Auntie’s all abuzz about Nissan’s entry in the race to manufacture an electric vehicle. The Japanese car company recently unveiled Leaf, a “zero-emission” hatchback with a reported 100-mile range that likely will go head to head for sales with General Motors’ highly anticipated Chevy Volt. Neither car has hit the showroom floor, but both are expected to enter the U.S. market late next year. Electric purists will like that the Leaf is an all-electric vehicle. Those who, like Auntie, are a little wary of the mileage restrictions all-electric vehicles present may prefer the Volt’s backup gas engine.
Meanwhile, in the things really are getting better department, the peregrine falcon, one of the first animals in California protected under the state’s Endangered Species Act has bounced back to the point that biologists have determined it no longer meets the qualifications for protection. Like many other species of raptors, the peregrine neared extinction due to the use of DDT. The pesticide, which was banned in the early ’70s, thinned the shells of the birds’ eggs. During the height of DDT use, scientists estimated that only 10 breeding pairs of the falcons existed. These days, due to captive-breeding and releasing programs, the species has grown to more than 1,000 birds, including a reported 150 to 250 breeding pairs. In a unanimous decision earlier this month, the state Fish and Game Commission voted to remove peregrines from the list of endangered animals.
What will they think of next? Auntie is concerned that California water officials are looking into the possibility of constructing a tunnel to transport water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to water-starved Southern California. The state Department of Water Resources will weigh the option against another plan to build a canal. The agencies that purchase water are hoping that a proposed 35-mile tunnel running under the Delta meets less resistance from the public. One of the selling points of a tunnel is that it wouldn’t affect properties adjacent to the waterway.