Green Scene

WATER CONSERVATION GARDEN OPENS EAST COUNTY ROTARIAN'S NATIVE HABITAT GARDEN

 

East County News Service

June 28, 2015 (Rancho San Diego) – The Water Conservation Garden at Cuyamaca College held a ribbon-cutting ceremony on June 12th to mark the opening of its newest exhibit, a 400-square foot Native Habitat Garden at the six-acre venue.  Honored guests included San Diego County Supervisor Dianne Jacob and Louise Andres, Rotary International Governor, District 5340.  The Habitat Garden, underwritten by several east San Diego County Rotary clubs, will demonstrate ecology landscaping, a growing gardening movement that emphasizes native plants grown in their natural associations, creating optimal habitat for birds, butterflies, and other beneficial wildlife. The exhibit will also demonstrate best practices for water-wise design, storm water pollution prevention, on-site water reclamation, and gray water systems.

G-7 WORLD LEADERS AGREE TO END FOSSIL FUEL USE BY CENTURY’S END, SLASH BY 2050

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Avaaz, 700,000 marchers for climate change action

June 28, 2015 (San Diego) – It’s been front-page news in Europe, but scarcely reported in the U.S. – though the news is of epic proportions. 

On June 6th, at a meeting in a Bavarian resort,  all seven of the G7 world leaders agreed to end all use of fossil fuels by the end of this century and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 40 to 70 percent by 2050, compared to 2010 emission levels.   In another sweeping commitment, they agreed to limit global warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels, Reuters reports.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, dubbed the “climate chancellor”, led the successful efforts to gain the commitments from the G7 leaders of  Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Canada and the United States, which was represented by President Barack Obama.   Next up, the G7 leaders aim to create an agreement at the upcoming United Nations conference in Paris, where some 200 nations will work to set a new global agreement on cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

ARCHITECTURAL RESPONSES TO CALIFORNIA'S DROUGHT

 

Originally Published on the ECOreport

By Roy L Hales

June 23, 2015 (San Diego’s East County) - There was a new source of inspiration at the 45th Annual Los Angeles Architectural Awards. Some of the winners were architectural responses to California’s drought.

POPE CALLS FOR CLIMATE CHANGE ACTION

 

By Miriam Raftery

June 23, 2015 (Vatican City)—Pope Francis has issued a rare encyclical urging a global “revolution” to address climate change.  An encyclical is one of the church’s most authoritative teaching documents traditionally addressed to the 1 billion Catholics worldwide. But this time, the Pope says his message is aimed at “every person living on this planet” to save our “common home.”

PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD OPENS ON RAMONA SOLAR PROJECT: JULY 6 DEADLINE

 

East County News Service

June 18, 2015 (Ramona) – A proposed 18.3 acre solar energy facility is proposed in Ramona at the northwest corner of Creelman Lane and Ashley Road.  The developer is asking the County to adopt a mitigated negative declaration that would exempt it from California Environmental Quality Act review, declaring the impacts to be insignificant.

LAKE JENNINGS CAMPGROUND SPARED: HELIX WATER BOARD VOTES DELAY ACTION FOR A YEAR

 

By Miriam Raftery

June 18, 2015 (La Mesa) – After hearing testimony from a Boy Scout leader and other users of the Lake Jennings Campground who pleaded to keep it open, the Helix Water Board voted to delay action on possible closure for one year.  But the long-term future of the campground is not yet secure, despite recent financial gains.

Since Helix took back ownership of the lake in 2008, the campground had been losing money at $200,000 a year – but that’s dropped to only $24,000 a year today, nearly a break-even point.

LEEDING THE WAY: ALL BUILDINGS GOING GREEN AT SDSU

 

SDSU’s Associated Students is two steps closer to achieving LEED certification for every A.S. building.

June 17, 2015 (San Diego) — The Conrad Prebys Aztec Student Union and the Aztec Recreation Center are now LEED Certified, pushing San Diego State University closer to its goal of making all Associated Students facilities LEED Certified by 2020.

CLOSE LAKE JENNINGS CAMPGROUND DESPITE FINANCIAL PROGRESS? HELIX WATER BOARD VOTES WEDNESDAY

 

By Miriam Raftery

June 15, 2015 (San Diego’s East County) – Helix Water District’s Board of Directors will vote on whether or not to close the campground at Lake Jennings in Lakeside. .The vote is set for Wednesday, June 17th at 2 p.m. at the board meeting at the district’s headquarters, 7811 University Avenue in La Mesa.

The vote is slated despite huge gains made in stemming financial losses, from $200,000 in 2013  to just $24,000 this year, plus increased profitability of other attractions and activities with potential for more, including state approval to add kayaks just  last month.

Director Kathleen Coates-Hedberg urges the public: “If  you want to see Lake Jennings Campground stay OPEN for the future and would like to voice your opinion, please come to the Board meeting or send an email to our Board Secretary and she will forward to Board Members. Board Secretary, Sandy Janzen, Sandy.Janzen@HELIXWATER.org.”

CALIFORNIA ENVIRONMENTAL GROUPS SUE TO STOP FRACKING ON PUBLIC LANDS

 

By Suzanne Potter, Public News Service



Photo: Flare burns at an oil field near Bakersfield; photo by Chris Jordan-Block/Earthjustice.

June 13, 2015 (Sacramento)--California environmental groups filed suit Wednesday to block a Bureau of Land Management (BLM) plan to allow fracking and oil drilling on more than one million acres of public land.

304-ACRE SOLAR PROJECT PROPOSED IN JACUMBA HOT SPRINGS SPARKS CONTROVERSY

 

By Miriam Raftery

 

 

 “This is a recipe for disaster, potentially putting us in harm’s way AND increasing our already high fire insurance policies…This is a project that could generate dangerous chemical fires that when spread, could cause property damage as well as loss of life.”—Danielle Cook , member, Jacumba-Boulevard Revitalization Committee

June 13, 2015 (Jacumba Hot Springs)—A proposed industrial-scale solar facility near Jacumba is sparking heated controversy, with some residents raising concerns over fire danger and impacts on  local water supplies, wildlife, traffic and public safety.

NextEra Energy, a division of Florida Power and Light, wants to cover 108 acres of a 304 acre site in the Jacumba area with 81,109 solar photovoltaic modules on 2,253 tilting rack panels—along with a collector substation, transmission lines, and lithium battery energy story systems in containers the size of cargo cars.  Ultimately, the project would produce up to 20 megawatts of power, according to a draft environmental impact report prepared by the consulting firm DUDEK.

READERS' EDITORIAL: HOW EAST COUNTY WILL PAY FOR SAN DIEGO'S WASTE WATER

 

By Bonnie Gendron, Coordinator and George Courser,  Director,  Back Country Coalition

As the Salton Sea is siphoned off, toxic dust storms pose health hazards for East County

Photo: Dead fish at Salton Sea; Wikipedia creative commons image by Gentle

June 12, 2015 (San Diego’s East County)--Ignoring Governor Jerry Brown's threats of hefty fines, several San Diego water districts have actually surpassed their previous years' monthly water use. Lip service by water districts has been tolerated at state level, excuses abound, water waste is evident yet the faucets still flow and massive non-irrigation continues undiminished.

The water use numbers are in - and they are not pretty, or healthy for East County.

BOARD VOTES TO ADD LAND TO SANTA YSABEL PRESERVE

 

County News Service

June 10, 2015 (San Diego) -San Diego County supervisors voted Wednesday to buy 175 acres of environmentally valuable land that will link the east and west portions of the Santa Ysabel Preserve and could potentially allow expansion of the “Coast to Crest” trail that is envisioned to stretch from Del Mar to Volcan Mountain near Julian.

PETITION TO SAVE SCENIC EL MONTE FROM SAND MINING

By Miriam Raftery

June 8, 2015 (Lakeside) – Lakeside residents have launched an online petition asking Bill Horn, Chair of the Board of Supervisors, to save El Monte from a proposed sand-mining project.  View or sign petition here.

This ill-conceived, destructive and dangerous project poses a clear public safety threat. It would also destroy a place so beautiful that it’s been designated a county scenic view corridor and a focal point in long-range San Diego River Park preservation plans.  Mining here could also contaminate a major drinking water supply and potentially spread deadly Valley Fever across our region.

LA MESANS CALL FOR EFFECTIVE CLIMATE ACTION PLAN, PLANNERS VOTE TO RECONSIDER CITY'S CAP

 

By Joan Raphael

Climate Action Campaign's Executive Directore Nicole Capretz addresses legal problems of  La Mesa's CAP; Senior Planner Chris Jacobs takes notes.

 

June 8, 2015 (La Mesa)--On Wednesday, June 3, concerned citizens came together at a hearing of the La Mesa Planning Commission to press for a stronger Climate Action Plan (CAP). The hearing proved a reminder of what ordinary citizens working together can achieve.

TEAMING UP TO CLEAN RIVER PARK IN SANTEE: PADRES AND TOYOTA PITCH IN

 

June 8, 2015 (Santee)--Toyota of El Cajon joined forces with the Padres Volunteer Team to help the San Diego River Park Foundation remove trash and debris from the San Diego River Watershed in the Forester Creek area of Santee on Saturday, June 6. The cleanup event targeted 20 sites along the river’s watershed, with the goal of collecting over 3,600 lbs. of trash in three hours.

ATKINS BILL TO RESTRICT IVORY SALES PASSES ASSEMBLY

 

East County News Service

June 9, 2015 (Sacramento) – The California Assembly has passed Assembly Bil 96, a measure to protect elephants and rhinos by strengthening rules on the ivory and rhino horn trade. AB96 by Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins would end the state’s exemption for selling ivory imported before 1977 The bill would also impose stiff civil and criminal penalties for ivory sales.  Atkins, a San Diego Democrat, says California is a top market for ivory and that this could significantly reduce demand.

CALIFORNIA'S STATE ASSEMBLY UNANIMOUSLY APPROVED AB 825

 

By Roy L Hales

June 6, 2015 (Sacramento) - California’s State Assembly unanimously approved AB 825, which is meant to bring increased transparency and independent oversight to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC).

LAKESIDE RESIDENTS AND PLANNERS VOICE OUTRAGE OVER SAND MINING PROPOSAL AT HEATED MEETING

 

Story by Miriam Raftery

 

Photo, left: "Would you want these kids breathing that, every day for 15 years?" -- Jessica Webb

 

June 5, 2013 (Lakeside) –  Imagine up to 250 trucks a day – one every minute and a half—hauling sand along a rural  road right in front of your house:  five days a week for the next 15 years or more in El Monte Valley.  It gets worse:  noise and dust from sand mining operations clogging the area, kicking up potentially deadly Valley Fever spores lurking in soil here, where several El Monte Valley residents have already contracted the disease. 

The sand loads would be transported for use on highways, roadways and other aggregate projects across San Diego County—potentially bringing sand  laden with Valley Fever spores to construction projects near you.  All thanks to a deal cut by Helix Water District to settle litigation over a golf course and water reclamation deal gone sour on land that Helix owned in El Monte Valley, a county-designated scenic view corridor.

This project has the Orwellian-like name “El Monte Nature Preserve” though all parties including the developer concede it is first and foremost a mining operation that will strip bare the valley for decades, lowering the valley floor 30 feet with dredging  far deeper in places, in a project three times wider than Lake Jennings.

CALIFORNIA'S STATE WILDLIFE ACTION PLAN 2015 AVAILABLE FOR PUBLIC REVIEW

 

June 4, 2015 (Sacramento) - The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has released the draft California State Wildlife Action Plan 2015 Update (SWAP 2015) and is seeking public input. Public input will help shape the final SWAP 2015, which will be completed by October 2015.  The comment period is open from May 18 through July 2, 2015.

SAND MINING PROJECT IN EL MONTE VALLEY ON AGENDA FOR LAKESIDE PLANNERS JUNE 3

Audio: 

UPDATE: Hear our interview on KNSJ radio with Lisa Wood, Lakeside resident and chair of Supervisor Dianne Jacob's youth activites on the river committee.  Wood discusses impacts of the sand mining project, which she believes would be severe, irreversible, and worse than Sunrise Powerlink. 

Listen online now:

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Facebook site dedicated to stopping project

May 29, 2015 (Lakeside) – A controversial proposal for sand mining in scenic El Monte Valley along the San Diego River bed is on the agenda for the Lakeside Planning Group on Wednesday, June 3 at 6:30 p.m. in the Lakeside Community Center (, 9841 Vine St, Lakeside). The applicant is the “El Monte Nature Preserve LLC,” though residents voice concerns the project will be destructive to nature, not preserve it.  View application.

Lakeside resident Billy Ortiz, a videographer who chronicles Lakeside’s beauty for media outlets and the Lakeside Historical Society, opposes the project. He voiced outrage over the plan.

. “If we don’t stop them, our beautiful valley will be destroyed,” Ortiz told ECM.  “We will be there to protest and discourage the project.”

CLEANING UP THE SANTA BARBARA OIL SPILL

 

Originally Published on the ECOreport

By Roy L Hales

May 28, 2015 (Santa Barbara) - It has been eight days since a 24-inch Plains All American oil pipeline ruptured. Though the pipeline was manually shut down after 45 minutes, approximately 105,000 spilled and 20,000 of that entered the ocean. Volunteers are combing 8 miles of affected shoreline, skimming oil from the ocean, and rescuing wildlife. Close to a thousand people are cleaning up the Santa Barbara Oil Spill.

OCOTILLO WIND FAILS TO PRODUCE POWER PROMISED FOR SECOND YEAR IN A ROW

Fraud issue heightened by 2nd year of weak wind energy output. So why isn't the federal government taking action?

By Miriam Raftery

May 29, 2015 (Ocotillo) – Last year, our award-winning investigative story, Was It Fraud?  raised serious questions over why Pattern Energy’s Ocotillo Wind Energy Facility produced only 15% capacity factor in 2013—far less than the 34 percent capacity factor that Pattern promised the federal government in order to obtain lucrative federal subsidies. Even after accounting for time when a fallen blade shut down the project, capacity factor for the remaining months still averaged less than 19 percent.

Now, the figures are in for 2014—and the Ocotillo wind project again under-performed, this time reaching 24 percent capacity factor:

DROUGHT THREATENS REDWOODS

 

By Miriam Raftery

May 26, 2015 (San Diego’s East County) – Stands of coastal redwoods have occupied California for millions of years. But now these towering giants are under threat following four years of drought and now, state mandates for cities to cut water.

THE BATTLE FOR CARLSBAD'S POWER IS NOT OVER

 

Rooftop Solar vs SDG&E’s Proposal to Build A 500 MW Gas Fired Plant 

Originally Published on the ECOreport

By Roy L Hales

May 25, 2015 (Carlsbad) - The battle for Carlsbad’s power is not over.  San Diego Gas & Electric’s proposal to replace the now retired San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) is not popular in San Diego County. The City of Carlsbad tried to stop the developer, NRG Energy, from obtaining a license.

GIVE BEES A CHANCE WAS WRITTEN FOR CHILDREN: BUT THE MESSAGE IS FOR ALL OF US

 

Originally Published on the ECOreport

By Roy L Hales

May 25, 2015 (San Diego’s East County) - Alicia Previn’s new book, Give Bees A Chance, was written for children. Though most of the words are simple, the author also uses more sophisticated terms that she is confident younger readers will pick up by context. Her passion comes through every page, because Alicia Previn has worked closely with gardens, insects and the earth for most of her life. Gives Bees A Chance was written for children, but the message is for all of us.

SOITEC SELLS OFF SOLAR BUSINESS

 

By Miriam Raftery

May 24, 2015 (Sa Diego) – Soitec launched its solar manufacturing facility in San Diego with a $25 million federal grant. The company touted its cutting edge, utility-scale solar collectors as ultra-efficient.

But now the French-based company has announced it is selling off its manufacturing facility in Rancho Bernardo and other solar assets. The buyer is ConcenSolar. The deal includes all technology assets, manufacturing operations in Freiburg, Germany and San Diego, a company press release indicates.

BEHIND "STANDING ON SACRED GROUND" CONNECTIONS AND CLIMATE CHANGE

 

Originally Published on the ECOreport

By Roy L Hales

May 22, 2015 (San Diego's East County) - Christopher McLeod was disturbed by the environmental injustice. He saw Native Americans subjected to airborne coal pollution, and their water being taken for slurry lines. The Hopi elders told him there was a spiritual side to the injustice. These violations were taking place within a network of sacred places that their people had preserved for countless generations. These consisted of a sacred mountain, sacred springs that gave the Hopi life, and their ancestral burial grounds. The elders told him the cause of the West’s environmental crises is the disconnect from their spiritual link to the earth. This has become the message behind Standing on Sacred Ground, a four part documentary which can be seen on the WORLD Channel, Sundays at 9:00 PM (ET) until June 14, 2015. See video.

WHAT HAS THE UNDER2 MOU CHANGED?

 

Fossil Fuel Development Continues Unabated On The West Coast

Originally Published on the ECOreport

By Roy L Hales

May 22, 2015 (San Diego’s East County) - Are the drought conditions spreading throughout the West Coast connected to climate transformation? States of emergency have been declared in California, Washington and parts of Oregon. Though British Columbia has not experienced this, a recent computer simulation predicted 80% of its glaciers could disappear over the next decade. This entire region responded by joining with eight other states, on three continents, in a pact to tackle Climate Change. Yet the development of fossil fuel continues, so what has the Under 2 MOU changed on the West Coast?

VACATIONING ON PUBLIC LANDS MAY GET COMPLICATED

 

By Lori Abbott, Public News Service

May 20, 2015 (San Francisco)--Vacationing in the Sierra Nevada, California desert or other public lands could change dramatically if the push to turn federal lands over to state control succeeds.

SAN DIEGO ENERGY DISTRICT NOW OFFERING MEMBERSHIPS

 

Hear our interview with Ashley Mazanec, membership  manager, San Diego Energy District

Listen now:  http://k003.kiwi6.com/hotlink/siq4bd2kzz/Newsmakers-_Ashley_Mazanec-SDEnergyDistrctFdn.mp3

May 17, 2015 (San Diego) – If you’re looking for an alternative to SDG&E for buying your electric power, you can now become a member in the San Diego Energy District.  In an interview on KNSJ in April, Ashley Mazanec told us a dozen businesses have signed up so far.  Ratepayers can enjoy lower rates and know their energy is coming from clean energy sources, according to Mazanec.  Locally produced energy can also reduce the need for new power lines, improving wildfire safety.

San Diego has a feasibility study underway and Solana Beach has moved forward to become a community  choice city.  The San Diego Energy District is reaching out to additional communities and hopes to build support in other local cities such as La Mesa, El Cajon , Santee and Lemon Grove as well as with County Supervisors. Individual property owners can sell surplus power back into the grid. Entities such as nonprofit orgnaizations, school districts, Native American tribes and businesses can also join the grid.

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