Friday Must Reads: Feds to Bar Oil Wastewater in 10 California Aquifers; Leading Pot Legalization Measure to Launch


Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. The US Environmental Protection Agency likely will bar oil companies from injecting toxic wastewater into ten underground aquifers in California because of concerns over the contamination of water that could be used for drinking supplies and agriculture, the Chron$ reports. The state had been allowing oil companies to inject billions of gallons of oil wastewater into aquifers for decades without regulation. Injections into five of the aquifers have already been banned, and the EPA likely will bar injections into the other five by the end of 2016.

2. Backers of a marijuana legalization measure that observers say has the best chance of passing next year are kicking off their campaign, the Bay Area News Group$ reports. A group known as ReformCA will need 365,000 signatures to make it onto the 2016 ballot, and Dale Sky Jones of Oakland’s Oaksterdam, said the group requires about $14 million to run a successful campaign.

3. The Oakland City Council plans to hold a hearing in September to discuss plans by Army Base developer Phil Tagami to ship coal through the Port of Oakland, the Trib$ reports. The proposed coal shipments, which would originate in the state of Utah, have sparked outrage from the East Bay environmental community.

4. State lawmakers said they would revive legislation to regulate e-cigarettes during a special session on healthcare in August, the Chron$ reports. One of the bills to be revived — by San Francisco State Senator Mark Leno — would treat e-cigs like regular cigarettes. It was tabled earlier this year after it failed to garner enough votes.

5. And a state judge ruled that some school construction contracts in California have violated state laws that require public agencies to select the lowest qualified bidder, the Chron$ reports. Some districts, including Oakland, have skirted the official bidding process by using so-called “leaseback” agreements. District officials say these deals allow school systems to select contractors who hire local workers.