Southern California environment news and trends

Lawsuit invokes California Environmental Quality Act to oppose medical marijuana ban

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Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

There have been a myriad of arguments made in California courts supporting the cultivation and distribution of medical marijuana. But as reported in the Contra Costa Times, a lawsuit filed in San Bernadino Superior Court by Riverside attorney Letitia Pepper is most certainly a first. Her suit claims that the county’s March 2011 ban on marijuana dispensaries and outdoor cultivation violates the California Environmental Quality Act.

 “I’ve actually just found even more evidence to use in my favor,” said Pepper, director of Crusaders for Patients' Rights, in a phone call earlier today. “I have an article recently published in a scientific journal about the carbon footprint of medical marijuana cultivation. It shows how 1 percent of all electricity in America is being used to grow cannabis. Not only is that a lot of greenhouse gasses being created, but it makes for a lesser product,” she explained. “What people don’t realize is that cannabis grown outside is better medically. I’ve spoken to several growers, and they all swear by it.”


California leads nation in climate change preparation

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The Santa Ana winds in Southern California sweep down across the deserts and across the Los Angeles Basin.

With climate change continuing to create a myriad of new and uncertain weather and water-related issues, no state in America is better at getting ready for our environmental future than California.

As reported by the Hermosa Beach Patch, a recent study by the National Resources Defense Council found that California is one of only nine states (including Alaska and Wisconsin) that has created strategies to deal with the host of predicted situations like water shortages and droughts.

“Because of the significant risks to the state from increasing temperatures, changes in precipitation, sea level rise, and ocean acidification, California has been one of the leading states in the U.S. on climate change action,” states the report, titled “Ready or Not: An Evaluation of State Climate and Water Preparedness Planning.”


Life’s a beach? California wants to charge for (some) Sonoma Coast access

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Photo courtesy of Flickr user The City Project

If California State Parks has its way, spending the day at some Sonoma Coast beaches will cost more than just a tank of gas and a bottle of sunscreen. As reported by the Press Democrat, the parks department wants to charge visitors a fee of $8 a day to park their vehicles at 14 beaches along the Sonoma Coast, including Bodega Head and Salt Point State Park.

With budget cuts and backlogged maintenance deferments totaling north of $1 billion, officials say the daily use fees are a necessity just to keep the beaches open and provide amenities like restrooms and picnic tables, as well as possibly reopening beaches that have been shut down.

"I would hope that eight bucks is reasonable for people to come out and enjoy the parks and to help keep these areas open," said Linda Rath, superintendent of the Russian River District for state parks to the Press Democrat.