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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.

EPA'S PROPOSED REGULATION WILL CUT CARBON EMISSIONS BY 30%

 

 

By Jaden Jimenez

 

June 5, 2014 - The Environmental Protection Agency proposed a regulation Monday that would cut carbon dioxide emissions from existing coal plants by up to to 30 percent by 2030 compared with 2005 levels, the Washington Post reports.

LACKLUSTER POWER PRODUCTION CONTINUES AT OCOTILLO WIND

 

May 31, 2014 (Ocotillo) – Last month, our article, “Was it fraud?”  raised serious questions over whether Pattern Energy exaggerated wind capacity factor claims to pocket federal subsidies for its Ocotillo Wind Energy Facility.  That story revealed that in calendar year 2013, the facility produced less than half  of the 34% capacity factor promised by the developer.

LEARN HOW TO SAVE ENERGY AND MONEY NOW WITH LOW-COST LED BULBS

 

Community tailgate at SDG&E offices June 6 in El Cajon and July 7 in Chula Vista

East County News Service

June 4, 2014 (El Cajon)--SDG&E is going to have Community Tailgates at its branch offices, providing information on programs, services and solutions to your energy needs. Their partners, TechniArt, will be on hand offering 3 light-emitting diode (LED) light bulbs for $10 (which is a $60 value) along with additional LED sizes.

LEDs use far less electricity, and because they don’t have a filament to burn out, they last up to five times  longer than compact florescent bulbs. And LEDs offer a “cleaner” light than  compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs. The LEDs use so much less electricity and last so much longer that the cost savings over a traditional incandescent bulb is about $540 over the life of the bulb. That’s a solid return on the investment of $3.33 per bulb in this special offer.

DID CALIFORNIA'S OIL LOBBY BUY SB -1132?

 

Originally Published in the ECOreport

By Roy L Hales

June 1, 2014 (San Diego's East County) - The biggest lobby group in California is the oil sector. The Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA), alone, spent $1.4 million during the first three months of 2014. Senate Bill 1132 called for a seven month moratorium of fracking while the Natural Resources Agency conducted “an independent scientific study” to ascertain what dangers fracking presents to Californians and the environment. When a bill like this is defeated, (tied 16-16, with 8 abstaining) one has to wonder why. Did California’s oil lobby buy SB 1132?

BREAKING NEWS: AB 2145 PASSES ASSEMBLY: CALIFORNIA'S "UTILITY MONOPOLY POWER GRAB OF 2014"

 

Originally published in the ECOreport

By Roy L Hales

May 29, 2014 (Sacramento)--The California Assembly passed AB 2145 by a 51-15 vote. A broad and diverse coalition of business, local government, community and environmental organizations have decried the Assembly’s passage of what they are calling California’s ‘Utility Monopoly Power Grab of 2014.’

AN ECOLOGICAL DISASTER IN THE MAKING?

 

An analysis on the impacts of energy policies and projects on the future of East County

By Jessica Richmond and Miriam Raftery

May 29, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) – A growing number of East County residents, fire chiefs, environmentalists and elected officials are voicing alarm over the proposed large-scale destruction of natural and scenic resources for numerous industrial-scale “renewable” wind and solar energy projects and related powerlines, substations and more.  A map reveals that East County is targeted for a disproportionate share of these projects, pushed forward by energy companies and politicians who contend such development is needed to disrupt disastrous effects of global warming and fill the regional energy gap left by closing San Onofre nuclear generation stations.

But opponents say these projects are not green or sustainable, instead setting up our region for an ecological disaster in the making. They raise some crucial questions:

How did San Diego’s East County come to be targeted for fast-tracking by federal, state and county governments to facilitate construction of so many massive-scale solar and wind projects and related transmission lines in rural, mountain and desert areas instead of urban locations where demand for power is highest? 

Why isn’t preference given to incentivize less destructive renewable options, such as rooftop and parking lot solar or small-scale wind turbines for use by residents, schools, municipal governments and businesses?

PETITION LAUNCHED TO HALT POWER GRAB BY UTILITIES

 

May 24, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) – Community opposition is growing to a bill, AB 2145, that  would make it harder for communities to invest in clean energy through community choice aggregation, i.e., giving consumers alternatives on where to buy their electricity.  Supervisors Dianne Jacob and Dave Roberts are among those who have signed a petition asking the State Legislature to oppose the measure.   You can view those who have signed it here:  http://www.no2145.org/

You can read and sign the petition here:  http://www.credomobilize.com/petitions/stop-the-utility-power-grab-1?sp_ref=43541140.4.7738.e.0.2&source=mailto_sp

IS PG&E MAKING A MOCKERY OF CALIFORNIA SENATE BILL 790?

 

 

Originally published in the ECOreport

By Roy L Hales

May 22, 2014 (San Diego's East County) - California Senate Bill 790 (SB 790) bans utility companies from using ratepayer funds for negative publicity campaigns against local community utilities ( community choice aggregators, or CCA). They are now required to file the details of any anti-CCA marketing with the California Public Utilities Commission. Only PG&E has not filed in the case of AB 2145 (popularly known as the “Monopoly Protection Act” ) because the marketing is being done by associated third parties.

SYMPOSIUM ON CLIMATE CHANGE FINDS COMMON GROUND

 

By Jeffrey Meyer

May 14, 2014 (San Diego) -- Various community and industry leaders found common ground on the conflictive issue of climate change, at a University of San Diego symposium Tuesday, agreeing that it is important that we act now to avoid the worst affects of global warming.

HIKERS WIN CASE OVER FEES CHARGED IN NATIONAL FORESTS

 

By Miriam Raftery

May 8, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) – The U.S. Forest Service cannot charge day use fees to hikers who don’t use facilities, a federal judge ruled on  April 30th.

SANTREE FEST CELEBRATION MAY 10 IN SANTEE

 

May 9, 2010 (Santee) – The City of Santee invites the public to its annual Earth Day celebration on Saturday, May 10 from 8 a..m. to 2 p.m. at Town Center Community Park East, 550 Park Center Drive in Santee.  

This free event includes tree planting and river cleanup at 9:30 a.m., as well as continuous live entertainment including Ramshackle, interactive demonstrations with Dr Zoolittle, the San Diego Zoo, Project Wildlife, Living coast Discovery Center, the Hummingbird Lady, Green Machine, Suzie’s Farm and Krusin Kritters. There will also be vendor booths, crafters and a kids’ zone with carnival rides, games, crafts and inflatables.

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