Green Scene

CHILLING NEWS: POLAR ICECAP MELTING FASTER THAN WE THOUGHT

FOR THE BIRDS? PROPOSAL TO INCREASE PUBLIC ACCESS IN RAMONA GRASSLANDS DRAWS DIVERSE VIEWS

 

By Miriam Raftery

March 15, 2015 (Ramona) - Should Ramona’s Grasslands Preserve be opened up for more public access?

Congressman Duncan Hunter’s aide, Michael Harrison, said that more access should be a “very high priority” during a meeting of the Ramona Trails Association March 3rd, the Ramona Sentinel reports.

NEW MOVIE DEBUNKS PHONY CLIMATE CHANGE "EXPERTS"; MEANWHILE FLORIDA CENSORS TALKING ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE

 

Petition asks media to deny air time to those who intentionally mislead public on climate change

By Miriam Raftery

March 14, 2015 (San Diego) – Two news stories this week reveal just how desperate some climate change deniers are to censor the public from hearing scientific facts—and how far credible scientists are now willing to go to save the planet and debunk phony “experts.”

CA SUPREME COURT ACCEPTS SANDAG REGIONAL TRANSPORTATION PLAN CASE ON NARROW CLIMATE CHANGE ISSUE

 

Majority of Lower Court Ruling Stands

March 13, 2015 (San Francisco)--The California Supreme Court has granted partial review of a closely-watched environmental case that could have broad implications for transportation planning throughout the state.

SUNGEVITY AS THE PARTNER OF CHOICE FOR UTILITIES

 

By Roy L Hales

March 13, 2015 (San Diego's east County) - Alec Guettel is back in North Carolina. It has been decades since he obtained his bachelor of arts in Political science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Guettel and another of Sungevity’s executives are staying at the local Mariott, while they oversee the company’s entrance into the state. They will also be attending the NC Clean Tech Summit, where Geuttel will be one of the key people in a panel discussion on February 20, 2015. He took my call in his hotel room. In the course of our interview, Guettel said, “we have really positioned ourselves as the partner of choice for utilities.”

CATERPILLARS MUNCHING DOWN DESERT WILDFLOWERS

 

Photo: "Hummingbird Moth (9691010084)" by Larry Lamsa - Hummingbird MothUploaded by PDTillman. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons -

March 10, 2015 (San Diego’s East County) - Anza Borrego’s desert wildflowers are both beautiful and fragile.

EUROPEAN UNION SETS GOALS TO REDUCE EMISSIONS, CHALLENGES U.S. TO DO MORE

 

East County News Service

March 8, 2015 (Brussels)--The European Union has sent the United Nations a pledge to cut greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40% by 2030, compared to emission levels in 1990.

"WHO ARE MY PEOPLE?" IS WELL WORTH WATCHING

 

Originally Published on the ECOreport

Editor’s Note: The ECOreport is pleased to present a unique article by Dr. Allan Hoffman, former senior executive at the Department of Energy, who served under five Presidents between 1978 and 2012, reviewing ECOreport partner, Robert Lundahl’s film, “Who Are My People?”

At the ECOreport, we have been aware that Lundahl’s film captures a key transition in the history of renewable energy, as concentrating solar, which had been developed in the US, began to return in the hands of international firms building large solar facilities in the Mojave desert.

Lundahl ventured to these remote locations to capture responses from Native American elders whose communities and tribal groups have had a connection to the land since time immemorial. The film is about resulting conflicts in values that define renewable energy in its current form, and provide a consultative view about how we implement these technologies today, and in the future.

March 6, 2015--I was invited to review the documentary film “Who Are My People?” because of my professional familiarity with concentrating solar power technologies. I was responsible for the U.S. Department of Energy’s broad range of renewable energy electricity programs for several years during the Clinton Administration. “Who Are My People?” is well worth watching.

SOITEC WITHDRAWS ONE OF TWO PROJECTS IN BOULEVARD

 

By Miriam Raftery

March 3, 2015 (Boulevard) – After winning approval of Supervisors for two controversial industrial-scale projects in Boulevard, Soitec Solar in a surprise announcement has withdrawn one of them.

ENVIRONMENTALISTS SUE EPA TO PROTECT MONARCH BUTTERFLIES

 

By Miriam Raftery

February 27, 2015 (San Diego’s East County) – The Natural Resources Defense Council has filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency claiming the federal agency ignored dangers to Monarch Butterflies posed by glyphosate used in Monsanto’s Roundup and other herbicides.

MAJOR TRAIL CHANGES PROPOSED TO THREE SISTERS FALLS

 

 

Public comments due by March 25

By Miriam Raftery

February 25, 2015 (San Diego’s East County)--Three Sisters Falls is one of the most beautiful natural attractions in East County – a trio of waterfalls and natural swimming holes in a wilderness area within Cleveland National Forest.  But the falls are also among the most difficult scenic sites to access.

Now Cleveland National Forest’s Palomar Ranger District is planning a major recreation management   project at Three Sisters Falls, located near Boulder Creek Road between Santa Ysabel  and Descanso. The proposed action is to adopt and/or construct a Level 2 System Trail to Three Sisters Falls, to decommission and restore existing user-created trails, and to clear and construct  a primitive dirt or gravel parking area off of Boulder Creek Road, also adding a kiosk with educational materials.

The purpose of this project is to  address concerns related to public health and safety, resource impacts from unmanaged recreation use, and compromised access along Boulder Creek Road for area residents and emergency vehicles during high-use periods at Three Sisters Falls, says district ranger Joan Friedlander.

SOLAR GOLD RUSH IN SAN DIEGO: RULES FOR SOLAR CHANGING

 

Monumental changes in solar market set to spur largest demand in history

 

East County News Service

Hear our interview with Erica Johnson, Sullivan Solar Power, on why some solar incentives will soon be going away as well as advice for consumers and ratepayers:  http://kiwi6.com/file/3v2a5ryrbc

February 20, 2015 (San Diego’s East County)--The rules of solar are changing for California property owners, and property owners who wait for the future will not receive the favorable conditions of today.  The first region to lose incentives may be San Diego, where a cap on net metering is close to being attained later this year.

COMMUNITY CHOICE LOWERS ENERGY RATES

 

By Miriam Raftery

February 18, 2015 (San Diego)--The nonprofit media outlet Voice of San Diego has run a fact check on claims that community choice programs result in lower prices for consumers. Consumer choice aggregation programs allow consumers to buy power produced by renewable resources directly from cooperatives, instead of from utility companies.

SOITEC BACKERS HOST FUNDRAISER FOR DAVE ROBERTS—AFTER ROBERTS CASTS VOTE FOR SOITEC

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

February 12, 2015 (San Diego's East County)--Six days after Supervisor Dave Roberts voted for the highly controversial Soitec industrial-scale solar projects in Boulevard which were approved 4-1 on February 4th,  he sent supporters an e-mail with an invitation to a fundraiser for his campaign at the La Jolla home of Jim Waring, co-founder of CleanTech San Diego.

Waring lobbied and testified on behalf of Soitec, which has a manufacturing facility in San Diego, at the Feb. 4th hearing.  Co-hosts of the fundraiser also include Jim Whalen, whose firm, J. Whalen and Associates, represents Sempra Energy and Hamann Companies. Hamann owns land on which the Soitec projects are slated to be built. Whalen, too, testified before Supervisors on February 4th and other occasions in favor of the Soitec projects.

These cozy ties raise a serious question: just how impartial was Roberts when casting a vote to scrape bare  more than 1,100 acres of habitat in East County including land along a scenic highway, putting a town’s groundwater supply at risk as two hydrologists have warned, and increasing fire danger with an unmitigatable fire risk as Supervisor Dianne Jacob observed?  Whose interests was Roberts really representing?

GREEN IS THE NEW RED THIS VALENTINE'S DAY

 

Show love for your Valentine and the planet with eco-friendly tips from Waste Management of Southern California

February 9, 2015 (San Diego’s East County)--Valentine’s Day is almost here and with hundreds of millions of cards, boxes of chocolates and bouquets expected to exchange hands this year, Waste Management of Southern California is encouraging community members to consider simple alternatives that not only express the spirit of the holiday but also make it a little greener.

SAN DIEGO 350 ACTIVISTS PRESENT AT THE MARCH FOR REAL CLIMATE LEADERSHIP

 

Reprinted with permission from Reporting San Diego

By Nadin Abbott

February 7, 2015 (San Diego) On Feb. 6, at the stroke of midnight, the busses left the Old Town Transit center parking lot. On board were activists from SanDiego350, as well as students from King Chavez Community School in downtown San Diego with their teacher, Keith Fowler.

WATER CONSERVATION GARDEN OFFERS GARDEN CLASSES

February 6, 2015 (Rancho San Diego) -- If you're looking for some creative ideas for landscaping your yard, the Water Conesrvation Garden has classes coming up on Hillside Gardening February 7th and Garden Design February 28th.  The Water Conservation Garden is located at Cuyamaca College in the Rancho San Diego area of El Cajon.

Below are details.

A DARK DAY FOR DEMOCRACY: SUPERVISORS OVERRIDE BOULEVARD'S ELECTED PLANNING OFFICIALS, FORCE INDUSTRIAL-SCALE SOLAR ON RURAL TOWN

 

By Miriam Raftery

View video of full hearing: http://sdcounty.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=9&clip_id=1660

Note: Tune in Friday to our radio show on 89.1 FM from 5 to 6 p.m. to hear interviews with Boulevard residents and a hydrologist sharing their views on this outcome.  Jim Whelan, a representative of Soitec project property owners Hamann and Gibson was invited and refused to participate.

 

February 4, 2015 (San Diego) – Boulevard residents fought down tears in stunned disbelief today (photo, left) as San Diego Supervisors voted 4 to 1 to approve Soitec’s Tierra Del Sol and Rugged Solar projects, overriding a unanimous vote by Boulevard’s elected planning group that opposed the projects. Collectively the two massive projects will cover 1,185 acres (the equivalent of 185 city blocks) of rural terrain with thousands of concentrated solar tracking panels, each 48 feet wide by 30 feet tall.

Only Supervisor Dianne Jacob voted against the project, following an extensive speech in opposition. She called county staff’s finding that the project was compatible with rural community character “absolutely incomprehensible to me.”  Jacob pointed out that the General Plan is supposed to assure environmental stewardship, preservation of agricultural lands, open space and community character, among other qualities – all of which will be destroyed if the Soitec projects are built.

EARTHTALK(R): CONSERVING WILDLIFE THROUGH DNA

 

 

From the Editors of E - The Environmental Magazine

January 26, 2015 (San Diego) -- Dear EarthTalk: How are scientists using DNA to conserve wildlife? -- Jake Summerlin, Newark, NJ

Traditionally, conservation biologists have relied on field observation and sample and statistical analysis to help them understand the dynamics behind species loss, but today genetics is taking on an increasingly important role in helping quantify the biodiversity around us and even save some threatened species.

PRESIDENT PROPOSES WILDERNESS PROTECTION FOR 1.4 MILLION ACRES IN ALASKA

 

Photo: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

January 25, 2015 (San Diego's East County) - The U.S. Department of the interior announced Sunday that President Barack Obama plans to ask Congress to designate  12 million acres of Alaska’s 19 million acre Arctic National Wildlife Refuge as wilderness to protect it from oil and gas drilling.

THE ITSY BITSY TEENIE WEENIE YELLOW POLKA DOT CLIMATE MODEL

 

By Roger Coppock

January 23, 2015 (San Diego)--What will global warming do to our planet?  Specifically, if we continue with "business as usual," burning fossil carbon fuels and dumping CO2 into the atmosphere in increasing amounts, what temperatures will our children see at the turn of the next century?  When climate scientists make projections like these, they use mathematical tools called "Climate Models."  Climate models are collections of mathematical formulas describing our planet.  Usually, these formulas are represented by a computer program.  These computer programs are typically monstrously large and very complex.

SOITEC TO SHIFT FOCUS AWAY FROM SOLAR

 

By Miriam Raftery

January 23, 2015 (San Diego)—Soitec Solar may exit the solar business, Greentech Media reports.  A quarterly report indicates the company plans to “refocus” efforts on its electronics business .

Greentech’s article indicates that the language may be vague, but the publication predicts, “…the message is clear: Soitec is exiting this business as quickly as possible.” 

The news comes as San Diego Supervisors are poised to vote Feb. 7 on whether to approve massive  industrial solar projects proposed by Soitec in Boulevard.

IRS WILL REQUIRE SMALL WIND TURBINES TO BE CERTIFIED

 

Distributed wind industry views performance and quality assurances at the Federal level as a positive step for successful deployment of distributed wind projects in U.S.

January 20, 2015 (Washington D.C.)--The U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has issued Notice 2015-4 providing new performance and quality standards that require certification of small wind turbines – defined as having a nameplate capacity of up to 100 kW – in order to qualify for the 30% federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC).

SUPERVISORS TO HEAR SOITEC SOLAR'S CONTROVERSIAL BOULEVARD PROJECTS IN FEB. 4 HEARING

County planners approved despite serious environmental and financial issues; rural group vows to sue if approved

By Miriam Raftery

January 19, 2015 (Boulevard) – Rural  planning group chairs and environmentalists are blasting county planners for approving Soitec Solar’s controversial industrial scale solar projects.  Planners largely ignored evidence that the projects could deplete groundwater supplies, threaten wildlife and create fire hazards—as well as Soitec’s precarious financial position.

Next up, San Diego Supervisors will hold a hearing on the project February 4th.  At least one citizens’ group, Backcountry Against Dumps (BAD) has promised to file a lawsuit against the County if Supervisors approve the projects, which would cover 1500 acres with approximately 8,000 massive solar trackers, each 30 feet high.

COLORADO RIVER IS MAJOR ECONOMIC DRIVER IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA, REPORT FINDS

 

By Chris Thomas, Public News Service, CA

Photo: Palo Verde Dam near Blythe, Calif., by Sandra J. Owen-Boyce, U.S. Geological Survey.

January 18, 2015 (Los Angeles) — A little more than half the economy of Southern California is dependent in some way on the health of the Colorado River system, according to a new report that quantifies the value of the river to the seven Western states that use it.

PICKER ROLLS OUT REFORMS AS NEW PRESIDENT OF CA PUBLIC UTILITIES COMMISSION

 

Massive release of emails between CPUC and utilities also ordered by administrative law judge

By Miriam Raftery

January 18, 2015 (San Diego’s East County) – Taking the helm of the scandal-ridden California Public Utilities Commission, new president Michael Picker announced reforms aimed at ending back-door access by utilities to state regulators and improving transparency to the public.

NASA FINDS 2014 WARMEST YEAR SINCE 1880

 

By Roger Coppock

January 17, 2015 (San Diego’s East County)--NASA's Goddard Institute For Space Studies has reduced global temperature data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.  Their "GISS Analysis" uses satellite measurements of night lighting to locate population centers.  GISS uses this population map to statistically remove the artificial warming of cities, known as the "Urban Heat Island Effect," or UHI, from the NOAA's ground station data.  In the opinion of this author, that correction makes the NASA GISS's data the most reliable estimate of the near surface temperature of our planet.  Please see:

SDG&E POWERS UP NEW EAST COUNTY SUBSTATION PROJECT

 

East County News Service

January 17, 2015 (San Diego’s East County) – San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) announced last week that the new East County (ECO) Substation project has been energized and is now operating as an integral part of SDG&E’s electric transmission system.

WIND TURBINE BURSTS INTO FLAMES IN OCOTILLO

By Miriam Raftery

January 17, 2015 (Ocotillo) –A wind turbine at the Ocotillo Wind Energy Facility burst into flames on January 15th.  East County Magazine photographer Jim Pelley, an Ocotillo resident, caught the incident on video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iGYvHM5KlJs&feature=youtu.be. The Siemens 2.3-108 turbine was a 2.3 megawatt  model with 108 meter blades.  The turbine (#110) is located along a mining road.

“There were no injuries,” Jeff Grappone from Siemens told ECM.  An investigation is underway to determine the cause of the fire, he stated in an e-mail.  The equipment impacted (six turbines on one circuit) has been de-energized, a safe perimeter established and the tower is being monitored continuously, he indicated.

MILHOLLAND SOLAR AND ELECTRIC CELEBRATES 25TH ANNIVERSARY

 

 

East County News Service

January 5, 2015 (El Cajon)--Milholland Solar and Electric, the premier solar installation and electrical contractor in Southern California, celebrates its 25th anniversary this year.

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