Green Scene

AGREEMENT PROTECTS SAN DIEGO’S VANISHING BURROWING OWLS, INCREASES SOLAR ENERGY

 

Agreement includes pilot project to repopulate burrowing owls across San Diego County

January 23, 2017 (San Diego) -- An agreement announced today between conservation and environmental justice groups and private developers will protect imperiled burrowing owls, increase renewable solar energy and conserve wildlife habitat to offset impacts from the redevelopment of San Diego’s Brown Field Municipal Airport. The airport — located near the Mexico border in Otay Mesa — will be redeveloped with new commercial and aviation facilities and include on-site solar energy to reduce energy consumption.

COUNTY SUED OVER CHANGES TO FOREST CONSERVATION PLAN

 

By Miriam Raftery

January 22, 2017 (San Diego’s East County) – Cleveland National Forest Foundation (CNF) and Save Our Forest and Ranchlands (SOFAR) filed a lawsuit against San Diego County last week in San Diego Superior Court.  The suit argues that Supervisors adopted an amendment to the Forest Conservation Initiative (FCI) based on a faulty environmental analysis and failed to identity ways to minimize impacts of the new plan. 

TOP CLIMATE SCIENTIST AT SCRIPPS INSTITUTE DENOUNCES TRUMP ENERGY PLAN AS "TRAGIC"

 

By Miriam Raftery, East County Magazine

“In stark terms, hundreds of millions of people will die - and countless species become extinct - because of eight more years of US inaction.” – Jeffrey Severinghaus, PhD

January 22, 2017 (San Diego) – One of the world’s top climate scientists is speaking out to denounce President Donald Trump’s energy plan and warn of its dire consequences for humanity.   Jeffrey Severinghaus, PhD  from Scripps Institute of Oceanography in San Diego actually measures the ice cores in Antaractica and Greenland.

“This is sad, and tragic,” Jeffrey Severinghaus, PhD, told East County Magazine after we sent him a copy of the energy plan posted at Whitehouse.gov by the Trump administration and informed him that climate change has been removed from the issues page at the White House website, along with all data on climate science previously posted there. 

Severinghaus warns bluntly, “We as a species cannot afford four more years—or eight, of delay on climate action. The stakes are simply too high.”

SDG&E AIMS TO REDUCE AIR POLLUTION BY DEPLOYING ELECTRIC VEHICLE CHARGING THROUGHOUT THE COMMUNITY







Seven new proposals would bring EV charging to the airport, local port, delivery fleets, taxi/rideshare, Park-and-Rides and residences

Source: SDG&E

January 21, 2017 (San Diego) – America’s transportation sector is the top source for producing harmful carbon emissions and in San Diego it accounts for more than half of all carbon emissions. Aiming to help solve the problem, today San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) filed a series of proposals with the California Public Utilities Commission to install tens of thousands of electric charging stations in new, key areas to encourage the transition to zero-emission electric vehicles (EVs), trucks, shuttles, and delivery fleets, among other areas.

INTERIOR SECRETARY NOMINEE ZINKE SAYS HE OPPOSES TRANSFER OF PUBLIC LANDS, BELIEVES CLIMATE CHANGE IS REAL AND WANTS TO RESTORE TRUST

 

By Miriam Raftery

January 17, 2017 (Washington D.C.) – In a confirmation hearing today before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Representative Ryan Zinke, Donald Trump’s nominee for Secretary of the Interior testified, “I want to be clear about this:  I am absolutely against the transfer or sale of public lands.”

CALIF. WATER SYSTEMS TO PROVIDE FREE LEAD TESTING FOR SCHOOLS

 

Source: State Water Resources Control Board

January 17, 2017 (Sacramento) -- In an effort to further safeguard California’s water quality, K-12 schools in the state can receive free testing for lead under a new initiative announced today by the State Water Resources Control Board.

FIRST-EVER CALL FOR DIVERSITY IN NATIONAL PARKS

 

By Logan Pollard, California News Service

January 16, 2017 (Oakland) -- Martin Luther King Jr. Day has deep significance for many Americans this year with the fulfillment of what some thought an impossible dream: a black president serving two terms in office. Now, the Obama administration's last days have been marked by grand gestures - including a call for public lands agencies to be more inclusive in hiring practices and community outreach.

FARMERS SEEK “FREEDOM TO GROW” CANNABIS IN SAN DIEGO COUNTY: SUPERVISORS SET TO WEIGH IN ON JAN. 25

 

By Miriam Raftery

January 15, 2017 (San Diego’s East County) – Californians legalized sale of recreational marijuana with Prop 64. But farmers can’t grow cannabis commercially unless they receive a permit from their city or county. 

DESPITE RAINS, THREE EAST COUNTY RESERVOIRS REMAIN AT VERY LOW LEVELS

 

Dam upgrades slated to begin at Lake Morena in 2018, but there’s no guarantee water levels will ever be restored

By Miriam Raftery

January 12, 2017 (Lake Morena) --  Even after heavy rainfalls doused our region,  three East County Reservoirs remain at very low levels.  As of January 9th, Lake Morena is at  just 2.1 percent of capacity, Barrett Lake is att 5.5 percent, and Sutherland 7.3 percent of capacity, according to the City of San Diego.

These are the only local reservoirs not connected to the State Water Project system of canals and aqueducts, thus they are solely dependent on rainfall  which has not been enough to replenish large quantities pumped out by the City of San Diego to meet its thirst for water.

HUNTER, ISSA VOTE TO ALLOW GIVEAWAYS OF FEDERAL LANDS

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Cedar Creek Falls in Cleveland National Forest, located in San Diego’s East County

January 8, 2017 (San Diego) – San Diego Republicans Duncan Hunter and Darrell Issa joined with the House Majority in voting for a rules change would allow giveaway of federal lands to states, local governments, or tribes.  Potentially, such giveaways could include national parks such as Yosemite or the Grand Canyon. It also encompasses all other public lands; here in San Diego these include Cleveland National Forest, federal recreation areas and national wildlife preserves.

READER’S EDITORIAL: WIND ENERGY – A RUNAWAY FAILURE FOR NEARLY 4 DECADES-- PART 1 OF 3

 

By Jim Wiegand, wildlife biologist

January 10, 2017 (San Diego’s East County) - If you are one of the millions across America who believes wind energy will create a better world, you need to read the facts presented here.   This information has been hidden by the media, utility companies, your government and by most of all, a terribly destructive industry seeking profits.  

HELP SOUGHT TO SAVE ABALONE

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo 1:  White Abalone, by Geographer, Wikimedia Commons

Photo 2:  Black Abalone, by James St. John, Wikimedia Commons

January 2, 2017 (San Diego) – The National Marine Fisheries Service is asking for public help to save black and white abalone from disappearing forever along the coast of California and Baja Mexico—the only places in the world where they are found.

AVIAN POX SUSPECTED IN HUMMINGBIRDS IN LA MESA/MT. HELIX AREA

 

By  Laura Ball

January 1, 2017 (La Mesa/Mt. Helix) -- I have very active hummingbird feeders and have noticed a few birds with tumors on their beaks (see photo). I have been in contact with a specialist at the University of California-Davis Vet Med Center about this, and she had some suggestions on how to help them. The hummingbirds probably have avian pox, which is contagious - to birds only, not humans - and can spread through the feeders we all have in our yards.

ROAD WIDENING BEGINS FOR TULE WIND PROJECT IN MCCAIN VALLEY: CLOSURES AND TRAFFIC DELAYS

 

By Miriam Raftery

January 1, 2017 (McCain Valley) – Road widening in anticipation of construction of the Tule Wind energy project in McCain Valley begins Tuesday, January 3rd.  A public notice  has been issued cautioning users of McCain Valley Road, Lake Canyon Campground, Cottonwood Campground and the Off Highway Vehicle Area about temporary closures and traffic delays.

OBAMA ACTS TO BAN OFFSHORE DRILLING IN ARCTIC AND EAST COAST

 

California leaders urge President to extend West Coast ban that ends in 2022

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Arctic National Wildlife Refuge coastal plain, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

December 21, 2016 (San Diego) -- President Barack Obama, in an effort to cement his environmental preservation legacy, has taken action to protect vast areas from offshore oil drilling in the Arctic and along the East Coast. 

The  1953 Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act allows presidents to withdraw lands from future leasing. It's been used by past administrations to restrict oil exploration on the West and East coasts, though those bans included expiration dates. 

The action would be difficult for a Trump administration to reverse, since it utilizes a law, not an executive action.

GOVERNOR BROWN, SCIENTISTS FIGHT TO PROTECT CLIMATE DATA

 

By Miriam Raftery

December 19, 2016 (Sacramento) -- Scientists have voiced alarm that the Trump administration might discontinue scientific research into climate science or even destroy decades of data amassed by the government.   But now, scientists and California’s Governor Jerry Brown are pledging a fight to assure that climate science facts don’t disappear into a black hole.

SUPERVISORS APPROVE CHANGES TO ALLOW DEVELOPMENT OF LANDS FORMERLY PROTECTED BY FOREST CONSERVATION INITIATIVE

 

By Miriam Raftery

Next up: Alpine General Plan amendments to be considered in 2017

December 16, 2016 (San Diego’s East County)—By a  4 to 1 vote with Supervisor Dave Roberts opposed,  San Diego Supervisors on Wednesday voted to approve a Forest Conservation Initiative Lands General Plan Amendment, along with community plan amendments, rezoning and  certification of a supplemental environmental review. The action paves the way for development of parcels  in the Alpine and Descanso areas that were formerly protected under the Forest Conservation Initiative passed by voters, but that has since expired due to a sunset provision in 2010.

Travis Lyon, chair of the Alpine Community Planning Group, reports that the Supervisors “took all the recommendations ACPG made at the last meeting.” 

Jack Shu, president of the Cleveland National Forest Foundation,  said after the hearing, “The bottom line is that the County has moved to do away with what the voters – two thirds of them—wanted in 1993 to protect our local Forest."

ENVIRONMENTALISTS VOICE ALARM OVER KEY TRUMP APPOINTMENTS, FEAR IMPACTS ON PLANET, PUBLIC LANDS AND HUMAN HEALTH

 

By Miriam Raftery

December 15, 2016 (Washington D.C.) — Environmental leaders are bracing for an assault on environmental protections if several key appointees of President-Elect Donald Trump are confirmed by Congress.  The appointees include an ExxonMobil CEO, Governors and legislators who have all denied climate change and lobbied for fossil fuel interests.

WILDLIFE EXPERTS BLAST DECISION TO ISSUE 30-YEAR EAGLE TAKE PERMITS TO U.S. WIND ENERGY COMPANIES

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Eagle killed at a Danish wind farm; courtesy Save the Eagles

December 15, 2016 (Washington D.C.) – Wind energy companies will be immune from prosecution for up to 30 years, even if their wind turbines kill or injure up to 4,200 bald or golden eagles, under a new rule finalized this week by the Obama administration.

PROPOSAL TO ALLOW DEVELOPMENT OF SOME FOREST CONSERVATION INITIATIVE LANDS ON SUPERVISORS’ AGENDA WEDNESDAY

 

 

East County News Service

December 13, 2016 (San Diego) – Tomorrow., San Diego Supervisors will consider a general plan amendment that would allow additional development on some Forest Conservation Initiative Lands. These properties were protected for 20 years by a vote of the people countywide, but the measure had a sunset provision. The issue pits environmentalists’ conservation goals against rights of private property owners.

The hearing starts at 9 a.m. at the County Administration Center, Room 310, 1600 Pacific Highway, San Diego.  Below are arguments on both sides of this contentious issue impacting inholding sites within or adjacent to the Cleveland National Forest.

SENATOR HUESO SEEKS ANSWERS ON OCOTILLO WIND TURBINE COLLAPSE

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photos by Jim Pelley

December  11, 2016 (Ocotillo) – State Senator Ben Hueso (D-40th district) wants to know why a massive wind turbine collapsed on November 21st  in Ocotillo on public land—and what will be done to prevent future such disasters.

In a letter to Beth O’Brien,  Pattern Energy’s manager of external affairs,  Senator Hueso notes that this is the third serious incident that has occurred at the Ocotillo Wind Energy Facilitiy since it opened approximately four years ago.  Prior problems include a wind turbine that burst into flames and another that hurled a multi-ton blade onto a public trail.

He indicated that residents have contacted him with concerns and asked him to look into the matter.  East County Magazine also contacted the Senator to ask what steps will be taken to protect public safety.

SUIT FILED AGAINST U.S. FOREST SERVICE TO PROTECT FORESTS AND SENSITIVE SPECIES ON CALIFORNIA FOREST LANDS FROM FUEL BREAK PLANS

 

East County News Service

December 8, 2016 (Santa Barbara) -- Two conservation organizations have filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court to protect fragile habitat and rare species in the path of a massive, remote fuel break recently approved in the Los Padres National Forest. The suit is also an effort to encourage the Los Padres National Forest to focus on reducing fire risk where it matters most, directly in and around communities.

LIFETIME SENIOR PASSES TO NATIONAL PARKS WILL RISE 800% STARTING AS EARLY AS NEXT WEEK: HOW TO GET YOURS NOW FOR JUST $10

 

By Robert Perry

December 7, 2016 (San Diego) -- Since 1965, Americans age 62 or older have been able to buy a senior lifetime pass,  also called the Golden Age Passport and now The National Parks and Federal Recreation Lands Pass.  It allows the holder and people in the car free entrance to federal recreational facilities plus half price camping in federal campgrounds.  (Saves $30 at Yosemite for instance.)  It’s good nationwide. Locally it takes the place of the National Forest Adventure Pass (Mt. Laguna for example).

CLEAN ENERGY MILESTONE: 100,000TH PRIVATE SOLAR ARRAY CONNECTED TO SDG&E’S POWER GRID



 

More than 75 percent of new solar customers using “Fast Track” process

Source: SDG&E

December 6, 2016 (San Diego) - As of November 30, San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) has connected more than 100,000 private rooftop solar systems to its reliable power grid. This milestone comes as the company reports in November it connected 1,942 residential customer rooftops.

SUPERVISORS TO HEAR FOREST CONSERVATION INTIATIVE LANDS AMENDMENT TO GENERAL PLAN DEC. 14

 

East County News Service

December 5, 2016 (San Diego's East County) - The Forest Conservation Initiative Lands General Plan Amendment (GPA) is scheduled for the December 14, 2016 San Diego County Board of Supervisors hearing agenda.  The purpose of this hearing is for the Board of Supervisors to receive and consider the County of San Diego Department of Planning & Development Services report on the GPA and certification of the Final Supplemental Impact Report prepared for the GPA. 

VICTORY FOR STANDING ROCK SIOUX: GOVERNMENT TO REROUTE PIPELINE

 

By Miriam Raftery

Newsflasher photo courtesy Bobby Wallace

December 4, 2016 (Cannonball, North Dakota) — In a victory for the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and thousands of people who have converged in Cannonball, North Dakota to opposed the Dakota Access oil pipeline, the federal government has announced that it will not grant an easement to allow completion of the pipeline underneath Lake Oahe, a reservoir of the Missouri River.

STAR RANCH UP FOR SALE

 

By Miriam Raftery

November 29, 2016 (Campo)- If you’ve got a hankering to own a 2,160 acre cattle ranch,  you may want to mosey on out to rural Campo and saddle up to see the Star Ranch.  The large property is on the market—and the owner is willing to consider offers on any of nine parcels separately or together. (View offering proposal).

A 455-unit housing development has been proposed on the site, drawing opposition from some neighbors concerned about impacts on groundwater supplies, traffic and loss of rural character.  Now the owner has put the site on the market-- and  is giving neighbors the first opportunity to purchase all or part of the sprawling rural property.

BOULEVARD PLANNERS RAISE CONCERN OVER COUNTY’S CLIMATE ACTION AND RENEWABLE ENERGY PLANS, CITE ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE DISPARITY

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photos:  Fire at wind turbine in Campo sparked brush fire; Eco Substation in Jacumba mars desert views

November 27, 2016 (San Diego) - The Boulevard Planning Group voted unanimously to send a letter to County officials voicing concerns that the County’s Climate Action Plan and Comprehensive Renewable Energy Plan will adversely impact the Boulevard/Jacumba area, where mostly low-income residents have already been “disproportionately targeted” for 31 major energy–related projects planned, approved or built in the past decade, according to a letter signed by BPG Chair Donna Tisdale.

FEDERAL FUNDING AVAILABLE TO ADDRESS TREE MORTALITY ON PRIVATE FORESTLANDS

 

East County News Service

November 24, 2016 (San Diego) -- The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in California is expanding its initiative to assist private forestland owners in addressing tree mortality and other drought-related damage to improve forest health.  NRCS will provide financial assistance for landowners with dead and dying conifer forest trees in certain counties, including San Diego County.

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