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Ag Today April 23, 2019

Gov. Gavin Newsom hits back at Trump in new fight over who controls California water [Sacramento Bee] Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration is taking unprecedented steps to combat President Donald Trump’s efforts to ship more water to his agricultural allies in the San Joaquin Valley. Saying Trump’s water plans are scientifically indefensible and would violate the state’s Endangered Species Act, the state Department of Water Resources on Friday began drawing up new regulations governing how water is pumped from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to the southern half of the state....The state traditionally defers to the federal government on environmental rules in the...

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Ag Today April 22, 2019

As California’s delta smelt spirals toward extinction, a future in captivity awaits [Los Angeles Times] Despite a decades-long rescue effort, the tiny delta smelt appears closer than ever to vanishing from its only natural home, the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta….Efforts to preserve the smelt have relied on restricting delta water operations supplying the San Joaquin Valley and Southern California — regulations that have vexed agricultural interests and water districts, and placed the fish squarely in the center of California’s water wars….Biologists who track the delta smelt report that its numbers have declined more than 90% over the last five decades. https://www.latimes.com/local/california/la-me-threatened-delta-smelt-aquarium-exhibit-20190422-story.html   Interior’s Bernhardt worked...

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Ag Today April 19, 2019

U.S. wins WTO ruling against China grain import quotas [Reuters] The United States won a World Trade Organization (WTO) ruling on Thursday against China’s use of tariff-rate quotas for rice, wheat and corn, which it successfully argued limited market access for U.S. grain exports….In a statement, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue welcomed the decision, saying China’s system “ultimately inhibits TRQs from filling, denying U.S. farmers access to China’s market for grain”. If China’s TRQs had been fully used, $3.5 billion worth of corn, wheat and rice would have been imported in 2015 alone, it said,...

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Ag Today April 18, 2019

IID sues to halt Colorado River drought plan signed by Trump, says officials ignored Salton Sea [Palm Springs Desert Sun] It's not over yet. The Imperial Irrigation District has sued to halt a sweeping Colorado River drought plan that was signed in to law by President Trump on Tuesday. Officials with the sprawling, sparsely populated rural water district in southeastern California say the Salton Sea was wrongly left out of the plan….The petition, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, alleges violations of the California Environmental Quality Act by the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, and names the Coachella Valley, Palo...

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Ag Today April 17, 2019

Valley leaders gather to oppose Social Security letters targeting undocumented workers [Fresno Bee] Several central San Joaquin Valley leaders gathered Tuesday to proclaim their opposition to the reinstatement of the United States Social Security Administration’s “no-match” letters program, which the elected officials say targets the area’s many undocumented workers and will have a devastating effect on the local agricultural economy. Fresno congressmen Jim Costa and TJ Cox, both Democrats, joined with state Sen. Anna Caballero, D-Salinas, and a handful of Valley city council members, representatives for both California senators, the Fresno County Farm Bureau, the Nisei Farmers League and WBC super...

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Ag Today April 16, 2019

ICE says it’s targeting employers but workplace raids impacting more workers [San Diego Union-Tribune] ...The agency was ordered to quadruple immigration enforcement at work sites in 2018, a goal it met across the nation, and continued into 2019. However, statistics show the agency met those targets by increasing enforcement against workers much more than against employers....ICE spokeswoman Lauren Mack said the statistics do not mean the agency is focusing on workers rather than the employers who hire them. She said work site enforcement investigations typically involve in-depth probes, and building a criminal case against an employer is often an lengthy process. https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/immigration/story/2019-04-13/ice-says-its-targeting-employers-but-workplace-raids-impacting-more-workers   Interior...

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Ag Today April 15, 2019

Clearing forests: No simple solution to California wildfires [Chico Enterprise-Record] With nearly 40 million people living in California and development spreading into once-wild regions, some of the state's best tools toward preventing wildfires can't be widely used. Still, there is growing agreement that the state must step up its use of forest management through prescribed burns and vegetation removal in an attempt to lessen the impact of wildfires….Among the biggest complications in forest management are California's strict environmental regulations….The state has been working since 2010 on an EIR that would cover all vegetation treatments in California under one overarching environmental document. https://apnews.com/3dc9f998caba48bfa5e1d3d15ff73049   The...

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April 12, 2019

Senate confirms ex-lobbyist David Bernhardt to lead Interior [Associated Press] The Senate on Thursday confirmed acting Interior Secretary David Bernhardt to lead the department on a permanent basis, despite complaints by Democrats that the former oil and gas lobbyist has used his federal position to benefit former industry clients. Senators voted 56-41 to approve Bernhardt’s nomination to oversee more than 500 million acres of public lands and other resources, including national parks, monuments and wildlife refuges. He succeeds Ryan Zinke, who resigned in January amid a series of ethics investigations. Bernhardt represented energy and agricultural interests until President Donald Trump picked...

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Ag Today April 11, 2019

PG&E electricity rates could double after more wildfires, report says [San Francisco Chronicle] If California wildfires continue to be as devastating as they have been the past two years, millions of customers’ electric rates could skyrocket 50% and threaten the state’s ability to execute some of its top clean energy initiatives, according to a new analysis prepared for Gov. Gavin Newsom. The sharp rate rise would be worse for Pacific Gas and Electric Co. customers, whose bills could double in just one year, said Steven Weissman, an emeritus lecturer at UC Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy, in a Wednesday memo...

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Ag Today April 10, 2019

Personnel doubled to tackle growing outbreak of chicken-killing Newcastle disease [Orange County Register] Federal and state officials are doubling the number personnel working to eradicate the virulent Newcastle disease killing Southern California chickens, thanks in large measure to $45 million in emergency funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture….Bill Mattos, president of the California Poultry Federation, applauded the stepped-up efforts but said more help may be needed to eliminate the disease, which is highly contagious among poultry. https://www.ocregister.com/2019/04/09/personnel-doubled-to-tackle-growing-outbreak-of-chicken-killing-newcastle-disease/   See how the Interior Department has tried to stifle ethical doubts raised about its acting chief [Los Angeles Times] When it comes to acting Interior Secretary...

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