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California Articles – EnviroNews | The Environmental News Specialists http://www.environews.tv The Final Frontier of Investigative Reporting Mon, 30 Sep 2019 16:08:13 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.8 21904165 Wild Burro Serial Killer Still on the Loose, 42 Donkeys Shot Dead So Far in CA’s Mojave Desert http://www.environews.tv/090419-wild-burro-serial-killer-still-on-the-loose-42-donkeys-shot-dead-so-far-in-cas-mojave-desert/ http://www.environews.tv/090419-wild-burro-serial-killer-still-on-the-loose-42-donkeys-shot-dead-so-far-in-cas-mojave-desert/#respond Wed, 04 Sep 2019 11:31:03 +0000 http://www.environews.tv/?p=15598 (EnviroNews California) — A serial killer of wild burros is on the loose in California’s Mojave Desert and a $58,500 reward has been offered up for information leading to the donkey shooter’s identity and whereabouts.  42 of the beloved creatures have been gunned down since May in the…

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(EnviroNews California) — A serial killer of wild burros is on the loose in California’s Mojave Desert and a $58,500 reward has been offered up for information leading to the donkey shooter’s identity and whereabouts.  42 of the beloved creatures have been gunned down since May in the scorching heat of the Mojave near the Nevada border.

Wild donkeys (Equus asinus) have been federally protected for nearly 50 years under the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971 — another piece of environmental legislation signed into law by Republican President Richard Nixon. Any person who harms or kills one could be punished with up to a $2,000 fine and one year in prison per count, meaning Mojave’s ass assassin could face up to 42 years in prison and an $84,000 fine if apprehended.

The Washington Post called the burro murders an “attack on the very spirit of the American West,” and reported that the events comprise the “largest massacre of its kind on public land managed by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management in California.”

The killings took place just off the Interstate 15 in the Clark Mountain Herd Area managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). That population contains roughly 120 animals, meaning nearly one-third of the group has been wiped out by the perpetrator(s).

Thus far, authorities are clueless as to who is responsible for the slaughters. “As of Tuesday evening, investigators were still chasing tips, but had no suspects,” reported the Los Angeles Times.

In one event, multiple adults and foals were cut down at a watering hole near Halloran Springs as they stopped to quench their thirst from the Mojave’s sweltering sun.

“We will pursue every lead until we’ve arrested and prosecuted those responsible for these cruel, savage deaths,” said William Perry Pendley, Deputy Director for Policy and Programs at the BLM, adding, “and we welcome the public’s help to bring the perpetrator or perpetrators to justice.”

“It’s a travesty that these animals would be gunned down,” said Grace Kuhn, spokeswoman for the nonprofit American Wild Horse Campaign, to the Los Angeles Times. “There’ve been isolated incidents before over the years, but nothing on this scale in memory.”

The reward is being offered jointly by the BLM and a coalition of environmental groups determined to bring the culprit(s) to justice.  As of September 3, 2019, the reward stands at $58,500 — a sum the coalition hopes will motivate persons with knowledge and a conscience to come forward and spill the beans. The groups committed to the reward kitty so far include:

  1. The Platero Project: $32,500
  2. The Humane Society of the United States: $2,500
  3. Lifesavers Wild Horse Rescue: $2,500
  4. Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue: $2,500
  5. Bureau of Land Management: $10,000
  6. American Wild Horse Campaign: $2,500
  7. Return To Freedom: $5,000
  8. The Cloud Foundation: $1,000

The wild burros in America are descendants of the African wild ass (Equus africanus) — a species now critically endangered throughout it’s range in the Horn of Africa, Eritrea, Ethiopia and Somalia. Burros were brought to the Americas in the 1500s by the Spaniards, whereafter settlers maintained an almost symbiotic relationship with them until the turn of the 20th Century.

Up until the advent of the automobile, these animals were relied on heavily to pack the tools and belongings of humans and played a vital role as pioneers moved to settle and mine the West.  But after motorized vehicles became widespread in the 1920’s and 30s, burros had outlived their usefulness and were largely abandoned to fend for themselves in the wilderness.  They took a foothold in the deserts of the American West and have been living there ever since across five states.

Wild Burros on Hualapai Reservation — Photo: Associated Press

With few natural predators, their numbers were doubling every five years or so, but by the 1950s, conflicts between ranchers and burros had reached an explosive peak. In fact, culling of the donkeys had become so widespread that the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals started pressing for legislation to protect the creatures — by then, already viewed as an integral part of lands managed by the BLM.

But it wasn’t until 1971 that Velma Johnston, now known as “Wild Horse Annie,” convinced Congress to pass the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act.  Today, approximately 16,000 of the animals roam free in herd management areas (HMA) tended by the BLM — an agency that tries to maintain their numbers at “sustainable” levels by deploying a number of methods ranging from birth control drugs to adoption.

Wild Burro Adoption — Photo: Colorado Life Magazine

“We are deeply disturbed by this wanton crime and the senseless slaying of our nation’s wild burros,” said Kitty Block, President of The Humane Society of the United States. “Anyone who is capable of this level of violence must be held accountable.”

Persons with information about this incident are urged to call the WeTip hotline at (800) 782-7463 or visit http://wetip.com.

OTHER GREAT STORIES ABOUT WILD HORSES AND BURROS FROM ENVIRONEWS

U.S. Government Backs Down on Plan to Slaughter 45,000 Wild Horses Following Public Outrage

(EnviroNews Nature) The Humane Society referred to it as “cruel” and a “complete abdication of responsibility.” That was the tone of the countless criticisms used to describe the advice from a third party advisory panel of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to send some 45,000 wild horses…

Wild Horses May Hold a Solution to Slowing Spread of Fatal Chronic Wasting Disease in Deer, Elk

(EnviroNews Colorado) – A Colorado State University scientist is investigating the role wild horses may play in slowing the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), a 100 percent fatal and contagious brain-destroying infection, ravaging the country’s deer and elk herds. The findings take on increased significance considering recent…

POLL: Should The U.S. Government Send Any Wild Horses To Be Slaughtered At All? VOTE NOW!

(EnviroNews Polls) – Nearly two million wild horses (Equus ferus caballus) once roamed the American landscape. Today, the number is a far cry from that, with the population hovering somewhere around 67,000. But the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM), an ancillary arm of the Department of Interior…

Group Files Legal Petition to Stop the Use of Sterility-Inducing Pesticide PZP on Wild Horses

(EnviroNews World News) – Washington D.C. – Friends of Animals (FoA), the non-profit, international animal advocacy organization, announced on May 19, 2015, that they had filed a legal petition with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) compelling the agency to rescind its registration of the sterility-inducing pesticide porcine zona…

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‘Big Victory’: Fed. Gov’s ‘Cruel’ Wildlife Killing Program Stopped in Court Again, This Time in NorCal http://www.environews.tv/110217-big-victory-fed-govs-cruel-wildlife-killing-program-stopped-court-time-norcal/ http://www.environews.tv/110217-big-victory-fed-govs-cruel-wildlife-killing-program-stopped-court-time-norcal/#respond Thu, 02 Nov 2017 14:57:34 +0000 http://www.environews.tv/?p=14419 (EnviroNews California) — San Francisco, California — Wildlife Services — from the sound of it, one might think it’s a program that would be supportive or in “service” to wildlife. But environmental and conservation groups say the century-old agency is anything but helpful to animals — especially if…

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(EnviroNews California) — San Francisco, California — Wildlife Services — from the sound of it, one might think it’s a program that would be supportive or in “service” to wildlife. But environmental and conservation groups say the century-old agency is anything but helpful to animals — especially if you happen to be a bear, wolf, mountain lion, bobcat, coyote or other predatory mammal. Last year alone, the program culled some 2.7 million animals, including 1.6 million native specimens — all with your hard-earned tax dollars — that is, if you are a citizen of the United States. But on November 1, 2017, the U.S. District Court in San Francisco said no more, and approved a settlement that puts the brakes on Wildlife Services in 16 counties in Northern California.

Wildlife Services (WS) is an ancillary arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA APHIS) and has been killing America’s critters and creatures since 1895. While the agency’s website maintains that its goal is to “provide federal leadership and expertise to resolve wildlife conflicts to allow people and wildlife to coexist,” wildlife advocates and conservationists say the agency’s primary modus operandi is to appease the livestock and agricultural industries by wiping out predators at their behest.

These same critics say WS uses unusually cruel, unscientific and indiscriminate methods of slaughtering its targets too — techniques like aerial gunning, den fumigation, steel-jaw leghold traps, strangulation snares, and M-44 “cyanide bombs” which often accidentally deploy when pets, unintended species, or even children encounter them.

The November 1 settlement came after a multi-pronged legal attack was forged and filed jointly by several environmental and animal advocacy organizations in June. The plaintiffs include the NGO non-profit groups WildEarth Guardians (Guardians), the Center for Biological Diversity (the Center), Western Watersheds Project, the Animal Legal Defense Fund, Project Coyote/Earth Island Institute, and the Animal Welfare Institute. In the original complaint, the groups contend Wildlife Services violated the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) “by failing or refusing to supplement its NEPA analysis regarding wildlife damage management activities in California’s North District.”

“This is a big victory for California wildlife targeted by this federal program’s horrifically destructive war on animals,” stated Collette Adkins, an attorney on the case for the Center, in a press release. “We’ve saved hundreds of animals that would have suffered and died in traps set by Wildlife Services over the next several years. That feels really good.”

As part of the court order WS must stop executing animals in designated “wilderness areas” by way of pesticides, aerial gunning, traps, den fumigants, M-44s and lead ammunition. “Traps” are further defined as “body-gripping traps, glue traps, [and] spring-powered harpoon traps.”

The counties affected by the agreement are Butte, Del Norte, Glenn, Humboldt, Lassen, Mendocino, Modoc, Nevada, Plumas, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou, Sutter, Tehama, Trinity and Yuba. Effective immediately, WS must now stop the aforementioned killing practices in wilderness areas and must also complete a comprehensive environmental impact statement (EIS) by 2023, concerning how its killing activities affect the ecosystem at large.

The order also demands that WS implement several measures to protect the area’s endangered gray wolf (Canis lupus) population from snares and devices intended for other animals.

“Wolves are just starting to return to their native habitats in Northern California, and this settlement provides needed interim protections to protect wolves while a detailed environmental study examines whether lethal wildlife ‘management’ options should even be on the table,” said Kristin Ruether of Western Watersheds Project. “It is long past time that federal agencies stop the killing of native wildlife at the behest of the livestock industry, and ultimately we hope that the added public scrutiny will force a shift to nonlethal options.”

The “public scrutiny” Ruether is referring to means feedback from citizens in the way of comments, because the process accompanying the studies for the 2023 EIS will also include “robust public commenting opportunities,” according to the joint press release published by the coalition of groups on November 1.

Wildlife Services: A ‘Secretive,’ ‘Rogue’ Agency off the Rails?

WS has been called “secretive,” “clandestine” and “rogue” by lawmakers, scientists, journalists and investigative reporters alike. The agency operates almost entirely in the dark, failing to maintain social media accounts, activity feeds and other correspondence with the public, while deliberately thwarting attempts at transparency from both politicians and the press.

In 2016, Congressman Peter DeFazio (D-OR) told Harper’s Magazine, “I’ve served on the Homeland Security Committee, and Wildlife Services is more difficult to get information from than our intelligence agencies.”

“They’re very resistant and very much protected by the Department of Agriculture,” DeFazio explained to EnviroNews earlier this year.

After authoring a report on WS for Harper’s Magazine titled, “The Rogue Agency: A USDA program that tortures dogs and kills endangered species,” investigative reporter Christopher Ketcham told NatGeo‘s Wildlife Watch:

These are not people who are forthcoming about information. I spent a year working on this story, and contacted Wildlife Services multiple times to ask to go out in the field with a trapper to observe their lethal control operations. They never granted me that request, claiming it would endanger me. Then I sent them a list of 35 questions, almost none of which were directly answered. If they’re not going to a respond to an informational request from a senior congressman in the House, do you think they’re going to answer a reporter?

Regarding the November 1 settlement, Michelle Lute, wildlife coexistence campaigner with Guardians, chimed in on WS’s secretive ways as well saying, “Wildlife Services’ lethal ‘control’ is ineffective, wasteful and cruel,” adding, “We are changing this clandestine government program state-by-state until wildlife and people are safe on our public lands.”

Wildlife Services: A Long Track-Record of Losing in Court

The Center for Biological Diversity boasts a 93 percent success rate on wildlife cases against the federal government, while many other organizations including WildEarth Guardians, Earthjustice and Western Watersheds Project are racking up the victories as well. Time and again, EnviroNews has published reports on legal battles between conservation groups and various branches of the federal government, and time and again judges across the country have sided with conservation coalitions and America’s iconic wilderness and wildlife. To be more precise, judges are frequently ruling to enforce NEPA, the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and other protective laws.

In 2017, lawsuits against WS from some of the same plaintiffs featured in the November 1 settlement, yielded victories in several places, including the banning of cyanide bombs in Idaho and other places.

In another case in late 2016, a “landmark settlement” between WS and WildEarth Guardians “[changed] the rules across the board and [put] a stop to WS’s critter-killing endeavors on over six million acres of public land,” EnviroNews reported at the time.

“This settlement is just one of the many ways we are holding Wildlife Services accountable to the public and wildlife it should be serving,” Lute told EnviroNews today. “Historically, the program has enabled unsustainable welfare ranching and kept so-called wildlife management in the dark ages, complete with medieval torture devices. Cyanide bombs, traps and aerial gunning are unscientific, unethical and unacceptable.”

Wildlife advocates can now tally up yet another legal victory against Wildlife Services — this time in the Golden State. The only question now: where, and for what, will Wildlife Services be sued next?

MORE FROM ENVIRONEWS ON WILDLIFE SERVICES

Predator Bloodbath: ‘Secretive’ Federal Agency Wildlife Services Kills 1.6 Million Native Animals in 2016

(EnviroNews Nature) – Wildlife Services (WS), a little-known wildlife-killing program of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), killed 2,744,010 animals in 2016, 1,594,595 of which were native to the U.S. The agency shared this death toll in its annual program data…

After a Century, ‘Landmark Settlement’ Puts Brakes on Federal Government’s ‘Rogue’ Wildlife-Killing Program

(EnviroNews Nature) – Missoula, Montana – Well, it only took a century, but it has happened at last: Something finally put the brakes on Wildlife Services (WS), the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) “secretive,” “rogue,” “cruel” wildlife-killing agency – and that “something” is the environmental non-profit organization WildEarth…

‘Secret’ Federal Agency Admits Killing 3.2 Million Wild Animals in U.S. Last Year Alone

(EnviroNews DC News Bureau) – Washington D.C. – The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Wildlife Services (WS) admitted in its annual Program Data Report to having killed at least 3.2 million wild animals in 2015 alone – many of which were large predators. 1,681,283 of that total…

Rep. Peter DeFazio is out to Stop USDA’s Cruel Wolf and Coyote Poison Bombs for Good

(EnviroNews Oregon) – Washington D.C. – On March 30, 2017, Representative Peter DeFazio (D-OR) introduced the Chemical Poisons Reduction Act of 2017 (H.R. 1817), which seeks to ban the use of two deadly poisons, Compound 1080 and sodium cyanide, for predator control efforts throughout the United States. These…

Five Environmental Groups Sue USDA Over Idaho Wolf-Killing Program

(EnviroNews Idaho) – Boise, Idaho – On June 1, 2016, five prominent environmental organizations filed a lawsuit in federal district court against the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Wildlife Services for killing over 650 wolves in the state of Idaho over the past decade. Wildlife Services is…

Federal Government Sued For Killing Wolves in Oregon

(EnviroNews Oregon) – Five environmental groups filed a lawsuit on February 3, 2016, in U.S. District Court against the federal agency Wildlife Services, over what they say is the illegitimate killing of wolves in the state of Oregon. WildEarth Guardians, Center for Biological Diversity, Predator Defense, and Project…

USDA Caves to Public Pressure, Agrees to Remove All Coyote/Wolf Cyanide Bombs in Idaho

(EnviroNews USA Headline News Desk) – Hailey, Idaho – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Wildlife Services (WS), which kills millions of wild animals in the U.S. each year, agreed April 10, 2017, to temporarily halt the use of M-44 cyanide bombs for predator control initiatives in Idaho….

BREAKING: Wildlife Groups Sue Trump Admin. Over USDA’s Poisoning of Endangered Species, Kids, Pets

(EnviroNews Nature) – Washington D.C. – On April 4, 2017, four wildlife and conservation groups filed suit against the Trump Administration in an effort to regulate lethal poisons used by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Wildlife Services (WS). Wildlife Services uses the two poisons in question, Compound…

20 Environmental Groups Jointly Demand Wildlife Services Ban M-44 Cyanide Bombs in Idaho

(EnviroNews Idaho) – On March 28, 2017, a coalition of wildlife and conservation groups petitioned the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Wildlife Services (WS) and Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to immediately ban M-44 devices in Idaho. M-44s are cyanide bombs used by WS to kill…

USDA’s ‘Cruel,’ ‘Illegal’ Cyanide Bombs for Wolves and Coyotes Killing Dogs, Hospitalizing Kids

(EnviroNews Headline News Desk) – Bannock County, Idaho – On March 16, 2017, 14-year-old Canyon Mansfield was playing fetch with his dog Kasey, in Bannock County, Idaho, when an M-44 cyanide bomb sprayed him and killed his dog. The lethal device was placed by the U.S. Department of…

POLL CLOSED: Should USDA’s Secretive Wildlife Killing Program Be Abolished? Yes/No – VIEW RESULTS

(EnviroNews Polls) – 3.2 million animals. That is the amount of critters and creatures brutally eradicated by Wildlife Services (WS) in America last year alone, by way of traps, snares, bullets and poisons – all with your tax dollars of course (at least if you are a U.S….

Poll Closed: Should U.S. Government Maintain a Wolf-Killing Program? Yes or No? – View Results

(EnviroNews Polls) – In December of 2015, several environmental groups, spearheaded by WildEarth Guardians, won a pivotal lawsuit against Wildlife Services, a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) agency, for its wolf-killing program in Washington State. On February 3, 2016, WildEarth Guardians, in concert with four other groups, filed…

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California Forces Monsanto to Label Glyphosate Products as Cancer Causing http://www.environews.tv/062817-california-forces-monsanto-label-glyphosate-products-cancer-causing/ http://www.environews.tv/062817-california-forces-monsanto-label-glyphosate-products-cancer-causing/#respond Wed, 28 Jun 2017 14:25:02 +0000 http://www.environews.tv/?p=13582 (EnviroNews California) California has become the first state in the U.S. to require a warning label on Monsanto’s popular weed killer RoundUp, which will now be required to state that its main ingredient, glyphosate, “is known to the state of California to cause cancer and birth defects and…

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(EnviroNews California) California has become the first state in the U.S. to require a warning label on Monsanto’s popular weed killer RoundUp, which will now be required to state that its main ingredient, glyphosate, “is known to the state of California to cause cancer and birth defects and other reproductive harm.” The listing will become effective July 7, 2017, and the label warnings must be included by next year. The announcement was made by the state’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) on June 26, 2017.

California first filed a notice of intent to list the chemical on September 4, 2015, and was thereafter challenged in court by Monsanto. In March of 2017, a California Superior Court ruled against Monsanto and the state proceeded with a March 28 notice that glyphosate would be listed pending a Court of Appeals decision. While that appeal is still pending, the California Supreme Court rejected Monsanto’s request for a delay, allowing the state to move ahead with the listing.

According to the Los Angeles Times, glyphosate is the most widely used herbicide in the state, sprayed on 4 million acres and 200 crops. In 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer classified glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic to humans.” The full report was published in The Lancet on March 20, 2015, which stated, “Glyphosate has been detected in the blood and urine of agricultural workers, indicating absorption.” While the analysis noted there was “limited evidence in humans for the carcinogenicity” of the widely used herbicide, it did find evidence of DNA and chromosomal damage and tumors in mice.

“California’s decision makes it the national leader in protecting people from cancer-causing pesticides,” said Nathan Donley, a senior scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity and a former cancer researcher. “The U.S. EPA now needs to step up and acknowledge that the world’s most transparent and science-based assessment has linked glyphosate to cancer.”

In 2016, the EPA concluded in an extensive review that the herbicide is “not likely to be carcinogenic to humans.” The conclusion was affirmed by the EPA’s Scientific Advisory Panel, and by the European Chemicals Agency in March of 2017. However, the Office of the Inspector General for the EPA is investigating possible collusion between a former EPA official and Monsanto.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is currently testing for the presence of glyphosate in foods as well. Independent researchers have found that the chemical is “widely detected in the urine of both U.S. and German populations and in 30 percent of Canadian food tested,” according to a May 5, 2017 letter signed by 21 medical doctors and Ph.D. scientists. The letter asked, “Should the public be assured of the safety of glyphosate? We think not.” Separately this week, Arkansas moved to ban the spraying of another Monsanto weed-killing compound, dicamba, after receiving 242 complaints from farmers reporting crop damage.

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EWG Report: 8 Million Californians Now Drinking Water Tainted With Toxic TCP Pesticide http://www.environews.tv/041717-ewg-report-8-million-californians-now-drinking-water-tainted-toxic-tcp-pesticide/ http://www.environews.tv/041717-ewg-report-8-million-californians-now-drinking-water-tainted-toxic-tcp-pesticide/#respond Mon, 17 Apr 2017 16:43:52 +0000 http://www.environews.tv/?p=12650 (EnviroNews California) — The Environmental Working Group (EWG) released a report April 11, 2017, that found 94 water systems serving eight million Californians are contaminated with 1,2,3-trichloropropane (TCP). TCP is a toxic pesticide byproduct that has also been used as a solvent and paint remover. While Shell Chemical…

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(EnviroNews California) — The Environmental Working Group (EWG) released a report April 11, 2017, that found 94 water systems serving eight million Californians are contaminated with 1,2,3-trichloropropane (TCP). TCP is a toxic pesticide byproduct that has also been used as a solvent and paint remover. While Shell Chemical Company stopped making the pesticide “D-D,” which contained TCP, in 1984, and Dow Chemical Company took TCP out of its “Telone,” the substance has already affected the drinking water for millions of Californians.

“This is a contaminant that, because it does not adhere to soil, very readily contaminates and migrates into groundwater. It’s remarkably persistent. Once it’s in the water, it stays there for centuries,” Bill Walker, EWG Managing Editor and co-author of the report, told The Huffington Post.

Because California is a major producer of U.S. fruits, nuts and vegetables, concerns over the presence of TCP spread beyond the state’s borders. The EWG report explains that of the 562 contaminated wells discovered, around 60 percent are in the San Joaquin Valley, “concentrated in Kern, Fresno and Tulare counties, the three leading agricultural counties in the state.”

Short-term exposure to TCP can cause eye, skin and respiratory irritation as well as “depression of the central nervous system” while delivering adverse effects to “concentration, memory and muscle coordination,” according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Animal studies have linked TCP to cancerous tumors, liver and kidney damage, and reduced body weight. The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences found TCP to be “reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen.”

There is no federal maximum contaminant level (MCL) set on TCP, though the EPA labeled it a water contaminant candidate in 2009 and has required TCP testing since 2013. California’s Water Resources Control Board (the Board) first detected TCP 28 years ago. The Board is now expected to set new statewide restrictions on TCP. So far, Hawaii is the only state to have done so, with a limit set at 600 parts per trillion.

In 2009, the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) set a TCP public health goal for tap water of less than one part per trillion, which the EWG says is “about 1,000 times smaller than a drop of water in an Olympic-size swimming pool.” A public health goal is based on scientific concern for public well being, but is not legally binding. The Board has now proposed a legal limit of five parts per trillion, which they find to be the lowest level that can be reliably detected. A public hearing on this proposal is scheduled for April 19 in Sacramento.

Dow and Shell have been sued by several California communities over the contamination and the city of Clovis in Fresno County won a $22 million judgement against Shell in 2016. The companies deny any fault, citing that both the EPA and California Department of Pesticide Regulation allowed the use of the pesticides.

Asha Kreiling, Policy and Communications Analyst with the Community Water Center, told the EWG that Dow and Shell “knew it could pollute groundwater and they were fully aware of the health impacts. They should have taken it out and disposed of it properly as a toxic waste. But that would have cost them a lot of money, so they left it in and continued to sell these pesticides to farmers throughout California.”

“Contrary to what many people think, in the U.S. in 2017, you are not guaranteed to get a safe glass of water when you turn on the tap in your kitchen,” Walker concluded.

The post EWG Report: 8 Million Californians Now Drinking Water Tainted With Toxic TCP Pesticide appeared first on EnviroNews | The Environmental News Specialists.

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Collapse ‘Imminent’ for Spillway at America’s Tallest Dam — ‘Urgent’ Evacuations Underway in Oroville, CA http://www.environews.tv/021217-alert-collapse-immanent-americas-tallest-dam-evacuations-ordered-oroville-ca/ http://www.environews.tv/021217-alert-collapse-immanent-americas-tallest-dam-evacuations-ordered-oroville-ca/#respond Sun, 12 Feb 2017 17:02:47 +0000 http://www.environews.tv/?p=11820 (EnviroNews California) — Oroville, California — “This is not a drill. Repeat, this is not a drill.” Those were the words put into a loop and broadcasted to Oroville, California and surrounding areas by the National Weather Service on Sunday, February 12, 2017, as the auxiliary spillway system…

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(EnviroNews California) — Oroville, California — “This is not a drill. Repeat, this is not a drill.” Those were the words put into a loop and broadcasted to Oroville, California and surrounding areas by the National Weather Service on Sunday, February 12, 2017, as the auxiliary spillway system at the nation’s tallest dam reached a point of “imminent collapse,” Reuters reported.

“Immediate evacuation from the low levels of Oroville and areas downstream is ordered… This is NOT A Drill. This is NOT A Drill. This in NOT A Drill,” says a statement on the Butte County Sheriff’s Facebook page. The order put local residents into a frenzy and clogged local roadways as they fled the area as fast as possible in a chaotic fuss.



The National Weather Service said the Oroville Dam’s emergency spillway system is reaching critical and is expected to fail; the result of which will be an “uncontrolled release of flood waters from Lake Oroville,” the agency continued.

This weekend represents the first time the auxiliary spillway has ever been used. Initially, it appeared the measure would offer relief to the swelling reservoir, but after officials detected a hole in that emergency backup system, evacuations were ordered without further ado.

The Oroville Dam has been in danger all week after the reservoir behind it reached capacity and caused serious damage to its primary spillway. A “frantic effort” has been underway for the past several days, in an effort to thwart a major flood catastrophe, reported the LA Times, but the task has proven too much, as all nearby communities south of the dam have now been ordered to make an “urgent” run for it. Officials are still reportedly on-site at this hour attempting to repair the emergency spillway.

KRCA journalist Tom Miller reported speaking with an official from the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (CAL OES) who described the possible failure of the dam as “potentially catastrophic.”

A news piece written by Paul Rodgers for The Mercury News, shows federal and state officials ignored warnings 12 years ago that the emergency spillway could fail under the stress of torrential rains.

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California the First to Ban Predator Prizes While Idaho Forges Ahead With Wolf-Killing Derby http://www.environews.tv/120614-california-becomes-1st-state-to-ban-prizes-for-killing-predators-while-idaho-proceeds-with-wolf-killing-derby/ http://www.environews.tv/120614-california-becomes-1st-state-to-ban-prizes-for-killing-predators-while-idaho-proceeds-with-wolf-killing-derby/#respond Sat, 06 Dec 2014 19:23:45 +0000 http://environews.tv/?p=5261 (EnviroNews California) — Van Nuys, CA — Will not allowing prizes for California wildlife hunting derbies deter such events from taking place? Groups like Project Coyote certainly think so. On December 3, with a 4 to 1 vote, the California Fish and Game Commission passed a motion prohibiting…

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(EnviroNews California) — Van Nuys, CA — Will not allowing prizes for California wildlife hunting derbies deter such events from taking place? Groups like Project Coyote certainly think so.

On December 3, with a 4 to 1 vote, the California Fish and Game Commission passed a motion prohibiting prizes during hunting derbies — the first state in the nation to do so.

Project Coyote, headquartered in Northern California, led the effort to get California’s ban passed.

The group is comprised of a broad coalition of wildlife scientists, educators, community leaders and predator-friendly ranchers across North America. Their goal is to change negative attitudes about coyotes, wolves and other native carnivores.

In a phone interview with EnviroNews, Executive Director Camilla Fox called the prize ban “precedent setting,” and said it could act as a springboard for other states to follow suit.

“I think momentum is building across the county,” Fox said.

Next year the group plans to work with allies to get legislation introduced in New Mexico to ban killing contests. Project Coyote recently won a lawsuit in collaboration with the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) in shutting down a large derby in Oregon.

The ALDF reported on its website that more than 30 people gave public testimony, with many people voicing support for the California prize ban.

Tens of thousands of people also signed a petition by Project Coyote in support of reeling in the contests.

Project Coyote is also involved in fighting a planned predator derby hosted by Idaho for Wildlife (IFW) in north central Idaho in January on federal, state and private lands.

After Advocates for the West, Center for Biological Diversity, Western Watersheds Project, Project Coyote and Defenders of Wildlife threatened to sue the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) the agency revoked a permit allowing the contest to take place on approximately three million acres of public lands in north central Idaho near the town of Salmon on January 2 and 3, 2015.

Up to 500 hunters are allowed to participate, and prizes including a cash purse for the largest wolf killed are planned to be awarded during the derby.

Although derby organizers say animals killed on BLM land won’t count for prizes participants can still hunt on nearby Forest Service, state and private lands.

The groups involved in getting the BLM to pull IFW’s permit are hoping to stop the derby from happening on Forest Service lands as well.

They signed a letter on December 1, 2014 urging the United States Forest Service to reconsider it’s stance that IFW doesn’t need a permit. The letter was written by the Boise, Idaho based public interest environmental law firm Advocates for the West.

After IFW requested a permit for their event on Forest Service lands, the agency decided IFW did not even need one.

By side-stepping the permitting issue, the Forest Service no longer needed to explore several potential issues with the proposed event, such as safety or how it would impact environmentally sensitive areas and other protected species.

“By failing to require a Special Use Permit (SUP), the Forest Service has avoided its duty to evaluate important criteria for protecting our public lands,” the letter states.

The letter from Advocates of the West also indicates Idaho’s killing contest could be considered a “commercial activity,” or “group activity,” and both require a SUP.

Those fighting the derby point out that “noncommercial group uses,” of FS land, such as weddings, church services, endurance rides, camping trips, hikes, music festivals and rallies would need an SUP.

” … the Forest Service failed to even evaluate whether the derby qualifies as a group use,” the letter states.

The federal agency indicated the derby did not need a permit because it’s a commercial event and the paying of registration fees would not be taking place on Forest Service land but rather on private property.

Oregon Representative Peter DeFazio, ranking Democratic member of the House Committee on Natural Resources says the Forest Service should require IFW to get a permit for its derby.

DeFazio sent a letter on December 2nd to Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell “to express serious concerns about the U.S. Forest Service’s stewardship of wildlife resources on lands under the Committee’s jurisdiction.”

“Despite the fact that much of the hunting was to occur within the National Forest System (NFS), the Forest Service determined the contest was not a commercial event occurring on NFS land, and, therefore, no special use permit was required. This determination was questionable at the time, and I ask that you revisit it in light of recent events,” DeFazio wrote.

DeFazio stated he hoped the FS would not allow the hunt to take place on its land this year, “to ensure there is time to conduct and Environmental Impact Statement of the event and permit application.”

Forest Service Acting Assistance Director/External Communications Larry Chambers did not return calls for comment.

After the BLM revoked its permit IFW Director Steve Adler told EnviroNews via a press release the derby would take place on private lands.

However, he now says derby hunting will take place on more than private land.

“Yes we plan on hunting [on] Forest Service, Private and state land. It would also be unlawful for us to tell people not to hunt on BLM land. They just need to realize any predators taken from BLM land will not qualify for the derby,” Adler stated in an email to EnviroNews.

Although the Idaho Department of Fish and Game’s (IFG) website indicated the agency does not support contests like the one IFG will hold, Regional Director Tom Curet said the department is remaining neutral.

“We remain neutral on the derby like we did last year,” Curet said, as the department is not giving any financial or any other extra support.

“Idaho law allows for this kind of activity to go on … it’s a perfectly legitimate activity,” Curet said.

If changes are made to how IFG handles such derbies in the future the law will need to change on the state level.

Curet said coyote hunting can take place year round and hunters can take as many as they want. Wolves are managed in Idaho like big game and can only be taken during specified hunting seasons. Hunters can purchase up to five tags a season.

“We carefully regulate their harvest,” Curet said.

IFG will be conducting patrols of the derby area to make sure Idaho hunting rules are followed and Curet said no problems were tied to the event last year.

Wolves were removed from the endangered species list in 2011 following many years of recovery efforts in central and eastern Idaho.

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