The Center for Biological Diversity filed a lawsuit on June 19 against the California Department of Parks and Recreation for its failure to protect an endangered seabird, the Marbled Murrelet, under the new management plan for Big Basin Redwoods State Park in California’s Santa Cruz Mountains. The suit, filed in California Superior Court in Santa Cruz county, challenges the department’s plans to expand visitor facilities in or near essential nesting habitat.
The Point Reyes National Seashore’s ecological heart, Drakes Estero, has been designated as the West Coast’s first marine wilderness area. In June, supporters of the Interior Department’s decision to protect Drakes Estero charged that opponents of the Obama administration’s decision presented “inaccurate and misleading” information to the Sonoma City Council to win approval of a resolution riddled with factual inaccuracies that run counter to established state and federal law.
June 25 marked the sixth day in which Will Parrish has been occupying a wick drain stitcher in the Willits Bypass construction area. He is currently out of food and water but is staying strong. Resupplies have been attempted but with no results, as he is being guarded by two CHP officers at all times. Parrish has managed to stop Caltrans from working for six days and plans to be up there until they stop the project. Earth First! Humboldt reports that the community is very strong in Willits but needs more support from those who are able and willing to help.
On May 15, the City of Santa Cruz issued a press release entitled “Santa Cruz Water Director Key to Non-Profit CalDesal Success. Bill Kocher Named Vice-President of the Board.” Opponents of the proposed desal plant say the piece appears designed as a damage control tactic to both re-frame and obfuscate the city’s role as a prominent member of the CalDesal advocacy and lobbying organization.
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.
In a precedent-setting victory for fracking opponents, a federal judge ruled that the Obama administration violated the law when it issued oil leases in Monterey County without considering the environmental impacts of hydraulic fracturing. “This important decision recognizes that fracking poses new, unique risks to California’s air, water and wildlife that government agencies can’t ignore,” said Brendan Cummings, senior counsel at the Center for Biological Diversity, who argued the case for the plaintiffs. “This is a watershed moment — the first court opinion to find a federal lease sale invalid for failing to address the monumental dangers of fracking.”
Protesters mobilized to greet President Barack Obama who was in town for a series of fundraisers in San Francisco and Atherton on April 3 and 4. Approximately 1,000 demonstrators opposing the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, which would extend from Canada to Texas, gathered outside the mansion of Ann and Gordon Getty in San Francisco the evening of April 3. The next day about 100 environmentalists lay in wait along the President's route after a fundraiser in Atherton.