Green Scene

TRUMP ADMIN. OKS FRACKING, DRILLING ON 1 MILLION ACRES IN CALIFORNIA

East County News Service

Compiled from California News Service and California Attorney General’s office resources

December 13, 2019 (Ventura) -- The Trump administration yesterday took the final step to allow oil and gas drilling on over 1 million acres of federal public land on California's central coast and San Joaquin Valley, despite a flood of public comment in opposition.

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management will now allow new lease sales in 2020 on land that stretches across Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Tulare and Ventura counties.

Rebecca August, director of advocacy for the Santa Barbara-based group Los Padres ForestWatch, calls fracking "a very toxic process."



JOIN AUDOBON’S CHRISTMAS BIRD COUNT: SIX DATES IN SAN DIEGO COUNTY

By Miriam Raftery

 

Photos: Lazuli Bunting, by Eric Kallen; orioles by Greg Dunne

 

December 12, 2019 (San Diego) -- Audubon's 120th Christmas Bird Count starts on Saturday, December 14, 2019, and ends on Sunday, January 5, 2020. Each year, thousands of volunteers go outside together to count every bird they see or hear all day. It’s a fun and festive way to bird watch and contribute to an important winter bird census. Join the Christmas Bird Count.

COTTONWOOD SAND MINE PROJECT WILL HAVE A SECOND DEBRIEFING TONIGHT WITH VALLE DE ORO COMMUNITY PLANNING GROUP

By Ana Nita

December 3, 2019 (San Diego’s East County) -- Valle de Oro Community Planning Group will have a second public meeting tonight to receive community input about the proposal to turn Cottonwood Golf Course into a sand mine for the next decade. The golf course is located on Willow Glen Drive in a residential area in the Rancho San Diego area of El Cajon and on federally protected land that’s part of the South County Multiple Species Conservation program. 

The public meeting tonight is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Otay Water District Headquarters, 2554 Sweetwater Springs Blvd., Spring Valley.

OH BABY! SOUTHERN WHITE RHINO CALF BORN AT SAN DIEGO ZOO SAFARI PARK THROUGH ARTIFICIAL INSEMINATION

Source: San Diego Zoo Safari Park

December 1, 2019 (San Pasqual) -- San Diego Zoo Global announced the successful birth of a female southern white rhino calf on November 21 at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park—the conservation organization’s second rhino born after hormone-induced ovulation and artificial insemination. This calf’s birth also is a milestone, since she is the 100th southern white rhino born at the Safari Park.

Artificial insemination of southern white rhinos has rarely been successful in the past; this is only the second successful artificial insemination birth of a southern white rhino in North America. The first was Edward, born to mom Victoria, at the Safari Park’s Nikita Kahn Rhino Rescue Center on July 28.

HEAR OUR INTERVIEW: WILDLIFE BIOLOGIST RENEE OWENS ON EFFORTS TO SAVE MOUNTAIN LIONS

 

Hear our interview: Click this audio link.

By Miriam Raftery

November 30, 2019 (San Diego’s East County) – Efforts are underway to declare mountain lions endangered species in portions of Southern California. “Their habitat is being fragmented,” wildlife biologist Renee Owens with Wild Zone Conservation told ECM in an interview on our radio show that originally aired on KNSJ 89.1 FM in October. 

In California, the number one cause of mortality for mountain lions is being struck by vehicles while crossing roadways.  In addition, some 200 depradation permits are issued each year in California allowing the killing of mountain lions, usually because they are preying on livestock. “Nationwide, we know that over 3,000 mountain lions a year are reported to have died,” Owens says.

The Mountain Lion Foundation and the Center for Biological Diversity have petitioned the state to list mountain lions as protected because some isolated populations are “literally in danger of extinction.”  Owens says experts suspect this is also happening in San Diego, where recent numbers show the lions are “actually in decline," according to Owens.

Scroll down for highlights from the interview, or listen to the full interview on the audio link.

Audio: 

Audio file: Interview with Renee Owens on Mountain Lions

EARTHTALK®: DO LAWN CHEMICALS CAUSE CANCER IN DOGS?

From the Editors of E - The Environmental Magazine
 
November 24, 2019 (San Diego’s East County) -- Dear EarthTalk: Is it true that lawn chemicals can cause canine cancer, and if so, how can I protect my dog? --Bill W., Ithaca, NY
 
Unfortunately, the answer may very well be yes. A 2012 study published in the peer-reviewed scientific journal, Environmental Research, found that exposure to certain lawn care products, such as the nearly ubiquitous herbicide 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2 4-D for short), increases dogs’ chances of developing Canine Malignant Lymphoma (CML) by 70 percent. When ingested repeatedly, 2 4-D acts as an endocrine disruptor, mutating a dog’s white blood cell count allowing malignant tumor cells to replicate unchecked. While obviously worrisome for dogs and those of us who love them, the implications for people aren’t good either, given the similarities between the onset of CML in canines and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in humans.

THE END OF AN ERA: ADVENTURE 16 IS CLOSING UP SHOP AFTER 57 YEARS

Chain that began in La Mesa will hold going out of business sale starting Nov. 29

East County News Service

November 23, 2019 (San Diego) – Adventure 16, perhaps best known by its outdoor active customers as A16, announced today that the 57-year-old company plans to close its remaining two stores in San Diego and West Los Angeles. Both mountain shops will be closed Monday, November 25 through Thanksgiving Day to prepare for their Going Out of Business Sale beginning on Black Friday.

SANTEE LAKES RECREATION PRESERVE NAMED PLAN-IT-GREEN PARK OF THE YEAR

Award presented to park owners at the 2019 Outdoor Hospitality Conference & Expo
 
Contact-person David Basler, ARVC
Photos by Miriam Raftery
 
November 22, 2019 (Santee) -- The National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) has named Santee Lakes Recreation Preserve, located in Santee, California, its Plan-It-Green Park of the Year at the 2019 Outdoor Hospitality Conference & Expo (OHCE), held November 4-7 in Knoxville, Tennessee.

RECYCLE THANKSGIVING TURKEY FAT, OIL AND GREASE (FOG) AT EDCO’S BUYBACK CENTERS

Source: EDCO
 
November 22, 2019 (San Diego) -- Kitchen fat, oil and grease (FOG) that’s left over from daily cooking, or after deep frying a Thanksgiving turkey, can be recycled!  EDCO has a free, safe and environmentally friendly option for disposing of household FOG.
 
Residents are asked to simply collect used discarded FOG in a leak-proof container and drop it off free of charge at EDCO’s conveniently located Buyback Center. The FOG will then ultimately be processed, filtered and converted into biofuel by a third-party processor.
 
It is important that participants do not mix FOG with any other oils, such as motor oil or gear oil, that inhibit the process of converting the FOG into biofuel.
 
Facilities are located at:

HELIX WATER CONTINUES TO EVALUATE LOCAL DRINKING WATER PROJECT

Source: Helix Water 

 

Image: rendering of East County Advanced Water Purification Project. Source: Padre Dam Municipal Water District’s ECAWP website.

 

November 20, 2019 (San Diego’s East County) -- On November 5, Padre Dam Municipal Water District, city of El Cajon and County of San Diego formed a Joint Powers Authority to serve as the governing body for the East County Advanced Water Purification project.  A Helix Water District representative will serve as an ex officio, non-voting member of the JPA board. 

PROPOSED COTTONWOOD SAND MINE PROJECT DRAWS UNIFIED OPPOSITION FROM RANCHO SAN DIEGO RESIDENTS AT SCOPING MEETING

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

Meeting audio: tinyurl.com/RSDCottonwoodMine11042019

Photo: Elizabeth Urquhart, Stop Cottonwood Sand Mine, speaks to a full house during scoping meeting.

November 14, 2019 (Rancho San Diego) -- If the proposal to replace Cottonwood Golf Course with a sand mine were to be decided by local Rancho San Diego residents, Beverly Hills investor and developer Michael Schlesinger and applicant Greg Brown would be hearing a loud chorus of “nay” votes.

Some 300 local residents crowded into the multi-purpose room at Hillsdale Middle School on Monday night, November 4th to vent their strong opposition to the project in a public scoping meeting called by the County of San Diego Planning and Development Services Department. View county handout and fact sheet. The scoping meeting is required to get public input on what should be included in an upcoming Environmental Impact report.

STATE SUPREME COURT REJECTS APPEAL BY DEVELOPER AND COUNTY; HOSKINGS RANCH TO REMAIN AS AGRICULTURAL PRESERVE

By Miriam Raftery
 
November 6, 2019 (Julian) – Land slated for development into luxury homes in the Julian area must remain as an agricultural preserve.  That’s the impact of the California Supreme Court’s denial of a petition for review filed by Genesee Properties, the developer of Hoskings Ranch and the County of San Diego.  
 
The appeal sought to overturn a July ruling in Cleveland National Forest Foundation et al. v. County of San Diego County (Genesee Properties) by the 4th District Court of Appeal, which found that the County acted wrongly in approving 24 luxury homes on the agriculturally-zoned site protected under the Williamson Act.
  

STEP UP TO THE WARRIOR HIKE CHALLENGE

By Michelle Mowad, County of San Diego Communications Office

November 5, 2019 (Lakeside) - Conquer what is arguably the toughest trail in the county this Veterans Day weekend. Trek up El Cajon Mountain in El Capitan County Preserve during the Warrior Hike Challenge on Saturday, Nov. 9.

FIVE THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT MICROGRIDS

By Julie Cart | CALmatters

CALmatters is an independent public interest journalism venture covering California state politics and government.

Photo:  This small energy system, or microgrid, powers the Southern California desert town of Borrego Springs. Photo courtesy of San Diego Gas & Electric

November 4, 2019 (San Diego) - More than 1 million Californians were left in the dark for days recently as their big utility companies shut off power for fear of sparking wildfires. Frustrated by those outages, some homeowners say they’d like to turn their backs on the companies in favor of smaller providers who might do a better job of keeping the lights on. The mayors of San Francisco and San Jose say they want to sever ties with Pacific Gas and Electric, which serves much of Northern California, and create separate utilities for their cities.

SANTEE STILL WANTS COMMUNITY CHOICE ENERGY, BUT NOT WITH NORTH COUNTY ALLIANCE

By Mike Allen
 
October 28, 2019 (Santee) -- The Santee City Council voted for the second time to establish a community choice energy program, but put the brakes on joining a joint powers authority being formed with the cities of Carlsbad, Del Mar and Solana Beach.

BIPARTISAN SAN DIEGO WATER BILL INTRODUCED BY REPRESENTATIVES HUNTER, DAVIS AND PETERS

East County News Service

October 23, 2019 (San Diego) – San Diego Congressional members Scott Peters, Duncan Hunter and Susan Davis have introduced bipartisan federal legislation to simplify permit requirements to operate the Point Loma Wastewater Treatment Plan, with a goal of providing purified, recycled drinking water for the San Diego region and reducing ocean pollution.

The bill, H.R. 4611, the Ocean Pollution Reduction Act II, was introduced in the House on October 4, 2019.

FARMWORKERS, ADVOCATES REJOICE AS CA ENDS SALE OF CHLORPYRIFOS

By Suzanne Potter, California News Service

Photo: CC by SA-NC

October 24, 2019 (Bakersfield)--- Farmworkers' groups are celebrating the end of at least a decade-long battle to ban a toxic pesticide in California after the state Environmental Protection Agency announced a new deal with manufacturers of chlorpyrifos. The pesticide no longer will be sold to growers in California after Feb. 6.

Nayamin Martinez, director of the Central California Environmental Justice Network, said studies have linked chlorpyrifos to serious health effects in kids.

"It's a very dangerous chemical that can cause harm, especially in brain development, for unborn children and young children who live in close proximity where this pesticide is applied," she said.

'HUGE VICTORY FOR CONSUMERS': COUNTY VOTES TO CREATE AGENCY RIVAL TO SDG&E

By Ken Stone, Times of San Diego, a member of the San Diego Online News Association

Photo:  County Supervisor Dianne Jacob renewed her call for the program in her State of the County speech early this year. Photo by Ken Stone

October 15, 2019 (San Diego) - Joining San Diego and cities around the region, the Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 Tuesday to establish a community choice energy program in the county’s unincorporated areas.

READER'S EDITORIAL: CALIFORNIA MUST ACT TO PROTECT MOUNTAIN LIONS

By J.P. Ross and Tiffany Yap | CALmatters

CALmatters is an independent public interest journalism venture covering California state politics and government.

Photo:  Mountain lion P-61 was struck and killed on the 405 Freeway in the Sepulveda Pass after being chased by another male cougar on Sept. 7, 2019. National Park Service photo

October 12, 2019 (San Diego's East County) - These are deadly times for California mountain lions.

SAN DIEGO GREEN BUILDING COUNCIL ANNOUNCES 10TH ANNUAL GREEN HOMES TOUR ON OCT. 19-20

Public tour expands to two days to showcase San Diego County’s most innovative eco-friendly residences

East County News Service

Photo: Straw bale home in Jamul

September 11, 2019 (San Diego) -- The San Diego Green Building Council (SDGBC), a nonprofit organization promoting sustainable building and community practices in San Diego, will host its 10th annual Green Homes Tour on Saturday, Oct. 19 and Sunday, Oct. 20. In response to growing public interest in the green movement and an abundance of groundbreaking projects in the region, the Tour has been expanded this year to two full days, showcasing a diverse collection of the most innovative eco-friendly homes in the San Diego region including several in East County.

GOVERNOR NEWSOM SIGNS ASSEMBLY BILL 1730, GIVING SANDAG MORE TIME TO DEVELOP REGIONAL TRANSPORTATION PLAN

East County News Service

October 11, 2019 (San Diego) -- Late Tuesday night, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill 1730, which allows SANDAG additional time to develop a “visionary Regional Plan that provides real transportation choices that will enhance connectivity, increase safety and sustainability, and improve quality of life,” according to a SANDAG press release. The agency earlier unveiled ambitious plans to increase mass transit with a long-term vision of adding high speed rail, but has received pushback from some East County and North County officials over SANDAG’s previously announced plans to cut funding for some long-awaited freeway improvement projects such as widening State Routes 52 and improving safety on State Route 67.

FREE CAMPING FOR CUYAMACA RANCHO STATE PARK VOLUNTEERS OCT. 26

East County News Service

October 10, 2019 (Julian) -- You can help maintain Cuyamaca Rancho State Park when you volunteer at a work day on Saturday, October 26 at 8:30 a.m. Learn and register to volunteer below.

 

SANTEE BALKS AT JOINING JPA FOR COMMUNITY CHOICE ENERGY; APPROVES NEW HOUSING PROJECT

By Mike Allen

Photo: Renewable  energy sources; Creative commons via N.A.

October 10, 2019 (Santee) -- Santee is having second thoughts about joining a joint powers authority with several North County cities to obtain more electrical power from renewable sources.

The proposed entity is a community choice aggregation program for the cities, giving them the ability to buy more power from sources such as solar and wind. Local utility San Diego Gas & Electric would continue to deliver and maintain transmission lines and billing operations, but the CCA would be responsible for buying all power.

LAKESIDE PLANNING GROUP TO HEAR SAND MINE EXPANSION PROPOSAL OCT. 2

By Miriam Raftery

 

October 1, 2019 (Lakeside) – Bob Turner, owner of a sand mine located on Moreno Ave. at State Route 67 in Lakeside, has applied to expand the sand mine. The issue will be heard on Wednesday, Oct. 2 at 6:30 p.m. by the Lakeside Community Planning Group (LCPG) in the Lakeside Community Center. View agenda.

 

The documents on the specific expansion details are not available online. However journalist and Lakeside environmental activist Ana Nita states in an e-mail to ECM tonight,  “Turner is applying to expand the mine below the aquifer level at 80 ft.” The sand mine was reportedly approved in 2017 at a depth of 25 feet.

FEDERAL APPEALS COURT UPHOLDS APPROVAL OF TULE WIND, REJECTS ARGUMENTS THAT PROJECT THREATENS EAGLES

By Miriam Raftery

September 26, 2019 (Boulevard, Calif.) – The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld a lower court decision that the federal government did not violate laws protecting eagles in granting approval of the Tule Wind project.

 

The lawsuit was filed by the Protect Our Communities Foundation, Backcountry Against Dumps, and Donna Tisdale against the U.S. Department of Interior, the Bureau of Land Management, and leaders of both agencies. The project spans federal, tribal, private, state and county lands.  

CAL FIRE ANNOUNCES AVAILABILITY OF FUNDING FOR PROJECTS THAT PROACTIVELY ADDRESS FIRE PREVENTION AND FOREST HEALTH

Souce:  CAL FIRE

September 26, 2019 (Sacramento) - The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) announced the availability of over $80 million for Forest Health and Fire Prevention projects. CAL FIRE is soliciting applications for projects that work to proactively prevent catastrophic wildfires and restore forests to healthy, functioning ecosystems while also sequestering carbon and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

ATTORNEY CHALLENGES EXTENSIONS GRANTED BY COUNTY TO RUGGED SOLAR ON FORMER SOITEC SITE IN BOULEVARD

By Miriam Raftery

September 23, 2019 (Boulevard) – An attorney representing Backcountry Against Dumps (BAD) and Donna Tisdale contends that the multiple use permit for the Rugged Solar project in Boulevard has expired and that extensions granted by the county were illegal.  In his letter dated September 10, 2019, attorney Stephan C. Volker argues that the property’s owner/applicant, Hamann Company and Clean Focus Renewables, cannot built on the nearly 800-acre site located between McCain Valley and Ribbonwood Road unless they apply for a new multiple use permit and additional review under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

CLIMATE STRIKE AT LAKE MURRAY TODAY AT 3 P.M. AS PART OF NATIONAL YOUTH-LED CLIMATE ACTION DAY

By Miriam Raftery

September 20, 2019 (San Diego) – In addition to student climate action strikes taking place today across the nation,  East County will be hosting a climate action event at Lake Murray Community Park today at 3 p.m. to stand in solidarity with youth activists on this important issue.

Katie Eder, a 19-year-old climate justice activis, and the executive director of Future Coalition is a helping to coordination the coalition of youth-led organizations organizing and mobilizing today’s climate strike in over 500 U.S. cities and 100 nations.

“I’m proud to announce that the US Climate Strike youth coalition has finalized a set of bold demands,” she says. Too often, we think about solutions in a very small-minded way, inside the box, way. We don’t have time to stay in the box. We need to be more innovative with our solutions and ask for what we need, not what we think could be possible or has been possible in the past.”

NEW EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR TAKES HELM AT SD FARM BUREAU

By David Ross, Valley Roadrunner

Photo:  Hannah Gbeh is the new executive director of the San Diego County Farm Bureau. She considers it to be her dream job.

September 20, 2019 (San Diego) - Hannah Gbeh has taken over at San Diego County Farm Bureau as the new executive director. “This is a dream come true for me. I sat on the Farm Bureau board of directors for three years and often thought how much I would love this job. So when it became available I immediately applied.”

SANTEE GETTING ON BOARD THE CCA TRAIN WITH COASTAL CITIES

By Mike Allen

September 19, 2019 (Santee) -- Santee and Carlsbad would seem to be strange bedfellows, given their geographical locations and the latter being twice the size in population. But the cities are moving closer to joining forces to form a new entity to purchase more of their power from renewable sources starting in 2021.

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