Green Scene

COURT REVOKES EPA APPROVAL OF PESTICIDE TOXIC TO BEES

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

September 10, 2015 (San Francisco)—The U.S. Ninth Court of Appeal in San Francisco today revoked the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s approval of the pesticide sulfoxaflor because it is highly toxic to bees.  The pesticide is sold under the brand names Closer and Transform.

MONSANTO'S ROUNDUP INGREDIENT CAUSES CANCER, CALIF. EPA SAYS

 

By Miriam Raftery

September 8, 2015 (San Diego’s East County)—California’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued a notice of intent to label glyphosate, an herbicide that is the main ingredient on Monsanto’s Roundup, as a carcinogen“known to cause cancer.”  The public has until October 5th to comment on the proposal.

Glyphosate has also been linked to a sharp drop in Monarch butterfly populations across the nation as well as to potential health impacts in humans.

IRS ALLOWS 30% TAX CREDIT FOR INDIVIDUALS IN COMMUNITY WITH SHARED SOLAR PROJECT

 

By Miriam Raftery

September 8, 2015 (San Diego’s East County) - The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has issued a determination finding that individuals who invested in a shared community solar project can qualify for a 30% federal renewable energy tax credit.

CLEVELAND NATIONAL FOREST FOUNDATION OBJECTS TO APPROVAL OF POWER LINE UPGRADES IN EAST COUNTY FOREST AND WILDERNESS AREAS

 

East County News Service

“Eagles need forests, not electricity.” – Duncan McFetridge, Cleveland National Forest Foundation co-chair and woodcarver who created this eagle statue.

September 6, 2015 (San Diego’s East County) --The Cleveland National Forest Foundation (CNFF) has issued a written objection to a draft Record of Decision (ROD) issued by Cleveland National Forest Supervisor Will Metz. That decision permits SDG&E to replace electrical lines and poles as well as upgrade of electrical service on lands within and adjacent to Cleveland National Forest.

UPDATE ON JACUMBA WATER SALE FOR SOITEC PROJECT

 

East County News Service         

September 6, 2015 (Jacumba Hot Springs)--In an August 21 article, we quoted a former Jacumba Planning Group chair who indicated that the Local Government Formation Commission (LAFCO) has a rule prohibiting water sales outside of Jacumba’s water district.

CO2 HOTSPOTS NEAR SAN DIEGO COUNTY

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Roger Coppock

Photo: NASA'S OCO-2 Satellite

September 6, 2015 (San Diego) -- From Version 7 data collected by NASA's Orbiting Carbon Observatory - 2 Satellite between May 28 and August 14, 2015, here are the CO2 emission hotspots in the San Diego and Imperial County areas.  A "CO2 Hotspot" is a point at which the infrared detectors aboard the satellite find significantly more CO2 than the CO2 in the points of the area around it.  The "Zscore" variable indicates the size of a CO2 anomaly--and our region has a cluster of staggering dimensions.

CO2 is the principal greenhouse gas driving manmade global warming.  Therefore, it is very very important to locate sources of CO2 emissions, so that they can be extinguished.  It is not an understatement to say that survival of human civilization over the next few centuries depends on this.  Satellites, like NASA's latest OCO-2, are the best tools available for locating CO2 sources around the planet.

COMMUNITY MEETING SEPT. 10 CONVENED BY OPPONENTS OF SAND MINING PROJECT IN LAKESIDE

East County News Service

September 7, 2015 (Lakeside) – Residents of El Monte Valley and other community members concerned about a massive sand mining project proposed in Lakeside are invited to join a meeting convened by the Preserve El Monte Action Coalition.  The meeting will be held Thursday, Sept. 10 at 6 p.m. in the Lakeside Christian Church, 13739 El Monte Road in Lakeside.

The goal will be to help residents frame concerns to address them in writing to the County of San Diego.

WATER CONSERVATION GARDEN'S SEPTEMBER CLASSES AND MORE

 

August 30, 2015 (Rancho San Diego) – From tossing the turf to water-wise and fire-wise landscape designs, the Water Conservation Garden at Cuyamaca College in East County’s Rancho San Diego neighborhood has a wealth of classes.

A WIN FOR EAGLES: COURT VOIDS 30-YEAR TAKE PERMITS

 

 

Decision could impact Tule Wind in San Diego’s East County

By Miriam Raftery

August 27, 2015 (San Diego’s East County)—A federal judge has ruled that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service violated the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) when it extended eagle take permits from 5 years to 30 years  for wind energy developers.  The rule had allowed the incidental killing of bald and golden eagles for up to three decades with no accountability, even though killing federally protected and endangered eagles is a felony subject to criminal prosecution under other circumstances.

“GOLDEN STATE STANDARDS” BILL ADVANCES IN LEGISLATURE; SENATOR ANDERSON SPEAKS OUT TO OPPOSE MEASURE

 

By Miriam Raftery

August 27, 2015 (Sacramento)—Senate Bill 350 aspires to set new standards for renewable energy in California that the authors day will grow the state’s economy and improve public health by cutting petroleum use, increasing energy efficiency in existing buildings. But opponents contend that raising taxes on gas and vehicle users’ fees would create economic hardship for some Californians.

RESIDENTS AND AN ER DOCTOR SPEAK OUT AGAINST SAND MINING IN EL MONTE VALLEY

 

By Miriam Raftery

August 26, 2015 (Lakeside) - - Residents, environmentalists and medical experts presented strong evidence for why a proposed sand mining project in Lakeside’s El Monte Valley should not be approved.  Opponents of Enviornmine’s proposed 167-acre project spoke out at tonight’s scoping meeting conducted by the county.’s Planning department.  Public comment remains open until September 14th, after which an Environmental Impact Report will be drafted.

Dr. Christy Walker, an emergency room physician, testified about the confirmed presence of Valley Fever (coccidioides immitis) in El Monte Valley; evidenced in the treatment of both people and pets who contracted the potentially lethal illness in the Valley. She indicated that Valley fever does not just affect the lungs but can affect multiple organs. Her concern is that mining that lift layers of sand to dig the 100' deep, 182 acre wide mining pit would release fungal coccidioides spores d into the air, greatly increasing exposure and infection.

PROPOSES LAKESIDE SAND MINE OWNERS ANNOUNCE AGREEMENT WITH WEST COAST SAND AND GRAVEL INC.

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

August 26, 2015 (Lakeside)--El Monte Nature Preserve, LLC, the company that aims to sand mine El Monte Valley in Lakeside, a designated county scenic view corridor, for the next 30 years announced this week that it has entered into a sand extraction and marketing agreement with West Coast Sand and Gravel, Inc.

FIRST WOLF PACK IN CALIFORNIA IN 91 YEARS, PHOTOS CONFIRM

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photos 1 and 2: grey wolf images from trail cam provided by CDFW

Photo 3: grey wolf, not in CA, by John and Karen Hollingsworth USFWS

August 21, 2015 (California) – California Department of Fish and Wildlife has released photographic evidence of seven wolves—two adults and five pups just a few months old—in northern California’s Siskiyou County.

SAVING DROUGHT-STRESSED TREES

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

 

 

August 21, 2015 (La Mesa) – “Although we have been asking to cut back on water, please do not let the trees dry,” Helix Water Board member Kathleen Coates Hedberg urges customers.  She provided a flyer with tips for how to water your trees within the district’s guidelines and keep them alive during the drought , such as  using soaker hoses that are exempt from level 2 drought restrictions.

Here are some benefits that trees provide--and tips for how to keep your shade or fruit trees healthy even in the drought:

JUDGE OVERTURNS COUNTY APPROVALS OF SOITEC BOULEVARD PROJECTS

 

Update, August 21, 2015:  Donna Tisdale notified us that the backcountry "celebration over the death of Soitec's Boulevard projects was a bit premature. Today, County staff informed me that Soitec is going to remove the 160 cargo containers full of potentially toxic batteries from their Rugged Solar project and will resubmit the revised EIR for certification by the Board of Supervisors. (Back in February, Soitec self-terminated their Tierra Del Sol Solar project just 1 month after receiving Board approval due to a lack of buyers.) Staff is trying to docket the revised EIR for the Board agenda by October so they can meet the Court's order to report back by November 2nd on how they plan to comply," adds Tisdale, who concludes, "The battle to save the backcountry continues."

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: A Soitec solar panel in Newbury Springs, California

August 20, 2015 (Boulevard) – The last of four massive solar projects proposed by Soitec Solar in Boulevard may now be officially dead.

On August 7th, Superior Court Judge Joel R. Wohlfeil  overturned County Supervisors’ approvals of Soitec’s Rugged Acres and Tierra del Sol projects,  because the approvals violated the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA)  Soitec and the County failed to file an appeal by the August 14th deadline, says Donna Tisdale, chair of the Boulevard Planning Group and founder of Backcountry Against Dumps, which filed the lawsuit aiming to halt the project. View the court's judgment.

“Soitec’s Boulevard projects, approved for 1,200 acres, are now dead and buried!” Tisdale wrote in an email to project opponents. Any new projects proposed for those sites would need to start all over at step one,” requiring a new environmental impacts review, a lengthy and costly process. “I have asked the County for details on when they will set aside their voided approvals, as mandated by the court,” Tisdale added.

FEDS GRANT CONSERVATION FUNDS FOR SAN DIEGO COUNTY AND SANTEE

 

East County News Service

Photo:  Vernal pool fairy shrimp, Calif. Dept. of Pesticide Regulation

August 19, 2015 (San Diego’s East County) - What do bald eagles and fairy shrimp have in common?  They’re both on a list of species to be protected under a $3 million grant that the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service is providing to San Diego County for habitat preservation. In addition, the City of Santee will receive close to $189,000 for its Multiple Species Conservation Program.

INTERACTIVE MAP TRACKS CLIMATE INVESTMENTS IN CA

 

August 19, 2015 (Sacramento)-- California leads the nation with its ambitious programs to combat climate change, from ramping up renewable energy to driving the development of cleaner cars and its cap-and-trade program. Now, an interactive online map is available to track where funds from these ground-breaking programs are being invested.

COUNTY SCOPING MEETING IN LAKESIDE AUG. 26 ON SAND MINE PROJECT

Credit photo to Billy Ortiz

East County News Service

August 17, 2015 (Lakeside) – The County is preparing an environmental impact report on a massive sand mining project  proposed in El Monte Valley. The first step is to determine the “scope” of issues to be addressed. The County will host a scoping meeting on the project on Wednesday, August 26 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Lakeside Community Center, 9841 Vine Street in Lakeside.

Members of the public, agencies and organizations are invited to attend and submit comments to assist the in determining the scope and content of the environmental informational impact report.  Details can be found at http://www.sdcounty.ca.gov/pds/ceqa_public_review.html . To have your comments entered into the official record, you must voice your comments at the public meeting or submit a letter before September 14 to:

CA FARMERS IRRIGRATE CROPS WITH FRACKING WASTEWATER: CONSUMER GROUPS VOICE ALARM

 

 

East County News Service

August 14, 2015 (San Diego)—Fruits, nuts, and other crops including some sold as organic have been grown using irrigation from oil fracking wastewater laced with toxins in drought-stricken California.

Now some consumer advocacy groups including Food & Water Watch are calling for a halt to the practice.  Courage Campaign has launched a petition for consumers to pledge that they won’t buy food products grown with oil wastewater, or what Courage Campaign calls “toxic sludge.”

 A shocking investigation by Mother Jones magazine reveals that oil wastewater has reportedly been sold to 90 landowners in Southern California, including Bee Sweet Citrus and  Halos, a citrus company which has the slogan “pure goodness” and Sunview, which sells grapes and raisins including some certified as organic.  Another company reportedly irrigating with oil wastewater is Trinchero Family Estates, which supplies grapes for winemakers including Sutter Home.

GOLD MINE SPILLS TOXINS, THREATENING WATERWAYS ACROSS SOUTHWEST

By Miriam Raftery

Updated August 11, 2015 with a statement from the Metropolitan Water Authority.

August 10, 2015 (San Diego’s East County) – More than 3 million gallons of toxic waters contaminated with heavy metals from the King Gold Mine in Colorado were accidentally released by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency employees working at the site.   The spill has turned clean waterways in three slates a sickly mustard color from a flow moving at four to five miles per hour.

The toxic plume has flowed into major rivers in Colorado, Utah and New Mexico and is expected to soon reach Arizona, where it could potentially taint Lake Powell, the second largest reservoir in the United States and a major source of drinking water for San Diego, California as well as Las Vegas, Nevada. However the Metropolitan Water District has issued a statement indicating it does not anticipate an impact on local districts' water supplies in our region.

ENVIRONMENTAL GROUPS SEEK TO PRESERVE 37 ACRES IN EL MONTE VALLEY

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photos: Supervisor Dianne Jacob proposed preservation of lands adjacent to those that Michael Beck, El Monte Nature Preserve LLC, seeks to turn into a sand mining operation.

August 7, 2015 (Lakeside) – The San Diego River Conservancy’s board voted unanimously on Thursday to support a motion made by Supervisor Dianne Jacob to lead a consortium of environmental groups in an effort to seek funding to buy parcels of surplus land that Helix Water District is planning to sell.  If successful, the acquisition would preserve the land for the public as open space with trails for hiking, horseback riding, jogging and dog walking. View full video of the hearing.

FISH AND GAME COMMISSION VOTES TO BAN BOBCAT TRAPPING STATEWIDE

 

East County News Service

Photo: Creative Commons image by www.ForestWander.com

August 5, 2015 (Sacramento)-The California Fish and Game Commission has voted 3-2 to ban bobcat trapping statewide. The decision today completely bans bobcat trapping in California, with the exception of trapping bobcats that prey on livestock.

SAN DIEGO MOVES FORWARD ON AGGRESSIVE CLIMATE ACTION PLAN

 

East County News Service

August 4, 2015 (San Diego) – The San Diego City Planning Department has published a 300 page  public notice  of a Draft Environmental Impact report on the city’s ambitious climate action plan, which expands on Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s   climate action plan  released last year. The public has 60 days to comment.

CLIMATE CHANGE CAUSING OCEAN ACIDIFICATION, LOW OXYGEN

 

By Suzanne Potter, Public News Service

Photo credit: MConnors/morguefile.

July 30, 2015 (Sacramento) -- Climate change is turning ocean water more acidic and creating low-oxygen "dead zones" – issues that have serious implications for the entire oceanic ecosystem.

EDISON SIGNS POWER PURCHASE AGREEMENT FOR TULE WIND, CPUC APPROVAL STILL NEEDED

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo, left: McCain Valley, site of planned 14,000 acre wind project

Photo, right: Blades being hoisted onto wind turbine in Ocotillo

Updated July 31, 2015 10 p.m. to include comments from SDG&E and from Howard Cook, former Jacumba Sponsor Group Chair.

July 30, 2015 (McCain Valley)—Southern California Edison has signed a 15-year power purchase agreement with Iberdrola Renewables to buy electricity from the Tule Wind project planned in McCain Valley near Boulevard.

“We are still actively opposing Tule Wind and hope it never gets built,” Donna Tisdale told East County Magazine. Tisdale and the citizens’ group Backcountry Against Dumps have two legal challenges pending. Tisdale also chairs the Boulevard Community Planning Group, which voted against the project but was overruled by the San Diego County Supervisors, with Supervisor Dianne Jacob voting no and four other Supervisors voting for the project.

The agreement covers the first phase of the 14,000-acre project, which includes 67 turbines on federal Bureau of Land Management property at the gateway to the McCain Valley federal recreation area, as well as on privately-owned Rough Acres Ranch.

CLINTON WANTS TO SEE HALF A BILLION SOLAR PANELS

 

Originally Published on the ECOreport

By Roy L Hales

July 30, 2015 (San Diego’s East County) - With Hillary Clinton leading the pack of Presidential hopefuls, America could increase its solar capacity by 700% by 2020. The latest CNN poll shows 44% of the voters respondents favourable to her. This is quite a lead over the two next most favoured candidates, Republicans Jeb Bush and Donald Trump (who both had 34%). Her Democratic challenger, Bernie Sanders, may be “moving up” but has a long way to go with only 24%. Clinton wants to see half a billion US solar panels on rooftops by the end of her first term.

STATE WEIGHS BAN ON BOBCAT TRAPPING; PUBLIC COMMENTS ACCEPTED THROUGH AUG. 5

 

By Miriam Raftery

July 27, 2015 (San Diego’s East County) – The California Fish & Game Commission is considering a statewide ban on bobcat trapping.   Public comments are being accepted through August 5th.  The ban would not prohibit hunting or killing of bobcats that prey on livestock, such as chickens.  It would only ban trapping bobcats for their pelts.

ONCE IN A BLUE MOON: LAKESIDE RIVER PARK CONSERVANCY GALA & AUCTION AUG. 29

 

July 24, 2015 (Lakeside) – Lakeside’s River Park Conservancy presents its 9th annual Once in a Blue Moon Gala & Auction at Hazy Meadow Ranch on Saturday, August 29. Happy hour starts at 5 p.m., followed by dinner, with dessert and dancing concluding at 9 p.m.  Special guest speaker will be Supervisor Dianne Jacob.

LAKESIDE MEETING ON SAND MINING PROJECT JULY 28

 

July 22, 2015 (Lakeside) - Save El Monte Valley, a citizens group opposed to a proposed sand mining project, invites concerned citizens to a community meeting on July 28 at 6 p.m.  The meeting will be held at the Lakeside Christian Church, 13739 El Monte Road in Lakeside.

3 LOCAL REPRESENTATIVES HONORED FOR VOTING TO PROTECT NATIONAL PARKS 100% OF TIME, 2 OTHER SD REPS SCORE ZEROS

 

Photo: Clark Bunting, NPCA President and CEO, Rep. Susan Davis, and Craig Obey, NPCA Senior VP, Government Affairs

July 17, 2015 (San Diego)—When it comes to protecting national parks, the partisan divide between our local Congressional representatives is as wide as the Grand Canyon.

Three of San Diego’s Congressional members were honored with the Friends of the National Parks Award from the nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association for their contributions to protection and enhancing America’s national parks. Congressional members Susan Davis, Scott Peters and Juan Vargas all voted to support national parks 100% of the time on bills tracked by the NPCA. California’s two Senators, Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein, also scored 100%.  All five of these legislators are Democrats.

By contrast, San Diego’s two Republican Congressmen, Duncan D. Hunter and Darrell Issa, each scored 0%, voting against every measure to protect national parks that the NPCA tracked in the last Congressional session. That included five measures that passed the House of Representatives, three of which were opposed by the NPCA.

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