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SOMETHING FISHY IN COACHELLA VALLEY

 

San Diego's thirst for Colorado River water threatens ecosystem at Salton Sea

By Leon Thompson

Photos:  Salton Sea Authority, U.S. Geological Survey, Salton Sea Museum, and Tobias Deml

September 20, 2014 (Salton Sea) – The rotten smell in the desert just east of East County is the harbinger of worse things yet to come.

The tell-tale odor of “rotten eggs" prompted officials to issue an air quality warning for the Coachella Valley.  The South Coast Air Quality Management District issued an odor advisory Tuesday warning residents they could experience headaches and nausea.

QUAIL BRUSH POWER PLANT APPLICATION WITHDRAWN

 

By Miriam Raftery

September 12, 2014 (San Diego) – There won’t be a gas-fired power plant built next to Mission Trails Regional Park. Plans for the controversial project have been withdrawn at the request of a letter sent by Quail Brush GENCO LLC, the project applicant, to the California Energy Commission on September 12.

The project had faced strong opposition including city councils of both Santee and San Diego, the Santee School District, environmental groups and residents. 

Preserve Wild Santee posted the following message on its Facebook page upon hearing the news:

EARTHTALK(R): DOES ETHANOL IN THE GAS TANK FIGHT CLIMATE CHANGE?

 

E - The Environmental Magazine

Dear EarthTalk: I thought that putting ethanol in our gas tanks was going help fight climate change, but lately I’ve heard reports to the contrary. Can you enlighten?       -- Bill B., Hershey, PA

Ethanol and similar “biofuels” made from corn and other crops seem like a good idea given their potential for reducing our carbon outputs as well as our reliance on fossil fuels. But recent research has shown that the federal government’s push to up production of corn-derived ethanol as a gasoline additive since 2007 has actually expanded our national carbon footprint and contributed to a range of other problems.

SAN DIEGO NEEDS TO PUT TRANSIT AND ACTIVE TRANSPORTATION FIRST

 

Originally Published in the ECOreport

By Roy L Hales

September 13, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) - A statewide survey, done by the Public Policy Institute, found that 77% of Californians think public transit should be the focus of transportation spending. Only 18% said more money should be spent on highways and freeways.(1) This sentiment is strong in San Diego, where more than a decade ago 85% of the respondents said the transit system was the #1 priority.(2) When the question came up again, in 2010, 55% of those polled wanted the transit system expanded, as opposed to 32% who want more roads.(3) Now, as the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) draws up its’ transportation plan, community groups want them to put plans for a freeway expansion on hold. According to Monique Lopez, from the Environmental Health Coalition, San Diego needs to put transit and active transportation first.

PROTEST OVER TRANSPORTATION PLAN SET FOR SEPT. 12 AT SANDAG OFFICE

 

September 11, 2014 (San Diego) – Cleveland National Forest Foundation is urging the public to join in a protest Friday over the transportation plan put forward by the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG). The protest rally will be held in front ot the Wells Fargo building in downtown San Diego, 5th and B Street on Friday, September 12 from 11:30 a.,m. to 12:30 p.m. A press release issued by CNFF.org and TransitSanDiego.org states:

PEOPLE'S CLIMATE MARCH SEPT. 21 AIMS TO BE LARGEST CLIMATE MARCH IN HISTORY

 

East County News Service

September 9, 2014 (San Diego) – “You are invited to a pivotal moment in the history of our planet. In New York and in major cities around the world, people will be uniting on September 21 to call on world leaders meeting at the United Nations Climate Summit to act NOW on climate change,” says Diane Lesher, an organizer with a local coalition hosting a People’ Climate March San Diego to support the New York and global events and to focus on solutions to climate change that can be implemented locally.  Lesher adds, “Together we will call for a rapid transition from fossil fuels to renewables and energy efficiency, and a just and sustainable economy.”

ROAD CLOSURES ON PUBLIC LAND IRK RURAL RESIDENTS

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Kitchen Creek, where access in the vicinity has been limited by frequent road closures

September 7, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) – In recent months, several readers have written to ask us why they are encountering “road closed” signs on roads in Cleveland National Forest that were formerly accessible to the public.

LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS HOSTS LUNCHEON ON CLIMATE CHANGE SEPT. 18

 

September7, 2014 (San Diego)—The San Diego League of Women Voters invites you to “Lunch with the League” on Thursday, September 18th at 11:30 a.m. at Tom Ham’s Lighthouse restaurant, 2150 Harbor Drive in San Diego.  The topic is “Climate change and its challenges.”

HELIX WATER BOARD MAJORITY OPTS TO KEEP LAKE JENNINGS CAMPGROUND OPEN...FOR NOW

 

By Miriam Raftery

September 5, 2014 (San Diego’s East County)—In light of improved revenues and reduced losses at Lake Jennings, the majority of Helix Water District board members on Wednesday opted to support keeping the lake and its campground open for another year in hopes that it will become financially sustainable.

OCT. 1 PUBLIC MEETING SET ON SDG&E PLAN TO REPLACE POWER LINES IN CLEVELAND NATIONAL FOREST

 

September 6, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) – Cleveland National Forest (CNF) and the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) will hold a public meeting on October 1, 2014 from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Alpine Community Center, 1830 Alpine Blvd. in Alpine. The purpose is to obtain comments on a joint draft environmental impact report/draft environmental impact statement prepared by the two agencies regarding San Diego Gas & Electric Company’s proposal for a master special use permit in Cleveland National Forest and proposed replacement/fire hardening of select power lines in and around the federally protected Cleveland National Forest.

CITIZENS GROUP SEEKS FUNDS TO BATTLE BIG ENERGY PROJECTS, SAVE GROUNDWATER IN BACKCOUNTRY

 

September 5, 2014 (Boulevard) – The nonprofit citizens group Backcountry Against Dumps (BAD)  has been battling numerous major energy projects proposed in rural East County, including funding lawsuits that seek to halt several with potentially devastating consequences and research studies to support those lawsuits,  as well as persuade County planners and other decision makers to reject projects that may deplete water resources, harm wildlife, or have adverse health impacts on residents.

LEGISLATURE PULLS THE PLUG, KILLS MONOPOLY PROTECTION BILL

 

By Miriam Raftery

September 2, 2014 (Sacramento)--On Friday, the California Senate closed its annual legislative session. Not a single Senator would sponsor AB 2145, which opponents had dubbed the “anti-competitive Monopoly Power Grab Act,” so the bill is now dead.

TWO OPPORTUNITIES TO GO NATIVE

 

September 1, 2014 (San Diego's East County) - Thirsty lawns and fussy shrubbery are out of place in East County. The Earth Discovery Institute's (EDI) annual Native Plant Sale is a great opportunity to locally source native plants.

U.S. FISH & WILDLIFE WHISTLEBLOWERS DENOUNCE AGENCY FOR TURNING BLIND EYE TO BIRDS KILLED BY WIND AND SOLAR FACILITIES

 

By Miriam Raftery

September 1, 2014 (Washington D.C.) – Two former investigators with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are speaking out to say that the federal government is ignoring harm to wildlife caused by industrial scale wind and solar facilities.

SDG&E ON TRACK TO MEET 33% RENEWABLES GOAL BY YEAR'S END

 

Photo: Wind turbines in Ocotillo dwarf resident and mountains surrounding the desert town

By Miriam Raftery

August 29, 2014 (San Diego’s East County)--Jim Avery, a senior vice president at San Diego Gas & Electric Company, says the utility will meet California’s 33% renewable energy goal by the end of 2014 – six years ahead of schedule, IT San Diego reports.

LEGISLATURE VOTES TO BAN PLASTIC GROCERY BAGS

 

By Miriam Raftery

August 30, 2014 (Sacramento) – Plastic accounts for 90% of all floating debris in the ocean. This has negatively impacted over 250 species and puts petroleum-based chemicals into our food chain. Many bags wind up in the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch” in the north Pacific Ocean that has been estimated to measure hundreds of thousands, even millions of square miles.  Whales, dolphins and sea turtles choke by swallowing plastic bags, which resemble jellyfish prey. Bags can also become entangled around an animal’s neck.

TRANSPORTATION JUSTICE FOR EAST COUNTY: MEETING & COMMUNITY DINNER SEPT. 9 IN EL CAJON

 

By Miriam Raftery

August 29, 2014 (El Cajon)—You and your neighbors are invited to discuss access to safe, efficient and affordable transportation options.  What are your transportation needs and priorities? How can you influence transportation planning decisions?

A community meeting on these issues is planned for Tuesday, September 9th from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Prescott Promenade Park, 201 East Main Street in El Cajon. Dinner will be provided and Spanish translation is available. (View flyer) This event is organized by a coalition that includes the Environmental Health Coalition, Cleveland National Forest Foundation, MAAC,  and City Heights Community Development Corporation. The groups observe that transportation justice increases transportation access, improves public health and safety, and ensures equity for all.

In addition, a petition has been launched calling on local elected officials and the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) to support transportation justice and adopt a regional transportation plant that:

NATURE GUIDE TO THE SAN DIEGO RIVER PUBLISHED BY LOCAL STUDENT

 

Caption: Head of School Kevin Yaley (left) and San Diego River Park Foundation Trustee Jim Dawe with Parker graduate Marly Isler, signing her booklets. Photo Courtesy of Francis Parker School / Ken Stone

August 27, 2014 (San Diego)-- The San Diego River has stories to tell — if you know where to find them. A booklet by  Francis Parker School graduate Marly Isler fills the bill. And it's easy to find.

CUYAMACA RANCHO STATE PARK PLAN CALLS FOR REMOVING 674 ACRES FROM WILDERNESS DESIGNATION

 

By Miriam Raftery

August 23, 2014 (Cuyamaca) – California State Parks is proposing to remove 672 acres of wilderness designation in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park. (View map of proposed changes.) A preliminary general plan and draft environmental impact report (EIR) for the park is now available for public review.   The 45 day public review period opened August 21 and closes October 6, 2014.

MEETINGS SET FOR INPUT ON TRAILS AT NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE

 

August 22, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) – The San Diego National Wildlife Refuge invites the public to meetings in Spring Valley, Bonita and El Cajon to discuss a draft comprehensive conservation plan and the impact on trail users.  The meetings are set for August 25, August 26, and September 10, all from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the locations listed below.  Comments are accepted through September 17.  For more information see: http://www.fws.gov/refuge/San_Diego/what_we_do/planning.html

UNDER FIRE FROM WILDLIFE OFFICIALS, DESERT SOLAR CO. CLAIMS NEUTERING CATS IS CURE FOR BURNING BIRDS

 

By Miriam Raftery

August 20, 2014 (San Diego’s East County)—U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service officials have warned California this month that solar-tower technology used at Ivanpah and proposed by BrightSource near Joshua Tree National Park on the California-Arizona border have the “highest lethality potential” of all desert solar technologies.  The warning comes after Ivanpah, the first facility to use the concentrated solar technology, was found to be burning birds alive, Associated Press reports.

PROJECT WILDLIFE'S 8TH ANNUAL WE LIKE IT WILD! EVENT FEATURES EXOTIC ANIMAL ENCOUNTERS, AND JOAN EMBERY AS HOST

               

 

 

August 18, 2014 (San Diego, CA) – Project Wildlife will be hosting its 8th annual We Like It Wild! fundraising event on Sunday, September 14, 2014 at the historic Pillsbury Ranch in Lakeside. The VIP Reception will run from 4-5pm, with the Main Excursion from 5-8pm. This ranch gala features renowned wildlife and conservation expert Joan Embery as host, as well as up-close and personal encounters with her exotic animals. We Like It Wild! raises critical funds for Project Wildlife’s work to rehabilitate wildlife in need and educate the public on conservation.

NEXTERA PLANS SOLAR FARM IN JACUMBA ON FORMER BP SITE; SOITEC SHELVES SOME BOULEVARD PROJECTS...FOR NOW

 

By Miriam Raftery

NextEra hopes to build its solar farm close to SDG&E’s new substation, continuing the industrialization of rural Jacumba Hot Springs.

August 10, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) – For planners and residents in East County, keeping track of proposed industrial solar projects has begun to resemble a tiresome game of Whack-a-Mole: one vanishes and another pops up in its place.

WILDLIFE REFUGES GET PROTECTION FROM GE CROPS AND PESTICIDES

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Center for Food Safety

August 10, 2014 (San Diego)-The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has announced that no more genetically engineered crops or pesticides toxic to bees will be used at any National Wildlife Refuges across the country. This brings protection to wildlife n over 150 million acres of federal land, including  refuges here in San Diego County.

HOME ENERGY UPGRADE WORKSHOPS AUG. 13 AND 20

 

August 10, 2014 (El Cajon) - The City of El Cajon invites you to attend one of two Home Energy Upgrade Workshops coming up on August 13th and 20th.   Experts from the California Center for Sustainable Energy will be on hand to provide an educational presentation on home energy upgrades and incentives.

BRINGING SOLAR POWER TO MORE CA HOMES

 

By Lori Abbott, Public News Service-CA

 

August 7, 2014 (Sacramento) – Making it easier, cheaper and faster for California homeowners to get rooftop solar systems is the idea behind proposed legislation being pushed at the State Capitol.

CLIMATE CHANGE: POLICY REVIEW IN SAN DIEGO COUNTY

 

By Nadin Abbott

August 6, 2014 (San Diego)--The County of San Diego has recognized the reality of climactic change since the County Board of Supervisors adopted the Climate Action Plan in 2012, This is a comprehensive plan that partly complies with the state mandate imposed by AB 32. AB 32, which is the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, signed into law by then Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

WILDFIRES WORSENING DUE TO CLIMATE CHANGE: NEW WHITE HOUSE VIDEO

EARTHTALK(R): ECO-TRAVEL DESTINATIONS IN THE U.S

 

 

E - The Environmental Magazine                                           

By Roddy Scheer and Doug Moss

August 2, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) --Dear EarthTalk: Where are some good “eco-travel” destinations right here in the continental U.S. that I can consider for a family vacation?                                               -- Janet Devino, Brooklyn, NY

RARE TURTLES REINTRODUCED IN EAST COUNTY

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo by Yathin S. Kashnappa

August 3, 2014 (San Diego’s East County)-The Sycuan Peak Ecological Preserve in East County has some new residents: five Western pond turtles just released into the wild, the San Diego Zoo has announced.

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