Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Tuesday Must Read: Environmentalists Win Fracking Decision; Climate Change Will Devastate California’s Wine-Growing Regions

By Robert Gammon
Tue, Apr 9, 2013 at 9:45 AM

Stories that East Bay progressives and environmentalists shouldn’t miss:

1. Environmental groups won a key decision in federal court yesterday that could slow the expansion of fracking in California, SFGate reports. A US magistrate ruled that federal authorities violated federal environmental laws when they leased public land in the state to energy companies that plan to use hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, a controversial process that threatens groundwater. The magistrate said the Bureau of Land Management, which has been leasing public land for fracking throughout California, should have fully examined the potential environmental impacts of its leasing program.

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2. A new comprehensive study predicts that 70 percent of California’s wine-growing areas will be devastated by climate change by 2050, the Mercury News reports. The study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, also predicts that global warming will force wine-growing to move to more hospitable regions elsewhere in the country, a prospect that could greatly impact California’s economy.

3. An Oakland-based environmental advocacy group has sued to force the makers of baby food to label their products if they contain lead, the Chron$ reports. The Environmental Law Foundation sued more than two-dozen manufacturers, including Gerber Products, Beech-Nut Nutrition Corporation, and Del Monte Foods after finding “dangerous levels of lead in baby foods with carrots, peaches, pears and sweet potatoes, as well as packaged fruit and fruit juice meant for both children and adults.”

4. In a move that promises to spur even more solar-installation projects in California, state regulators yesterday gave the green-light to an Oakland-based crowdsourcing company, Mosaic, that collects investment funds for solar. Investors will be able to use a Kickstarter-like process to invest money in solar projects and receive a return on their investments.

5. The City of Oakland has slashed some of the fees associated with its new Municipal ID/debit card, the Trib reports. The card program had come under criticism because the expensive fees would have impacted low-income residents who use the cards.

6. And student athletes at UC Berkeley and UCLA would receive cash stipends under a new bill in the state legislature, the San Bernadino Sun reports (via Rough & Tumble). The legislation, sponsored by Assembly Democrat Cheryl Brown, is designed to address an inequity in major college sports in which universities receive huge amounts of money from TV deals while athletes struggle to make ends meet.

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