Wednesday, April 20, 2016 2:51 PM PT
By MATTHEW RENDA 

     SANTA ROSA, Calif. (CN) - The Coastal Commission will attempt to hire a new leader after parting ways with its former executive director Charles Lester behind closed doors, after the public and commission staff had lauded Lester's leadership.

By SEAN DUFFY 

     (CN) - Quasars may be the answer to a long-standing mystery of why star formation has slowed drastically over the past 11 billion years, according to evidence presented in a recent study.

By NICK CAHILL 

     SACRAMENTO (CN) - California lawmakers on Tuesday advanced a bill that would put on hold Gov. Jerry Brown's contentious $15 billion water plan unless it gets approval from voters.

By MATT REYNOLDS 

     LOS ANGELES (CN) - A powerful Southern California water agency and the largest distributor of treated drinking water in the nation is moving forward with the $175 million purchase of four islands in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta - a deal critics call a "water grab." 

     CAMBRIDGE, Mass (CN) - Whole Foods said it is recalling salad packages listing the wrong ingredients because consumers were not warned about an egg allergen.

By BRITAIN EAKIN 

     WASHINGTON (CN) - Finally testifying Thursday about the leaded-water crisis in Flint, Mich., that has him facing calls to resign, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder blamed the failure to protect residents on emergency managers he appointed.

By KEVIN LESSMILLER 

     (CN) - The Supreme Court ruled Monday that Wyoming, while off the hook for most of Montana's irrigation-related claims, is liable to its northern neighbor for two years of reduced river water levels. 

     BANGOR, Maine (CN) - A retired officer with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police convicted in Canada of smuggling narwhal tusks will remain in U.S. custody pending a money-laundering trial.

By BIANCA BRUNO 

     SAN DIEGO (CN) - A California lawmaker has introduced another orca protection bill following SeaWorld's announcement that it has stopped breeding killer whales, but this time the proposed legislation has less teeth.

By REBEKAH KEARN 

     SAN FRANCISCO (CN) - The Ninth Circuit heard arguments Thursday on the Navy's ability to protect endangered marine mammals from low-frequency sonar blasts.

By NICK CAHILL 

     (CN) - Rising sea levels and soaring temperatures caused by climate change could exacerbate California's water shortage and increase stress on its most important natural resources, according to a federal report released Tuesday.

By DAN MCCUE 

     (CN) - The Supreme Court on Tuesday held Maryland officials overstepped their authority when they offered to subsidize construction of a new power plant in the state. 

By PHILIP A. JANQUART 

     (CN) - Competitive interests justify keeping animal-rights activists in the dark about hen populations at Texas egg farms, the Ninth Circuit ruled Monday. 

By LACEY LOUWAGIE 

     PINE RIDGE, S.D. (CN) - A federal judge Monday vacated a 12-year-old injunction forbidding a farmer on the Pine Ridge Reservation from growing industrial hemp, but stopped short of ruling whether Alex White Plume or anyone else can do it legally there. 

By BARBARA LEONARD 

     CINCINNATI (CN) - After environmentalists cracked the whip on lackluster air-quality standards, the Supreme Court refused Monday to let the states appeal. 

By ROSE BOUBOUSHIAN 

     (CN) - Backcountry enthusiasts lost their Sixth Circuit challenge to the new $4 daily fee campers face at Tennessee and North Carolina's Great Smoky Mountain National Park. 

By JACK BOUBOUSHIAN 

     CHICAGO (CN) - The Seventh Circuit upheld Unilever's $10 million settlement that will compensate women who suffered hair loss and scalp burns from using Suave Professionals Keratin Infusion 30-Day Smoothing Kit. 

By REBEKAH KEARN 

     (CN) - A federal judge has sidelined a challenge to permits that green-lights trophy imports of endangered black rhinoceroses hunted in Namibia. 

By NICHOLAS IOVINO 

     SAN FRANCISCO (CN) - Two class actions claiming Whole Foods Market mislabeled its baked goods as "all natural" will move forward, despite scant evidence on the purchases plaintiffs made, a federal judge ruled Tuesday. 

By KEVIN LESSMILLER 

     (CN) - The Supreme Court sided with a hovercraft-owning moose hunter on Tuesday, vacating a ruling against him in a case of state sovereignty versus federal authority centered on an Alaska river. 

By JON CHOWN 

     SAN LUIS OBISPO (CN) - Three generations of a family sued a tour business for an off-road collision with a Hummer that left an 8-year-old girl with severe brain and spinal injuries.

By MATTHEW RENDA 

     SAN JOSE (CN) - A giant solar power farm on 2,000 acres of grassland in California's Central Valley will threaten the survival of three endangered species, including a fox, environmentalists claim in court.

By LORRAINE BAILEY 

     WASHINGTON (CN) - The Humane Society sued the Fish and Wildlife Service for information on the amount and value of imported ivory, furs, and wildlife trophies.

By TIM HULL 

     TUCSON (CN) - A conservative think tank claims in court that local officials had stars in their eyes when they approved a $15 million subsidy for a balloon spaceflight company, touted as a high-tech economic boon for Southern Arizona.

By PHILIP A. JANQUART 

     GREAT FALLS, Mont. (CN) - The federal government has fast-tracked approval of a dramatic escalation of mining and drilling activity on 6.6 million acres of virgin land in Montana and Wyoming, conservationists claim in court.

By TIM HULL 

     TUCSON (CN) - Widespread destruction of milkweed by herbicides, particularly Roundup, is killing off the monarch butterfly in North America, and the government refuses to list the once plentiful species as threatened, environmental groups claim in court.

By DAVID LEE 

     OKLAHOMA CITY (CN) - A constitutional ballot initiative that would "forever guarantee" the right to farm and ranch in Oklahoma will let factory farms set agricultural policy, a preservation group and state lawmaker group claim in court.

By EMMA GANNON 

     DENVER (CN) - As many as 3,000 patients of a Denver hospital may have been exposed to HIV and hepatitis by a drug-using, needle-swapping technician, surgical patients say in a federal class action.

By REBEKAH KEARN 

     SAN FRANCISCO (CN) -A federal plan to open 2,000 acres of the Klamath River watershed to logging will harm threatened coho salmon and degrade its critical habitat, in violation of the Endangered Species Act, the Karuk Tribe and four environmental groups claim in court.

By MATT REYNOLDS 

     LOS ANGELES (CN) - Truckling to pressure from the oil industry, Southern California's air quality regulator weakened cap and trade rules for pollutants in the L.A. Basin, which has the most-polluted air in the nation, major environmental groups said in a lawsuit Wednesday.

By MIKE HEUER 

     LAS VEGAS (CN) - A Nevada solar energy project focused light so intensely it incinerated 115 birds in flight, and though the company says it's fixed the problem, the Department of the Interior refuses to release information on it, environmentalists claim in court.

By JON CHOWN 

     SAN FRANCISCO (CN) - Saying 1 million young lives are at stake, a Bay Area activist filed a class action against six major movie studios and the Motion Picture Association of America to try to stop children from being exposed to tobacco products in movies.

By MONICA PAIS 

     (CN) - MillerCoors deceptively marketed and sold its "Coors Light" beer as being exclusively brewed in the Rocky Mountains when in reality it's made in other breweries nowhere near the mountains, a class action claims.

By MARLENE KENNEDY 

     ALBANY, N.Y. (CN) - An industrial chemical discovered in the public water system and private wells has ruined home values and the quality of life in a quiet upstate village, a class action filed by four residents claims.

By SABRINA CANFIELD 

     NEW ORLEANS (CN) - Industrial offshore fish farming approved last month for federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico is a threat to native and endangered species, the ecosystem, and even the fish we eat, according to a federal lawsuit.

By NICK CAHILL 

     SAN DIEGO (CN) - Alleging a cover-up of the California Coastal Commission's recent firing of its popular executive director Charles Lester, an environmental group has sued the embattled regulator in state court.

By JOSH RUSSELL 

     MANHATTAN (CN) - More than 16 million Americans' drinking water is contaminated by perchlorate, a byproduct of the defense and aerospace industries that can cause thyroid damage, and the U.S. refuses to regulate it, environmentalists claim in court.

By BIANCA BRUNO 

     LOS ANGELES (CN) - The Army Corps of Engineers habitually dredges and fills along the Los Angeles River without permits, in violation of the Clean Water Act, California claims in court.

By JACK BOUBOUSHIAN 

     CHICAGO (CN) - Chicago has been contaminating its drinking water with lead for years as it tried to fix its aging lead pipes, and it knew it, residents claim in a class action that may have more victims than the fiasco in Flint, Mich.

By NICHOLAS IOVINO 

     SAN FRANCISCO (CN) - The National Park Service lets private ranchers raise livestock on 18,000 acres of Point Reyes National Seashore without ever having studied its environmental impact, three environmental groups claim in court.

By JONNY BONNER 

     NEWARK (CN) - In a federal class action similar to the Volkswagen scandal, Mercedes-Benz is accused of programming shutoff devices in its "Clean Diesel" engines to disguise pollution levels "more than 65 times higher" than permitted by law.

By CAMERON LANGFORD 

     GALVESTON, Texas (CN) - The University of Texas Medical Branch fired its animal research director for reporting that it let eight monkeys die from a virus rather than euthanize them, the director claims in court.

By DAN MCCUE 

     (CN) - A change in how the U.S. Department of Energy plans to dispose of weapons-grade plutonium has prompted a lawsuit by the South Carolina attorney general, who says shutting down the program will cause the state irreparable harm.

By PHILIP A. JANQUART 

     CHEYENNE, Wyo. (CN) - Chemicals illegally stored at a Chesapeake Energy waste treatment facility in Wyoming exploded, burning and permanently disfiguring two men, they claim in Federal Court.

     RIVERSIDE, Calif. (CN) - McDonald's defrauds customers by claiming its Mozzarella sticks are "100 percent real cheese," because it uses starch as a cheap filler to add weight, a class action claims in Federal Court.

By CNN 

     A study measuring the extent of coral bleaching in Australia's iconic Great Barrier Reef is branding some of the northern reef's problem as "extreme." Read more at CNN.

By NBC NEWS 

     Just over half of Americans live in a county with an unhealthy level of polluted air, a new study finds - and it's even worse if you call California home. Read more at NBC News.

By RAMONA YOUNG-GRINDLE 

     WASHINGTON (CN) - The National Marine Fisheries Service has finalized its listing of the Tanzanian distinct population segment of African coelacanth as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act.

By RAMONA YOUNG-GRINDLE 

     WASHINGTON (CN) - The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has announced awards totaling nearly $5 million to Native American and Alaskan tribes for wildlife conservation projects.

By RAMONA YOUNG-GRINDLE 

     WASHINGTON (CN) - The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's guidance document for acoustic thresholds for marine mammals, expected a year ago, was delayed again to incorporate the Navy's input.

By RAMONA YOUNG-GRINDLE 

     WASHINGTON (CN) - Of requests for status changes for 29 species, only 16 merit further review, including African elephants, pangolins and bumble bees, according to a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed rule.

By SEAN DUFFY 

     (CN) - The Food and Drug Administration has approved a field trial of genetically engineered mosquitoes that may help stem the spread of the Zika virus, the agency said Friday.

By SEAN DUFFY 

     (CN) - The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued the first national standards for the usage of opioid painkillers on Tuesday, hoping to offer prescription guidelines to stem the rising tide of addiction and recreational use.

By RAMONA YOUNG-GRINDLE 

     WASHINGTON (CN) - Nearly a decade after listing coho salmon and Puget Sound steelhead as threatened species, the National Marine Fisheries Service designated critical habitat.

By RAMONA YOUNG-GRINDLE 

     WASHINGTON (CN) - The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Friday reclassified the Santa Cruz cypress' status from endangered to threatened, due to a fourteen-fold population increase.

By RAMONA YOUNG-GRINDLE 

     WASHINGTON (CN) - The two federal agencies charged with Endangered Species Act implementation have announced policy changes regarding increased state collaboration and the use of new landowner conservation tools.

By RAMONA YOUNG-GRINDLE 

     WASHINGTON (CN) - The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced its plans to delist three recovered California foxes, and to downlist one fox subspecies from endangered to threatened status.

By RAMONA YOUNG-GRINDLE 

     WASHINGTON (CN) - Environmentalists say new federal critical habitat rules favor developers and save "only the last few acres" for endangered species.

By RAMONA YOUNG-GRINDLE 

     WASHINGTON (CN) - A seafood traceability program proposed Friday does not go far enough, conservation organizations say.

By RAMONA YOUNG-GRINDLE 

     WASHINGTON (CN) - The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's fisheries service has dramatically extended critical habitat for endangered North Atlantic right whales, further protecting crucial breeding and feeding grounds.

By RAMONA YOUNG-GRINDLE 

     WASHINGTON (CN) - The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Friday designated critical habitat for two rare cacti species in Florida that are endangered by rising sea levels and collection.

By RAMONA YOUNG-GRINDLE 

     WASHINGTON (CN) - The National Marine Fisheries Service listed the Banggai cardinalfish as a threatened species due to diminishing coral reefs, climate change and aquarium trade collection, Wednesday.

By RAMONA YOUNG-GRINDLE 

     WASHINGTON (CN) - The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's fisheries service announced that a Defenders of Wildlife petition to list the whitetip shark as endangered or threatened has merit.

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