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On February 3, protest vigils were held across the country following the State Department’s release of the final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for the Keystone XL pipeline. The protests included thousands of demonstrators urging the president to keep his word in the fight against climate change and reject the controversial pipeline. In the Bay Area rallies were held in many cities, including Oakland, Palo Alto, and Santa Cruz.
The Center for Biological Diversity filed a formal petition on January 16 with the National Marine Fisheries Service to protect more critical habitat for the endangered Southern Resident population of orcas. If successful the proposal would extend Endangered Species Act protection to the whales’ winter foraging range off the coasts of Washington, Oregon and California. After several drastic declines, only 81 killer whales remain in the Southern Resident population.
Robin Moore / Save Upper Campus writes: We're bombarded daily with slogans and images promoting conservation, urging us to be green, and informing us of UC Santa Cruz's leadership in the field of sustainability. Meanwhile, UCSC is proposing to build on 240 acres of the undeveloped Upper Campus, removing redwood forest, mixed evergreen forest, and northern maritime chaparral in order to construct new buildings, roads, and parking lots.
On December 9, which was one of the coldest days of the season, the eviction of the Albany Bulb began. Workers from the City of Albany's Department of Public Works used a backhoe to dismantle homes located at the autonomous wild space where people have lived and created art for decades. Bulb residents' belongings were thrown in dump trucks behind the lines of Albany police.
Over 400 people organized by Californians for a Fair Water Policy, a statewide coalition opposing Gov. Brown’s massive water export tunnels, attended a rally on December 13 at the State Capitol protesting the Bay Delta Conservation Plan as the 120 day comment period for the BDCP and environmental documents began. Tunnel opponents pointed out “fatal flaws” of the tunnels they said would be too costly, create no new water and do nothing to increase regional water self-reliance.
The Obama administration’s push to modernize U.S. ports to accommodate huge new ships that can pass through the widened Panama Canal worries environmentalists who believe U.S. coastlines will be subjected to enormous damage and coastal residents will face increased health risks. For marine life already threatened by shipping traffic, like the majestic right whale, the odds are even tougher.
Independent truckers staged a job action that slowed work at the Port of Oakland on November 27. It was the truckers' third job action since August. The Port of Oakland Truckers Association (POTA) said the strike was “in protest of unsafe working conditions and unfair labor practices by terminal owners and Port of Oakland management.“ About a hundred independent truckers were joined by at least that many community and labor supporters at the entrances to the SSA terminal. Five people were arrested and at least two were injured by cars crossing the picket lines.