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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.
Called organismo modificado genéticamente or organismo transgénico in Spanish, genetically modified organisms (GMO) were the topic of the day on October 12, in conjunction with a global day of action. Members of La Defensa del Maiz San José gathered in front of San Jose City Hall to protest Monsanto's corporate control of food.
On September 18, to protest against Arctic oil drilling, four inflatable dinghies left the Greenpeace ship the Arctic Sunrise and headed toward a Gazprom company oil platform, the Prirazlomnaya. Activists attempted to climb and establish themselves on the outside structure of the platform to protest against imminent drilling. The Prirazlomnaya is the first oil rig to start oil production in the ice-filled waters of the Arctic. A nearby Russian Coast Guard ship responded by launching inflatables manned with agents masked in balaclavas. They proceeded to ram and slash the Greenpeace inflatables, threatened activists at gun and knife point, and fired warning shots from automatic weapons. Further, the remaining crew onboard the Arctic Sunrise counted 11 shots fired across the bow from the Coast Guard vessel’s artillery cannon. The two Greenpeace activists who had attempted to board the oil rig were arrested at the scene. Remaining activists returned to the Arctic Sunrise
The following day, the Russian Coast Guard seized control of the Arctic Sunrise and all who were aboard. The ship was directed to Murmansk, Russia. The activists were held without bail and told that Russia was investigating those involved in the protest for piracy, which carries a potential 15-year jail sentence. A Russian court has now charged twenty-eight Greenpeace International activists, as well as a freelance videographer and photographer, with the crime of piracy.
A global day of solidarity with the jailed activists was held on October 5. Tens of thousands of people participated in more than 200 events held in 49 countries throughout the world. In San Francisco, a vigil was held on the waterfront on the bay. Local supporters told stories about their involvement with Greenpeace and their relationships to those arrested in Russia. The names of all of those arrested were read.
Save The Arctic 30 Protest San Francisco |
'Arctic 30' Global Day of Solidarity |
Timeline: Arctic Sunrise activists charged with piracy in Russia |
Protest or Piracy? Greenpeace Activists Remain Jailed in Russia |
Greenpeace's Save the Arctic campaign
Long-time residents of the former landfill known as the Albany Bulb are facing eviction as early as this month. For decades, however, the Bulb has been a safe place for those in the East Bay without traditional housing to make a home. The Sierra Club and Citizens for an East Shore State Park have pressured the Albany City Council to take action to remove those who live at the Bulb and declare the land "recreation only." Residents are now organizing and taking action to raise awareness of their plight and fight impending eviction. On October 7, residents of the Albany Bulb and local community members rallied, marched, and set up a one-night encampment on Solano Avenue, demonstrating what Albany's main street will look like if the Bulb’s 60-plus residents are evicted from their homes.
After spending $17 million, Santa Cruz City officials now want to re-engage the public by backing off on their promised desal vote in 2014. In response, the Desal Alternatives steering committee has issued a call to all citizen supporters to advocate that the City Council adopt water security measures that can be implemented immediately.
In a joint press release
issued by Mayor Hilary Bryant and City Manager Martin Bernal, Bernal states that the EIR for the Desalination facility proposed for the Westside of Santa Cruz will be completed in order to, "inform future discussions about the City’s water supply." Rick Longinotti, of Desal Alternatives, believes that decision should be made by the city council.
Rick Longinotti writes:
"The decision whether to complete the EIR belongs to the Council, since it will cost a lot more money to complete than the $1.6 million already spent. The four hundred comments submitted on the Draft EIR comprise a devastating critique of the desal project. There is only one way that a final EIR can "fix" the deficiencies in the Draft: by recommending a package of alternatives to the project. Anything less from a Final EIR would not be credible. The Council may hesitate to spend more money just to get a Final EIR that recommends alternatives to the project. Council members can reach that conclusion just by reading the comments on the Draft."
Read More | Desal Alternatives | See Also: Bethany Park Desal Alternatives
Previous Coverage: City of Santa Cruz Entangled in CalDesal’s Advocacy and Lobbying Activities
|| Supporters of Right to Vote on Desal Turn in Petitions at Santa Cruz City Hall
|| Invitation-Only Meeting Held to Promote a Desalination Plant in Santa Cruz
Long-term trends show that climate change is impacting the Lake Tahoe Basin with drier years, less precipitation, higher lake temperatures and projected lower lake levels. These conclusions are found within the 2013 Tahoe State of the Lake Report released on August 7 by the Tahoe Environmental Research Center at the University of California, Davis.
2012 was a dry year for Lake Tahoe, with precipitation 71 percent of the long-term average. While 2012 was not considered an unusual weather year at Lake Tahoe, consequences of climate change could be seen. Annual average surface temperature was 52.8 degrees Fahrenheit, the highest ever recorded for Lake Tahoe. Snow has decreased as a fraction of total precipitation, from an average of 51 percent in 1910 to 36 percent in 2012. A continued long-term trend of fewer days with below-freezing temperatures caused snow melt to peak on May 4, earlier than historical conditions. Lake level experienced a net loss in 2012.
UC Davis researchers have been continuously monitoring Lake Tahoe's clarity, physics, chemistry and biology since 1968. This long-term data set helps inform and measure progress toward Tahoe's restoration goals. In addition to clarity, algae and weather data, this year's report describes new research that assesses the impact of 21st century climate change trends on the lake; uses an autonomous, underwater glider to examine water quality across the lake; and measures not just clarity, but the quantifiable "blueness" of Lake Tahoe along the color spectrum.
Read More with a PDF of the Report
Assembly member Das Williams (D-Santa Barbara) and eight other California lawmakers are calling on the Department of Interior and Environmental Protection Agency to investigate reports of fracking (hydraulic fracturing) beneath the seabed floor off the California Coast. Assembly members Mark Stone, Marc Levine, Richard Bloom, Adrin Nazarian, Bob Wieckowski and Senators Fran Pavley, Noreen Evans and Hannah-Beth Jackson have signed on in support of Williams' letter to federal regulators.
The legislators are asking for a strict review and possible new regulations of fracking in the ocean - less than 8 months after the completion of a network of questionable state "marine protected areas" that fail to protect the ocean from fracking, oil drilling and spills, pollution, wind and wave energy projects, military testing and all human impacts other than sustainable fishing and gathering.
On August 3, it was reported that oil companies have used hydraulic fracturing at least a dozen times to “force open cracks beneath the seabed" in the Santa Barbara Channel. The Santa Barbara Channel was the site of the tragic 1969 oil spill that killed countless birds and marine life. “The fact that hydraulic fracturing is occurring off our California coast with little or no review is a frightening thought,” Williams said. “We, as residents and noble citizens, must stand together to call for greater scrutiny. We cannot take chances that could irreparably harm us all.”
Read More | See Also: Ocean fracking should be no surprise | Oil lobby leads California spending as ocean fracking proceeds | California Coastal Commission Urged to Protect Coast From Offshore Fracking | Lawsuit filed against fracking as oil lobbyist says it's 'safe' | Californians Oppose Expanded Fracking | Oil company wants to expand drilling as MPAs become effective | California's Fracking Regulatory Bill: Less Than Zero
Previous Coverage: New California Water Grab for Fracking and Agribusiness
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. It is unlikely that further oil leasing and development activities can occur in the areas covered by the impact statement until its completion.
The Bureau’s impact study will address the impacts of fracking in the region managed by the agency’s Hollister field office, which encompasses 280,000 acres of public lands and 440,000 acres of split-estate lands in Central California, including areas subject to leasing in Monterey, San Benito and Fresno counties. The independent scientific review will analyze the scope and impacts of fracking statewide.
Fracking has been tied to water and air pollution in other states, and the process can release huge quantities of methane, a dangerously potent greenhouse gas. Increased fracking threatens to unlock vast reserves of previously inaccessible fossil fuel deposits that would contribute to global warming and bring us closer to climate disaster. “The BLM's decision to conduct a full EIS on fracking and drilling in the Monterey shale is a good first step toward understanding how destructive the process can be, and to what extent it pollutes our air and water,” said Nathan Matthews, associate attorney with the Sierra Club's Environmental Law Program.
Read More | See Also: Californians Oppose Expanded Fracking
| Distant Quakes Trigger Tremors at U.S. Waste-Injection Sites, Says Study
Previous Coverage: Opponents of Fracking in California Win Court Victory
|| New California Water Grab for Fracking and Agribusiness
On August 3, over 2,000 people marched from the Richmond BART station to Chevron's Richmond refinery. Marchers painted a large sunflower on the street in front of the gate, symbolic of the need to bioremediate the toxic pollution put out by the oil refinery. Some planted sunflower starts in the soil that surrounds the Chevron plant and others cast seed bombs into the petroleum company's landscaping. Over 200 people were arrested at a sit-in at the gate and released on the scene.
Last year, on August 6, a major fire started at the Chevron refinery, sending clouds of toxic smoke into the air around Richmond and the greater Bay Area. Since then, many people from Richmond have complained of smoke inhalation, runny nose, coughing, and asthma-like symptoms due to the fire. The fire started from a pipeline rupture and sent a fireball into the sky, creating a plume of smoke that lingered for days around the city. More than 15,000 people visited hospitals with complaints of respiratory problems in the hours and days following the explosion. A lawsuit was filed August 1, 2013, two days before the march, claiming that Chevron "sacrificed safety over profits." The lawsuit cites 14 similar incidents since 1989 that the Chevron petroleum refinery is responsible for.
The August 3 action was called by the Bay Area Sumer Heat Coalition
and includes the Keystone Action Council, Idle No More
, Communities for a Better Environment
, and 350 Bay Area
, as well as many other organizations and individuals.
There will be a protest on the one-year anniversary of the explosion on August 6
at Richmond Civic Center Plaza. On August 17
, the coalition that organized the action will meet at the Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarian Universalists.
Read More |
Unionists Join Rally In Richmond |
Previoius Related Indybay Feature:
Chevron Fire in Richmond Sends Hundreds to Hospitals
The Center for Biological Diversity filed a lawsuit on July 10 challenging San Benito County’s approval of a major new oil development in the Salinas Valley watershed. The 15 new oil wells approved by the county last month will use cyclic steam injection
, also known as "huff-and-puff", a dangerous and polluting form of oil extraction that targets heavy crude. The new wells would be located in an area used by California condors
, which are critically endangered, along with other wildlife. The lawsuit was filed in Monterey County Superior Court under the California Environmental Quality Act.
The Indian Wells oil-development project will take place on a remote, little-developed 688-acre site in the Bitterwater area of southeastern San Benito County, about nine miles south of Pinnacles National Park. The project site sits atop the Bitterwater groundwater basin and drains to the Salinas River, an important source of drinking and irrigation water for some of the world’s most productive farmland.
The site is also important foraging habitat for the California condor, a critically imperiled species with a population of only about 430 individuals. Condors from both the Big Sur population and the Pinnacles National Monument population have been photographed on the project site drinking water from a trough. The condors photographed on the site are believed to constitute 10 percent of the total population of the species.
Read More | Center for Biological Diversity
Occupy the Farm (OTF), an assembly of East Bay activists focused on a future of food sovereignty through sustainable agriculture, continues to raise its voice against unsustainable development and for reclaiming a piece of the University of California's Gill Tract that is once again slated for commercial development. OTF aims to shed light on the fact that agricultural land for growing food is increasingly difficult to access worldwide.
The Gill Tract in Albany was first occupied in 2012, resulting in hundreds of pounds of produce being given to local communities, even after the occupation was first raided by UC police. Additionally, due to OTF pressure at the time, “natural” and organic foods retailer Whole Foods backed out of a deal with the UC and the UC transferred a portion of the Gill Tract from UC Capital Projects to the University’s Department of Natural Resources.
This year, in the space of nine days in May, occupiers again broke ground to establish an urban farm, and replanted the field twice. Each time the UC police ploughed over the seedlings. However, due to the renewed pressure from OTF, the UC has initiated negotiations for a parcel of land adjacent to the site of OTF resistance to be set aside for public use. Miguel Altieri, Professor of Agroecology at UC, is offering his lab’s field on the north side of the Tract to the community for a participatory urban agriculture research project to demonstrate the benefits of community involvement at the Gill Tract.
Currently, Occupy the Farm is launching a pressure campaign against Sprouts Farmers Market, a supermarket chain with over 150 stores that intends to develop on the land. OTF is building its base by supporting other community actions and holding workshops centering on issues of food sovereignty.
Read More |
Occupy the Farm (OTF)
Occupy The Farms Garden In Justin Herman Plaza
Occupy the Farm Work Party & Land Occupation
A Few Words from a David Grefrath, who is currently in jail for farming
Police Raid Volunteer Farm, arrest 4, & illegally abuse UC Berkeley student
Re-Occupy The Farm!
Occupy the Farm RePlants the Gill Tract!
Four Arrests, A Tractor Sit-In, and A Destroyed Farm
Occupy The Farm Raided
Occupy The Farm RAIDED Monday, May 13, 2013
Day One Occupy The Farm 5/11/13 Albany Gill Tract Farm
Liberate the Land Party! Occupy the Farm Returns to Gill Tract
Food Security - Keep it Local, Gill Tract and beyond...
Dance Party to benefit maintaining Gill Tract as urban farmland
Previous Related Indybay Feature:
Occupy the Farm Activists Reclaim Prime Urban Agricultural Land in SF Bay Area (2012)
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.
Regina Chichizola, who represents the Tribe, said PacifiCorp did not give any notification of the chemical use to river users, in violation of the federal Clean Water Act and California law, nor did they initiate public comment. The Tribe said PacifiCorp should start planning for dam removal to deal with the toxic blue-green algae.
"Studies show that PacifiCorp’s reservoirs create one of the worst toxic algae problems in the world,” said Leonard Masten, chairman of the Hoopa Valley Tribe. “PacifiCorp has stated they want to remove their dams for economic reasons, and has collected ratepayer money to do it, yet they are stalling dam removal by falsely saying they need legislation. They expose our communities to toxins while they stall the very Clean Water Act processes that are necessary to plan for dam removal and regulate water pollution.”