1. In yet another sign that the California’s punishing drought is far from over and that this year’s El Nino may turn out to be a bust, state water officials announced that the overall snowpack in the Sierra is below normal for this time of year — it’s at 91 percent, the Chron$ reports. The snowpack in northern part of the Sierra is a bit better — 99 percent — but it needs to be much higher than that to help relieve the four-year drought.
2. Even though the recreational Dungeness crab season opened last week, an influential task force is recommending that the commercial crab season remain closed until the presence of a dangerous neurotoxin is completely gone from the West Coast, the Chron$ reports. The toxin — domoic acid — still exists in a few areas, including Bodega Bay and Fort Bragg. The state Department of Fish and Wildlife is expected to make a decision soon as to whether to accept the recommendation by the California Dungeness Crab Task Force to delay the season further.
3. A majority of Oakland residents — 56 percent — say they oppose the plan to transport coal through a new facility proposed at the old Oakland Army Base, the Trib$ reports, citing a new survey commissioned by the Sierra Club, which also opposes the coal plan. Opposition grew to 76 percent after respondents were told that the coal-train plan “could increase risk of asthma, bronchitis and cancer, and moves away from the city’s commitment to counter climate change.”
[jump] 4. State Democratic leaders are proposing to strengthen lobbying disclosure rules for the California Coastal Commission, in the wake of the controversial decision by commissioners last week to fire the agency’s executive director, a staunch advocate for protecting the environment, the LA Times$ reports. State Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins noted that a loophole in California law exempts the commission from disclosure of lobbying.
5. Governor Jerry Brown was able to reach a bipartisan agreement with sixteen governors to increase renewable power by dropping all mention of climate change in the pact, the Chron$ reports. Brown said it was important to not get “bogged down” with Republicans on the issue of global warming.
6. California Attorney General Kamala Harris said she has no interest in being nominated by President Obama to the US Supreme Court, the LA Times$ reports. Harris had been rumored as a possible nominee, but she said she’s intent on running for US Senate this year instead.
7. And Francisco District Attorney George Gascón announced a joint task force with the FBI to investigate public corruption in San Francisco City Hall, the Chron reports. San Francisco has been rocked by several corruption scandals during the past few years.