Apr 9, 2009
Is your local river among those flowing merrily along, or is its health threatened by development plans? A conservation group has issued a new report ranking the 10 rivers most at risk this year of becoming flooded or their habitats threatened because of industrial activity.
American Rivers, a Washington. D.C.–based organization, ranked the rivers based not on how polluted they are, but whether they're imminently threatened by development plans, mines or dams.
Topping the list is the Sacramento–San Joaquin river system, which flows from the eastern Pacific Coast Ranges to the western Sierra Nevada before emptying into California's San Francisco Bay. The group warns that a levee failure there could jeopardize the water supply of the 25 million people who depend on it (by making the water too salty to drink). In addition, it says that pumps that feed the water supply have reversed the rivers' natural flow, causing fish populations to decline.
Dec 31, 2008 | 3
California this week sued the feds to block a new Bush administration rule from taking effect that would relax portions of the Endangered Species Act.
The rule, finalized December 16, permits the Commerce and Interior departments to sign off on new projects that may threaten wildlife and their habitat without input from independent scientists that is now required. The new measure, set to take effect hours before President-elect Barack Obama is sworn into office Jan. 20, also allows regulators to ignore the effects on wildlife of potential greenhouse-gas emissions from those projects.
"The Bush administration is seeking to gut the Endangered Species Act on its way out the door," California Attorney General Jerry Brown said in a statement after the state filed the lawsuit Monday in Northern California Federal District Court in Oakland.
Nov 3, 2008
Is a sticky scientific or health dilemma holding you up from pulling the lever in the voting booth tomorrow? We've still got our trusty blow-by-blow of the presidential candidates' positions on controversial policy topics for quick reference.
Some regional and local hot campaigns to watch from our recent in-depth report on science and the election: A lawsuit over whether to allow drilling for gas in Colorado's Roan Plateau could influence who gets the state's open U.S. Senate seat. While neither Democratic candidate Mark Udall nor Republican Bob Schaffer has taken clear positions on the debate, political scientist Robert Duffy told ScientificAmerican.com last month that the controversy "helps Udall marginally." Udall has a 47 to 43 percent lead over Schaffer in a new Denver Post poll.
Sep 25, 2008 | 1
Hey drivers, here's a thought: How about keeping your eyes (and ears) on the road instead of on your cell phone? Just have to chat or text message while driving? Then steer clear of California. It's already illegal to make calls on hand-held mobiles there, and now Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed a bill into law that prohibits people from reading, writing or sending messages over wireless electronic devices while operating motor vehicles. The measure, state Senate Bill 28, takes effect Jan. 1.
First-time offenders will face a $20 fine; subsequent violations are $50 a pop.
The new law comes on the heels of the ban on using hand-held cell phones while driving, which took effect July 1. Both measures were sponsored by Democratic State Sen. Joe Simitian of Palo Alto.
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