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California WaterFix, WOTUS, SB 375 Findings, E-Scooters

Welcome to Monitor Notes, a weekly roundup of news items, event announcements, and updates on past Bay Area Monitor articles.

Tunnel Vision

Governor Jerry Brown’s plan to build two water tunnels under the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta was dealt a recent blow. The California Department of Water Resources withdrew a key certification for the $16.7 billion “California WaterFix” project, so it can’t move forward and its fate lies with Governor-elect Gavin Newsom, who’s shown a “lukewarm” attitude about the plan, according to The Sacramento Bee. This setback is the latest in a list of issues affecting these long-debated tunnels. For some history, read Robin Meadows’ 2015 Monitor article about habitat degradation in the delta threatening many fish species.

Muddying the Waters

The Trump administration is proposing a new definition for “waters of the U.S.,” or WOTUS, that “clarifies federal authority under the Clean Water Act,” according to an Environmental Protection Agency announcement. Major waterways, their tributaries, adjacent wetlands, and certain lakes and ponds, among others, will fall under federal protections. But ephemeral streams that only flow after rainstorms were left out, raising concern since they are a major part of the country’s water systems, according to an NPR report detailing the changes and reactions by environmental groups. Stay tuned. An EPA webcast about the changes is slated for January 10, although no specifics have been provided.

Driving Force

The California Air Resources Board warned last month that the state isn’t on track to meet future climate goals. Why? We drive too much. To change this trajectory, transportation officials need to continue prioritizing climate-friendly policies that put affordable homes near transit and job centers, as well as encourage multiple modes like walking and biking, in order to hit the statewide target of dropping emissions 40 percent by 2030, the report said. In a new blog post, ClimatePlan, a coalition of organizations concerned with sustainability, discusses key report recommendations — think equity and greater coordination — that it supports to reduce emissions.

E-Scooter: Oh, What Fun It Is to Ride?

Are you frustrated by e-scooters on sidewalks, or do you think they help cut our dependence on cars for quick trips? Here’s a chance to learn more about these two-wheelers and provide feedback to Oakland Department of Transportation officials. They’re hosting meetings tonight and Tuesday, December 18 to gather input on terms and conditions that e-scooter companies need to meet to obtain operating permits. Oakland is one of several Bay Area cities working out regulation kinks. Scoot over to this flyer for meeting information.

Monitor Notes is produced by Cecily O’Connor. To receive it by email, scroll to the bottom of this page, enter your email address in the box under “RECEIVE EMAIL UPDATES,” and click the red “SIGN UP” button.

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