Ag Today August 15, 2019

Trump defended a pesticide linked to developmental disorders. California will ban it [Los Angeles Times]

California regulators on Wednesday took formal legal steps to ban a widely used pesticide that had been rescued from elimination by the Trump administration. The move by the state Environmental Protection Agency is all but certain to draw legal challenges from Corteva Agriscience (formerly Dow AgroSciences), which has pushed back at attempts by environmentalists to ban the chemical, chlorpyrifos, on a federal level….The ban is the first time the state has unilaterally barred an actively used pesticide, and will take effect in 15 days unless opposing parties request an administrative hearing.


EPIC: ‘It’s not the currently listed species that will suffer the most’ under new Endangered Species Act rules [Eureka Times-Standard]

While the Trump administration may be rolling back protections for endangered species, nothing is expected to change for local species listed as endangered or threatened such as the northern spotted owl, local conservation groups say….The rule doesn’t apply retroactively to species that are already listed, so there’s unlikely to be changes to conservation efforts for species like the northern spotted owl, said Joe Croteau, environmental program manager with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Timberland Conservation Program in the northern region. “I’m not aware of any near-term changes in how we conserve for endangered species in timber harvesting plans” as a result of the rule change, Croteau said.


Government moves toward easing drive-time rules for truckers [Associated Press]

The Trump administration took a key step Wednesday toward relaxing federal rules that govern the length of time truck drivers can spend behind the wheel, a move long sought by the trucking industry but opposed by safety advocates who warn it could lead to more highway crashes. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, an agency of the Transportation Department, issued proposed changes to the “hours of service” rules , which dictate breaks truckers are required to take, and their time on and off duty….Trade groups that represented truck drivers and motor carriers have pushed for years for less rigid hours of service rules, arguing that the regulations were too rigid and out of step with the daily realties confronting most truck drivers.


Wet winter doesn’t end climate change risk to Colorado River [Associated Press]

…Climate change means the region is still getting drier and hotter….For the seven states relying on the Colorado River, which carries melted snow from the Rocky Mountains to the Gulf of California, that means a future with increasingly less water for farms and cities. Climate scientists say it’s hard to predict how much less….The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation on Thursday will release its projections for next year’s supply from Lake Mead, a key reservoir that feeds Colorado River water to Nevada, Arizona, California and Mexico.


The West is trading water for cash. The water is running out [Bloomberg]

…The 1,450-mile-long Colorado River serves as a source of water for seven states, but climate change and overuse have caused its levels to drop precipitously….With big western cities clamoring for a share of the river’s diminishing supply, desert farmers with valuable claims are making multimillion dollar deals in a bid to delay the inevitable….But if the river’s water keeps falling, more radical measures will be needed to protect what remains.


The fight over Salinas Valley groundwater heats up as free-for-all nears its end [Monterey County Weekly]

…Agencies at the local level, like the Salinas Valley Groundwater Basin Sustainability Agency, are finalizing the details in the coming months….A final version must be submitted to state water authorities by Jan. 31, 2020….To meet the deadline, the agency has published a draft of one of the key pieces of the plan, known as Chapter 9. It is important because it describes possible water infrastructure projects and whom to charge for their cost. There are also proposals on how to get farmers to retire some agricultural land in the Salinas Valley with the help of financial incentives.