Green Scene

READER’S EDITORIAL: WILDLIFE EXPERT FIRES BACK AT HUNTER OVER HIS SUPPORT FOR WEAKENING EPA

 

By Renée Owens, President, Wild Zone Conservation League

“Be aware that if any of my students made the statements you are erroneously posing as fact they would fail the course…”—Reneé Owens, environmental science instructor

February 19, 2017 (San Diego’s East County) -- Yesterday I sent my Congressional Representative, Duncan Hunter Jr., a message urging him not to weaken or dismantle our Environmental Protection Agency, as the 2017 Congress is threatening to do. If anything the agency needs strengthening and more funds to do their jobs. Today he responded, telling me the EPA is a big problem. I know something about the EPA in my line of work, so I felt obligated to respond:

SENATE CONFIRMS ENVIROMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY SECRETARY WHO HAS SUED THE EPA TO WEAKEN CLEAN AIR AND WATER REGULATIONS

 

By Miriam Raftery

February 19, 2017 (Washington D.C.) – The Senate, by a 52-46 vote, has confirmed Scott Pruitt to head up the Environmental Protection Agency, even though he has sued the EPA over a dozen times as Attorney General for Oklahoma, joining with oil companies in an effort to weaken environmental protections, Reuters reports.

EARTHTALK®: WHAT’S NEW IN BATTERIES TO STORE RENEWABLE ENERGY

 

From the Editors of E - The Environmental Magazine

Photo: Tesla Motors will produce more lithium ion batteries in its new Nevada Gigafactory than were produced worldwide in 2013. Credit: Nakhon100, Flickr CC.

February 19, 2017 (San Diego) -- Dear EarthTalk: I’ve heard that one of the big hurdles to growth in renewables is energy storage. What’s new in the world of battery technologies? And will better forms of storage really accelerate the development of solar, wind and other alternative forms of energy?  -- Maxwell Jay, Erie, PA

READER’S EDITORIAL: SUPERVISORS STAND IN WAY OF CLEAN POWER AT LOW RATES BY REJECTING COMMUNITY CHOICE FOR ENERGY

 

By Van Collinsworth

After San Diego Supervisors voted this week to reject a community choice energy alternative to SDG&E, Preserve Wild Santee founder Van Collinsworth posted this open letter to Supervisors on his Facebook page.

February 18, 2017 (San Diego) -- SDG&E and its allies in office are standing in the way of cleaner power at lower rates. My message to the Supervisors advocating energy choice follows...

SUPERVISORS REJECT RENEWABLE ENERGY OVERLAY ZONE

 

By Miriam Raftery

February 18, 2017 (San Diego’s East County) – San Diego Supervisors have rejected plans for a renewable energy overlay zone feasibility study, which would have cost an estimated half million dollars. The action came during a hearing on a Comprehensive Renewable Energy Plan.

Donna Tisdale, Chair of the Boulevard Planning Group and founder of Backcountry Against Dumps (BAD), voiced relief at the Supervisors’ rejection of the overlay zone.  “A renewable energy overlay zone would fast track any projects located within the designated boundaries. Based on some previous information, we had concerns that a renewable energy overlay zone would be placed over the Boulevard Planning Area and/or the Jacumba Planning Area,” she told ECM.

TREE TIME! ARBOR DAY CELEBRATION IN EL CAJON MARCH 25

 

East County News Service

February 17, 2017 (El Cajon) - Join El Cajon as the city celebrates its 28th Annual Arbor Day ceremony and 20th year of receiving the Tree City USA award on Saturday, March 25, 8:00 a.m. at Kennedy Park (1675 East Madison Ave., El Cajon.)

VIDEO: HELIX FLUME TRAIL NOW OPEN IN LAKESIDE

 

By Andy Tolley, County of San Diego Communications Office

February 16, 2017 (Lakeside) - The County cut the ribbon Thursday for the new Helix Flume Trail in Lakeside, and a group took an inaugural hike on the 0.8-mile path. It may be short in distance, but it’s long on history, with signs that share the story of early water transportation in San Diego. It also feature spectacular views of Lake Jennings and El Cajon Mountains.

The trailhead is located at 14003-14023 El Monte Road in Lakeside.

LEMON GROVE COUNCIL TO INCREASE SEWER RATE; PUBLIC HEARING TO FOLLOW

 

Onboard with enviro agreement to purify water

By Thea Skinner

February 16, 2017 (Lemon Grove) -- The City of Lemon Grove unanimously voted on February 7th to take a wastewater rate increase and reserve allocation to public hearing.  The move supports an agreement between the environmental community and City of San Diego’s Pure Water Project to filter sewer water into drinkable water. The relationship of the agreement in coming years is unforeseen.

TULE WIND CONSTRUCTION RESUMES AFTER SUSPENSION FOR DIGGING WITHOUT CULTURAL MONITORS PRESENT AND UNAUTHORIZED CLEARING

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: McCain Valley, before construction

February 16, 2017 (McCain Valley) – The Department of the Interior temporarily shut down construction of the Tule Wind Energy project in McCain Valley  on January20th due to six confirmed violations of the right-of-way grant conditions, including “three incidents of ground disturbing work without a cultural monitor present and three incidents of clearing beyond the disturbance limits at four different locations,”  according to the notice of temporary suspension issued January 20th.

COUNTY SUPERVISORS' VOTE WEDNESDAY COULD END SDG&E'S MONOPOLY

 

By Tyson Siegele, SanDiego350

February 11, 2017 (San Diego) -- This coming Wednesday, February 15th, the San Diego County Board of Supervisors will vote on implementation for some or all of the San Diego County Comprehensive Renewable Energy Plan (CREP). Many of the steps outlined in the plan save the county money and promote a healthier environment, but one particular piece of the plan could do more to promote clean energy and lower costs than all the rest combined: Community Choice Energy (CCE).

TAKEDA TO COMPLETE FOUR-YEAR RESTORATION OF PORTION OF SAN DIEGO RIVER TRAIL

 

Local drug discovery company to plant another 1,000 trees to enhance the area

East County News Service

February 11, 2017 (San Diego) - On Monday, February 20, Takeda California, Inc., the San Diego-based innovative research center of Takeda Pharmaceutical Company, will return to the Walker Preserve in Santee to complete its four year effort to restore a 1.3-mile long stretch of the San Diego River Trail.

THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO HIKING WITH YOUR DOG

 

By Mate Garner, originally from https://www.scruffypuppyco.com/blogs/blog/the-ultimate-guide-to-hiking-with-your-dog-1

February 11, 2017 (San Diego's East County) - Most dogs love hiking outdoors as much as humans. It's a great workout for both of you, but they also enjoy countless new smells they can sniff. It's important to be prepared for your hike so you have a safe, relaxing adventure with your pup. 

FREE GUIDED FLUME TRAIL HIKE IN LAKESIDE FRIDAY, FEB. 10

 

East County News Service

February 7, 2017 (Lakeside) - Robin Rierdan with the Lakeside Rive Park Conservancy will lead a series of four beautiful hikes through Lakeside. The first is this Friday, February 10th along the Flume Trail in El Monte Valley.  Space is limited and registration is required by Thursday. Register here.

EIGHT WAYS YOU CAN CLEAR THE AIR - OF POLLUTION!

 

By Gig Connaughton, County of San Diego Communications Office

February 1, 2017 (San Diego's East County) - We can’t live without it. It literally surrounds us. But we can’t see it and most of us never think about it.

It’s our air. We all share it and we all need to protect it. Because pollution — from chemical vapors to tiny particles of matter — can make people sick and hurt the environment.

SAN DIEGANS TO RALLY TONIGHT AGAINST TRUMP ACTIONS MOVING AHEAD ON DAKOTA ACCESS, KEYSTONE XL PIPELINES

 

East County News Service

January 24, 2017 (San Diego) – Tonight, over 100 San Diegans including members of the Kumeyaay Nation and local climate activists, will rally outside the Federal Building (880 Front St.) to oppose President Donald Trump's decision to move ahead with the Keystone and Dakota Access Pipeline. This is one of several actions across the country.

TRUMP SIGNS EXECUTIVES ORDERS TO ADVANCE DAKOTA ACCESS AND KEYSTONE PIPELINES: STANDING ROCK SIOUX TRIBE THREATENS LAWSUIT

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo:  bird coated in petroleum from an oil spill; there have been hundreds of pipeline leaks and spills across the U.S in recent years

January 24, 2017 (Washington D.C.) – Environmentalists and Native American activists are voicing dismay and pledging to fight back against executive orders signed by President Donald Trump to advance construction of the controversial Dakota Access and Keystone XL oil pipelines.

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

 

Agreement includes pilot project to repopulate burrowing owls across San Diego County; comes in response to lawsuit filed over destruction of burrowing owls near airport

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.

The agreement follows a lawsuit filed against the City of San Diego in 2013 by environmental groups to protect burrowing owls at the airport and protect their habitat.  Coalition for a Safe Environment's executive director Jesse Marquez stated at the time, "On one of our visits we discovered that the owl burrows had been poisoned to eliminate the owls in order to avoid having to relocate them. We must do everything possible to protect these owls from becoming extinct in San Diego."

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.

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.

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