Wednesday, September 4, 2013
Here are the enterprise and weekend stories in California from The Associated Press for the week of Sept. 2. Questions: Call the Los Angeles bureau at 213-626-1200 or your local AP bureau. For repeats of AP copy, please call your local bureau or the Service Desk at 800-838-4616. AP stories, along with the photos that accompany them, also can be obtained from http://www.apexchange.com .
FRESNO, Calif. — While Californians fight over a massive twin tunnel water delivery project, another water war is quietly being fought underground. Throughout the San Joaquin Valley, one of the world's most productive agricultural regions, farmers, residents and urban water districts have seen many wells go dry because the water table has fallen so low. Those who can afford it are drilling deeper wells that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. The well-digging spree is fueled by another year of low rainfall and diminished snowpack that failed to replenish aquifers and by increased water demands for hundreds of thousands of acres of newly planted orchards. At the same time, deep cutbacks to surface water shipped to farms and cities from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta have meant even more pressure on aquifers. The intense competition has experts worried that groundwater is becoming increasingly unaffordable for small farmers and homeowners and overuse could cause serious land subsidence. By Gosia Wozniacka.
MENIFEE, Calif. — The Mayans said it would be December 2012. Harold Camping said it would be May 2011. Countless movies tell us zombies will be our demise. But now, one Riverside County town is taking the end of the world a step further: The City Council in Menifee has approved an ordinance that will allow residents to build underground bunkers on their properties. Survivalist types spend big money on these state-of-the-art, luxury shelters. But city officials are concerned about toxins in the soil, earthquakes, structural stability and whether police and first-responders will be safe answering emergency calls coming from people hiding out underground. Plus, they say, underground rooms could conceal criminal activity, such as drug manufacturing. By Sarah Parvini.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The Legislature heads into the final week of this year's session with some of its most contentious issues unresolved and the Democratic leaders of each house openly sparring over how to address the state's prison crisis. In addition to the competing prison proposals, lawmakers will consider changes to the most stringent environmental law in the country. The debate over the California Environmental Quality Act is pitting environmentalists against business interests and includes fast-track provisions to aid a planned NBA arena in downtown Sacramento. Regulations for the oil and gas drilling technique known as fracking, a minimum wage increase and whether to strip the tax exempt status of the Boy Scouts because the group excludes gay adults also are on the agenda for the end of this year's session. By Don Thompson and Laura Olson.
AP file photos.