public lands

NARCOTICS TASK FORCE ANNOUNCES 2015 MARIJUANA SEIZURES IN COUNTY

 

 

East County News Service

December 11, 2015 (San Diego)—Over 88,213 marijuana plants were seized in San Diego County in 2015 from 98 separate grow locations, including 60 outdoor and 38 indoor sites with a value of $464,149. The announcement was made by the Drug Enforcement Agency’s Narcotics Task Force in San Diego County, along with the Sheriff’s Department and Health Advocates Rejecting Marijuana (HARM).   

 Of additional significance is the fact that 52,439 plants were removed from our public lands, including U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management properties. DEA/NTF officials estimate that it takes approximately 900 gallons of water to bring an outdoor marijuana plant to harvest, and 450 gallons for an indoor grown plant.  Based on those numbers, the marijuana seized this year used approximately 72 million gallons of water.

CONGRESS PASSES MEASURE TO ALLOW SELLING OFF NATIONAL FORESTS AND OTHER PUBLIC LANDS

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Cleveland National Forest, courtesy National Forest Service

April 6, 2015 (San Diego’s East County)—The Republican-controlled House and Senate have passed measures that would allow the sale or outright giveaway of most public lands –including national forests, federal wildernesses and  wildlife preserves and Bureau of Land Management properties.  Only Republicans voted for the language slipped into a non-binding budget resolution—which passed without a single Democratic vote. 

The shocking news is revealed in a New York Times editorial by Will Rogers, president of the Trust for Public Lands, titled “Our Land, Up for Grabs.”  

While it’s unlikely that President Barack Obama would support such an extreme measure, if a Republican president is elected in 2016 and Republicans maintains control of both houses of Congress, losing our cherished public lands such could be a very real possibility.

Here in San Diego County alone, that could mean the demise of:  Cleveland National Forest,  Otay Mountain Wildnerness, Hauser Wilderness, Pine Creek , Carrizo Gorge, Sawtooth Mountains Wilderness , Agua Tibia Wilderness, San Diego National Wildlife Refuge, San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge , Tijuana Slough National Wildlife Refuge, McCain Valley National Recreation Area and more.

OUTCRY ARISES OVER NATIVE PEOPLES LOSING LANDS AND WAY OF LIFE

 

 

Pollution of earth and water is driving indigenous peoples from their homelands

By Miriam Raftery

April 27, 2013 (San Diego)--Around the world, including here in the U.S.,  native people are losing lands they have occupied for countless generations.  The earth and water that sustained life in their communities is being destroyed –once-mighty rivers and wetlands reduced to barren, parched or even contaminated land.  The story is the same from tribes along the Colorado River to those deep in the Amazon, from the deserts of Southern California to the jungles of Mexico, from the coal fields of Appalachia to the copper mining pits of Arizona to indigenous people’s lands in Canada threatened by the Keystone Pipeline.

The culprit?  Growing demand for energy and water. 

Now, native people are speaking out.  They hope to educate the public to conserve precious resources, sharing knowledge of the heart-breaking price being paid by people who have been given no choice—and whose very cultural identity centers around the lands and waters being lost.

NATIVE AMERICAN HERITAGE COMMISSION DECLARES OCOTILLO WIND A SACRED SITE, ASKS ATTORNEY GENERAL TO WEIGH LEGAL ACTION

 

“I really want to say `Dismantle it and give the land back to the tribes…I’d like to ask the Attorney General to…give this commission more teeth so we could say `Tear that wall down.”  -- Commissioner Marshall McKay

View video highlights by Paul Kruze: http://youtu.be/nS93BfT6juI

  (For full unedited videos, scroll to bottom of this story)

By Miriam Raftery

April 26, 2013 (San Diego) – At a hearing in San Diego on Monday, members of the state Native American Heritage Commission heard several hours of emotional testimony from Native Americans who contend that the  U.S. Bureau of Land Management ignored their  concerns and its duty to protect a clearly documented sacred site and cemetery in the fast-tracked approval process for the Ocotillo Express Wind Facility.

By a 4-0 vote, with the remaining commissioners absent, the NAHC voted to grant requests by Viejas and Quechan tribes to declare the 12,400 acre Ocotillo wind project site a sanctified Native American  sacred site.  Further, the commissioners voted unanimously to ask California Attorney General Kamala Harris to research if legal action can be taken.

PUBLIC LAND ACTIVISTS SUE INTERIOR DEPT ON PLAN TO KEEP MILLIONS OF ACRES OPEN FOR INDUSTRIAL SOLAR DEVELOPMENT

The Administration is opting to needlessly turn multiple-use public lands into permanent industrial zones. Solar development belongs on rooftops, parking lots, already-developed areas, and on degraded sites, not our public lands."- Janine Blaeloch, Western Lands Project

February 12, 2013 -- Three public-interest environmental organizations have filed a legal challenge against Interior Secretary Ken Salazar’s decision to keep millions of acres of public land available to industry for siting of destructive utility-scale solar plants.

In the complaint filed Tuesday, the Desert Protective Council based in San Diego, Western Lands Project in Seattle, and the Western Watersheds Project cited the government’s failure to consider alternatives that would focus solar development on degraded lands and in the already-built environment.  The government’s analysis under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) ignored alternative approaches that would be less damaging to the environment, more efficient, and less costly to taxpayers and ratepayers.

BILL IN CONGRESS WOULD EXPEDITE LEASES ON PUBLIC LANDS FOR LARGE SCALE SOLAR AND WIND PROJECTS

 

“Public lands should be managed for natural resource sustainability - not offered to private energy profiteers for destruction at public expense.”—Van Collingsworth, Preserve Wild Santee

Our bill is a common-sense way to create jobs and provide renewable energy the same opportunities as oil and gas while increasing our national security.”—Senator Ton Tester (D-Montana), coauthor

By Miriam Raftery

February 12, 2013 (Washington D.C.) – Western legislators in the House and Senate have introduced the Public Lands Renewable Energy Development Act. The measure would establish a leasing pilot project to streamline permitting of renewable projects on public lands. The measure aims to level the playing field between oil and gas companies and renewable energy developers.

It would also assure that funds from energy development on public lands will benefit states and counties, as well as some conservation efforts.

But environmentalists, tribes, and residents who have battled industrial-scale wind and solar projects on public lands have contended that recent fast-tracking of such projects has already gone too far, pushing through projects without adequate scrutiny of serious issues and impacts.

SOLAR DONE RIGHT SUPPORTS LOCAL ALTERNATIVES TO REMOTE MASSIVE ENERGY PROJECTS

Coalition seeks to protect public lands, launches “Energy Democracy” sign-up
 
It is currently cheaper, on a per-watt basis, to install a small rooftop system in Germany than it is to install a giant desert installation in the US.
 
By Ariele Johannson
 
April 9, 2012 (San Diego’s East County)--Driving through the southwestern deserts, I’ve long been impressed by the ocotillo, a cactus-like tree with straight branches angling upwards to the sun, ablaze with red blooms. This thorny desert tree is an apt metaphor for the ways different people view energy issues-- especially proposed industrial solar and wind power projects in remote wilderness areas. Like the ocotillo, these programs and policies have a wide array of angles from which to be viewed.

THIS LAND WAS YOUR LAND: EAST COUNTY SUFFERS LOSS OF OUR PUBLIC PROPERTIES

 

 

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

March 1, 2012 (San Diego’s East County) – What are the cumulative impacts on our region from the loss of federal, state and county public lands?  In the span of just  a few short years, we’ve lost vast tracts of our most beautiful properties once set aside by the federal, state and county governments as preserves for future generations. Wildfires, budget cuts, and now, massive energy projects are destroying our region's scenic wonders. 

 East County Magazine has sent our photographers into the wilds of San Diego’s East County, as well as just over the border into neighboring Imperial County, to document the destruction of our inland treasures. 

PUBLIC COMMENT SOUGHT ON OFF-HIGHWAY VEHICLE GRANT APPLICATION

 
March 5, 2012 (San Diego) -- Cleveland National Forest officials will submit a cooperative grant application to the California Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Division for 2011/2012 "Green Sticker" grants. Beginning March 5, 2012, the application can be viewed by clicking on the "Grants" tab on the California State Parks Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation website at http://www.ohv.parks.ca.gov. Comments on the application must be received by April 2, 2012.

THE WILL POWER REPORT: COURT LIMITS FOREST SERVICE ADVENTURE PASSES

 

Nothing but the Truth! 
 
By Will Schwent 
 
February 29, 2012 (San Diego’s East County)--The US Ninth Circuit Court has invalidated an unpopular U.S. Forest Service Program called the “Adventure Pass”.  This scam charged U.S. citizens to drive, park, or hike in their own public lands and fined them if they did not buy an “Adventure Pass.”
 
Four hikers in Arizona challenged the Mount Lemmon Pass program and the court issued a scathing criticism of the double taxation of the Adventure Pass.  

NATIONAL PUBLIC LANDS DAY - TRABUCO RANGER DISTRICT, CORONA, CA SEPT 24

 

 
September 20, 2011 (Corona, CA) -- On September 24, 2011, more than 180,000 volunteers at over 2,000 sites throughout the United States are expected to volunteer to help restore the beauty and vitality of our public lands as part of the 18th annual National Public Lands Day (NPLD).  We would like to invite the students and parents of your school to participate in this event.

 

 
The United States Forest Service, Cleveland National Forest, Trabuco Ranger District will be conducting invasive plant removal, trail repair, trash cleanup, graffiti removal, facility repairs, to assist in this national effort.