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Center Column Archives
The federal government announced on August 2 the start of two new analyses of fracking risks to California public lands. The Bureau of Land Management will begin developing a new “environmental impact statement” for fracking in Central California, along with a statewide independent scientific assessment of the dangerous oil extraction process. Completion of the environmental impact statement and scientific review are likely to take more than a year.
Governor Brown has proposed building two massive $50 billion water tunnels to divert the Sacramento River to corporate interests in the Central Valley. Fracking opponents say the peripheral tunnels under the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta could play a role in increasing fracking in California, so that oil companies and huge agribusinesses can make even more profits.
Following the acquittal of Trayvon Martin's killer, George Zimmerman, on July 13, hundreds took to the streets in Napa, Oakland, Sacramento, San Francsisco, San Jose, and Santa Cruz. At rallies, candle light vigils, and marches, community members have called for justice for Trayvon and an end to the racial profiling and police abuses that occur on a day-to-day basis across the country. Demonstrations for justice continue locally and nationally.
A small group of homeless people, living on a canal bank near West and Ashlan avenues in Fresno, had their property taken on July 17 by crews from the Fresno Irrigation District. Structures were pulled out of the shrubbery, a bulldozer picked up people's property and put it in a dump truck, and several dogs were also removed by the SPCA.
A plan by Warren Buffett’s PacifiCorp to apply chemicals to kill toxic blue-green algae on the Klamath River for the second year in a row has ignited opposition by North Coast Indian Tribes and river users. The Hoopa Valley Tribe and river users cite studies from 2012 that show killing the algae actually releases the algae toxin, microcystin, at a time of year when people are swimming, wading, rafting and fishing in the Klamath River.
On July 4th, about 100 people marched from Oscar Grant Plaza to the Glenn Dyer Alameda County Jail. Marchers were acting in solidarity with hunger strikers in the SHU (Special Housing Units), "prisons within prisons," where inmates are kept in solitary confinement for years and even decades.On July 8th, California prisoners will begin a hunger strike and work stoppage in order to insist upon five core demands that the governor and the Department of Corrections have refused to implement since negotiations surrounding the previous hunger strikes of 2011. Solidarity events took place in Oakland and at Pelican Bay State Prison in Crescent City on July 8th, and a statewide mobilization and march to Corcoran State Prison is planned for July 13
Joining a global day of protest against Monsanto and the genetically modified food it produces, protesters rallied in the cities of Merced, San José, Santa Cruz, and San Francisco on May 25. Around the world protests were held in more than 400 cities, giving popular voice to the growing outrage over Monsanto's agribusiness practices that put small farmers out of business and public health at risk.