SF Bay Area Indymedia indymedia
About Contact Subscribe Calendar Publish Print Donate
Environment & Forest Defense News
Contribute by publishing to the newswire or calendar and selecting the topic "Environment & Forest Defense"
If you would like to help edit this page contact sfbay-web@lists.indymedia.org
Environment Links | Forest Defense Links | Upcoming Events | photoPhoto Gallery

Wednesday Jul 23
4PM SB4 Public Hearing Regarding Fracking
Friday Jul 25
7PM Anti-Fracking Benefit with Scientist/Activist...
Saturday Jul 26
11AM 3rd Annual World Naked Bike Ride - San Francisco...
Saturday Aug 2
6:30PM Water, Land & Cultural Survival: Ongoing...
Wednesday Aug 6
7PM Harvey Wasserman: From Hiroshima to Fukushima in...
Thursday Aug 7
7PM The Low Down on Pee and Poop: Composting Toilets...
Sunday Aug 10
9:30AM Mines To Vines in The Holy Land and Worldwide -...
Thursday Aug 28
6:30PM "COWSPIRACY: The Sustainability Secret" with...
More Events...

U.S. Supreme Court Denies Drakes Bay Oyster Company Petition For Review On June 30, the United States Supreme Court denied the petition for review filed by the Drakes Bay Oyster Company, a private business that has been operating in the Point Reyes National Seashore. The company sued the Interior Department in December of 2012 after former Interior Secretary Ken Salazar decided to let their 40-year lease to expire on its own terms. This decision affirms the 9th Circuit Court of Appeal's denial of the Company's preliminary injunction lawsuit. Environmental groups now hope the Department of the Interior will set in motion a timeline for the company to remove its oyster operation from Drakes Estero.

“The Court made the right decision in upholding the long-anticipated oyster lease expiration that protects Drakes Estero, the wild ecological heart of Point Reyes National Seashore, which is particularly important on the eve of the 50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act,” said Amy Trainer, executive director of the Environmental Action Committee of West Marin. “We look forward to a time of healing in the community and stand ready to do our part to support the workers’ transition.”

The company has been operating for 19 months past its lease expiration under the soon-to-be-lifted court injunction. The company's workers living on-site will be allowed to remain in the housing for the foreseeable future until equivalent housing can be located, and they will receive a generous relocation package allowed under federal relocation assistance laws.

Read More | Save the Point Reyes Wilderness

Previous Related Indybay Feature: Drakes Bay Oyster Company Seeks to Privatize Point Reyes National Seashore
Preservation of Burned Area to Be Cast Aside to "Make the Timber Industry Happy" The U.S. Forest Service is proposing to log 661 million board feet of timber in the area burned by the Rim fire last summer in California’s Stanislaus National Forest. The new proposal, issued as part of a draft environmental impact statement, would sell almost four times the timber volume sold by the Forest Service in the entire state of California in 2013. It would ignore longstanding rules protecting old-growth trees and destroy habitat for roughly 60 percent of imperiled black-backed woodpeckers.

"It’s little more than an excuse to cut old trees in forests that would otherwise be protected," said Randi Spivak of the Center for Biological Diversity. "Decades of science have shown the importance of preserving burned areas for wildlife like black-backed woodpeckers and the function of these complex ecosystems. Throwing that away to make the timber industry happy is shortsighted.”

The forests in the Rim fire area continue to thrive: Hillsides are now covered with blooming flowers and plants, birds are feeding off of the dead trees, new conifers are sprouting, and deer and other wildlife thrive.

Read More | Center for Biological Diversity | See Also: pdfNew Report: Logging Would Impede Rim Fire's Benefits for Wildlife, Water, Forest | Lawsuit Launched to Protect Rare Black-backed Woodpeckers in California, Oregon, S. Dakota | New Study: Sierra Forest Fire Severity Is Not Increasing
Caltrans Willits Bypass Permit Suspended In a move that stunned but was welcomed by long-time opponents, the Army Corps of Engineers (ACE) suspended the permit for the Caltrans Willits Bypass on Friday, June 20. ACE is the agency that regulates impacts on federally protected wetlands. This project has been highly contested, with Native American involvement and over 50 arrests last year.

“This appears to be the first time ACE has ever pulled a permit on an approved project under construction,” said Ellen Drell, co-founder of the Willits Environmental Center, one of the project’s opponents. ”We are surprised and elated that ACE has finally acted, although we have been pointing out the enormous problems with Caltrans’ plans for years."

Over 50 people were arrested last year in protests to stop Caltrans' construction and advocate for alternative plans. In addition to the issues of wetlands destruction, a long list of violations of the Migratory Bird Act, Clean Water Act, and numerous permit violations and other habitat threats, it has come to the attention of local Tribes that archaeological sites were buried with new fill without Tribal consultation, as required by law.

Read More | See Also: Ceremony to Protect Wetlands Brings Together Environmentalists, Indigenous People

Previous Coverage: Occupation of the Willits Bypass on Highway 101 | Action Camp to Defend Little Lake Valley Established
Reducing Beef Intake by One Pound Saves More Water Than Not Showering for Six Months California is experiencing a serious drought and the media is filled with recommendations about how to save water: Switch to dry landscaping; don't run water when you are shaving or brushing your teeth; install low­-flow shower­heads; and don't wash your car. All those ideas would help, but much less than people think.

According to a 2012 report by the Pacific Institute, only 4% of California's water is used by individuals. An astounding 93% of California's water goes to agriculture; and most of that 93% is misused or wasted. Humans drink less than one gallon of water per day. A cow drinks 23 gallons per day — and we have 5.5 million of them.

Low-flow showerheads help save much less water than people think. Most people shower once a day and use an average of 14 gallons of water. You could save more water by reducing your beef intake by one pound than by not showering for six months!

photoRead More | pdf"California's Water Footprint" report by the Pacific Institute (PDF)
AshEl writes, "The movement to create healthy communities begins with appreciation. We want to create a day where we not only express gratitude to the hardworking people who put food on our plates, but also educate the community about the connections between food, climate change, and health. Farmworker Appreciation Day will be held on Sunday, June 15, (Father’s Day) at Closter Park in Salinas, from 11 - 3pm."
March Against Monsanto in Santa Cruz On Saturday, May 24, people all around the world united, including in Santa Cruz, California, to March Against Monsanto, calling for the permanent boycott of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) and other harmful agro-chemicals. Marches occurred on six continents, in 52 countries, with events in over 400 cities. In the USA, demonstrations were held in 47 states.

The Santa Cruz rally and march was organized by GMO-Free Santa Cruz. The group’s main focus coalesced around Proposition 37 to Label GMOs in California. The March Against Monsanto (MAM) movement was founded by Tami Monroe Canal in response to the failure of Proposition 37 in California, a 2012 ballot initiative that would have required labeling many of the food products made from genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

Canal says she was inspired to start the movement to protect her two daughters. “Monsanto’s predatory business and corporate agricultural practices threatens their generation’s health, fertility and longevity. MAM supports a sustainable food production system. We must act now to stop GMOs and harmful pesticides.”

imc_photo.gifRead More with Photos | GMO-Free Right to Know! Santa Cruz
DefendTheBulb writes: In Solidarity with People whose homes are threatened, In Honor of unpermitted public Art, In Defense of spaces free and wild everywhere, To Keep the Albany Bulb Natural and unlandscaped, To Preserve Habitat for Birds, Insects, and other migratory Animals, including Humans, We Declare the Bulb an Autonomous Zone , a space where Art and Music continue to flourish, where People assemble Freely, where Dogs run unleashed, and where long-term Residents can continue to maintain and improve their Homesteads.
City Clears Way for Hyatt to Cut Down 110-Year-Old Heritage Tree The healthy 110-year-old tree near the sidewalk at 407 Broadway in Santa Cruz is a Red Horse Chestnut, and it is slated to be cut down to make space for a Hyatt Place Hotel to be built. Gillian Greensite of Save Our Big Trees states that it is the oldest of only three red horse chestnut trees in the city, and the group has issued a call of action to save it.

It is a designated Heritage Tree in the city of Santa Cruz, and featured in the city’s heritage tree brochure which was distributed by Santa Cruz Parks & Recreation on April 19, 2014 to commemorate Earth Day in San Lorenzo Park. The Planning Commission and Santa Cruz City Council have given the Hyatt Corporation a green light to cut the tree down and build the four-story Hyatt Place Hotel.

imc_photo.gifRead More with Photos | See Also: pdf'Save Our Big Trees' Lawsuit Costing City $80,000
A new report documents, for the first time, widespread pesticide use near California schools, including in Monterey County. Many of the pesticides profiled are used in large amounts and linked to impacts on children’s health and learning. A coalition, which includes Californians for Pesticide Reform and the Monterey Bay Central Labor Council, has called for reforms in addressing pesticide use to protect children in Monterey County.
The Big Oil Dirty Dozen California is a state where many powerful corporate interests are based, ranging from corporate agribusiness in the San Joaquin Valley to the computer and technology industry in the Silicon Valley, but none are more influential in state politics than the oil industry. Stop Fooling California recently released a chart revealing that the oil industry, including the Western States Petroleum Association, Chevron, BP and other oil companies, spent over $56.63 million on lobbying at the State Capitol in the five years from 2009 through 2013.

This money amounts to an average of $471,000 for each California Senator and Assemblymember, according to the organization (http://www.stopfoolingca.org ), "an online and social media public education and awareness campaign that highlights oil companies’ efforts to mislead and confuse Californians." The money spent by Big Oil on lobbying has apparently been a very good investment, since the industry was able to make sure that the only fracking legislation passed by the Legislature and signed by the Governor last year was Senator Fran Pavley’s SB 4, the“green light for fracking bill." SB 4 is an ominous piece of legislation that will result in the expansion of hydraulic fracturing in Kern County, coastal areas and offshore waters.

Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA), the most powerful corporate lobbying group in California, placed first in "The Big Oil Dirty Dozen” with $23,987,896 spent on lobbying in Sacramento from 2009 through 2013. The organization spent $5,331,493 in 2009, $4,013,813 in 2010, $4,273,664 in 2011, $5,698,917 in 2012 and $4,670,010 in 2013.

photoRead More | Western States Petroleum Association spent $1,456,785 in 3 months | StopFoolingCA.org
International Day of Peasant Resistance: Who Is the Movimento Sem Terra? On April 17, International Day of Peasant Resistance, and to mark the 30th anniversary of the Movimento Sem Terra (or Landless Workers Movement) in Brazil, Bay Area delegates from the 6th MST Congress presented a thorough report on what they had experienced and learned during their trip. The presentation at La Peña in Berkeley took an honest look at many aspects of the MST and the difficult and sometimes deadly struggle for poverty reduction and agrarian reform in Brazil.

In February, thousands of Brazilians and approximately 200 members of the international community attended the 6th Movimento Sem Terra Congress. Delegates from the San Francisco Bay Area were in attendance. While the primary events were held at a large stadium in Brasília, actions during the Congress included an enormous march, a student occupation of the Ministry of Education building, and tear gas attacks by greatly outnumbered police at the Ministry of Justice.

Speakers at the Bay Area delegates presentation noted that it was the MST that inspired the local food sovereignty activists of Occupy the Farm to reclaim at least a portion of the Albany Gill Tract for farming on Earth Day 2012. After over a decade of struggle by a number of different groups fighting for community involvement with the land, the Gill Tract Farm Coalition celebrated the first Community Farm Day with a spring planting on April 26.

audiopdfphotoFull Coverage of Report Back with Audio, PDF, and Photos | videoLandless Workers Movement: Video from the 6th MST Congress in Brazil, February 2014
Community Farm Day at the Gill Tract A unique partnership between community members, UC Berkeley students, academics and staff has been working toward creation of a 1.5 acre urban farm, education and research center on the Gill Tract in Albany. The Gill Tract Farm Coalition has invited members of the public to "Come join us for a Spring Planting Celebration on Saturday, April 26, from 11-3 pm, at the corner of Marin and San Pablo in Albany as we celebrate this new joint venture by planting, learning, playing, and eating together!"

Community members from Albany, Berkeley and other nearby cities will be gathering with university students at the newly prepared site to start the first step in the production of fresh produce for those in the wider community who are least able to afford good food. In addition to putting seedlings into the ground, information and hands-on activities for all ages will be available. Lunch will be provided by the Berkeley Student Food Collective. Feel free to bring additional salads, snacks, or desserts to share our bounty together as a community!

Following ‘Occupy the Farm’ events on Earth Day 2012, attention has been drawn to the need for land where local food can be grown. Since then the University of California has restored oversight of a section of this agricultural land to the College of Natural Resources for 10 years and began collaborating in a community-university partnership to cultivate a 1.5 acre section known as "Area A". The Gill Tract Farm Coalition, an alliance of community members is part of this collaboration.

Read More | Keep building momentum for the Gill Tract! | Gill Tract: Students Successfully Petition UC to Temporarily Halt Development

Previous Related Indybay Features: Farmers Target Four Sprouts Locations to Save Gill Tract Farm | "Occupy the Farm" Continues to Fight Against Unsustainable Development at the Gill Tract | University of California Razes Publicly Planted Crops on Gill Tract | Occupy the Farm Activists Reclaim Prime Urban Agricultural Land in SF Bay Area
Coastal Commission Approves Development of Monterey Shores "Eco-resort" On April 11, the California Coastal Commission approved the development of a large hotel and condominium complex sited on beach and dune habitat on Monterey Bay in Sand City. The developer calls the 360-unit complex, with parking for almost 1,000 cars, the "Monterey Shores Eco-resort." Environmental groups have opposed the project for years. At risk is a population of Western Snowy Plovers, a federally threatened species who nest and raise their broods in the footprint of the proposed resort.

Instead of requiring Monterey Shores Eco-resort developer Ed Ghandour to work collaboratively with biologists from USFWS to draft a binding Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) and apply for an "Incidental Take Permit," pursuant to the Endangered Species Act, the Coastal Commission ruled that a revised "Habitat Protection Plan" (HPP) was enough to safeguard three federally listed species located on the property. In addition to the plover, the Smiths Blue Butterfly and several native plant species will be impacted by the project. "Ghandour's claim that Snowy Plovers will thrive on the hotel property just doesn't make biological sense. With only about 28 coastal nesting locations remaining along the Pacific, the population cannot afford another loss," explained Jones.

"The California Coastal Commission failed the public today," said Audubon California Coastal Program Director Andrea Jones. "The process of approving this project, which has been going on for 15 years, went against the very intent of the Coastal Act by ruling in favor of the destruction of Snowy Plover and coastal dune habitat."

Read More | Approval of Sand City Resort and Condominium Project Undermines Rare Species Recovery Plan | See Also: Sierra Club Submits Letter Opposing Monterey Bay Shores Resort to CA Coastal Commission
California Appeals Court Rules in Favor of Salmon in Marin In March, Turtle Island Restoration Network ‘s Salmon Protection And Watershed Network (SPAWN) won a legal battle with the County of Marin to protect the last population of wild California coho coastal salmon. A California appeals court affirmed SPAWN's position that the Marin county-wide plan was unlawful because the county failed to analyze cumulative impacts and provided spurious mitigation for destruction of salmon habitat.

The California Court of Appeals found that the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) completed by the County as mandated by the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) failed to do sound environmental analysis and failed to properly mitigate the impacts of future development. It directed the lower court to ensure that the County complete a proper and legal environmental analysis, including a cumulative impact analysis, in order to enact its 2007 Countywide General Plan. The case will now move back to the lower court with a clear mandate from the CA Appeals Court to adequately protect California’s endangered coho salmon.

“It's a damn shame that the Marin Supervisors have wasted hundreds of thousands of tax-payer dollars and years of inaction defending an indefensible and environmentally harmful position instead of working with SPAWN to take common-sense actions to save these endangered fish for the public good,” said Todd Steiner, wildlife biologist and executive director of Turtle Island Restoration Network’s SPAWN program.

Read More | Turtle Island Restoration Network | See Also: Marin County’s Golden Opportunity to Protect Region’s Endangered Coho Salmon | Salmon Protection Advocates File Lawsuit Against Flawed Marin County Streamside Ordinance
San Benito County Residents Halfway to Signature Goal for Fracking Ban Ballot Initiative Community members in San Benito are hoping they will be the first "frontline" county in California to ban fracking and other methods of extreme oil and gas extraction. Since late March, volunteers across the county have begun collecting signatures for a fracking ban initiative they hope to have on the ballot in November. Progress is moving quickly; after two weeks of collecting signatures, the organization San Benito Rising announced they were nearly halfway through their drive.

Members of San Benito Rising filed the notice of intent to circulate the petition with the county clerk in late February. That notice states that they have begun the process in hopes of "protecting the county’s groundwater supplies and preserving its rural heritage." They believe the county is at a "tipping point" and hope the fracking ban will prevent the possibility of what they call a "proliferation of proposals" to conduct hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) and other high-intensity petroleum operations in the county’s unincorporated areas. The initiative to ban fracking, if passed by voters, will prohibit the use of any land within the county’s unincorporated area for fracking and other high-intensity petroleum operations. The initiative will also prohibit the use of land for any petroleum operations within the county’s unincorporated residential areas.

Residents consider San Benito to be a "frontline" community because they currently have oil and gas drilling in their county, which sits on top of the Monterey Shale formation. In the county there are many dry or abandoned oil wells near San Juan Bautista, and near Hollister there are active wells, in addition to many that are dry or abandoned. In 2013, environmentalists began fighting a proposal to bring oil operations in endangered Condor habitat near Pinnacles National Park. San Benito Rising is concerned that the oil and gas industry could re-stimulate the abandoned, old wells in their area using new extreme drilling techniques such as cyclic steam injection, acid fracking, and acid matrix stimulation.

imc_photo.gifRead More with Photos | Update (4/22): San Benito Residents Reach Fracking Ban Signature Goal | San Benito Rising

Previous Related Indybay Feature:
Lawsuit Targets San Benito County's Approval of 15 Oil Wells in Endangered Condor Habitat
Call Out to Defend UCB Redwood Grove on Ground Breaking Day for Jacobs Institute UPDATE: On April 23, UC Berkeley removed all of the redwoods behind Soda Hall, despite assurances some would stay.

On April 6, University of California Berkeley cut down the support foliage, including oaks, at the redwood grove behind Soda Hall. Larger redwoods have been severely pruned as well, and smaller redwoods have been removed entirely. Paul Jacobs of Qualcomm wants the lot for a $20,000,000 privatized tech design institute, named after himself. The UC and Paul Jacobs have been ignoring public demand to save the trees. By cutting down a protected species, the design institute goes against its own founding principals, expressed by Paul Jacobs, that that project minimize any negative impact to the environment.

Members of the UC and residents have been attempting to preserve the trees through legal channels, an email campaign, and civil disobedience. The UC police are claiming that tree-sitter protesters were going to damage the trees by living in them, but the UC damaged the trees by cutting them purposefully. Furthermore, the UC intends to cut down all the trees in the grove. The UC police cordoned off the the grove and the volleyball court behind Soda Hall with police tape, and have subsequently placed a metal fence around the area. Nobody is allowed into the public space behind Soda Hall.

The public groundbreaking ceremony for the Paul Jacobs Design Institute was held on Cal Day, April 12, behind Soda Hall. Save the Ridge Redwoods has called for a "wave of action" protest to defend the trees at Ridge Road and Le Roy Avenue in Berkeley.

photoRead More
iCal feed From the Calendar:
browse articlesarticlebrowse photosphoto
browse videosvideobrowse audioaudio
Richmond environemntalists request support for challenge to Chevron refinery expansion KPFA Weekend News/Andrés Soto/Ann Garrison
Tuesday Jul 22nd 11:56 AM
Department of Water Resources Faces $60 Million Shortfall Dan Bacher
Tuesday Jul 22nd 8:38 AM
Department of Conservation stops injection of fracking waste Dan Bacher (2 comments)
Sunday Jul 20th 4:51 PM
Frivolous Lawsuit Filed to Prevent Closure of Drakes Bay Oyster Company Amy Trainer (1 comment)
Friday Jul 18th 1:02 PM
Shasta County Board votes to Investigate "Chemtrails" Beeline (1 comment)
Thursday Jul 17th 6:45 PM
Humboldt Activists Defend Unlogged Forest In Mattole Watershed Karen Pickett (3 comments)
Tuesday Jul 15th 10:29 AM
Dolores Park in San Francisco DESTROYED - is Peoples' Park in Berkeley NEXT? two-feather (2 comments)
Tuesday Jul 15th 10:18 AM
Benicians win first victory in opposition to crude-by-rail 'bomb trains' KPFA Weekend News/Andrés Soto/Ann Garrison
Monday Jul 14th 3:21 PM
Caltrans Agrees to Reevaluate Impacts of Del Norte Highway Project on Endangered Salmon Center for Biological Diversity
Friday Jul 11th 7:50 PM
More Local News...
Lawsuit Launched to Halt Destruction of 14,000 Acres of Condor Habitat at Tejon Ranch Center for Biological Diversity
Friday Jul 18th 1:50 PM
Arizona Game and Fish Dept. Tries to Spin CA Condor Lead Poisonings as "Success Story" Center for Biological Diversity (2 comments)
Wednesday Jul 2nd 7:20 PM
National Organic Standards Board Threatened by USDA Maneuvering Food & Water Watch
Friday Jun 27th 1:08 PM
Green Sea Turtle ‘Sanjay’ Makes Historic Migration Joanna Nasar
Thursday Jun 19th 1:43 PM
Oil Companies Used 45 Million Pounds of Air Toxic Chemicals in LA Area Over Past Year Center for Biological Diversity (1 comment)
Wednesday Jun 11th 5:22 PM
Coastal Commission Urged to Consider Offshore Fracking's Threat to Huntington Beach Center for Biological Diversity
Wednesday Jun 11th 12:42 PM
BRAZIL NOW – Happy Football World Cup vs. Lethal Indigenous Hardship Ardaga - Huup-té Dschaam Dscheu
Monday Jun 9th 3:40 PM
Save the Sespe Petition Draws 2,000 Supporters Save the Sespe
Thursday Jun 5th 11:11 AM
More Global News...
please save water Skweakee Phelan + Pamela D. Phelan
Friday Jul 18th 9:31 AM
SB 1371 The Methane Leakage Abatement Workforce Act Tomas DiFiore
Tuesday Jul 8th 2:12 AM
U.S. farmers making hay with alfalfa exports to China David Pierson
Sunday Jun 8th 11:06 PM
Latino Group Urges CA Senate to Pass Moratorium on Fracking Presente.org
Wednesday May 28th 5:04 PM
UCB Test Reveals High Fukushima Cesium in CA Christina Sarich
Monday May 26th 1:54 PM
Open Newswire...
feed