5/6/10 In the water board's rejection letter, Deputy Director of Water Rights Victoria Whitney writes that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has authority over the project -- and changes must come through its licensing process. She claimed that a 2004 license amendment only reserved FERC's right to make changes to the license in the future, but did not delegate authority to the state.

The 2004 order says that whether Eel River diversions are consistent with California law must be decided by state authorities, “and it is not our intention to interfere with any actions they may take with respect to water rights.”

In a statement, Friends of the Eel River attorney Ellison Folk said that the state board took too narrow a view of its authority to require responsible use of the water and to protect salmon.

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On this 40th Earth Day, we want to thank our dedicated community in their efforts to make every day Earth Day in Humboldt County.  Our dedicated Keepers give us the strength to move forward in the many advocacy projects we are working on from the Balloon Track, the Marine Life Protection Act, our water quality monitoring program, and all the projects we are working on.  We would not be effective without the strong support of our community. So THANK YOU for your guidance and support and again, Happy Earth Day!

Read Beth Werner's My Word: Celebrating Earth Day in the Times Standard. Beth is Humboldt Baykeeper's outreach and marine life protection coordinator. 

Earth Day is here once again; the one day of the year dedicated to the environment. This Earth Day, take time to think about the environment that covers nearly 70 percent of our earth: the ocean.

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4/15/10 Researchers are warning of a new blight at sea: a swirl of confetti-like plastic debris stretching over a remote expanse of the Atlantic Ocean.

The floating garbage - hard to spot from the surface and spun together by a vortex of currents - was documented by two groups of scientists who trawled the sea between scenic Bermuda and Portugal's mid-Atlantic Azores islands.

The studies describe a soup of micro-particles similar to the so-called Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a phenomenon discovered a decade ago between Hawaii and California that researchers say is likely to exist in other places around the globe.

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4/19/10  The Census of Marine Life, which is scheduled to be reported Oct. 4 in London, has involved more than 2,000 scientists from more than 80 nations. The decade-long census has discovered more than 5,000 new forms of marine life. Researchers think there may be several times that many yet to be found.

Previous updates have focused on larger creatures, such as a city of brittle stars off the coast of New Zealand, an Antarctic expressway where octopuses ride along in a flow of extra salty water, the deepest comb jellyfish ever found and The White Shark Cafe, a deep Pacific Ocean site where sharks congregate in winter.

Now the researchers have turned to the tiniest of things, some of which burrow in the sea floor.

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4/15/10 The standard that new drugs be safe for human consumption was first enshrined in U.S. regulations in 1938, after an antibacterial drug dissolved in a poisonous solvent killed 100 children. Now, armed with a range of evidence suggesting that wildlife and human health may be threatened by pharmaceutical residues that escape into waterways and elsewhere, a growing band of concerned ecotoxicologists and environmental chemists are calling for yet another standard for new medications: that they be designed to be safe for the environment.

The movement for “green pharmacy,” as it has been dubbed, has grown as new technology has allowed scientists to discern the presence of chemicals in the environment at minute concentrations, revealing the wide dispersal of human and veterinary drugs across the planet. In recent years, scientists have detected trace amounts of more than 150 different human and veterinary medicines in environments as far afield as the Arctic. Eighty percent of the U.S.’s streams and nearly a quarter of the nation’s groundwater sampled by the United States Geological Survey (USGS) has been found to be contaminated with a variety of medications. Read Full Article