Paul Rogers
Paul Rogers
Journalist covering environmental and science news for the San Jose Mercury News.Source
San Francisco Bay Area
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Wind turbines could be coming to California's coast

Wind turbines could be coming to California's coast

By | | Bay Area News GroupCalifornia has been a world leader in renewable energy for decades. It has more solar power and electric cars than any other state. And it built the first large wind farms in the nation more than 30 years ago.But there’s one area where the Golden State has fallen far behind: offshore wind. From Scotland to Norway, China to Rhode Island, thousands of giant turbines generate clean energy in oceans around the world. But none is off California’s coast.On Thursday, a coalition of labor, industry and environmental groups came together to change that, endorsing a new bill...

February 11, 2021
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More contagious South African coronavirus strain found in Santa Clara and Alameda counties

More contagious South African coronavirus strain found in Santa Clara and Alameda counties

By | and | | Bay Area News GroupThe South African strain of coronavirus, which is believed to be more contagious and easily spread, has surfaced in California for the first time, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Wednesday.Two cases were detected — one in Santa Clara County and one in Alameda County — in tests by scientists at Stanford University on Tuesday, Newsom said during a news conference in Fresno.The coronavirus variant first discovered in South Africa was detected in October. It now has been found in more than 30 other countries, including at least three states in the United States. It was...

February 10, 2021
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COVID: Bay Area falls below 15% ICU bed capacity, triggering regionwide stay-at-home order

COVID: Bay Area falls below 15% ICU bed capacity, triggering regionwide stay-at-home order

By | and | | Bay Area News GroupIn a sobering milestone on another record day of coronavirus cases and deaths in California, the availability of ICU beds at hospitals across the Bay Area on Wednesday fell below 15% for the first time, triggering state rules that will place every county in the region under a stay-at-home order.The alarming trend came as the Golden State suffered by far its most gruesome day since the pandemic began: more than 51,000 new cases and at least 428 new COVID-19 deaths were reported, obliterating the record 255 from only the day before.In the Bay Area, the region...

December 16, 2020
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What's behind the big increase in porpoises off Northern California?

What's behind the big increase in porpoises off Northern California?

By | | Bay Area News GroupIn the 1980s and 90s, it was a grim trend off Northern California’s coastline: Hundreds of harbor porpoises, shy marine mammals that look like small dolphins, were killed every year in huge gill nets used by commercial fishermen.The animals would wash up dead on beaches after becoming tangled in the nets, which stretched for up to half a mile underwater. After public outcry and threats of lawsuits from environmental groups, state officials banned gill nets in nearly all Northern California waters near the shoreline.Now, a new study shows the impact a generation...

December 2, 2020
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Want to save sea otters? The key might be moving them into San Francisco Bay -- away from great white sharks

Want to save sea otters? The key might be moving them into San Francisco Bay -- away from great white sharks

By | | Bay Area News GroupWhen most people think of California sea otters, the kelp beds of Monterey Bay and Big Sur’s rocky shoreline often frame the backdrop.But an increasing amount of scientific research is suggesting that if the fuzzy, frolicking mascots of the Central Coast are ever going to expand their population enough to be removed from the endangered species list, some of them may need to be relocated north, to a new home inside the protected confines of San Francisco Bay.It’s a place they haven’t inhabited for nearly 200 years, but some fisherman might not be ready to welcome...

November 19, 2020
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Bay Area weather: First rain in six months expected this weekend, snow in the Sierra Nevada

Bay Area weather: First rain in six months expected this weekend, snow in the Sierra Nevada

GET BREAKING NEWS IN YOUR BROWSER. CLICK HERE TO TURN ON NOTIFICATIONS.XBy | | Bay Area News GroupRemember 105-degree temperatures? Choking wildfire smoke?The weather misery that enveloped the Bay Area and much of Northern California over the past two months will be replaced this weekend by cool temperatures, blustery winds, and wait for it … actual rain — the first significant rain in nearly six months, since May 18. Some snow also is expected to fall in the higher elevations across the Sierra Nevada.It’s not a lot of precipitation, forecasters say, but a storm from Alaska will bring a...

November 5, 2020
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Map: Where the PG&E public safety power outages will be

Map: Where the PG&E public safety power outages will be

GET BREAKING NEWS IN YOUR BROWSER. CLICK HERE TO TURN ON NOTIFICATIONS.XBy | | Bay Area News GroupDue to extreme fire weather conditions and a red flag warning running from Sunday to Tuesday across most of Northern California, PG&E announced late Friday that it will be shutting off power to more than 466,000 customers.The outage will the largest ‘public safety power shutoff’ of 2020 so far.Forecasters say winds of up to 70 mph at higher elevations and 50 mph at lower elevations are expected across the Bay Area on Sunday night and early Monday morning.Shutoffs reduce the chances that high...

October 23, 2020
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La Niña: Is California heading into another drought?

La Niña: Is California heading into another drought?

GET BREAKING NEWS IN YOUR BROWSER. CLICK HERE TO TURN ON NOTIFICATIONS.XBy | | Bay Area News GroupFederal scientists say that La Niña — the phenomenon where Pacific Ocean waters off South America are cooler than normal — is underway this winter.A commonly held assumption among many Californians is that La Niña means a dry winter is coming, and in years when the opposite occurs, El Niño, a wet winter is considered more likely.So brown lawns and water rationing are just around the corner, right?“The reality is that’s not always true,” said Jan Null, a meteorologist with Golden Gate Weather...

October 20, 2020
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Anderson Dam: Project to drain Santa Clara County's largest reservoir begins Thursday

Anderson Dam: Project to drain Santa Clara County's largest reservoir begins Thursday

GET BREAKING NEWS IN YOUR BROWSER. CLICK HERE TO TURN ON NOTIFICATIONS.XBy | | Bay Area News GroupSanta Clara County’s largest reservoir will soon be nearly empty, and will stay that way for the next 10 years.Under orders from federal dam regulators, the Santa Clara Valley Water District will begin a project to drain Anderson Reservoir on Thursday, the first step in a $576 million effort to tear down and rebuild its aging dam.The 240-foot earthen dam, built in 1950 and located east of Highway 101 between Morgan Hill and San Jose, poses too great of a risk of collapse during a major...

September 29, 2020
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Newsom appoints Rob Bonta, Oakland assemblyman, as state attorney general

Newsom appoints Rob Bonta, Oakland assemblyman, as state attorney general

By | and | | Bay Area News GroupGov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday announced he has chosen Assemblyman Rob Bonta, an Oakland Democrat, to be California’s next attorney general — a high-profile job and frequent stepping stone to higher office that was the epicenter of the state’s relentless lawsuits against the Trump administration over the last four years.Bonta, 48, was the first Filipino American elected to the state Legislature in 2012. A close ally of Newsom who earned a law degree from Yale, he represents the 18th Assembly District, a Democratic stronghold that includes much of the East...

March 24, 2021
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