Jul 6, 2014
PNP comment: Hum, not necessarily good news. The Greenies are always spinning the ground water data and shouldn’t have access to it! And under California law, the water under your property is yours. So California law is different than in other states. Better protect your property, cuz others are coveting! — Editor Liz Bowen
4:52 PM, Jul 6, 2014
Redding Record Searchlight
SACRAMENTO, California – (AP) — A decades-old law barring the public from viewing records of water wells throughout California is drawing criticism amid the state’s drought from those who believe the information locked away could help scientists and water policy specialists better protect the groundwater supply.
While other Western states make well logs widely available, the Sacramento Bee reported Sunday that the California law makes a narrow group of state officials and researchers privy to facts and figures on each well’s depth, diameter and the geological material bored through to hit water.
Records of the state’s rivers and reservoirs are abundantly available, but not for wells in California that provide one-third or more of the state’s water supply and even more in dry years like this one.
“We are living in the Dark Ages with access to basic data,” said Laurel Firestone of the Community Water Center in Visalia, which seeks greater public access. “We’re basically blindfolding ourselves.”
The law passed 63 years ago was designed to create an element of secrecy so drilling companies didn’t tip their competitors to prime places to dig new wells.
Supporters of the law today fear that opening up the logs invite lawsuits, possible restrictions on underground water and even sabotage if the information fell into the wrong hands.
Paul Wenger, president of the California Farm Bureau, said he supports the current restriction on the well logs.
“I don’t see a real benefit for throwing a lot of that information out for public demand,” Wenger said. “Those who are in authority and who have a need to know have access to it now.”
In 1951 then-Gov. Earl Warren wrote that by restricting access to the information drillers would provide the state with more complete and accurate information. It appears to have worked, with 800,000 well logs today on record.
John Hofer, who represents well drillers as executive director of the California Groundwater Association, said this is a new day and he favors opening up the records.
“I think the time has come to have better science and regulations,” he said. “We want to be on the cutting edge of the new science.”
Jul 1, 2014
By MARY CALLAHAN
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
June 30, 2014, 2:55 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court refused Monday to take up the case of a Marin County oyster farm facing eviction from the Point Reyes National Seashore in what a lead opponent of the commercial operation called “the end of the road for this company.”
Drakes Bay Oyster Co. owner Kevin Lunny struck a defiant position, however, and vowed to battle on, calling the high court’s pass on his petition “a disappointment, but not really a setback.”
“Today, we’ve been delivered news that’s disappointing, but we’ll get over it. It’s not the end,” Lunny said in a news conference hours after the high court made its decision public. “It’s not over until the last oyster’s shucked.”
Lunny and his attorney, Peter Prows, said they are still evaluating additional legal and legislative remedies that might permit Lunny and his family to hang onto their successful shellfish concern in Drakes Estero, an area designated by a 1976 congressional act to become a marine wilderness as soon as the oyster farm’s 40-year-lease expired in 2012.
Lunny’s team was in touch with California Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s office on Monday and met with Rep. Jared Huffman, D-San Rafael, as well. Neither lawmaker was available for comment.
Lunny’s original federal lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Interior also is still pending in U.S. District Court, though its outlook is perhaps dimmed by a succession of federal court rulings that cast doubt on its potential for success.
The Supreme Court is just the latest — after the district court and the 9th Circuit Court of Appeal — to rebuff the Lunnys’ bid for a court injunction that would legally permit them to continue their operations until the lawsuit is resolved.
Amy Trainer, executive director of the Environmental Action Committee of West Marin, said the Supreme Court’s refusal to weigh in should mean quick action by federal officials on a timeline for the company’s withdrawal from the Estero, which has supported oyster farming for more than 80 years.
Jun 23, 2014
Monday, June 23, 2014
Max Pringle, Capital Radio News
California Department of Water Resources
This undated file photo released by the California Department of Water Resources shows water making its way south through the Central Valley by way of the California Aqueduct.
A $10 billion water bond could be headed to California’s November ballot if a bill in the state legislature wins approval. The measure would be a substitute for the $11 billion bond initiative currently on the ballot.
Backers of the proposed water bond say it manages to balance statewide urban, agricultural and conservation needs.
“This bond would provide funding and support the broadest range of projects and programs that would collectively support the state’s moving forward on its water plan,” says Michael Peterson with the Sacramento County Department of Water Resources.
Critics say the bill should be revised to make it easier for local water agencies to pursue their own water recycling, waterway restoration, and water storage programs.
“The latest draft goes in the opposite direction of making it more bureaucratic,” says Timothy Quinn with the Association of California Water Agencies. “It has more red tape and makes it more expensive to apply for state funding under the bond.”
The measure requires a two-thirds vote of the legislature and approval from the Governor to qualify for the November ballot. The full Senate will take it up Monday.
Max Pringle, Capital Radio News