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Rain, Snow To Hit California Due To Pacific Storm

Flash flood watches were to go into effect Thursday morning in those area as well as parts of Orange County.

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California
In this Nov. 22, 2018, photo, two oak trees stand on a rain-soaked, burned-over hillside following the Woolsey Fire in Agoura Hills, California. VOA

California will see widespread rain and heavy Sierra Nevada snowfall through midweek, potentially bringing travel problems and raising the risk of damaging runoff from wildfire burn scars, forecasters said Tuesday.

The wet pattern from a deep atmospheric fetch of Pacific moisture marks a significant change in the weather following conditions that contributed to disastrous and deadly wildfires up and down California, where hundreds of thousands of acres have burned this year.

“This is good news to help minimize that fire activity,” Cal Fire spokesman Scott McLean said . “But remember that if you are in an area that has seen recent fires this year or latter part of last year it could mean trouble as that soil is much more prone to mudslides and debris flow.”

California, rain
After a brief delay to let a downpour pass, volunteers resume their search for human remains at a mobile home park in Paradise, Calif., Nov. 23, 2018. The team is doing a second search because there are missing people whose last address was the mobile home park. VOA

The National Weather Service said there was a risk of heavy rainfall in northwest California through Tuesday night, then spreading farther south down virtually all of the coastal ranges and some interior sections of the state through Wednesday and Thursday.

Snow accumulations in the Sierra could range from 2-4 feet (0.6-1.2 meters), the NWS said.

In the Sierra, chain controls were put into effect on Interstate 80 between Kingvale and the Donner Lake interchange, the California Department of Transportation said.

On the coast near Big Sur, Caltrans planned to close a section of Highway 1 between Mud Creek and Paul’s Slide for 48 hours starting Wednesday morning because of potential instability.

California, Fire prevention, wildfires, Insurance, rain
A controlled burn ignites pine trees on the “Rough Fire” — which closed camps east of Fresno at Hume Lake as it crossed Highway 180 — in the Sequoia National Forest in California, Aug. 21, 2015. VOA

The scenic route perched between towering mountainsides and the ocean has been dogged by slides since late 2016. But the one that hit Mud Creek near Ragged Point in May 2017 was monumental. Millions of tons of earth moved, displacing 75 acres (30 hectares) of land and extensive work was required to rebuild the highway over the slide.

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Caltrans also warned that chains will be required for travel through the mountains of San Bernardino and Riverside counties east of Los Angeles when the storm arrives there Wednesday evening. Flash flood watches were to go into effect Thursday morning in those area as well as parts of Orange County.

Forecasters also warned of very high surf along the coast. (VOA)

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Trump EPA Finalizes Rollback of Key Obama Climate Rule that Targeted Coal Plants

The new Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) rule gives America's 50 states three years to develop their own emissions reduction plans

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Trump, Obama, Climate
EPA administrator Andrew Wheeler speaks with the media at the Environmental Protection Agency, June 19, 2019, in Washington. VOA

The Trump administration is rolling back rules to curb greenhouse gas emissions in the United States as scientists continue to warn countries to rapidly cut emissions to prevent the most drastic effects of climate change.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced Wednesday it had finalized rules to replace the Clean Power Plan, former President Barack Obama’s initiative to cut global warming emissions from coal plants.

The new Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) rule gives America’s 50 states three years to develop their own emissions reduction plans by encouraging coal plants to improve their efficiency.

By contrast, the Clean Power Plan was designed to slash power plant carbon emissions by more than one-third from 2005 levels by 2030 by pushing utilities to replace coal with cleaner fuels like natural gas, solar and wind.

Trump, Obama, Climate
The Trump administration is rolling back rules to curb greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. VOA

The Obama-era plan was never enacted, however, because of lawsuits filed by Republican states and hundreds of companies. The Supreme Court halted its enactment in February 2016.

“States will be given the flexibility to design a plan that best suits their citizens environmental and energy needs, according to a summary of the new rules,” according to a summary of the ruling.

EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said at a Washington news conference, “Our ACE rule will incentivize new technology which will ensure coal plants will be part of a cleaner future.”

But environmentalists, many Democratic lawmakers and some state attorneys general have labeled the new rules the “Dirty Power Plan,” maintaining they will lead to increases in carbon emissions and other pollutants over the next few decades.

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“At a time when Americans are urging us to take meaningful climate action and reduce our carbon footprint, today’s Dirty Power Plan is a failure of vision and leadership,” said Joe Goffman, executive director of Harvard University’s Environmental & Energy Law Program.

Even the EPA’s own regulatory analysis last year estimated Trump’s ACE rule would kill an additional 300 to 1,500 people each year by 2030 because of more air pollution from the U.S. power grid.

Trump has, nevertheless, dismissed scientific warnings on climate change, including a report this year from scientists at more than a dozen federal agencies noting that global warming from fossil fuels “presents growing challenges to human health and quality of life.”

Trump promised early in his presidency to kill the Clean Power Plan as part of an effort to revive the ailing coal industry, contending it exceeded the federal government’s authority.

Trump, Obama, Climate
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced Wednesday it had finalized rules to replace the Clean Power Plan. Pixabay

Wednesday’s announcement to overturn Obama-era climate rules is part of a broader Trump administration effort to roll back “a multitude of health, safety environmental and consumer protections at the behest of corporate interests,” the non-profit consumer rights advocacy group Public Citizen concluded in a report released in May.

The report said shortly after Trump took office in early 2017, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) sent the Trump administration a list of 132 regulations that “concerned” members and detailed their “preferred course of action to address its concerns on each of the regulations.”

The report concluded that “Regulatory agencies have granted or are working on granting 85 percent of the wishes related to rulemakings on a list of deregulatory demands submitted” by NAM.

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The new rule is expected to take effect within 30 days. (VOA)