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WORLDWIDE, WILDLIFE SUFFERS 52% POPULATION DECLINE

 

By Miriam Raftery

September 30, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) - Over the last 40 years, total wildlife populations on earth have fallen by 52%. That’s the grim finding of the London Zoological Society’s Living Planet Index, the BBC reports.

MASTER GARDENER REPLACES LAWN WITH WILDLIFE-FRIENDLY PLANTS

 

 

 

September 28, 2014 (San Diego) -- With San Diego knee-deep in a drought, it might be a good idea to ditch that thirsty turf grass in favor of a vibrant, easy-care garden that's also a haven for butterflies and other native species. San Diego County News Service met up with a San Diego Master Gardener who did just that.  Click the video to check out her beautiful yard.

DRAFT DESERT RENEWABLE ENERGY CONSERVATION PLAN RELEASED BY BLM AND U.S. FISH & WILDLIFE

 

Plan would open up 22 million acres of California to large-scale renewable energy development

By Miriam Raftery

September 26, 2014 (San Diego’s East County)--The Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service this week published in the Federal Register a Notice of Availability of the draft Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP) Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement (EIR/EIS).  A formal comment period is now open through January 9, 2015.

CONSERVATION GROUP SUES TO PROTECT EAGLES AT PROPOSED TULE WIND FARM

 

BIA Approval Decision Ignores Warnings from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Photo: Tony Hisgett (Wikimedia Commons)

September 26, 2014 (San Diego’s East County)--Protect Our Communities (POC) and backcountry landowners have filed a lawsuit this week against the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) and Department of the Interior (DOI) in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California.

HOPE FOR MONARCH BUTTERFLIES

 

By Miriam Raftery

September 24, 2014 (San Diego’s East County)--Earlier this year, we reported on a 90% decline in the number of Monarch butterflies in their annual winter migration to Mexico. But now, there are signs of hope on the horizon.

GOVERNOR SIGNS CLEAN VEHICLE BILL

 

 

September 23, 2014 (Sacramento)-- Capping off National Drive Electric Week, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. has signed half a dozen bills to strengthen California's best-in-the-nation electric vehicle market.

EL CAJON ASKS, PLEASE DON'T FEED THE DUCKS!

 

Story and photos by Robert Gehr

September 23, 2014 (El Cajon)--The city of El Cajon recently installed signs at the downtown waterscape asking the public to stop feeding the ducks which gather there. It seems that the bread, etc. is contributing to the ill health of this fragile ecosystem, resulting in excessive algae, and fecal matter, plus a variety of toxins and diseases - some of which are transmittable to humans and could potentially make a person very sick, especially children.

ROCKEFELLER'S FUND TO PULL MONEY OUT OF FOSSIL FUELS

 

By Miriam Raftery

September 23, 2014 (New York)--On the heels of the world’s largest march to halt climate change, support has come from an unlikely source.  Billionaire John D. Rockefeller made his fortune in oil, otherwise known as black gold. His Standard Oil Company was so big that the Supreme Court ordered it broken up into several smaller companies including such giants as Chevron, Exxon and Mobil.

$40 MILLION LAWSUIT FILED AGAINST INVENERGY OVER WIND FARM

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Wind turbines at Kumeyaay Wind  facility in Campo

September 23, 2014 (Campo, California) –Looks like we dodged another wind project bullet when the Campo tribe voted down Invenergy's Shu'luuk Wind project,” Boulevard Planning Group Chair Donna Tisdale wrote in an e-mail to East County Magazine.

She forwarded a link to an article on a $40 million lawsuit filed against Invenergy by 60 neighbors of the company’s Orangeville Wind project in New York. Neighbors allege that the facility has violated noise limits and caused significant harm to health and property values: http://www.windaction.org/posts/41275-lawsuit-filed-against-invenergy-in-relation-to-orangeville-wind-farm#.VB83JPldV8E.

The suit alleges that the project has created a nuisance that has caused residents to suffer a loss in their quality of life and property value due to the wind energy project.  According to the complaint, wind turbines were built within 800 to 1500 feet of the plaintiffs’ properties. Plaintiffs contend that the project has caused “constant noise, vibrations, and flicker to enter Plaintiffs’ property, significantly impacting the health and wellbeing of the Plaintiffs and causing them to become sick, sore, lame and disabled.”  The projects also destroyed rural views, the suit states.

FOLLOWING WORLDWIDE CLIMATE CHANGE MARCH, SAN DIEGO COUNCIL CALLS ON MAYOR TO ISSUE CLIMATE ACTION PLAN

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

September 22, 2014 (San Diego) – On Sunday, a global climate march drew a half million people worldwide at over 150 locations, all calling for action to stop climate change. The march drew over 400,000 in New York City and an estimated 1,000 to 2,000 in San Diego.  

Today, San Diego’s City Council voted 5 to 3 in favor of a resolution asking Mayor Kevin Faulconer to issue a climate change plan.

The vote split the council down party lines, with all Democrats voting in favor and Republicans voting against.

PROJECT WILDLIFE TO JOIN HUMANE SOCIETY

 

 

 

 

 

Listen to our radio show Monday on KNSJ 89. 1 FM at 5 p.m. to hear our audio report on Project Wildlife’s event.

By Miriam Raftery

September 21, 2014 (Lakeside) – At Project Wildlife’s “We Like It Wild” event in Lakeside last week, guests had up close and personal encounters with exotic and local wildlife at the Pillsbury Ranch owned by Joan Embery, the San Diego Zoo’s ambassador.  They also heard a special announcement from the Project Wildlife’s executive director Beth Ugoretz, who said Project Wildlife plans to merge by November 1st with the San Diego Humane Society.

Gary Weitzman, president of the San Diego Human Society and the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, emphasized that goal is to keep Project Wildlife “strong” and leverage the strengths of both organizations.  Project Wildlife’s focus on rescuing and rehabilitating local wildlife will continue, and the need is great, since the drought, wildfires and development have put increasing stress on local animals from birds and reptiles to larger animals such as raccoons and coyotes.

SOMETHING FISHY IN COACHELLA VALLEY

 

San Diego's thirst for Colorado River water threatens ecosystem at Salton Sea

By Leon Thompson

Photos:  Salton Sea Authority, U.S. Geological Survey, Salton Sea Museum, and Tobias Deml

September 20, 2014 (Salton Sea) – The rotten smell in the desert just east of East County is the harbinger of worse things yet to come.

The tell-tale odor of “rotten eggs" prompted officials to issue an air quality warning for the Coachella Valley.  The South Coast Air Quality Management District issued an odor advisory Tuesday warning residents they could experience headaches and nausea.

QUAIL BRUSH POWER PLANT APPLICATION WITHDRAWN

 

By Miriam Raftery

September 12, 2014 (San Diego) – There won’t be a gas-fired power plant built next to Mission Trails Regional Park. Plans for the controversial project have been withdrawn at the request of a letter sent by Quail Brush GENCO LLC, the project applicant, to the California Energy Commission on September 12.

The project had faced strong opposition including city councils of both Santee and San Diego, the Santee School District, environmental groups and residents. 

Preserve Wild Santee posted the following message on its Facebook page upon hearing the news:

EARTHTALK(R): DOES ETHANOL IN THE GAS TANK FIGHT CLIMATE CHANGE?

 

E - The Environmental Magazine

Dear EarthTalk: I thought that putting ethanol in our gas tanks was going help fight climate change, but lately I’ve heard reports to the contrary. Can you enlighten?       -- Bill B., Hershey, PA

Ethanol and similar “biofuels” made from corn and other crops seem like a good idea given their potential for reducing our carbon outputs as well as our reliance on fossil fuels. But recent research has shown that the federal government’s push to up production of corn-derived ethanol as a gasoline additive since 2007 has actually expanded our national carbon footprint and contributed to a range of other problems.

SAN DIEGO NEEDS TO PUT TRANSIT AND ACTIVE TRANSPORTATION FIRST

 

Originally Published in the ECOreport

By Roy L Hales

September 13, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) - A statewide survey, done by the Public Policy Institute, found that 77% of Californians think public transit should be the focus of transportation spending. Only 18% said more money should be spent on highways and freeways.(1) This sentiment is strong in San Diego, where more than a decade ago 85% of the respondents said the transit system was the #1 priority.(2) When the question came up again, in 2010, 55% of those polled wanted the transit system expanded, as opposed to 32% who want more roads.(3) Now, as the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) draws up its’ transportation plan, community groups want them to put plans for a freeway expansion on hold. According to Monique Lopez, from the Environmental Health Coalition, San Diego needs to put transit and active transportation first.

PROTEST OVER TRANSPORTATION PLAN SET FOR SEPT. 12 AT SANDAG OFFICE

 

September 11, 2014 (San Diego) – Cleveland National Forest Foundation is urging the public to join in a protest Friday over the transportation plan put forward by the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG). The protest rally will be held in front ot the Wells Fargo building in downtown San Diego, 5th and B Street on Friday, September 12 from 11:30 a.,m. to 12:30 p.m. A press release issued by CNFF.org and TransitSanDiego.org states:

PEOPLE'S CLIMATE MARCH SEPT. 21 AIMS TO BE LARGEST CLIMATE MARCH IN HISTORY

 

East County News Service

September 9, 2014 (San Diego) – “You are invited to a pivotal moment in the history of our planet. In New York and in major cities around the world, people will be uniting on September 21 to call on world leaders meeting at the United Nations Climate Summit to act NOW on climate change,” says Diane Lesher, an organizer with a local coalition hosting a People’ Climate March San Diego to support the New York and global events and to focus on solutions to climate change that can be implemented locally.  Lesher adds, “Together we will call for a rapid transition from fossil fuels to renewables and energy efficiency, and a just and sustainable economy.”

ROAD CLOSURES ON PUBLIC LAND IRK RURAL RESIDENTS

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Kitchen Creek, where access in the vicinity has been limited by frequent road closures

September 7, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) – In recent months, several readers have written to ask us why they are encountering “road closed” signs on roads in Cleveland National Forest that were formerly accessible to the public.

LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS HOSTS LUNCHEON ON CLIMATE CHANGE SEPT. 18

 

September7, 2014 (San Diego)—The San Diego League of Women Voters invites you to “Lunch with the League” on Thursday, September 18th at 11:30 a.m. at Tom Ham’s Lighthouse restaurant, 2150 Harbor Drive in San Diego.  The topic is “Climate change and its challenges.”

HELIX WATER BOARD MAJORITY OPTS TO KEEP LAKE JENNINGS CAMPGROUND OPEN...FOR NOW

 

By Miriam Raftery

September 5, 2014 (San Diego’s East County)—In light of improved revenues and reduced losses at Lake Jennings, the majority of Helix Water District board members on Wednesday opted to support keeping the lake and its campground open for another year in hopes that it will become financially sustainable.

OCT. 1 PUBLIC MEETING SET ON SDG&E PLAN TO REPLACE POWER LINES IN CLEVELAND NATIONAL FOREST

 

September 6, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) – Cleveland National Forest (CNF) and the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) will hold a public meeting on October 1, 2014 from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Alpine Community Center, 1830 Alpine Blvd. in Alpine. The purpose is to obtain comments on a joint draft environmental impact report/draft environmental impact statement prepared by the two agencies regarding San Diego Gas & Electric Company’s proposal for a master special use permit in Cleveland National Forest and proposed replacement/fire hardening of select power lines in and around the federally protected Cleveland National Forest.

CITIZENS GROUP SEEKS FUNDS TO BATTLE BIG ENERGY PROJECTS, SAVE GROUNDWATER IN BACKCOUNTRY

 

September 5, 2014 (Boulevard) – The nonprofit citizens group Backcountry Against Dumps (BAD)  has been battling numerous major energy projects proposed in rural East County, including funding lawsuits that seek to halt several with potentially devastating consequences and research studies to support those lawsuits,  as well as persuade County planners and other decision makers to reject projects that may deplete water resources, harm wildlife, or have adverse health impacts on residents.

LEGISLATURE PULLS THE PLUG, KILLS MONOPOLY PROTECTION BILL

 

By Miriam Raftery

September 2, 2014 (Sacramento)--On Friday, the California Senate closed its annual legislative session. Not a single Senator would sponsor AB 2145, which opponents had dubbed the “anti-competitive Monopoly Power Grab Act,” so the bill is now dead.

TWO OPPORTUNITIES TO GO NATIVE

 

September 1, 2014 (San Diego's East County) - Thirsty lawns and fussy shrubbery are out of place in East County. The Earth Discovery Institute's (EDI) annual Native Plant Sale is a great opportunity to locally source native plants.

U.S. FISH & WILDLIFE WHISTLEBLOWERS DENOUNCE AGENCY FOR TURNING BLIND EYE TO BIRDS KILLED BY WIND AND SOLAR FACILITIES

 

By Miriam Raftery

September 1, 2014 (Washington D.C.) – Two former investigators with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are speaking out to say that the federal government is ignoring harm to wildlife caused by industrial scale wind and solar facilities.

SDG&E ON TRACK TO MEET 33% RENEWABLES GOAL BY YEAR'S END

 

Photo: Wind turbines in Ocotillo dwarf resident and mountains surrounding the desert town

By Miriam Raftery

August 29, 2014 (San Diego’s East County)--Jim Avery, a senior vice president at San Diego Gas & Electric Company, says the utility will meet California’s 33% renewable energy goal by the end of 2014 – six years ahead of schedule, IT San Diego reports.

LEGISLATURE VOTES TO BAN PLASTIC GROCERY BAGS

 

By Miriam Raftery

August 30, 2014 (Sacramento) – Plastic accounts for 90% of all floating debris in the ocean. This has negatively impacted over 250 species and puts petroleum-based chemicals into our food chain. Many bags wind up in the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch” in the north Pacific Ocean that has been estimated to measure hundreds of thousands, even millions of square miles.  Whales, dolphins and sea turtles choke by swallowing plastic bags, which resemble jellyfish prey. Bags can also become entangled around an animal’s neck.

TRANSPORTATION JUSTICE FOR EAST COUNTY: MEETING & COMMUNITY DINNER SEPT. 9 IN EL CAJON

 

By Miriam Raftery

August 29, 2014 (El Cajon)—You and your neighbors are invited to discuss access to safe, efficient and affordable transportation options.  What are your transportation needs and priorities? How can you influence transportation planning decisions?

A community meeting on these issues is planned for Tuesday, September 9th from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Prescott Promenade Park, 201 East Main Street in El Cajon. Dinner will be provided and Spanish translation is available. (View flyer) This event is organized by a coalition that includes the Environmental Health Coalition, Cleveland National Forest Foundation, MAAC,  and City Heights Community Development Corporation. The groups observe that transportation justice increases transportation access, improves public health and safety, and ensures equity for all.

In addition, a petition has been launched calling on local elected officials and the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) to support transportation justice and adopt a regional transportation plant that:

NATURE GUIDE TO THE SAN DIEGO RIVER PUBLISHED BY LOCAL STUDENT

 

Caption: Head of School Kevin Yaley (left) and San Diego River Park Foundation Trustee Jim Dawe with Parker graduate Marly Isler, signing her booklets. Photo Courtesy of Francis Parker School / Ken Stone

August 27, 2014 (San Diego)-- The San Diego River has stories to tell — if you know where to find them. A booklet by  Francis Parker School graduate Marly Isler fills the bill. And it's easy to find.

CUYAMACA RANCHO STATE PARK PLAN CALLS FOR REMOVING 674 ACRES FROM WILDERNESS DESIGNATION

 

By Miriam Raftery

August 23, 2014 (Cuyamaca) – California State Parks is proposing to remove 672 acres of wilderness designation in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park. (View map of proposed changes.) A preliminary general plan and draft environmental impact report (EIR) for the park is now available for public review.   The 45 day public review period opened August 21 and closes October 6, 2014.

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