March 2008   



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Free water Lecture

San Francisco, Calif.

If you’re in the Bay Area, check out this free lecture hosted by the Bay Area Science Forum. Held at the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco, Peter Gleick will discuss California’s water issues. 7:30p.m. For more information, click here.

Community workshop
Richmond, Calif. West Contra Costa County

residents are invited to attend a workshop focused on developing community solutions for the environmental health impacts of freight transport. The workshop will focus on the proposed Port of Oakland-led expansion of the rail tracks in West County. For information on the workshop, contact Catalina Garzon by calling (510) 251-1600 X 104.  For more information on the freight expansion projects, click here.


Environmental law lecture

Boulder, Col.

Michael Cohen will present on securing environmental flows on the Colorado River in an era of climate change at the Natural Resource Law Center, University of Colorado, Boulder. For more information, click here.


  Port Proposals Ignore Air, Health Impacts


Staff, Community Speak Out




Train IdlingAt a Feb. 21 hearing, Pacific Institute staff and other members of the Bay Area Ditching Dirty Diesel Collaborative expressed concern that three Port of Oakland expansion projects being considered for funding by the California Transportation Commission may worsen air pollution and community health.

The rail improvement projects, designed to allow the port to move more goods by train than by truck, may actually increase rail and truck traffic and worsen air pollution. They also do not include mitigation measures for emissions from a three-year construction process. As a result, these projects do not pass Air Resource Board recommendations or CTC criteria to receive funds from the Trade Corridor Improvement Fund.

The $2 billion Trade Corridor Improvement Fund, part of a voter-approved transportation bond, was created to fund freight transportation infrastructure projects that improve mobility while reducing air pollution.

“We believe that growth of the Port of Oakland can be a positive thing, but such growth must be accountable to community residents and workers, be environmentally responsible, and respect and accommodate the concerns of those who have long shouldered an unfair burden of the real costs of this industry,” said Pacific Institute Program Director Swati Prakash.

Related news







 Water and Conflict Chronology Updated

Now Over 180 Entries


An updated version of the Pacific Institute’s Water and Conflict Chronology is now available online.

From the Middle East to Africa to the United States, the Pacific Institute chronology categorizes world conflicts related to water.

With over 180 entries and growing, the chronology is an ongoing effort to understand the connections between water resources, water systems, and international security and conflict.

Access the chronology here.





 New Bill Aims To Govern Salton Sea Restoration

Meanwhile Salta Sea Authority Short on Cash


As the Salton Sea continues to dry up, a new bill aims to establish a state agency to oversee its restoration.  

On Feb. 15, Senator Denise Ducheny introduced SB 1256, a bill to form the Salton Sea Restoration Council–a governing structure that would include a mix of representatives from state and local agencies that would work to implement restoration activities outlined in the Resource Agency’s restoration program.

This move comes at a time when, without an infusion of funds from its members, the local agency responsible for the ecosystem’s restoration is facing the possibility of drying up alongside the Sea.

“The creation of a Salton Sea Restoration Council would mark an important step forward in organizing Sea

restoration efforts–efforts that are necessary to deal with the ever-increasing impacts we are seeing on wildlife and air quality,” said Pacific Institute Senior Research Associate Michael Cohen.

For more information on SB 1256, click here.

Learn more about the residents around the Salton Sea.


In Brief

In The News: Pacific Institute on Western Water
In her Los Angeles Times op-ed, Every Drop Counts (2/10), Pacific Institute Senior Research Associate Heather Cooley explores if California is in a drought. Peter Gleick discusses water policies in the West with a Las Vegas perspective on NPR’s Justice Talking. In the February Issue of Sunset Magazine, Gleick participates in their Western water roundtable.

Prakash Presents at Freight Transport Conference
On Feb. 26, Swati Prakash participated in a plenary panel at the annual “Faster Freight Cleaner Air” Conference in Los Angeles. Prakash spoke on “Sustainability in Freight Transportation: Building Collaborations for Air Quality in Oakland.”

Delta Task Force Seeks Institute Recommendations
On Feb. 28, Heather Cooley provided recommendations for implementing water conservation and efficiency measures to the Delta Vision Blue Ribbon Task Force.

Institute Staff Co-host UN Global Compact Conference
On March 5-6, Institute staff co-facilitated the first conference of the CEO Water Mandate in New York City. Established out of the UN Global Compact, the Mandate serves to offer a framework for companies that are seeking to address the issue of water sustainability in business operations and supply chains.  For more information on the CEO Water Mandate, click here.

Cooley Discusses California’s Water-savings Potential

On March 6, Heather Cooley discussed the potential for water conservation and efficiency in lessening our strain on the Delta at a community meeting hosted by Restore the Delta.

Building Council Looks to Institute On Las Vegas Water
On March 11, Heather Cooley will address the Nevada Chapter on the U.S. Green Building Council about the water conservation and efficiency potential of Las Vegas. For more information, read our report.

Gleick To Brief Canadian Government on Water and Conflict
On March 19, Peter Gleick will brief the Canadian government’s Deputy Minister Committee on Global Affairs, Security, and Human Rights on issues relating to water, conflict, and security.

ISA Convention Discusses Water Scarcity: Conflict or Cooperation?
As part of the International Studies Association’s Annual Convention held in March in San Francisco, Peter Gleick will participate in a roundtable that will discuss if water scarcity promotes conflict or cooperation.

Cohen To Brief Foundation on Colorado River
On April 4, Michael Cohen will participate on the “Increasing Certainty of Colorado River Water” panel at the Water Education Foundation’s Executive Briefing. For more information, click here.




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