Green Scene

SAN DIEGO'S SOLAR COMMUNITY RESPONDS TO SDG&E

 

Protesters denounce SDG&E appeal over net metering; SDG&E defends its actions

Originally Published on the ECOreport

 

By Roy L Hales

March 18, 2016 (San Diego) -- There were about 150 protesters on Wednesday, chanting “We will fight corporate greed,” “how do you spell corporate greed? SDG&E” and “solar power is what we need.”

SUPERVISOR JACOB AND SIERRA CLUB JOIN SOLAR ADVOCATES IN PROTEST AT SDG&E TODAY

 

East County News Service

March 16, 2016 (San Diego) – Elected officials, environmental groups and solar advocates plan to hold a rally from 2. p.m. to 2 :30 today in front of SDG&E’s corporate campus at 8326 Century Park Court, San Diego to oppose SDG&E use of ratepayers’ funds to attempt to influence the CPUC over solar net metering.

The California Public Utilities Commission issued a decision on solar net metering that solar advocates say was a compromise for both the solar industry and utilities. Rally organizers say they aim to take a stand against “greed” and in support of the Commission’s decision.

MISSION TRAILS HIKE MARCH 13 WITH SAN DIEGO COUNTY DEMOCRATS FOR ENVIRONMENTAL ACTION

 

East County News Service

March 9, 2016 (Tierrasanta) - Spring has arrived in Southern California and the green season is here – so the San Diego County Democrats for Environmental Action is hosting its very first club outing and hike. What better way to enjoy the blooming benefit of this winter's El Niño rains than by taking a half-day hike in our backyard wilderness bounty, Mission Trails Regional Park

GMO DANGERS EXPOSED BY SCIENTISTS, NUTRITIONISTS, AND A MOM

 

By Janis Russell

 

Photos: cover:  Tom Malterre.  In story:  Jeffrey Smith

March 9, 2016 (San Diego) - The Environmental Health Symposium (EHS) had a public forum  March 7th where speakers shared information on dangers of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs).  Almost 31 million GMO meals are served to kids each day across America. But increasingly, doctors are voicing concerns.  Some report improvements in conditions from Autism to gastrointestinal problems after switching kids to organic foods without GMOs.  Now parents are mobilizing to fight for changes from farms to school lunch programs to dinner tables across America.

CALIFORNIA SARDINE FISHERY CONTINUES COLLAPSE, LIKELY WON'T RE-OPEN THIS YEAR

 

By Suzanne Potter, Public News Service

The sardine population is continuing to collapse, according to a new assessment by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.(Photo: jasonwebber01/morguefile)

March 7, 2016 (Los Angeles) -- A new federal assessment shows the population of sardines off the West Coast has continued to plummet; it's a third lower than last spring, even though the entire sardine fishery was closed in 2015.

JULIAN OAK TREE DEATHS INCREASING: LEARN MORE MARCH 8

 

Expert Panel to Discuss Oak Borer Beetle Tuesday March 8, 6 p.m. at Julian Library.  Public invited free.

Photo, left:  Gold Spotted Oak Borer

By Jim Madaffer

March 4, 2016 (Julian) -- Suspecting we had dead or dying oak trees on our property in Wynola Estates, my wife and I hired an arborist to inspect and inventory our trees.  The verdict: out of 80 trees, 10 oak trees are dead and must come down – all thanks to the Golden Spotted Oak Borer Beetle, or GSOB.

OCOTILLO WIND FALLS SHORT OF CAPACITY FORECAST FOR THIRD STRAIGHT YEAR

 

By Miriam Raftery

March 2, 2016 (Ocotillo) – The numbers are in –and for the third straight year, the Ocotillo Wind Energy Facility has fallen far short of the 34% capacity factor that Pattern Energy predicted the project would generate in its applications for lucrative federal subsidies.   In 2015, the Ocotillo project generated just 23.06%.  In 2014, it hit 26.4% and in 2013, when it was offline two months for hurling off a multi-ton blade, it produced a scant 15.7%.

We’re not surprised, since our award-winning 2014 investigative article, Was It Fraud? included forecasts by an international wind expert,Nicolas Boccard, who accurately predicted the project’s failure before it was built. He suggested the federal government had grounds for a False Claims Act suit against Pattern Energy.  We again raised questions about the project’s viability last year, in  a second story.

CITY COUNCIL UNANIMOUSLY APPROVES URBAN AGRICULTURE INCENTIVE ZONE

 

New Program to Reduce Blighted Properties and Encourage Community Gardens in Neighborhoods

East County News Service

March 1, 2016 (San Diego) — The San Diego City Council unanimously approved an Urban Agriculture Incentive Zone, a program that will help expand community access to fresh produce through a property tax incentive for urban agriculture on vacant, blighted land.

COUNTY OFFICE OF EDUCATION RELEASES EMF SURVEY RESULTS FOR ALPINE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL

 

Viejas announces funding for EMF measurements at school

By Miriam Raftery

February 29, 2016 (Alpine) -- The San Diego County Office of Education on Friday released a draft Survey and Exposure Assessment  or electrmagnetic fields (EMF) for Alpine Elementary School.  The study concludes that  the Sunrise Powerlink transmisison line buried on Alpine Blvd.does not pose a significant safety or health risk to the school site." The study further finds that readings in and around buildings at Alpine Elementary "while not representative of a pristine EMF environment, were within a normal range of exposures one could expect in a society with electric power."

The County study examines 94 measurements taken inside and outside the school and  cites several reasons for concluding the site is safe.

ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH FORUM ON GMOS AND ROUNDUP INGREDIENT GLYPHOSATE MARCH 6

 

East County News Service

February 27, 2016 (San Diego) – An environmental health symposium and public forum featuring acclaimed scientist Dr. Gilles-Eric Seralini in his first U.S. appearance will be held on Sunday, March 6 from 3- 7 p.m. at the Hilton San Diego. Dr. Seralani has exposed dangers of glyphosate (the ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup) in a landmark study.

LISTEN NOW: CLIMATE SCIENTIST JEFFREY SEVERINGHAUS SHARES HIS RESEARCH FINDINGS

 

Click link  above to hear our interview, which originally aired on East County Magazine's Radio Show on KNSJ in December

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Ice core sample, Creative Commons image from AntarcticGlaciers.org

February 27, 2016 (San Diego’s East County) – Jeffrey Severinghaus, PhD, is one of the world’s top climate scientists.   A professor of geosciences at Scripps Institute of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego, he was recently appointed to the prestigious National Academy of Sciences.   Dr. Severinghaus has pioneered research efforts measuring trapped gas bubbles in ice cores in Antarctica and Greenland to detect past ocean temperature changes – with astonishing results.

Asked about climate skeptics who claim climate change is merely cyclical, he quickly dispels the theory that recent warming is part of an age-old trend.  That’s because molecules from burning fossil fuels are chemically different from carbon naturally seeping from the ocean floor.  The differences are obvious, measurable, and provide clear evidence that man’s actions are rapidly accelerating climate change.

Audio: 

PARKS, WATER AND ENERGY ISSUES ON BOULEVARD PLANNING GROUP'S AGENDA MARCH 3

 

By Miriam Raftery

February 27, 2016 (Boulevard) --The Boulevard Planning Group has a packed agenda for its meeting on Thursday, March 3 at 7 p.m. in the Boulevard Fire Training Room (39923 Ribbonwood Rd., Boulevard).  The agenda includes three action items and 14 discussion items ranging from major energy projects impacting the region to a water rate hike, parks and land use issues.

The action items include:

  • a county presentation on a proposal to divide the Mountain Empire Parkland Dedication area into 41 separate units,
  • a discussion and vote on whether to submit comments on local concerns over a new multli-agency renewable energy land ues and transmissions plan to meet state renewable energy mandates,and
  • a discussion and vote related to Live Oak Springs Water company's proposed rate hike and authorization for bulk water sales.

MOUNTAIN LION LECTURE TODAY AT MISSION TRAILS



 

East County News Service

February 27, 2016 (San Diego) -- Join volunteer naturalist Don Endicott in the Visitor Center Theater at Mission Trails Regional Park on Saturday, Feb. 27 at 1 p.m. for a multi-media introduction to the natural history of the mountain lion, our region's seldom seen apex predator. 

His talk will describe the amazing attributes and signature behaviors of our big cats, show how relationships between mountain lions and people changed over time, and outline their key contributions to a healthy wilderness environment.

COMMUNITY MEETING IN ALPINE DRAWS HUNDREDS OVER EMF CONCERNS

 

 

"When a child could get cancer, you take action." --  Alpine resident Bree Rowand (photo, left), mother of Kylie Rowand, toddler who died of neuroblastoma.

"We're here because we'd really like to ease your minds...There is no conclusive evidence that EMFs cause health risks....You have EMFs probably everywhere you go. They are coming out of your cell phone." -- Don Parent, SDG&E, which offered to conduct free measurements for any concerned property owners.

"I'm very concerned for the health of my students and health of my staff...but right now we have having safe levels [in classrooms.]" -- Bruce Cochrane, Superintendent, Alpine Union School District, adding that campus-wide results of an independent expert will be posted Friday.

"This is a failure in our system. Regulatory agencies should be the ones monitoring...If every one of you would e-mail the president of the California Public Utilities Commission as I have and ask as I have for someone to come down here and meet with the community, maybe we will get results."

By Miriam Raftery

February 25, 2016 (Alpine) – Over 230 people came to a community meeting at Alpine Elementary School Tuesday evening to learn more about electromagnetic field measurements in Alpine, ask questions of local officials and SDG&E, voice concerns and at times, shout out frustrations. (View video highlights from 10 News.)

RESOURCE CONSERVATION DISTRICT TO GIVE AWAY FREE PLANTS TO SCHOOL GARDENS COUNTYWIDE: PICKUP PLANTS MARCH 10-11

 

 

East County News Service

 

February 24, 2016 (San Diego) - The Resource Conservation District (RCD) of Greater San Diego County, in conjunction with Altman Plants of Vista, has announced its seventh annual School Plant Giveaway. Interested elementary schools throughout San Diego County may sign up to receive a mixed flat of twelve vegetable and herb seedlings, just in time for spring planting.  

WARNER SPRINGS RANCH RESORT FORMS CONSERVANCY TO PRESERVE, SUSTAIN MORE THAN 1,000 ACRES OF HISTORIC LAND

 

East County News Service

Warner Springs Ranch Habitat and Cultural Conservancy oversees protection of the resort currently under renovation

February 22, 2016 (Warner Springs) – Warner Springs Ranch Resort has formed the nonprofit Warner Springs Ranch Habitat and Cultural Conservancy to protect and manage the property’s numerous historic, cultural and natural assets.

SDG&E RESPONDS TO QUESTIONS ON ALPINE ELECTROMAGNETIC FIELD (EMF) LEVELS

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Sunrise Powerlink (left) transmits 500 kilovolts of electricity above ground across most its its route, but was installed underground in Alpine, where it flows beneath the main street in  the rural mountain town.

February 20, 2016 (Alpine) – East County Magazine reached out to San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E)  after reviewing results of two studies measuring electromagnetic field (EMF) levels in Alpine. (The first study, done by an engineer and contractor, found high levels along Alpine Blvd. above the underground Sunrise Powerlink. The second, commissioned by the County Office of Education, measured levels at Alpine Elementary School.  It found relatively low levels at most places on the campus, though two outside areas nearest the boulevard were higher, one substantially so. View details here.) Those reports raised concerns among some community members about potential health risks for chlidren, though medical studies have shown conflicting results on this issue.

We asked SDG&E if it has plans to measure EMF levels at other locations, what EMF levels it would consider safe, what  fixes or mitigation might be possible, and what EMF research the company supports. Below are our questions and the answers provided by Allison Torres, SDG&E media representative:  

ALPINE EDUCATION FOUNDATION AGREES TO FUND INDEPENDENT EMF STUDIES

 

Superintendent issues correction: EPA has not issued recommended EMF safe levels.

Meetings Feb. 23 and 25  will address EMF issues in Alpine.

By Miriam Raftery

February 20, 2016 (Alpine)—The Alpine Education Foundation has agreed to fund hiring a professional independent expert to measure electromagnetic frequency (EMF) readings along the route of the buried Sunrise Powerlink in Alpine, AEF president George Barnett has informed East County Magazine.

PADRE DAM ACCEPTS EAST COUNTY ADVANCED WATER PURIFICATION STUDY

 

Padre Dam and Helix Water Districts to develop new source of drinking water that is safe, locally-controlled and drought-proof

East County News Service

February 18, 2016 (Santee) - Padre Dam Municipal Water District’s Board of Directors accepted the East County Advanced Water Purification Program study at its February 3 board meeting. Additionally, the Board authorized a contract for $3,497,500 with Kennedy/Jenks Consultants to provide as-needed engineering services for the program.

JACOB CALLS FOR CPUC INVESTIGATION OF HIGH EMF LEVELS IN ALPINE ALONG POWERLINK ROUTE

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Supervisor Dianne Jacob, speaking against Powerlink at a 2010 rally

Update:  SDG&E, the Alpine Union High School District, and the Alpine Community Planning Group have responded to community concerns.  The County Board of Education has measured levels at the Alpine Elementary School and found them within EPA recommended levels. SDG&E has offered to meet with any concerned residents or business owners and take measurements. We have also provided additional a broader range of studies on possible health issue.  See our new article here with the latest details: http://www.eastcountymagazine.org/alpine-powerlink-concerns-spark-responses 

February 17, 2016 (Alpine) – Today, Supervisor Dianne Jacob sent a letter to California Public Utilities Commission chairman Michael Picker requesting an immediate investigation and independent review of high electric magnetic field (EMF) levels in Alpine. Copies of Jacob’s letter were sent to Governor Jerry Brown, Attorney General Kamala Harris and all CPUC commissioners.

HIGH EMF LEVELS FOUND ALONG ALPINE BOULEVARD ON POWERLINK ROUTE: LEVELS NEAR SCHOOL SITES RAISE CONCERNS

 

 

Update:  SDG&E, Supervisor Dianne Jacob, Alpine Union School District and the Alpine Community Planning Group have issued responses to the concerns raised by this study; also the County Dept. of Education had new EMF readings taken at the Alpine Elementary School that appears to have reassuring results for parents.  View responses:  http://www.eastcountymagazine.org/alpine-powerlink-concerns-spark-responses.

By Miriam Raftery

February 12, 2016 (Alpine) -  Electric magnetic field (EMF) levels along the route of the underground Sunrise Powerlink high voltage line have been measured at dramatically higher levels than before the line was installed.  High EMF levels have been linked to leukemia in some studies. 

WHEN RECYCLING GOES AWRY: CALIFORNIA’S OLD TIRES CROSS THE OCEAN AND COME BACK AS SMOG

 

 

Sometimes global economic forces are stronger than good intentions. 

 

By Zach St. George

 

Reprinted with permission from http://www.takepart.com/feature/2016/02/12/tire-recycling-california-smog?cmpid=tp-pr

 

February 13, 2016  (Stockton, CA— Inside a dark, high-ceilinged machine shop, Mark Hope leans over a motionless conveyor belt, picking through the black scraps. He finds what he’s looking for and holds it up—a web of silver wires sandwiched between two layers of black rubber. “There’s a lot of metal in tires,” he says. “Ten, fifteen percent.” The wire is tough on the equipment, he says. He points up to the shredder, a grimy box with one conveyor to drop tires into the hopper on the top and another conveyor to carry the shredded tires away. The shears are inside the box. “We have to change these out all the time,” he says. They’re constantly going dull from the wire.

SUPREME COURT BLOCKS PRESIDENT’S CLEAN POWER PLAN, COMPLIANCE WITH PARIS CLIMATE SUMMIT PACT

 

By Miriam Raftery

February 9, 2016 (Washington D.C.) – The U.S. Supreme Court has thrown a monkey wrench into U.S. compliance with the landmark climate change accord signed in Paris by 195 nations, blocking a key action aimed at reducing air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired power plants.

BACK COUNTRY LAND TRUST GETS AUTHORIZATION TO OVERSEE MITIGATION LANDS

 

East County News Service

February 1, 2016 (San Diego’s East County) — Founded in 1990, the Back Country Land Trust (BCLT) began working with the California Department of Fish & Wildlife (CDFW) and the United States Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) in 2009 to protect lands in the Long Potrero Valley, located in the historic “Las Californias” region in the south-easternmost part of San Diego County.

LAKESIDE PLANNING GROUP TO VOTE ON LINDO LAKE PARK IMPROVEMENTS TUESDAY

 

East County News Service

January 30, 2016 (Lakeside) – On Tuesday, February 2, the Lakeside Community Planning Group is expected to vote on over $250,000 in improvements to Lindo Lake Park. Final public comments will be heard from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the meeting in the Lakeside Community Center, 9841 Vine Street in Lakeside. After several community workshops, planning group members are set to approve a final design concept from among four plans considered.

CPUC VOTES TO KEEP NET METERING FOR SOLAR

 

 

East County News Service

Photo by Jessica Walls

January 28, 2016 (San Diego) – By a 3-2 vote, the California Public Utilities Commission today voted to retain net energy metering that supporters say is crucial to support growth of rooftop solar power.  Though some changes will be made, the ruling protects compensation for consumers who produce surplus solar power for the grid.

Hailed as a victory for rooftop solar advocates, the decision has drawn praise from environmentalists but criticism from San Diego Gas & Electric Company (SDG&E).

JACUMBA SOLAR PULLS PLUG ON WATER PURCHASE DEAL

 

By Miriam Raftery

January 28, 2016 (Jacumba Hot Springs) – Jacumba Solar LLC has cancelled its contract with the Jacumba Community Services District to purchase water for a large-scale solar project..  The project would include over 81,000 solar panels on 304 acres near the SDG&E substation.

“I I think it’s for the best,” Eric Kallen, vice chair of the Jacumba Community Services District, told East County Magazine.

The contract called for Jacumba Solar to pay a $100,000 “gift” on signing with an additional $250,000 lump sum payment due January 15th.   The District was to provide 40 acre feet of water with an option for Jacumba Solar to purchase 28 additional acre feet if needed for construction, plus three or four acre feet a year long-term for maintenance after the project was built.  The solar projecrt was proposed by Nextera, a Florida-based company.

Pages