June 26, 2017 (San Diego) – State Senator Ben Hueso (D-San Diego) has introduced Senate Bill 507 to help protect the Tijuana River Valley in the wake of repeated severe sewage spills from Mexico, including a spill in February that dumped an estimated 28 to 100 million gallons of raw sewage into the valley.
June 16, 2017 (Lakeside)-- Helix Water District (HWD) received a long-anticipated $8 million check on June 16th, officially marking the end of a six-year legal dispute over a 460-acre parcel of land the water agency owned in Lakeside’s El Monte Valley. The land sale is the result of a 2014 court settlement between Helix Water District and the El Capitan Golf Club (now known as El Monte Nature Preserve LLC).
The payment is good news for customers of the Helix Water District, where hefty rate hikes to balance budgets led to a ratepayer revolt and ouster of two incumbent board members last election. But the final payment dashes hopes of El Monte Valley residents and Lakeside community planners opposed to El Monte Nature Preserve’s proposed sand mining operation to extract 18 million tons of sand over 15 years from the El Monte Valley on the site.
June 13, 2017 (San Diego) - At the May 24, 2017 V.I.P. (Very Important Planet) Reception held at the City of San Diego Environmental Services Department, San Diego EarthWorks recognized EDCO with the E.A.R.T.H. (Environmental Action and Restoration That Helps) Award for EarthFair efforts. There to accept the award on EDCO’s behalf was John Snyder, EDCO’s Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer, and Elmer Heap, EDCO’s Division Manager.
June 7, 2017 (La Mesa) -- Tonight’s meeting of the La Mesa Foothills Democratic Club will feature a veritable who’s who of leading San Diego experts in the political ramifications of executive orders dealing with our economy and the environment. Social hour starts at 6:30 with the program at 7 p.m. at the La Mesa Community Center.
Speakers included renowned climate scientist Jeff Severinghaus, Professor of Geosciences at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, who has voiced concern at the drastic measures taken by the Trump Administration in rolling back recently enacted advances to combat global warming.
June 3, 2017 (San Diego's East County) - In announcing that the U.S. would withdraw from the Paris Agreement, a global accord aimed at addressing climate change, President Donald Trump made more than a few false and misleading claims:
Trump said the U.S. would be exposed to “massive legal liability if we stay in” the Paris Agreement. But there is no liability mechanism in the Paris Agreement. International environmental law experts tell us that pulling out of the agreement won’t reduce U.S. exposure to liability claims and, in fact, may increase it.
Trump called China and India the “world’s leading polluters,” referring to carbon emissions. That’s not accurate. China and the U.S. were the top emitters per kiloton in 2015.
The president also falsely said “nobody even knows where the money [in the Green Climate Fund] is going to.” The fund’s website outlines all of the projects that have been funded.
Trump said the agreement would cost “close to $3 trillion in lost GDP.” That’s one estimate from a report for a business-funded group that found a much smaller impact under a different scenario. Yet another analysis said the impact of meeting the emissions targets would be “modest.”
Trump again took credit for job gains, saying the economy has added more than a million private sector jobs since his election. That’s true, but only 493,000 of them were added since he took office.
Federal agencies refuse to provide records on environmental compliance until after wall prototypes are built, environmental group says
East County News Service
June 2, 2017 (San Diego) -- The Center for Biological Diversity has filed a formal notice of intent to sue the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Customs and Border Protection over impacts to endangered species and critical habitat from building up to 20 border-wall “prototype” designs in San Diego County.
Photo: NASA satellite: Arctic ice reached an all-time record low in March, due to record temperatures.
June 2, 2017 (San Diego)—President Donald Trump’s announcement yesterday to withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Accord means the U.S. joins Syrian dictator Bashar Assad as the only other world leader who does not believe climate change is a serious threat to the planet. Every nation on earth signed the Paris agreement calling for aggressive action to combat climate change, except for Syria and Nicaragua, but Nicaragua wanted even stronger actions to protect planet Earth.
Reprinted from Times of San Diego, a member of the San Diego Online News Association
June 1, 2017 (San Diego's East County) - California Gov. Jerry Brown vowed Thursday the state would continue its fight against climate change despite President Trump’s “misguided and insane” decision to leave the Paris Climate Agreement.
June 1, 2017 (Borrego Springs) – The 47th annual Anza Borrego bighorn sheep count is set for June 29th through July 1st, with a mandatory orientation on June 17th for all new counters and recommended for those who participated in the past. The count will go on despite the death of its long-time leader, Ranger Steve Bier.
“We were unable to find the master sheep count mailing list,” states a letter from Anza Borrego Desert State Park Superintendent Kathy Dice and volunteer Sheep County Coordinator Mark Jorgensen, who are organizing a new sheep counting team. If you know of counters, please forward their contact information to AB.Sheepcount@parks.ca.gov.
After Hunter and Vargas sent letters, a new spill pumped more sewage into Tijuana River Valley at start of Memorial Day weekend
May 31, 2017 (San Diego) — Congressman Duncan Hunter (R-Alpine) sent a letter May 9th to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and to Scott Pruitt, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, asking them to take action in the wake of a major sewage spill into the Tijuana River Valley in the U.S. from Mexico earlier this year. Hunter cites concerns not only for environmental and public health, but also negative impacts felt by U.S. Border Patrol agents and Navy Seal teams performing responsibilities in the area daily.
May 22, 2017 (San Diego’s East County) -- The other day, my friend Glenn Kessell asked me what bird he often hears making very piercing calls in the morning before any of the other birds have started singing. I told him it was most likely the Western Kingbird. The Kingbird has a very loud, high pitched call – best described as Chi-BEER!
Public comments accepted through June 12; three public hearings set this week in San Diego region
By Miriam Raftery
May 22, 2017 (San Diego) – SDG&E and SoCalGas have applied to the California Public Utilities Commission to build a new natural gas pipeline from Rainbow through the Marine Corps Air Station at Miramar to Mission Valley to replace an aging and potentially dangerous line, also boosting capacity and reliability for the region. (View application. View all project documents .)
"Of all the paths that you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt." – John Muir
Editor’s note: The Five Peaks Challenge encourages hikers to ascend five peaks in Mission Trails Regional Park at their own pace. Greg Dunne and his team were the first to achieve this in a single day. To follow up on that feat, they’ve now hiked every trail on and around Cowles Mountain--all in one day.
May 21, 2017 (San Diego) -- Today we took an epic hike up Cowles Mountain and the surrounding trails that has never been done before, all in one day! I call this hike “Cowles Tour 13.2”. My friend David Hart and I undertook this hike on Friday, May 19, 2017. My daughter would ask – WHY? Well, my answer is not because it’s there, but because it’s in my backyard, fun and nobody thought to do it.
May 21, 2017 (Ramona) – You’re invited to “Living with Coyotes,” a talk by Ali Crumpacker, director of the Wildlife Center. The presentation will be held Sunday, May 28th at 5 p.m. at the Ramona Ranch Winery, 23578 Highway 78 in Ramona.
May 20, 2017 (San Diego) - GRID Alternatives entered San Diego eight years ago, with a solar installation in El Cajon. Since then, the non-profit has put up a total of 824 systems throughout the county. This Saturday, they return to the same El Cajon neighbourhood for GRID Alternatives San Diego’s SummerSolarthon.
By Michelle Mowad, County of San Diego Communications Office
May 18, 2017 (San Diego) - Celebrate Military Appreciation Month with two patriotic events at County parks.
First, gather up family and friends for a Salute to Military Families at Lake Morena on Saturday, May 20. The festivities are hosted by County Parks in partnership with VALOR, the County’s employee resource group for veterans.
May 12, 2017 (La Mesa) -- The community is invited to attend the ribbon cutting celebration for the opening of the first phase of the Collier Park Improvement Project on May 25 at 4:30 pm at 4401 Palm Avenue in La Mesa.
May 12, 2017 (La Mesa) - Helix Water District has named Chandrika “Dusty” Patel-Lynch of La Mesa as this year’s winner of its WaterSmart Landscape Contest. The annual contest recognizes outstanding water-wise residential landscapes which are judged on overall attractiveness, appropriate plant selection and maintenance, design and efficient irrigation methods.
Exchange will feature dual-battery mowers, price reductions on rechargeable chainsaws, hedge clippers and string trimmers
East County News Service
May 12, 2017 (San Diego) - The County will host its 18th annual lawn mower exchange this Saturday, May 13th at Qualcomm Stadium.Doors open at 6 a.m.; the event takes place from 8 a.m. to 12 noon. County Supervisor Ron Roberts, pollution control officers, recyclers, Electric Vehicle display sponsored by SDG&E and hundreds of San Diegans lined up with gasoline powered lawnmowers and gardening equipment to be exchanged for new rechargeable mode equipment.
May 8, 2017 (Suunyvale, Calif.) - Water systems in California have the nation's ninth-worst record for violations of the Safe Drinking Water Act, according to a new report from the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).
May 6, 2017 (El Cajon) - New air testing shows that vapors from a dangerous chemical that runs underground have seeped into homes in El Cajon. Some people have breathed the toxic fumes for years or even decades, KPBS' inewsource reported.
May 3, 2017 (San Diego) -- The Center for Biological Diversity, a national nonprofit conservation organization, today filed a Freedom of Information Act request seeking public records on whether planned prototypes for President Trump’s border wall in Southern California comply with laws meant to protect wildlife, people and wild places.
Photo: Boole Tree in Sequoia National Monument is the sixth largest tree in the world, but could be lost under Trump’s order.
April 30, 2017 (San Diego) -- Ten of California's national monuments could be reduced in size or even eliminated as part of a review of all such properties, in an executive order signed last week by President Trump.
Photo: 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill, UCSB collection
April 29, 2017 (San Diego) – The Santa Barbara oil spill of 1969 was the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history at the time. Three million gallons of crude oil contaminated the ocean and beaches with thick, black goo. Oil bubbled from the blown well and from cracks in the sea bed, killing countless sea birds, seals and other marine life.
The last remaining oil derrick off California's coast is slated to be decommissioned, Public News Service reported last week. But now an executive order by President Donald Trump could result in offshore oil wells again pumping in the waters off California.
April 29, 2017 (Santee) -- Padre Dam Municipal Water District, Helix Water District, City of El Cajon and the County of San Diego were recently honored with being named “Recycled Water Agency of the Year” - medium agency category - from the WateReuse California Section and the WateReuse California Board for their work on the East County Advanced Water Purification Program.To celebrate, they teamed up with Ballast Point Brewing Company to serve up a”Padre Dam Pilsner,” a beer made with treated wastewater from the East County Advanced Water Purification Program at a reception last month at the Westin hotel downtown.
April 29, 2017 (San Diego) -- Last Saturday, April the 22nd. 15,000 people joined a March for Science in San Diego to protest anti-science, mostly anti-climate science, policies of the new Trump administration. (Please see our report: http://eastcountymagazine.org/print/24751) Today, by contrast, was everybody else's turn to participate in "The People's Climate March." According to San Diego Police estimates, 4,000 to 5,000 people took up this Saturday's cause, or about a third as many marched last weekend when there were also Earth Day activities in the vicinity.
April 29, 2017 (Washington D.C.) – One week after hundreds of thousands joined a march for science nationwide on Earth Day to protest the Trump administration’s irrational anti-science stances, the Environmental Protection Agency has taken down its climate science website, the Washington Post reports. The action came on the eve of today’s march calling for action to halt climate change.
April 28,2017 (San Diego) – Seeking to empower women through outdoor activities REI has launched “Forces of Nature,” a series of over 1,000 programs for women from May through September nationwide, including San Diego. Locally the series kicks off with events at Mission Trails Regional Park on May 6th that include rock climbing, and a free inspirational TED-talk style presentation by outdoor writer Shelby Stanger.
“Outdoors is a level playing field,” says Alyson Wright, outdoor programs and outreach market manager from REI in San Diego. “You don’t have to behave a certain way.” Nationally, REI is telling stories of women adventurers, makers and rule-breakers, encouraging women, “Let’s make outside the largest level playing field on earth.”
April 26, 2017 (San Diego) -- Sea levels rising much faster than expected could submerge over two-thirds of the state’s beaches by the end of this century, also forcing damage and relocation of major infrastructure. Those are among the disturbing findings of an updated state-commissioned report, “Rising Seas in California.” Sea levels could rise 30 to 40 times faster than in the last century, raising the sea level 10 feet after 2050 under the most severe scenario.