Green Scene

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.

SAN DIEGO UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT VOTES TO CREATE DISTRICT WIDE CLIMATE ACTION PLAN

 

District to include study of community choice energy

July 17, 2015 (San Diego)--San Diego Unified School District voted unanimously at its July 14 meeting to approve a resolution supporting development of a district-wide Climate Action Plan (CAP), in alignment with the City of San Diego’s CAP.

INFIGEN, OWNER OF KUMEYAAY WIND IN CAMPO, ANNOUNCES SALE OF ITS U.S. WIND ENERGY BUSINESS

 

By Miriam Raftery

July 16, 2015 (Campo) – Infigen Energy, owner of the Kumeyaay Wind facility in Campo, announced last week that it has agreed to sell its entire U.S. wind business to Primary Wind Power, LLC, a new private equity firm.

READER'S EDITORIAL: YOUR HELP NEEDED TO SAVE REDWOODS FROM POACHING

 

By Jennifer Nickel, Legislative & Public Policy State Chairman, California Federation of Women’s Clubs

July 14, 2015 (San Diego's East County) - Thanks to early conservation efforts, vast areas of prehistoric redwoods have been protected from logging where they survive in our State despite generations of an industrial economy.  These redwood forests are now under threat and help is needed if we want these ancient trees to continue into the future.

HOW DAMAGING WAS THE SANTA BARBARA OIL SPILL?

 

Originally Published on the ECOreport

By Roy L Hales

July 12, 2015 (San Diego’s East County) - El Capitan beach reopened two days ago. A news team visiting the site of California’s worst oil spill in 25 years reported no obvious signs of the catastrophe. There was a sea lion sporting in the ocean and birds on the shore. The park superintendent told them “You may still see the occasional tar ball or two, which isn't uncommon for the natural seeps here on the south coast." The reporter claimed the beach was better looking than ever. So how damaging was the Santa Barbara spill?

EPA PLANS TO BAN CONTROVERSIAL PESTICIDE

 

Chlorpyrifos linked to Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and lower IQ

By Suzanne Potter, Public News Service

PHOTO:. Photo credit: Chris Jordan-Bloch/Earthjustice.

July 9, 2015 (Fresno)--Environmental and farm workers' groups are cheering this week's announcement by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that it plans to ban agricultural use of the pesticide chlorpyrifos.

RATE SHOCKER: UTILITY BILLS TO RISE FOR MANY SAN DIEGANS

 

East County News Service

July 7, 2015 (San Diego’s East County) – Warning: Your future utility bills may provide a shock.

Electric utility bills will soon be going up for most San Diegans, though some heavy energy users’ bills will go down.   Instead of four tiers for energy use and payments, there will now be just two.  Not only will low energy users and low-income people be paying more,  they will also be charged more for energy use during peak periods such as mid-afternoon. Those hikes come despite the fact that San Diego already has among the highest electricity rates in the United States.

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.

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