After terrorizing surfers, she has a new focus: Motherhood

Santa Cruz’s sea otter 841 has given birth to a pup. Was her erratic behavior hormonal?

SANTA CRUZ — Sea otter 841 — the surfboard-biting-and-stealing mammal who became a national sensation this summer — has given birth to a fluffy pup.

On Wednesday afternoon, she was seen far off the Santa Cruz coast, rolling and spinning in the kelp and waves with a little otter pup on her belly.

Mark Woodward, her No. 1 fan and most dedicated chronicler, said he spotted the pup for the first time Tuesday afternoon.

“I couldn’t believe it,” he said. “I think I let out a yelp when I saw it.”

Woodward, a social media influencer who goes by the tag @NativeSantaCruz on Twitter, Instagram and Threads, said that as recently as Friday, 841 had been been swimming, lolling and feeding solo.

The pup’s birth, which has yet to be officially confirmed by state and federal wildlife authorities, may explain 841’s unusually aggressive behavior toward multiple surfers — at least one of whom abandoned their board and saw it carted off by the slick-haired cousin of the skunk and weasel. The gestational period for otters is roughly six months, and during this period, hormonal changes can cause the animal to become aggressive, experts say.

Emerson Brown, a spokesman for the Monterey Bay Aquarium, said he and the aquarium team could not comment on the situation.

He said they’d “seen tweets, like everyone, but can’t confirm anything based on those images. We are waiting on confirmation from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.”

A spokeswoman for the federal agency said last week that it would deploy someone to the area to confirm the existence of the pup.

“While wildlife biologists suspected sea otter 841 may [have been] pregnant earlier this year, they were unable to verify the pregnancy without capturing the sea otter to perform a full health evaluation,” said Ashley McConnell, communications team leader in the Ventura Fish and Wildlife Office of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

“Hormonal surges related to pregnancy have been known to cause aggressive behavior in female southern sea otters. … There are currently no plans to attempt capture.”

She’d given birth twice before. Her first pup survived; the second, born last spring, did not.

Gena Bentall, director and senior scientist with Sea Otter Savvy — a local research and environmental organization — said she and her group were “not participating in or supporting any media publicity around 841. We do not feel it is in her best interest.”

Woodward wasn’t surprised by Bentall’s response. After the media blitz this summer, he said, he saw several boaters and kayakers harassing the otter, getting too close and potentially stressing her out and threatening her safety.

“People need to know they should give her space,” Woodward said, citing federal regulations that require boats to keep a distance of 60 feet.

“To help give sea otters and their pups the best chance at survival in the wild, it’s important for members of the public to give them and their pups space, especially when recreating on the water,” said McConnell, noting that sea otters are protected by the Endangered Species Act, the Marine Mammal Protection Act and California state law.

She said a violation of these laws could result in penalties, including fines up to $100,000 and potential jail time of up to one year.

News of the pup — which was posted on the site formerly known as Twitter, by Woodward and Dustin Mulvaney, a professor of environmental studies at San Jose State University — was greeted with amazement by many.

Zach Friend, a Santa Cruz County supervisor, said: “It’s beautiful to see the expansion of Team Otter. Hopefully she will be given the space she deserves to raise our newest, and already famous, Santa Cruz County resident.”

However, Joon Lee, an Apple software engineer from San Jose — whose board was attacked by 841 in July — said that although the news was “amazing,” he’d still want to make sure that she had stopped “attacking or getting on top of surfboards before I go out to the water.”

Last summer, after he’d been aggressively attacked, he developed a slight case of lutraphobia — a fear of otters — which squelched his desire to surf.

Woodward said he’s excited to watch 841 raise the little pup; since first spotting her in June, he’s become a local expert on sea otter behavior and biology — noting that sea otter moms have to leave their pups on the ocean’s surface when they dive to the bottom for shellfish and other meals.

“Feeding and caring for a pup requires significant energy reserves,” said Fish and Wildlife’s McConnell.

Click here to read the full article in the LA Times

The Great Climate Change Con isn’t Resonating With Normal People

‘Eco-guilt is a first-world luxury’

“Anthropogenic global warming is the biggest, most dangerous and ruinously expensive con trick in history.”

Remember when climate hysterics claimed “the science is settled?” That claim didn’t weather well, but it also didn’t stop the climate liars: “The scientific consensus that humans are altering the climate has passed 99.9%, according to research that strengthens the case for global action at the Cop26 summit in Glasgow,” the Guardian reported in 2021. The Cornell University climate study the Guardian cites in the article was “supported” (funded) by Alliance for Science. “Support for the Alliance for Science is provided by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.”

But the hysterics just moved on from that lie to other climate lies.

A little over one year ago, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced his pompous plan for addressing “California’s hotter, drier future:”

“Hotter and drier weather conditions spurred by climate change could reduce California’s water supply by up to 10 percent by the year 2040. To replace and replenish what we will lose to thirstier soils, vegetation, and the atmosphere, Governor Gavin Newsom has announced California’s latest actions to increase water supply and adapt to more extreme weather patterns caused by climate change.”

Think about that arrogant statement – as if California politicians are going to stop hot weather. But the joke was on the governor with record rainfall and snowfall in the winter of 2023… except that didn’t stop him. Since then, we’ve been barraged with absurd radio advertisements warning us, “now that we face a hotter, dryer future…” and “let’s make conservation a way of life,” providing helpful hints about saving water.

Enjoy the water-saving brilliance, brought to you by the Drought.CA.gov website:

  • If it’s raining, turn off your sprinklers
  • Take 5-minute showers
  • Fill bathtubs halfway or less
  • Turn off water when brushing teeth or shaving
  • Wash full loads of clothes and dishes
  • Fix leaks
  • Set mower blades to 3″
  • Use a broom to clean outdoor areas
  • Improve landscape irrigation

Taxpayers paid for this babble. With the state sending 50% of the water to the Pacific Ocean for environmental purposes, of the remaining 50%, 40% goes to agriculture, and 10% is urban use. Setting your mower blade to 3″ isn’t going to make a measurable amount of water conservation.

And, as we heard this week, PG&E will be shutting off the power when it is windy. Never in California’s history have energy providers shut off power when it was windy. This is a new policy, and is criminal – we are paying for that electricity. Who will be the first to sue over this?

According to the governor, “California’s Water Supply Strategy, Adapting to a Hotter, Drier Future calls for investing in new sources of water supply, accelerating projects and modernizing how the state manages water through new technology.”

Refuting this drivel is not difficult.

One way is to read the monthly reports by E&E Legal, the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), the Heartland Institute, Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT), the International Climate Science Coalition (ICSC), and Truth in Energy and Climate, which just released another version of “Climate Fact Check,” for July.

Climate Fact Check: July 2023 Edition highlights sensationalized stories about the climate, which is typical for the corporate media propaganda machine, although not rooted in reality.”

“The media is calling July 2023 the ‘hottest month on record’ and even the ‘hottest month in the history of civilization.’ Keeping in mind that July is typically the warmest month of every year, NASA satellite data indicate that July 2023 was the warmest July in the satellite record. But that record only dates back to 1979 and there certainly were Julys before 1979.”

This is Very interesting:

Recalling that average global temperature is on the order of 58°F, use of the term “hottest” is obviously quite an exaggeration. Finally, the notion of “average global temperature” is not really meaningful in the first place. It has no physical reality, and its component satellite and surface station temperature measurements lack precision to a significant degree.

The group of actual scientists debunk recent reporting of the Washington Post’s claims of an “Era of Global Boiling”:

And no, extreme heat is not killing more people. The scientists confirm that “it is well established that cold weather kills many more people than hot weather.”

In an old interview (2009) at the Spectator, James Delingpole talked to Professor Ian Plimer, the Australian geologist who dispelled much of the nonsense:

“…geologists have always recognized that climate changes over time. Where we differ from a lot of people pushing Anthropogenic global warming is in our understanding of scale. They’re only interested in the last 150 years. Our time frame is 4,567 million years. So what they’re doing is the equivalent of trying to extrapolate the plot of Casablanca from one tiny bit of the love scene. And you can’t. It doesn’t work.”

“What Heaven And Earth sets out to do is restore a sense of scientific perspective to a debate which has been hijacked by ‘politicians, environmental activists and opportunists’. It points out, for example, that polar ice has been present on earth for less than 20 per cent of geological time; that extinctions of life are normal; that climate changes are cyclical and random; that the CO2 in the atmosphere — to which human activity contributes the tiniest fraction — is only 0.001 per cent of the total CO2 held in the oceans, surface rocks, air, soils and life; that CO2 is not a pollutant but a plant food; that the earth’s warmer periods — such as when the Romans grew grapes and citrus trees as far north as Hadrian’s Wall — were times of wealth and plenty.”

How did this common sense not get more traction? We can thank the media for that, and the global nonprofits funded by hateful billionaires.

Looking at the mind numbingly imbecilic headlines reminds us that the stupid people are in charge of everything right now – they are easier to control.

Plimer said “modern environmentalism is that it is driven by people who are ‘too wealthy’. ‘When I try explaining “global warming” to people in Iran or Turkey they have no idea what I’m talking about. Their life is about getting through to the next day, finding their next meal. Eco-guilt is a first-world luxury. It’s the new religion for urban populations which have lost their faith in Christianity. The IPCC report is their Bible. Al Gore and Lord Stern are their prophets.’”

Click here to read the full article in the California Globe

No federal plan to ban gas stoves

Top official in charge of product safety said his agency is only attempting to reduce air-quality hazards.

The head of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said the agency isn’t planning a ban on gas stoves, days after one of his colleagues said a ban was one option under consideration — comments that ignited a political firestorm.

“I am not looking to ban gas stoves, and the CPSC has no proceeding to do so,” Alexander Hoehn-Saric said in a statement Wednesday.

The four-person commission is researching emissions from the appliances and looking for ways to reduce related indoor air-quality hazards, he said.

Hoehn-Saric’s comments follow remarks made by Richard Trumka Jr., an agency commissioner, who told Bloomberg that the commission would consider a ban as part of efforts to address hazards posed by gas ranges. His words ignited criticism from the gas industry and from lawmakers including Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.), chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.).

“I can tell you the last thing that would ever leave my house is the gas stove that we cook on,” the West Virginia Democrat said in a statement Tuesday. “If this is the greatest concern that the Consumer Product Safety Commission has for American consumers, I think we need to reevaluate the commission.”

Natural gas stoves are used in about 40% of homes in the U.S. They emit air pollutants including nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide and fine particulate matter at levels the Environmental Protection Agency and World Health Organization have said are unsafe and linked to respiratory illness, cardiovascular problems, cancer and other health conditions, multiple studies have said.

Consumer Reports, in October, urged consumers planning to buy a new range to consider going electric after tests conducted by the group found high levels of nitrogen oxide from gas stoves. And new peer-reviewed research published last month in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health found that more than 12% of current childhood asthma cases in the U.S. can be attributed to gas stove use.

Trumka, in his remarks, said that the appliances were a “hidden hazard” and that a ban on the manufacture and import of gas ranges was among the options on the table. The agency plans to open public comment on the issue in the form of a Request for Information this winter.

But his remarks received swift pushback from Republicans and others who saw it as an example of government overreach from the 500-person, Bethesda, Md., agency better known for its crackdowns on lawn darts and Ikea shelving.

The idea of a ban also got criticism from groups representing stove manufacturers and natural gas distributors, which have seen their business model increasingly threatened as opposition to the fuel source grows amid concerns about its effects on climate warming.

Click here to read the full article in the LA Times

Oil Transition Puts California Democrats in a Bind

The clash that can emerge between two key Democratic constituencies — organized labor and environmental groups — was on clear display Tuesday.

That’s when a legislative committee investigating October’s oil spill near Huntington Beach held a hearing about decommissioning offshore oil production in California. One key issue: As the state transitions away from fossil fuels, what happens to oil and gas workers?

  • Erin Lehane, legislative director for the State Building and Construction Trades Council: “This talk about job retraining, it’s almost a classist sense that these … men and women will take whatever job is handed to them. Well, that’s just not true. They want to do the job they were trained to do, and they want to do the job that they’re proud to do. … This is their chosen profession. This is who they are and this is how they identify themselves. … That’s why we’re not interested collectively in the sense, of, you know, the quote-unquote ‘just transition.’”

That could pose challenges for Gov. Gavin Newsom and Democratic lawmakers, who are not only confronting a disappearing workforce but also pouring billions of dollars into programs to “create sustainable jobs in emerging and green and just transition kinds of sectors,” in the words of Dee Dee Myers, Newsom’s senior advisor and director of the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development.

  • Assemblymember Mike Gipson, a Carson Democrat: “Do we save the tree or the person under the tree? … It’s just something I have to come to grips with based on where I represent. I represent people, and those people need to have jobs.”
  • Assemblymember Richard Bloom of Santa Monica: “We have to save the tree and the person under the tree. … You’re not saving a human if you don’t save the trees.”

Click here to read the full article at CalMatters

D

RICHARD BLOOM

State Assembly, District 50 (Santa Monica)Expand for more about this legislator

It’s not that organized labor is opposed to green jobs: Lehane implored lawmakers to cut “red tape” and streamline projects relating to carbon capture, hydrogen fuels and offshore wind, noting that California is far from meeting its ambitious climate goals.

  • Lehane: “We need to get going yesterday. … We need to get these new facilities online and we need to get our members working on these new facilities.”

A similar issue to watch: The powerful Building and Trades Council last week expressed strong opposition to a Democratic-led bill that would codify Newsom’s goal of banning in-state sales of new gas-powered cars by 2035.

In other environmental news: CalMatters has launched a water and drought tracker with daily updates on key data points, including reservoir and snowpack levels and the number of households reporting water shortages. Come back often to see how conditions change over time.

California Needs Details on Hydrocarbon-Free Future

Well, that was awkward.

Gov. Gavin Newsom stalled for weeks on attending last week’s global conference on climate change in Glasgow, then announced at the last moment that he would, only to just as suddenly announce that he wouldn’t “due to family circumstances” which were never explained.

Instead, Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis led a couple of dozen administration officials and legislators to the conference, and they were largely confined to the sidelines.

Newsom’s last-minute decisions stymied California reporters who had planned to cover his performance on the international stage, because they came too late to apply for press credentials.

Journalists could only monitor from afar, which rendered California’s tertiary participation to almost a non-event, from a news standpoint.

Kounalakis told CalMatters reporter Emily Hoeven, who had planned to accompany Newsom to Glasgow: “The overall message is the strength of California’s subnational leadership and the power of our innovation economy to help the world scale up on climate solutions.”

Kounalakis took that message to one of the panel discussions in which she participated, saying that “California has been the tail that has wagged the dog on environmental protection.” She cited Newsom’s order to ban the sale of gasoline-powered cars by 2035, contending that “We are the largest consumer market in the United States, and this standard is most certainly already shaping the future.”

Having the lieutenant governor travel all that way, by hydrocarbon-powered transport at no small expense, to merely echo what Newsom has been saying for the past three years was pretty lame.

That said, it’s high time that Newsom put some meat on the bones of his sweeping promises that California will lead humankind into a brave new hydrocarbon-free future.

If California is to ban sales of gasoline-powered cars in the next 14 years, how will it be done? While California leads the nation in the sale of battery-powered vehicles, they still are only a tiny percentage of overall auto purchases.

Will California have an adequate infrastructure of charging stations? Will it even have enough electrical power available for charging, given that it sometimes cannot meet current demand during hot summer days?

Simultaneously, Newsom wants to eliminate all power generation from natural gas and other hydrocarbon sources, so what’s the plan for that conversion? Can we develop enough solar and wind power to meet all demands for juice?

What will we do when the sun doesn’t shine and the wind doesn’t blow? We would need immense banks of batteries or other storage facilities to take up the slack. Will there be enough lithium to construct those batteries without depending on other nations?

 Support nonprofit journalism in California

We rely on your generous support to cover the stories that matter most to you. If you find our work valuable in these difficult times, please support our journalism.ONE-TIMEMONTHLY$10$15$25OtherANNUALLY

Your contribution is appreciated.DONATEI’M NOT INTERESTED.

Newsom also wants to stop oil and gas production in the state by 2045? Where are the details and how will the impacts on the petroleum industry’s thousands of workers — in the fields, in the refineries and in the gas stations — be mitigated?

If California is to be hydrocarbon-free in just a few decades, will that mean banning diesel-powered ships from California’s ports and jet planes from the state’s airports? Will we even have airports anymore?

If we can no longer buy gasoline-powered lawnmowers and other tools, how will we do the work they now perform? Will homes, hospitals, schools and other vital buildings be left without backup power from standby generators when the grid goes down? Will firefighters no longer have chain saws and bulldozers to battle wildfires?

These are serious questions and issuing sweeping decrees without telling us how hydrocarbons will be eliminated and what the effects will be on our lives is political malpractice.

This article originally appeared on CalMatters.org

California says all city buses have to be emission free by 2040

City BusOn the heels of a dire government report published last month about climate change and its devastating impacts, many cities and states are scrambling to find ways to curb the greenhouse gas emissions that threaten their air quality, not to mention their economies.

As is often the case, California is leading the charge, yesterday becoming the first state to mandate that mass transit agencies purchase fully electric buses only beginning in 2029, and that public transit routes be populated by electric buses alone by 2040.

The new rule is expected to require the production and purchase of more than 14,000 new zero-emission buses.

Mary Nichols, chair of the California Air and Resource Board (CARB) that voted unanimously to make California the first state with such a commitment, told the outlet Trucks.com earlier this month that California has “to push standards that are more progressive” than the federal government because of the state’s chronic air pollution, which is linked to asthma and heart disease, among other things. …

Click here to read the full article from Tech Crunch

California’s Socialist Oligarchy: Making the State Unaffordable

Touted as the “fifth-largest economy on Earth,” and recently heralded as delivering the “greatest increase in average income,” these statistics obscure an alarming reality. California has become a feudal state, where the benefits of prosperity are unequally distributed, rewarding corrupt plutocrats and punishing ordinary working families. Joel Kotkin, a fellow in urban studies at Chapman University in Orange, California, characterized California’s current political economy as “Oligarchical Socialism.” This is a perfect description of a system that destroys the middle class at the same time it protects the ultra rich.

California’s leftist oligarchy benefits financially from precisely the depredations they accuse conservatives of committing. They have enacted policies that are designed to make California unaffordable to all but the wealthiest residents, and hostile to emerging small businesses, at the same time as their preexisting wealth and politically connected corporations reap enhanced returns and profits.

Plenty of Land, Impossible to Build

Nowhere are the consequences of California’s oligarchical socialism more evident than in the cost of housing. State legislation has made it nearly impossible for developers to construct new housing outside the so-called “urban growth boundary.” Instead, development is redirected into the footprint of existing urban areas.

While there is a natural tendency as population increases to see higher density redevelopment in urban cores, by restricting outward expansion of urban areas, the value of the limited remaining eligible land becomes artificially inflated. But established landowners and large development firms benefit from these restrictions. They are able to withstand years, if not decades, of expensive permitting delays and endless litigation. They are able to afford millions in permit fees because these costs are offset by their ability to sell residence units—from high-rise condos to detached single family dwellings—at prices far beyond what they would cost in a normal market.

These billionaire business interests get richer, while ordinary Californians who want to own or develop land cannot afford to go through the permit process. Meanwhile, the median cost of a home in California is $539,400 — nearly 2.5 times the national average of $216,700. And that’s not even in the tougher markets.

With all land development, environmentalist laws such as California’s Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) create additional barriers. California’s legislature has now made it necessary for new home construction to be 100 percent “energy neutral” by 2020. Not only does this require installation of photovoltaic roof panels, but also more expensive insulation, as well as more expensive appliances that use less energy (and also happen to be less durable and don’t work as well). These mandates make homes less livable, for example, requiring smaller windows in order to make the homes easier to heat and cool.

The amazing fact that California’s legislators willfully ignore is the incredibly abundance of expanses of land that remain virtually empty in this vast state. California is only 5 percent urbanized. According to the American Farmland Trust, of California’s 163,000 square miles, there are 25,000 square miles of grazing land and 42,000 square miles of agricultural land; of that, 14,000 square miles are prime agricultural land. In other words, you could put 10 million new residents into homes, four per household, on half-acre lots, and you would only consume 1,953 square miles. If you built those homes on the best prime agricultural land California’s got, you would only use up 14 percent of it. If you scattered those homes among all of California’s farmland and grazing land—which is far more likely—you would only use up 3 percent of it. Three percent loss of agricultural land, to allow 10 million people to live on half-acre lots!

Instead of allowing land owners to build millions of inexpensive homes on, say, just a small fraction of California’s 25,000 square miles of grazing land, California’s lawmakers want to have “smart growth.” And as prices rise, the solution? On the ballot this November, propositions to enforce statewide rent control, borrow $4 billion to build “affordable housing,” and use state tax revenues to build more government-run homeless shelters. After all, expanding the private sector threatens the oligarchy. Best to expand the public sector.

Plenty of Energy Resources, Unaffordable Energy

While the cost of housing is an obvious example of how California has been turned into an enclave for the super rich and an expensive ordeal for ordinary Americans trying to live there, it is not the only example. California’s legislature has curtailed, if not completely shut down, development of oil, natural gashydroelectric and nuclear power.

In the summer of 2000, during California’s energy crisis, as brown-outs were rolling up and down the state, total disaster was averted because two nuclear reactor complexes, San Onofre and Diablo Canyon, were continuously pumping 4.2 gigawatts of electricity — more than 10 percent of California’s peak demand at the time — into the power grid. But instead of retrofitting, San Onofre was shuttered in 2013 and Diablo Canyon is set to shut down by 2025.

And what’s replacing these power plants? Wind and solar farms, with their intermittent output backed up by natural gas power stations.

If the massive amounts of surplus electricity produced when the sun is shining and the wind is blowing could be stored, it might make sense to decommission clean nuclear power plants and ban development of fossil fuel. But despite decades of research, and dozens of promising but failed attempts, grid-scale electricity storage remains prohibitively expensive. But that’s OK. According to the state legislature, Californians can just pay more. And of course, when consumers pay more, utilities — whose percentage profit is limited by regulation — make far more in absolute profits, since they get to charge so much more per kilowatt-hour. The average cost for electricity is 19.7 cents per kilowatt-hour in California, compared to 13.1 cents per kilowatt-hour nationally.

And there’s no end in sight. True to form, California’s state legislature just passed a law that calls for 60 percent renewable energy by 2030 and 100 percent carbon-free energy by 2045. With hydroelectric and nuclear power off the table, that’s going to be a neat trick.

With oil, it gets worse. We’re not talking about California’s aggressive formulation requirements that make tailpipe emissions cleaner. Perhaps California’s geography justifies this, as offshore winds blow the entirety of coastal city smog into the inland valleys where it is trapped and accumulates. But the reason gas is so expensive in California has little to do with that. It is nearly impossible to maintain refinery output in California, and California’s state gas taxes are among the highest in the nation. Gasoline in California costs around $3.87 per gallon, compared to $2.87 nationally.

While ordinary Californians suffer, left-wing oligarchs prosper.

Green technology entrepreneurs flourish, selling products that consumers are required by law to purchase. Not just solar panels and the related “balance of plant” systems. There are also “negawatts,” a good concept that is being taken to extremes. Sensors and chips designed to make appliances more “energy efficient” are designed by Silicon Valley companies whose prosperity depends on legislative mandates that compel Californians to purchase their products. Promoting the “internet of things” is purportedly justified on environmentalist grounds, while in reality it is a lucrative source of income for high-tech manufacturers, as well as a lucrative means of surveillance and data mining. These new appliances save some electricity. But are they durable? Easy to operate? Do they work as well as conventional appliances? Are they easy to use? Are they inexpensive? No to all.

Plenty of Water, Yet Water Is Rationed

Water is another area where ordinary Californians needlessly suffer inconveniences and pay more.

California receives between 150 and 300 million acre feet of rainfall per year, depending on whether it’s a drought year or a wet year. Regardless of the year, most of that water either evaporates, percolates, or runs off into the Pacific Ocean. And of the roughly 65 million acre feet that are diverted, fully half of it is saved for re-release into the environment, to maintain river flow and to prevent saltwater intrusion into the Sacramento Delta. Of what remains, almost all of it is used for agriculture. Less than 4 million acre feet of water each year are used by California’s households, and less than half that much is for indoor use.

You wouldn’t think that were the case if you reviewed California’s new laws regarding water, and the ways they’re going to be implemented. This year California’s state legislature passed a law requiring average daily indoor water use by California residents to not exceed 55 gallons per day, an amount that lowers to 50 gallons per day by 2030. Maybe you’ve encountered the “solutions” that will effect this reduction: Water faucets that spray eight tiny concentrated, 1.0 mm thick jets of water onto your hands, making it difficult to get them wet and nearly impossible to rinse off soap. Or “low-flow” shower heads with the same problem, magnified for anyone who wants to rinse shampoo out of long hair. What about “smart” laundry machinesthat start and stop randomly, ostensibly to save energy and water, that do a poor job of cleaning your clothes. Or supplemental “tankless” water heaters positioned close to your kitchen sink, that cost thousands of dollars and don’t work all that well, in order for residents to avoid running unnecessary gallons down the drain as they wait for the hot water to flow through their pipes.

All this expense and bother, to save what, at a statewide level, amounts to a trivial amount of water. California’s total residential indoor water use represents less than three percent of California’s total water diversions.

And California’s bureaucrats still aren’t done. In a hearing postponed till just after November 6—no coincidence there—California’s State Water Resources Board is expected to mandate increased “natural flows” in California’s rivers, which will create additional water scarcity, especially for farmers.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

Californians could easily escape water scarcity by investing in additional reservoirs, desalination plants, and wastewater recycling. But environmentalists torpedo all of these projects, successfully lobbying for laws that tie every project up in permitting delays that cost millions, if not tens of millions, and take years, if not decades, to overcome. When permits are finally granted, along come the lawsuits.

A good example of a project that makes compelling economic sense, but is bitterly opposed by environmentalists, is raising the height of the Shasta Dam. In exchange for construction costs under $2 billion, an annual yield of a half-million acre feet would be added to California’s water resources. Not only does this amount of water exceed how much water could be saved by additional household rationing, there’s even an environmental benefit, because summer releases of this water from Shasta’s deep, cool reservoir would improve fish habitat on the Sacramento River.

Roads Are Congested, And the State Builds a Bullet Train

traffic-los-angelesThere is nothing more versatile than the common road. On a road, anything on wheels, from bicycles to 80-ton trucks, can get from their point of origin to their destination. The simple flat surface delivers transportation options that nothing requiring rails or runways can hope to match. Moreover, cars and trucks are becoming cleaner and greener every year. One may argue vehemently over how exactly clean energy abundance will be achieved, but only the most pessimistic Luddite might cling to the notion that it will never happen.

Meanwhile, Californians urgently need new roads, wider roads, and upgraded roads. Californians may supplement these new roads with hyperloop technologies, or flying cars and other next generation vehicles, but what California does not need is the much criticized but seemingly unstoppable “bullet train,” a project that fails any rational cost-benefit analysis.

Using the California High Speed Rail Authority’s own projections, the system will not be profitable for 10 years. And what projections! The CHSRA assumes an average ticket price of $60, and average daily ridership of 120,000 people. Will 120,000 individuals actually be willing to spend $600 per month (and that’s only $30 per round trip, half what the High Speed Rail Commission is projecting) to commute from California’s less expensive Central Valley, into their jobs in coastal Silicon Valley and Los Angeles? And so what if they did? California has a workforce of more than 19 million people. How does spending around $100 billion on high speed rail help these other 18.9 million commuters?

To build a road in California takes years of permitting and litigating, then costs far more than it would in other parts of America. Environmentalist restrictionsproject labor agreements, and a bloated, inefficient State Department of Transportation are all contributing factors. Meanwhile, in comparison to other states, California consistently ranks at or near the bottom in terms of pavement conditions and traffic congestion. There is no end in sight.

Housing. Energy. Water. Transportation. These are the basic necessities of civilized life. And for power and profit, California’s socialist oligarchs have made them all prohibitively expensive. The social agenda of California’s Left is well understood. But the punishing economic agenda, engineered by California’s socialist oligarchy, is equally disturbing. It represents a devastating threat to the American way of life.

The second part of this report will identify the special interests that constitute this coalition of scarcity profiteers, and how they might be stopped.

California is following Germany’s Failed Climate Goals

Global WarmingGermany was the first major economy to make a big shift in its energy mix toward low carbon sources, but Germany is failing to meet its climate goals of reducing harmful carbon-dioxide emissions even after spending over $580 billion by 2025 to overhaul its energy systems. Germany’s emissions miss should be a “wake-up” call for governments everywhere.

Germany stepped us as a leader on climate change, by phasing out nuclear, and pioneered a system of subsidies for wind and solar that sparked a global boom in manufacturing those technologies.  

Like Germany, California’s renewables are becoming an increasing share in electricity generation, but at a HIGH COST. The emission reduction goals have increased the costs of electricity and transportation fuels and increased the already high cost of living in California and may be very contributory to California having the highest percentage of homelessness and poverty in the nation.

California households are paying about 40 percent more than the national average for electricity according to 2016 data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Californians continue to pay almost $1.00 more per gallon of fuel than the rest of the country due to a) the state sales tax per gallon which are some of the highest in the country; b) refinery reformatting costs per gallon; c) cap and trade program compliance costs per gallon; d) low-carbon fuel standard program compliance costs per gallon; and e) renewable fuels standard program compliance costs per gallon.

California is an “energy island” to its almost 40 million citizens, bordered between the Pacific Ocean and the Sierra Nevada Mountains. The state’s daily need to support its 145 airports (inclusive of 33 military, 10 major, and more than 100 general aviation) is 13 million gallons a day of aviation fuels. In addition, for the 35 million registered vehicles of which 90 percent are NOT EV’s are consuming DAILY: 10 million gallons a day of diesel and 42 million gallons a day of gasoline.  All that “expensive” fuel is a heavy cost to consumers.

Despite higher energy bills, public opinion has remained supportive of the energy transition and the strategy to cut emissions. That support is apt to shift when politicians resolve the debate about how their targets match reality. Either they will have to abandon the goals and live with more pollution than they’ve promised, or they will have to force through painful and expensive measures that further limit emissions.

Germany, like California, is also trying to phase out nuclear reactors. California has already shutdown the 24/7 nuclear generating facility of SCE’s San Onofre (SONGS) which generated 2,200 megawatts of power that closed in 2013, and will be closing PG&E’s Diablo Canyon’s 2,160 megawatts of power in 2024.

Shutting down nuclear plants is leaving California, like Germany, short of 24/7 generation plants that can work on the breezeless and dark days when wind farms and solar plants won’t provide much to the grid—and demand is at its peak. Yet to be determined is the impact on rate payers? Will there be more reliance in California placed on fossil fuels for 24/7 power?

Germany’s economy, like California’s, is dominated by services that require less energy and produce less carbon than places tilted toward industry and manufacturing. Thus, less emissions to micromanage cost effectively reduce. California is a miniscule contributor to the world’s greenhouse gases. Statistically, the World is generating about 46,000 million metric tons of GHG’s, while California has been generating about 429 million metric tons, which is less than one percent of the world’s contributions. Germany’s contributions are about 905 million metric tons, which is about two percent of the world’s contributions.

Germany’s failed climate goals is an ominous wake-up call for California and governments everywhere struggling to reach their own targets. The result is a puzzle for politicians. Enacted legislation to make sure climate targets are hit, including stringent rules governing energy use, and new building codes to make buildings carbon neutral, and utility bill charges that subsidize investment in green energy, are all resulting in higher energy costs to consumers.

ounder of PTS Staffing Solutions, a technical staffing agency headquartered in Irvine.

This article was originally published by Fox and Hounds Daily

Proposal to Place Restrictions on Plastic Straws Advances in California Legislature

StrawsThe California Senate on Monday approved legislation barring dine-in restaurants from offering plastic straws to customers unless they are requested.

The measure, which goes back to the Assembly for concurrence in amendments, was introduced to address the environmental problems caused by plastic ending up in oceans and rivers.

Sen. Henry Stern (D-Canoga Park) said plastic contamination is showing up in 25% of the fish sold in California.

“Do you want to eat fish with plastic in it?” Stern asked his colleagues. “This is a public health issue.”

The measure exempts fast-food restaurants and other businesses. …

Click here to read the full article from the L.A. Times

Trump officials open door to fracking in California

fracking oil gasThe Trump administration is starting the process of opening up large swaths of land in California to hydraulic fracturing.

In a notice issued Wednesday to the Federal Register, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) said it intends to analyze the impact of hydraulic fracturing, known as fracking, on publicly owned land throughout the state.

The area in question spans 400,000 acres of public land and 1.2 million acres of federal mineral estates throughout a number of California counties including Fresno, San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara.

The notice of intent says BLM will begin the scoping process for a supplemental Environmental Impact Statement, which will determine the effects of fracking on the environment. Fracking is a technology used to release oil and gas from land. The administration’s intent is to eventually open up public land to new lease sales.

The announcement follows a 2017 lawsuit brought by the Center for Biological Diversity. That lawsuit challenged a 2015 attempt by the federal government to finalize a resource management plan that acknowledged fracking. In its settlement, BLM promised that it would first provide an environmental impact statement before considering fracking. …

Click here to read the full article from The Hill