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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.

INVESTIGATION LAUNCHED INTO HYDRAULIC OIL LEAKS AT OCOTILLO WIND FACILITY

 

By Miriam Raftery

July 22, 2014 (Ocotillo)—A Summary of Violations has been issued to Ocotillo Wind Express (OWE) for alleged violations of state law due to hydraulic oil leaks observed during a complaint investigation, Sandy Nax at the Department of Toxic Substances Control with the California Environmental Protection Agency in Imperial County confirmed today.

PALM OIL PRODUCTS ARE KILLING GREAT APES

 

By Miriam Raftery

July 16, 2014 (San Diego’s East County)--Palm oil is in many of the foods you eat, from peanut butter to candy bars. It’s also in cosmetics, soaps and other personal care products.  But as demand for cheap palm oil among major manufacturers grows, rain forests are being decimated in Southeast Asia and now, Africa.

FCC APPROVES SDG&E DRONE TESTING OVER EAST COUNTY SKIES

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

July 15, 2014 (San Diego’s East County)—San Diego Gas & Electric Company (SDG&E) is the first utility company in the nation to be approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to test the use of small, unmanned drone aircraft for monitoring electric and gas lines. 

The company announced that this will improve safety and response times, but the announcement is also drawing criticism for the lack of public input and potential environmental issues.

PUBLIC REVIEW OF CUYAMACA RANCHO STATE PARK GENERAL PLAN/DRAFT EIR POSTPONED

 

PUBLIC REVIEW OF  CUYAMACA RANCHO STATE PARK GENERAL PLAN/DRAFT EIR POSTPONED

July 12, 2014 (Cuyamaca) -- The Cuyamaca Rancho State Park General Plan Webpage has been updated to indicate that release of the Preliminary General Plan/Draft EIR has been delayed until August 7, 2014  due to time required to incorporate all comments submitted.  California State Parks is proposing to adjust select wilderness boundaries and decommission particular areas of existing wilderness at the Park.

WIND TURBINE INFRASOUND BLAMED FOR AFFECTING WOMEN'S OVALUTION IN DENMARK

... and kill another small business

"All my female employees are complaining of irregular menstruations, and several have permanent headaches." (Boye Jensen, Nursery Owner, Denmark)

By Mark Duchamp, World Council for Nature

July 11, 2014 (Denmark)--The Danish press reports the case of a garden centre (nursery) going out of business because of nearby wind turbines. Headaches are frequent among employees, and female workers complain of unusual bleeding and problems with their menstruation cycles. They are worried that more serious illnesses may follow. Five have recently resigned. The owner is now closing his business for fear of being held liable should a child be born with deformities, as happened to numerous mink puppies at a fur farm near wind turbines in Jutland.

STUDY FINDS THAT HALF OF PLANTS SOLD AT BIG BOX STORES HAVE PESTICIDES THAT KILL BEES

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

July 10, 2014 (San Diego’s East County)--Are the roses and other garden plants you’ve purchased recently killing off bees and butterflies?

NATION'S MAYORS EXPAND THEIR COMMITMENT TO ATTACK LOCAL CLIMATE CHALLENGES

 

July 4, 2014 (San Diego's East County) - At its 82nd Annual U.S. Conference of Mayors meeting recently, the nation’s mayors renewed their longstanding commitment to fight climate change by reducing carbon emissions, promoting energy independence and efficiency and developing renewable energy.

FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE ANNOUNCES PUBLIC HEARINGS, COMMENT PERIOD ON PROPOSAL TO ISSUE 30-YEAR TAKE PERMITS FOR EAGLES

 

By Miriam Raftery

July 2, 2014 (San Diego’s East County)--Eagles, America’s national symbols, have special status under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act. Killing an eagle, or engaging in activities that lead to the death of an eagle, is currently punishable by  a $5,000 fine and one year in prison.  Felony convictions can result in far stiffer penalties – up to a $250,000 fine or two years in prison – and the fine for an organization that kills an eagle can be up to a half a million dollars.

WHITE HOUSE CREATES TASK FORCE TO SAVE BEE POPULATIONS; ALSO TAKES STEPS TO REVERSE BUTTERFLY DECLINES

 

June 30, 2014 (Washington D.C.)--Honey bees are vital for our food supply, since a quarter of all foods that Americans eat depend on pollination by bees.  But bee populations fell by 23% over the winter.

FUTURE OF FOREST LANDS , ALPINE GROWTH AT STAKE

 

By Nadin Abbott and Miriam Raftery

June 27, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) – San Diego Supervisors heard heated testimony on Wednesday regarding plans to change densities for lands on private property within the Cleveland National Forest boundaries. The Forest Conservation Initiative (FCI) passed by voters in 1993, which limited development on these lands to one home for each 40 acres, expired in 2010.  The County has rejected calls to enact the FCI protections into law. Instead, Supervisors directed staff to create an Environmental Impact Report based on staff recommendations that would increase densities in some areas and reduce them in others.

The hot potato is Alpine, where the Alpine Planning Group’s majority called on Supervisors to allow increased densities and development that could double the size of their rural town.  That has drawn opposition from environmentalists, board member Lou Russo, the Cleveland National Forest Foundation and the U.S. Forest Service itself, which raised concerns over fire dangers and preservation of federally protected wild lands adjacent to proposed development.

BLADE FLICKER POSES DRIVER DISTRACTION ON I-8

 

By Miriam Raftery

June 26, 2014 (Ocotillo) – Moving shadows of massive blades the length of football fields flickering across I-8 near the Ocotillo Wind Energy Facility  has been the subject of many complaints we’ve received from readers, residents and motorists since Pattern Energy built the project on Federal Bureau of Land Management property.

MORE THAN 90% OF RESIDENTIAL PACE INSTALLATIONS ARE MADE THROUGH HERO

 

 

All photos are Courtesy of HERO PACE,

  • Synthetic Turf – Courtesy HERO PACE
  • Weather based irrigation systems – HERO PACE
  • Gray water systems – Courtesy HERO PACE

Originally Published in the ECOreport

By Roy L Hales

June 23, 2014 (San Diego's East County) - The Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE)program is spreading across the US. Maine offers single PACE loans for up to $15,000 and New Hampshire is preparing to life its cap to $1 million. There is a PACE program in Ann Arbor and another being formed to service the rest of Michigan. PACE programs are starting up in Arkansas , Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island, Texas, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin. Eighty percent of the US is said to be adopting . However the program is still primarily Californian and, according to company spokesperson Severn Williams, more than 90% of residential PACE installations are made through HERO.

MINK MISCARRIAGES, BIRTH DEFECTS AND STILLBIRTHS HEIGHTEN CONCERNS OVER WIND TURBINES

 

Photos: Danish wind farmer blames wind turbines (left) on 1,600 stillbirths and 320 miscarriages (right) among mother minks at his farm.

By Jessica Richmond

June 18, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) – From Denmark to San Diego’s East County, concerns are growing over the safety of wind turbines near pregnant women, pets and livestock. 

Unlike the chemical or food industries, the wind industry has never had to provide safety data backed by any scientific studies on potential impacts of infrasound, noise or stray voltage from wind turbines on human reproductive health or even animals.  But a growing number of deaths and deformities of baby animals near wind turbines, as well as high sterility rates in some adult animals, is heightening fears among people living near wind turbines about potential impacts on their own health—and the health of their children.

ECM has previously reported on a study that found negative impacts from wind turbines on geese and other instances where health problems among livestock were observed near wind turbines including cattle deaths, high rates of stillbirths and miscarriages among horses, chickens laying eggs with no shells, and birth defects among goats, as ECM  reported.

Most alarming, now Kaj Bank Olesen, a mink farmer in Denmark, reports staggering reproductive problems after a wind turbine was erected 328 meters away.

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED TO SAVE DESERT WILDFLOWERS FROM INVASIVE WEEDS

 

By Miriam Raftery

June 24, 2014 (Borrego Springs)--Where have all the flowers gone?

Anza-Borrego has long been famous for its spectacular spring wildflower blooms.  But now the region’s biodiversity is threatened by an invasive weed—the Sahara mustard.

CLEVELAND NATIONAL FOREST FOUNDATION PRESIDENT ASKS PUBLIC HELP TO SAVE FOREST LANDS: SUPERVISORS TO VOTE WEDNESDAY ON DEVELOPMENT ENCROACHMENT PROPOSAL

 

East County News Service

 

June 23, 2014 (Alpine) – A proposal before the San Diego Supervisors on Wednesday would weaken protections for federal forest lands by allowing development encroachment in East County. The plan could double the size of rural Alpine, putting forest lands at risks, conservationists warn.

Now Jack Shu, president of the Cleveland National Forest Foundation, has issued a plea for the public to contact Supervisors and urge them to support protections granted by the Forest Conservation Initiative that was approved by two-thirds of local voters but recently expired.  Below is the letter he sent to conservationists countywide.

SAN DIEGO CITY COUNCIL JOINS OTHER CITIES AGAINST AB 2145 "MONOPOLY PROTECTION BILL"

 

By Nadin Abbott

June 19, 2014 (San Diego)—On Monday, San Diego City Council  joined cities across California, including Chula Vista, Santa Cruz, Berkeley, and Menlo Park, as well as the counties of Monterey, Marin, Los Angeles and San Benito in asking the State Senate not to pass AB 2145.

THE OCOTILLO WIND FARM KEEPS LIMPING ON

 

By Roy L Hales

Photos Credit: Parke Ewing

Originally published in the ECOreport

The Ocotillo Wind Farm keeps limping on. According to a recent article in East County Magazine, the site was producing just under 18% of capacity during the first quarter of 2014. As that was the windy season, it seems unlikely that Ocotillo will beat the slightly less than 16% average they set for the first for year of operation (2013). Then there is what the Bureau of Land Management keeps refering to as "general maintenance."

SDSU HOSTS SUSTAINABILITY CONFERENCE JUNE 16 - 20

 

June 12, 2014 (San Diego)- -For the first time ever, San Diego State University is hosting the California Higher Education Sustainability Conference, June 16-20. Associated Students will welcome nearly 1,000 attendees from all over California to share best practices and lessons learned in implementing sustainability on campuses.

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