Green Scene

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

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: http://k003.kiwi6.com/hotlink/3qugn67xe5/Newsmaker-SandMining-LisaWood.mp3

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.

COUNTY PROVIDES UPDATE ON BOULDER CREEK ROAD GRADING AND CLEANUP

 

By Miriam Raftery

May 15, 2015 (Cleveland National Forest) – Last month, we reported that the County had begun a major cleanup of dirt dumped inside Cleveland National Forest along Boulder Creek Road, an area proposed for federal wilderness desgnation, following an East County Magazine investigation.

Now County communications specialist Gig Conaughton has provided follow-up information in response to our questions on whether piles would be completely removed, whether the dirt contained invasive or flammable weed species, and whether a similar cleanup would be done following similar grading by SDG&E.

HELIX WATER DISTRICT TO CONSIDER IMPOSING NEW WATER CUTS

May 12, 2015 (La Mesa) – At their upcoming meeting Wednesday May 13, 4 p.m., the Board will discuss a Drought Action Plan to meet state imposed water cuts of 20% to the District, including limiting all customers to watering two days per week, requiring 10-20% cuts by residential tier 3 users with penalties for violations, and increased enforcement on water waste reports.

EARTHTALK(R): CALIFORNIA'S CURRENT WATER CRISES IS MAN-MADE PHENOMENON

 

Earthjustice attorney says tough questions need to be Asked

Originally Published on the ECOreport

By Roy L Hales

May 11, 2015 (San Diego's East County) - According to Earthjustice attorney Trent Orr, California’s current water crisis is a man-made phenomenon. It is the outcome of the mid 20th century notion that equates progress with giant public works projects and assumes that we can engineer our way out of all sorts of problems, including living on a drought-prone state. This doesn’t work.

SPORTSWEAR FROM OCEAN PLASTIC

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: NOAA, public domain image

May 6, 2015 (San Diego's East County) - Plastic poses a major hazard to our oceans and to marine life.  There are nearly 270 million tons of plastic in the world’s oceans. Each year, as many as 135,000 whales become entangled in plastic debris, according to the World Society for the Protection of Animals.  Other animals such as turtles, fish and birds can also become entangled or ingest the plastic – which enters the food chain and affects us all.

HEAR OUR INTERVIEW: SAN DIEGO ENERGY DISTRICT'S ASHLEY MAZANEC

 

May 5, 2015 (San Diego) – The San Diego Energy District is gearing up to offer consumers an alternative to buying power from SDG&E.   The nonprofit is now accepting memberships and reaching out to communities seeking clean, green power produced locally.  For details, hear our interview with Ashley Mazanec, originally aired on KNSJ Radio 89.1 FM: http://k003.kiwi6.com/hotlink/siq4bd2kzz/Newsmakers-_Ashley_Mazanec-SDEnergyDistrctFdn.mp3

ALESSIO SUGGESTS ROLLING BACK CLIMATE CHANGE COMMITMENT IN LA MESA; EX-NASA SCIENTIST DEBUNKS ALESSIO "SCIENCE" CLAIM

"Climate change science has not changed in the way Councilwoman Alessio would like us to believe. Let's stick to credible sources on science, not talking points from the climate change denier's briefing book." -- Kathleen Connell, PhD, sustainabiltiy expert and former NASA astrobiology science founder

By Miriam Raftery

Upated May 1 to add comments from Mike Bullock and data from a climate change paper he authored.

April 30, 2015 (La Mesa) – At La Mesa’s City Council hearing Tuesday, Council heard a report detailing the city’s progress on reducing its carbon footprint in order to reduce climate change.

Councilmember Kristine Alessio then stated, “The science has changed behind climate change in the last ten years. Maybe at some point we need to reconsider being part of the U.S. Mayors’ Climate Change Protection Agreement.” Here audio clip here: http://k003.kiwi6.com/hotlink/blgb31acb1/Alessio-ClimateChange-Kristine.mp3

SANTEE BUSINESS AND MOBILE HOME PARK RECOGNIZED FOR RECYCLING EFFORTS

 

East County News Service

April 29, 2015 (Santee) -- GTM Discount General Stores and Meadowbrook Mobile Home Estates of Santee received special recognition from Waste Management of San Diego at this week’s Santee City Council meeting as part of Waste Management’s inaugural “Recycling Champion” program which recognizes businesses and multi-family complexes for their exemplary efforts in implementing recycling on their properties in the City of Santee.

BEES HOOKED ON NICOTINE

By Leon Thompson

April 27, 2015 (San Diego’s East County ) --Researchers from Queen Mary University of London recently found that bumblebees that have been infected by parasites seek out flowers with nicotine in the nectar, likely to fight off the infection, new research has found. The nicotine appears to slow the progression of disease in infected bees but has harmful effects when consumed by healthy bees.

COUNTY CLEANS UP DIRT DUMPED IN CLEVELAND NATIONAL FOREST AFTER ECM INQUIRY

 

By Miriam Raftery

April 26, 2015 (Cleveland National Forest) – The County has begun a major cleanup of dirt dumped along Boulder Creek Road in response to an East County Magazine investigation.

Eagle Peak Friends and Collaborators has posted a video on its Facebook page documenting massive quantities of dirt dumped along Boulder Creek Road inside Cleveland National Forest in San Diego’s East County.  The group contended that the County is responsible for dumping 20,000 cubic yards of dirt from road-grading—dirt that polluted a federally protected watershed in the recommended Eagle Peak Wilderness area.

ASTHMA "DEADLY" FROM "DARK" AIR IN IMPERIAL COUNTY, REPORT FINDS

 

Did researchers miss a key cause: scraping desert soils for renewable energy projects?

By Miriam Raftery

Photo by Jim Pelley: Dust from construction at Ocotillo Wind Energy Facility

April 25, 2015 (Imperial Valley) – Just over the San Diego County line in Imperial County, the Center for Investigative Reporting found the air is “dark and asthma is deadly along the Mexico border.”

SDG&E OFFERS TIPS FOR SAFE PLANTING THIS ARBOR DAY

 

Customers and landscapers are reminded to call 8-1-1 two days before digging

April 24, 2015 (San Diego) – With Arbor Day upon us, San Diego Gas & Electric's (SDG&E) Vegetation Management team is reminding customers and landscapers to plant the “Right Tree in the Right Place” this Arbor Day.

MOTHER'S DAY RIVER CLEANUP MAY 10 IN LAKESIDE

 

April 23, 2015 (Lakeside) – Lakeside’s River Park Conservancy invites you to honor your Mom by helping Mother Nature.  Come help clean up the riverbed on Sunday, May 10th and all Moms present will receive a Mother’s Day Card and packet of seeds to start her own butterfly garden.

TRANS-PACIFIC PARTNERSHIP TRADE PACT SPARKS RIFT BETWEEN LABOR AND ENVIRONMENTALISTS VS. BUSINESS ADVOCATES

 

Photo: Senator Elizabeth Warren, critic of the trade deal.

By Miriam Raftery

April 22, 2015 (Washington D.C.)--There’s a battle brewing between the Democratic Party’s labor and business wings over the impending Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, that the Obama administration hopes to reach with 11 Asian-Pacific nations.

NATIVE AMERICAN SPIRITUAL BELIEFS AT STAKE

 

Originally Published on the ECOreport

By Roy L Hales & Robert Lundahl

April 22, 2015 (San Diego’s East County) - Native American spiritual beliefs are under attack. On Friday, April 10, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments for, and against, Native Americans being allowed to worship at their ancient sacred site inside Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating Facility. The immediate concern is gaining access; the larger issue is freedom of religion.

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