Georgetown University, claiming that environmentalism is at a "tipping point," he advocated that people work for more fuel-efficient forms of transportation rather than give up Hummers or private planes. He compared the evolution of environmentalism to that of body-building, which once was seen as the province of "weird fanatics" working out in gyms that were like dungeons. Can there be environmentalism without sacrifice?
Fish and Water: Now You See Them, Now You Don't The Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary was established 14 years ago to ban oil drilling from the Golden Gate to Hearst Castle. Now, the Sanctuary is rewriting its management plan . The easy targets are jet skis, sewage from cruise ships and what's called "chumming" for Great White Sharks. But there's heated controversy over proposed "no-fishing zones" 80 miles out to sea.
The longest US war: Will Trump send more troops to Afghanistan? The Trump White House is divided over the Pentagon's request for more troops in Afghanistan—where the US has been fighting for the past 16 years. Is there a formula -- either for "victory" or a political settlement? Is there an end in sight for America's longest war?
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.
Human Rights in the era of Donald Trump President Trump’s UN Ambassador, Nikki Haley, said today the US might pull out of the United Nations’ Human Rights Council. Serious violators of human rights are members of the Council itself–and a US resignation could make things worse. Later on today’s show, now that he’s into his second term, comedian turned US Senator Al Franken is telling jokes again.
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.