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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.

CALIFORNIAN LEGISLATION THREATENS COMMUNITY CHOICE AGGREGATES

 

Critics call bill a "poison pill" aimed at restricting the ability of local municipalities to provide consumers with alternatives to  buying power from utilities

By Roy L Hales

Originally published at the Eco Report: http://www.theecoreport.com/green-blogs/technology/energy/utilities-energy-energy-articles/californian-legislation-threatens-community-choice-aggregates/

 

May 4, 2014 (San Diego)--The second of California’s community choice aggregates (CCA) was  launched amidst state legislation (AB 2145) that could restrict further competition with established utilities.

WAS IT FRAUD? EXPERTS RAISE SERIOUS QUESTIONS AFTER LOW FIRST-YEAR ENERGY PRODUCTION AT OCOTILLO WIND PROJECT

 

Elected officials suppressed key report, failed to halt project or recover taxpayer dollars

“It was heartbreaking to see this project desecrate such a historically and culturally significant landscape, and it’s even worse when you find out that it was built on false claims by the developer, and with the assistance of the BLM. "-- Anthony Pico, Chairman, Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians

An East County Magazine special investigation

By Miriam Raftery

April 30, 2014 (Ocotillo) – An international wind energy expert has concluded that Pattern Energy appears to have defrauded the federal government in order to obtain lucrative tax subsidies for a wind energy development in southern California that has failed to live up to the developer’s claims.

“I believe we have a clear case for the False Claims Act,” Nicolas Boccard told East County Magazine, after reviewing full first-year wind production data for the Ocotillo Wind Energy Facility on U..S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) public land.  The project produced only about half of the energy that Pattern claimed it would produce—far below levels deemed viable for a wind project, a second expert confirms. 

These dismal results are no surprise to Boccard, who predicted in a report written before construction of the project was  completed that Ocotillo lacks sufficient wind speeds to sustain a viable wind energy project.

So were Pattern's lofty wind speed claims nothing more than spin?

HOT TOPIC: U.S. MAYORS REPORT ON PROGRESS TO CUT EMISSIONS THROUGH ENERGY SAVINGS & TECHNOLOGY

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Jessica Richmond

“A majority of cities (53%) – 149 of the 282 cities – have committed to reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions as the result of a mayoral pledge and/or formal city council action.”

Solar and conservation measures ranked highly by mayors, wind turbines ranked least promising

April 29, 2014 (San Diego’s East County)--The U.S. Conference of Mayors recently  have focused efforts on creating a plan to increase energy efficiency, while reducing greenhouse gases (GHG) and carbon emissions. The nonpartisan organization consists of mayors from 1,398 cit­ies with populations of 30,000 or more.

Under the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement, signers have pledged to try and limit their cities carbon emissions, reduce GHG emissions, along with pushing local state and federal actors to “do their part” in order to help reduce environmental air pollution.  Now a new report reveals data on actions pursued in cities across America to reach these goals.

HOW MUCH WILDLIFE CAN USA AFFORD TO KILL?

 

America’s wind farms are actually slaughtering millions of birds and bats annually



By Mark Duchamp, Save the Eagles International and World Council for Nature

Originally published at http://www.theecoreport.com/green-blogs/sustainability/conservation/wildlife/how-much-wildlife-can-usa-afford-to-kill/  

April 26, 2014 (San Diego)--The Obama administration is issuing 30-year permits for “taking” (killing) bald and golden eagles. The great birds will be legally slaughtered “unintentionally” by lethal wind turbines installed in their breeding territories, and in "dispersion areas" where their young congregate (e.g. Altamont Pass).

MAYOR VOEPEL OPPOSES QUAIL BRUSH EXTENSION

 

By Miriam Raftery

April 23, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) – Last week, we reported that applicants for the controversial gas-fired Quail Brush Power plant proposal asked the California Energy Commission to extend a suspension for another year and keep alive the potential to revive the project proposed next to Mission Trails Regional Park in San Diegio and schools in Santee.

LAWSUIT AGAINST SAN DIEGO SUPERVISORS OVER WIND ORDINANCE SET FOR COURT HEARING APRIL 25

 

By Miriam Raftery

April 23, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) – A lawsuit filed against San Diego Supervisors asks the court to set aside the County’s new wind energy ordinance and an amendment to Boulevard’s community plan.  The case will be heard on Friday, April 25 at 1:30 p.m. in Superior Court, Department C-72, with Judge Timothy Taylor presiding. The courthouse is located at 220 West Broadway, San Diego.

The suit was filed by two community groups-- the Protect Our Communities Foundation, Backcountry Against Dumps-- and  by Donna Tisdale, chair of the Boulevard Planning Group. Plaintiffs seek to half industrial wind development in their backcountry community. They contend that such projects pose serious impacts to wildlife, water resources, human health and safety that the Board ignored.

SOLAR ROADWAYS MOVE CLOSER TO FEASIBILITY

 

By Miriam Raftery

April 15, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) – In 2012, we reported on a potentially promising new technology to build roadways out of glass capable of producing solar power.

BUTTERFLIES AND BIRDS FALLING PREY TO SOLAR POWER TOWER AT IVANPAH

 

 

 

 

 

Photo (left): Ivanpah Solar testing; photo by  Tom Budlong

Photo (center): warbler with over 50% of its feathers burned was found alive, but died of its injuries

Monarch butterfly (photo, right) numbers are down 90% in the most recent Pacific migration

By Miriam Raftery

April 15, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) – Last month we reported that themonarch butterflies’ annual migration to Mexico is down 90%.  Various theories have been proposed.  But now a newly released study by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service reveals  that “hundreds  upon hundreds of butterflies” including monarchs, along with dragonflies, were found dead at the Ivanpah solar site.

NATURE SUSTAINABLE LIVING LECTURE SERIES

 

April 14, 2014 (Mt. Helix) -- On Saturday, May 17, from 10:30 am to 11:30 am, part two of Mt. Helix Park’s Nature/Sustainable Living lecture series will be held in the ampitheater atop Mt. Helix.This free, one-hour lecture on landscaping with California native plants will feature guest  speaker, Greg Rubin, President of California’s Own Native Landscape Design, Inc. and co-author of "The  California Native Landscape: The Homeowner's Guide to Restoring Its Beauty and Balance.”

EARTHTALK(R): EARTH DAY 2014

 

E - The Environmental Magazine

April 5, 2014 (San Diego)--Dear EarthTalk: What’s going on with Earth Day this year and how can I get involved? -- Christine B., Boston, MA

This coming April 22 will mark the 44th annual celebration of Earth Day, and the focus this year will be green cities. “As the world’s population migrates to cities, and as the bleak reality of climate change becomes increasingly clear, the need to create sustainable communities is more important than ever,” reports Earth Day Network, the Seattle-based non-profit that helps coordinate Earth Day celebrations and serves as a clearinghouse for related information and resources. The group hopes to galvanize the support of more than a billion people across 192 countries this Earth Day for increasing the sustainability and reducing the carbon footprints of urban areas everywhere.

COURT GRANTS PARTIAL VICTORY TO OPPONENTS OF SEMPRA'S CROSS-BORDER TRANSMISSION LINE PROJECT

 

By Miriam Raftery

April 5, 2014 (San Diego’s East County)  -- U.S. District Court Judge M. James Lorenz has issued a ruling in a case challenging the U.S. Department of Energy’s approval of a Presidential Permit issued for Sempra Energy's cross-border transmission line. The line would connect Sempra’s Energia Sierra Juarez Wind project in northern Baja, Mexico with SDG&E’s $435 million ECO substation now under construction.

TWO SCIENTIFIC/MEDICAL PUBLICATIONS DOCUMENT NEGATIVE HEALTH IMPACTS OF WIND TURBINES

 

By Miriam Raftery

April 5, 2014 (San Diego’s East County)—Evidence of negative health impacts on people living near wind turbines is mounting. An article in Principia Scientific International concludes, “There are serious adverse health effects associated with noise pollution generated by wind turbines. It is essential that separation distances between human habitation and wind turbines are increased.” The author notes that some countries are now recommending at least 3 kilometers and suggests even this distance many not be far enough, due to newer, larger turbines.

A BETTER OPTION TO INDUSTRIAL ENERGY PROJECTS IN OUR REGION IS PROPOSED

 

By Miriam Raftery

April 5, 2014 (San Diego) –“The San Diego County Planning Commissioners and Board of Supervisors have an obligation to look out for the greater good of the people of San Diego,” Timothy D. Schoechle, PhD, an international consultant on smart grid expert technology, engineering expert, and author of the report Getting Smarter About the Smart Grid wrote in his comments to the County’s planning director opposing Soitec’s plan to industrialize rural East County with massive solar modules that other experts have said could destroy the entire ecosystem of the region.

Instead, Dr. Schoechle lays out a detailed case for a saner, safer alternative—and why current government policies are polar opposites of what’s needed to protect the public against rapacious energy corporations.

EARTH TALK(R): GREEN APPS FOR YOUR PHONE

 

E - The Environmental Magazine

Dear EarthTalk: What are some cool apps that work with a mobile phone that can help me get in better touch with the environment?                                                           -- Mitchell Brown, Troy, MI

Not surprisingly, there are thousands of “green” apps out there that make it easier for people to find and share information to help us all become better stewards of the natural environment.

INVENERGY ACQUIRES SOITEC'S PLANNED MASSIVE SOLAR PROJECT IN BORREGO SPRINGS

 

By Miriam Raftery

April 4, 2014 (Borrego Springs) – Invenergy Solar Development has acquired Soitec Solar’s Desert Green Solar Farm, a 7 MW solar project slated to break ground this month in Borrego Springs. The project will include over 2,800 soitec concentrator photovoltaic modules using dual-axis tracking technology.  Commercial operation is expected to begin by the end of this year.  San Diego Gas & Electric has signed a long-term purchase agreement for power from the project, which will hook up to the existing Borrego Springs substation.

COURT RULES AGAINST EAST COUNTY RESIDENTS ON TULE WIND CASE

 

By Miriam Raftery

April 2, 2014 (McCain Valley) – U.S. District Judge Janis Sammartino has issued a ruling denying summary judgment sought by the Protect Our Communities Foundation, Backcountry Against Dumps and Boulevard resident Donna Tisdale. The plaintiffs had sought to block construction of Iberdrola’s Tule Wind project in McCain Valley, a ruggedly beautiful federal recreation preserve in San Diego's East County.  The court also granted Tule Wind and the federal government’s cross motions for summary judgment.

“Our attorney is recommending an appeal of what I describe as Judge Sammartino’s basic rubber stamping of the Bureau of Land Management’s biased and weak support for Iberdrola’s Tule Wind project,” Tisdale told ECM.  She added that she, too, is recommending an appeal, though that decision will be up to the boards of directors of the two nonprofits.

U.S. FISH & WILDLIFE WARNS OF NEGATIVE IMPACTS ON WILDLIFE FROM SOITEC SOLAR PROJECTS

 

By Miriam Raftery

April 1, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) – Soitec’s four proposed solar projects on 1,490 acres in the Boulevard area of East County could negatively impact migratory birds, eagles, endangered butterflies and wildlife corridors,  Karen Goebel, assistant field supervisor with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife concludes in a comment letter sent to the County regarding the projects’ draft Enviornmental Impact Report (DEIR) on March 11, 2014. The letter also indicates studies have been inadequate and cumulative impacts of projects across a broader area need to be evaluated.

HUESO ASKS FAA TO GRANT RELIEF TO OCOTILLO RESIDENTS FROM WIND TURBINE LIGHTS, APPROVE RADAR-ACTIVATED LIGHTING

 

 

 

 

FAA may approve radar lighting systems, but won’t require Pattern to install

By Miriam Raftery

March 30, 2014 (Ocotillo) – State Senator Ben Hueso has taken heed of his constituents’ complaints about flashing red lights on wind turbines shining into people’s homes at night.  In a February 10, 2014 letter to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Hueso wrote that flashing red lights on over 100 turbines, each taller than a 40 story building, are harmful to the health of Ocotillo residents.

“As most of them live within two miles of these turbines, the steady light transmitted from these structures is causing them to suffer from migraines, vertigo and loss of sleep,”  Hueso wrote. He added that his staff has looked into the issue and found studies indicated that “residents living in such c lose proximity to turbines often suffer from illnesses including chronic sleep deprivation, hypertension and heart attack. Ocotillo is made up largely of senior citizens, a group which has been found to be exceptionally sensitive to the effects of the turbines.”

HUGE WIN FOR SOLAR HOMES

 

A surge in solar growth is expected after today's announcement

March 27, 2014 (San Diego)-- The California Public Utilities Commission made a final decision today that has solar homeowners celebrating. The Commission unanimously voted to protect California’s solar customers’ net energy metering contracts for 20 years. Net energy metering allows the meter to spin backwards, giving customers full credit for electricity produced by solar panels that is not used in the building. The highly anticipated decision is a part of Assembly Bill 327 (AB327).

IBERDROLA VIOLATING FIRE CODES, LIED TO OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE, SAYS NH FIRE MARSHALL

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

March 26, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) –Last week, we reported  on the latest in a string of fires at Iberdrola wind facilities, last time at a Pennsylvania site. Some involved turbines made by Gamesa, in which Iberdrola owns a controlling interest.  Fires have occurred with other Gamesa turbines at additional sites.

Meanwhile in  New Hampshire, ECM has learned that State Fire Marshal Rob Anstey has accused Iberdrola of violating fire safety codes and lying to an oversight committee about the Fire Marshal’s requirements at its Groton Wind facility. The Fire Marshall has announced that he may issue a stop work order to shut down the facility.

That should spark concern here in San Diego, where Supervisors and the federal government recently approved Tule Wind, an Iberdrola wind project slated to go into a region prone to cstastrophic wildfires including the 2007 Harris Fire, which was fueled by 100 mph hurricane-force winds. Campgrounds are located in McCain Valley, where Iberdrola aims to line the only road in and out with wind turbines, each filled with hundreds of gallons of flammable lubricating oil.  Former Cal Fire Batallion Chief Mark Ostrander has warned that firefighters can't fight fires under a flaming turbine whirling off debris, and aerial drops won't work at heights above 300 feet. The turbines are 500 feet, so firefighters would have to wait for the fire to burn outside of the wind facility, which could result in a firestorm that could burn into urban San Diego areas, he has warned.

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