Groups call for $10 Billion from congress to bolster CA shorelines against sea-level rise

Listen to the report HERE

June 24, 2021

SAN FRANCISCO – Sea levels in California are projected to rise up to 55 inches by the end of the century, so climate advocates are calling on Congress to fund coastal restoration projects to mitigate potential flooding.

More than 100 groups signed a letter calling on lawmakers to include $10 billion for such projects nationwide in the proposed infrastructure bill.

Seventeen-year-old Amelia Fortgang, chair of the Bay Area Youth Climate Summit and youth leadership council member at Earth Echo, said the time for action is now. “At the same time that the skies turn orange from wildfires, our coasts are moving inward,” said Fortgang. “And this is a major issue because in California 85% of our residents live and work in coastal counties.”

AZ Conservationists, Civic Leaders Back Creation of Civilian Climate Corps


Listen to the story HERE.

June 15, 2021

PHOENIX — An idea from the past could soon return to Arizona and other states to battle the ravages of climate change.

Groups such as the Sierra Club, Arizona Interfaith Power and Light and others are endorsing the potential of the Civilian Climate Corps, a part of President Joe Biden’s American Jobs Plan, modeled after the Depression-era Civilian Conservation Corps.

The original CCC, as it was known, deployed millions of young people in the 1930s to build and maintain infrastructure in national parks and on public lands.

Sandy Bahr, director of the Sierra Club Grand Canyon Chapter, said a Civilian Climate Corps could protect parks as big as the Grand Canyon or as small as a neighborhood playground.

“It’s a key provision that really helps to put some focus where we need it, which is on climate and on investing in actions to build resiliency,” Bahr asserted. “As we’ve seen in Arizona, climate change is not something in the future. It is happening now.”

Connecticut advocates: Transportation Climate Bill needs vote in special session

Listen to the report HERE. 

June 14, 2021

HARTFORD, Conn. — Connecticut environment and health advocates are pushing for the Transportation and Climate Initiative to get a vote in the General Assembly’s special session, which starts Wednesday.

The Initiative is a cap-and-invest program for vehicles in order to curb pollution, and encourage use of clean-energy transit and fuels. It would require companies to pay states when they surpass the cap, then half the money would be invested into communities near transportation corridors.

Lori Brown, executive director of the Connecticut League of Conservation Voters, is one of many advocates concerned about the bill stalling out this session. “Transportation accounts for 38% of our greenhouse-gas emissions in our state and our region,” Brown noted. “And anything you can do to reduce those emissions takes a big step forward. This is a solution. It’s ready-made.”

OR needs to breach the dam to protect endangered salmon as climate change drought continues

Listen to the story HERE.

June 9, 2021

PORTLAND, Ore. – There are signs this summer could be a bad one for the native salmon of the Northwest.

Already, drought has gripped the region, causing low river flows that could be hard for fish to navigate or spawn in. That’s bad news for species already teetering on extinction, especially in the Columbia River Basin.

Betsy Emery, advocacy and campaign manager for the Association of Northwest Steelheaders, said a study this year from the Nez Perce Tribe predicted 77% of Snake River Chinook salmon will be nearly extinct in four years if current trends hold. “Our salmon runs cannot afford one catastrophic event that can really devastate the potential for salmon recovery,” she said, “and so far, we’re seeing a lot of red flags that indicate we could see a catastrophic event like that this summer.”

Pipeline 3 opponents ramp up efforts along MN construction route

Listen to the story HERE.

June 8, 2021

BEMIDJI, Minn. — Scores of protesters have gathered in northern Minnesota in hopes of halting the Line 3 oil pipeline project. Native American activists and their allies want to stop construction as the work nears a final phase.

In what’s being billed as a Treaty People Gathering, opponents this week rallied at the headwaters of the Mississippi River before marching to an area where the pipeline and river meet. Protesters say they’re engaging in civil disobedience, including attempts to block a pumping station.

Tara Houska, tribal attorney and environmental and Indigenous rights advocate, livestreamed from some of the events, noting the movement centers around protecting natural resources for tribal communities. “What’s really important to us is our water, our lives, our children, our futures, the animals, the plants, the sacred all around us,” Houska asserted.

Organizers expected crowds of at least 1,500. The latest opposition efforts come amid an expected court ruling this month on a challenge to the state’s approval of Line 3.

Climate change, extreme heat pose challenges for water utilities

Please listen to the report HERE.

June 4, 2021

LAKE HAVASU CITY, Ariz. — The calendar indicates it is June, which means if you live in Arizona, it’s only going to get hotter. And while you can compensate with air conditioning, water utilities are increasingly challenged to deal with problems brought on by the extremes of climate change.

A new report from the Water Utility Climate Alliance details the enormous toll extreme heat takes, both on a utility’s workers and infrastructure, making it more difficult to deliver water.

Mohammed Mahmoud, senior policy analyst for the Central Arizona Project, explained there is a cumulative effect to climate warming that can’t help but change the conditions in which they operate. “Not only are the peak temperatures within the summer season increasing, but also the frequency of days where we are in that higher band of temperatures, certainly above 100 degrees, and even more so above 110 degrees. Those days are increasing,” Mahmoud observed.

Maryland AG: Strike down Trump’s low vehicle-emissions standards

Please listen to the story HERE.

June 4, 2021

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) held a public hearing this week to reconsider letting states decide their own vehicle-emissions standards, and Maryland’s attorney general supports the change.

The Trump administration ended the federal Clean Air Act waiver, which allowed California and other states to adopt stricter greenhouse-gas standards for cars and trucks than federal standards. President Joe Biden is pushing to strike down Trump’s rule to reduce emissions that contribute to climate change.

Brian Frosh, Maryland Attorney General, pointed out Maryland is particularly vulnerable to sea-level rise from climate change, and said it’s urgent that courts let other states adopt California’s stricter rules. “The Chesapeake Bay literally runs down the middle of our state; we have more than 3,100 miles of coastline. We have more floods, with more damage, every year.”

With VA Clean Economy Act renewable jobs expand – offshore wind predicted to be huge benefit

Listen to the report HERE.

June 4, 2021

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — One year after Virginia adopted its Clean Economy Act, workforce development and new jobs in clean energy are booming in the state, as its economy expands into renewable-energy industries.

Shawn Avery, president and CEO of the Hampton Roads Workforce Council, said wind power, especially, has taken off in the Virginia Beach area. The Council partners with training programs and community colleges to place workers in wind and solar jobs.

He noted the jobs are popular with young people who want to make a difference, and also attract workers moving from coal and manufacturing jobs. “In many of the jobs that are going to be needed offshore, a lot of the skill sets are very much the same, from welding to electronics,” Avery explained. “So, there’s a real correspondence to the jobs in manufacturing, to also the jobs in the clean-energy economy.”

As toxic algae, other issues bloom, FL Environmental Secretary resigns

Listen to the report HERE

June 4, 2021

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Today marks the last day on the job for Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) secretary, who turned in his resignation nearly a month before the agency acknowledged the change.

Noah Valenstein turned in his resignation letter May 8, but no public notice was given until reporters started asking questions. The news came as a shock to many in the environmental community, including those who regarded Valenstein for doing his best against the odds.

Aliki Moncrief, executive director of Florida Conservation Voters, said the agency has a lot of challenges ahead. “The person inheriting this, and I know it’s going to be, in the interim, Shawn Hamilton, but whoever ultimately becomes secretary of DEP is inheriting a lot of undone, unfinished business, serious business, and it’s not going to be an easy job,” Moncrief contended.

Red tide and blue-green algae blooms, which killed around 200 tons of marine life three years ago, are already resurfacing in parts of Florida. And there’s ongoing litigation from the April discharge of 215 million gallons of polluted water from the Piney Point phosphate plant into Tampa Bay.

Wildlife crossings reduce collisions, impact of roads in natural areas

Listen to the report HERE.

June 3, 2021

Charleston, W.Va. – Wildlife crossings such as green bridges or other structures that allow animals to cross roadways safely have been shown to reduce wildlife-vehicle collisions.

Lawmakers, including Sen. Shelley Moore Capito – R-WV, have allocated $350 million toward a pilot wildlife-crossings program as part of the recently unveiled Surface Transportation Reauthorization Act.

Mike Leahy, director of wildlife hunting and fishing policy with the National Wildlife Federation, said West Virginia consistently ranks as one of the top states for collisions between wildlife and vehicles.

He said most of the funding will be used to support projects in rural areas. “Wildlife crossings and other strategies like underpasses and fencing,” said Leahy, “proven really good for keeping wildlife populations moving.”

Big vote today in battle over San Fransisco Bay area air quality

Listen to the report HERE

June 2, 2021

SAN FRANCISCO – A long battle to clean up the air around oil refineries comes to a vote today before the board of the Bay Area Air Quality Management District. At issue is whether to require oil refineries to install technology to scrub the air they release and remove harmful pollutants.

Richard Gray, a longtime advocate with the group 350 Bay Area, said the asthma rate in Richmond, near the refineries, is 25% – almost twice the asthma rate statewide. “So, there’s really bad asthma, heart disease; there’s lung disease, low birth weight, dementia, cancer,” he said. “All of these health issues are caused by inhaling particulate matter.”

The board will decide whether to require the Chevron and PBF refineries to add what is known as wet gas-scrubbing technology to their fluid catalytic cracking units or “cat crackers.” The technology would reduce the amount of particulate matter emitted by 70%. The federal government already required the Valero Refinery to install the equipment.

Listen to the story HERE.