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Santa Cruz County is drafting new regulations for medicinal cannabis patients and providers. These new rules have the potential to turn large numbers of patients and providers into criminals and drastically roll back decades of progress won by cannabis activists. In letters to the Board of Supervisors, medicinal cannabis patients and cultivators are expressing their desire for "more effective, more sensible, and more just solutions" regarding a policy on medicinal cannabis cultivation and distribution.
At least 145 of America's last wild, migratory bison have already been captured inside Yellowstone National Park's Stephens Creek bison trap this week as a result of the park and other entities working under the controversial Interagency Bison Management Plan (IBMP). They intend to kill upwards of 900 of the gentle giants under the guise of population control and "disease risk management."
In response, Friends of Animals (FoA) Wildlife Law Program and the Buffalo Field Campaign (BFC) filed a lawsuit Jan. 15 against the National Park Service (NPS) and the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) for allowing the horrific roundup to proceed and failing to respond to an emergency rulemaking petition filed Sept. 15 by the two groups to protect the genetic diversity and viability of the bison of Yellowstone National Park.
Every winter and spring, snow and ice cover the bison's food and hunger pushes them to lower elevations across the park boundary in Montana. When they cross this arbitrary line, the buffalo enter a zone of violent conflict with ranchers. Last winter 653 bison were slaughtered, and back in the winter of 2007/2008, the largest scale wild buffalo slaughter, claimed the lives of 1,631 animals. At the turn of the 20th century, similar reckless behavior nearly drove bison to extinction.
Read More | Buffalo Field Campaign | Documentary Film: Silencing the Thunder
Previous Indybay Coverage:
BFC Audio Interviews: Apr 2005
|| Feb 2006
|| June 2007
|| Feb 9, 2008
|| Feb 19, 2008
|| Apr 2008
On January 14, California's Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) announced new “recommended restrictions” on the use of chloropicrin, a cancer-causing pesticide used widely on California strawberries. Health, environmental and rural advocates say that DPR ignored its own scientists in developing the proposal, and that the recommended restrictions fall far short of protecting schoolchildren and rural residents from harmful exposures to the toxic pesticide.
While Governor Jerry Brown and his staff continue to greenwash the Governor's abysmal neo-liberal environmental policies, thousands of Californians are convening January 12-18 as part of the "California Crossroads Tour" calling on Governor Brown to ban fracking, stand up to Big Oil, and "move California beyond fossil fuels to 100% renewable energy," according to a news release from Californians Against Fracking
While there are many powerful industries based in California, ranging from the computer and high tech industry to corporate agribusiness, no industry has more influence over the state's environmental policies than Big Oil.
In one of the most overt conflicts of interest in California history, Catherine Reheis-Boyd, President of the Western States Petroleum Association, served as the Chair of the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Blue Ribbon Task Force to create fake "marine protected areas" in Southern California. Not only did she serve on this panel, but she also was a member of the task forces for the Central Coast, North Central Coast and North Coast.
These so-called "marine protected areas" fail to protect the ocean from fracking, offshore oil drilling, pollution, military testing, corporate aquaculture and all human impacts on the ocean other than fishing and gathering.
Read More | California Crossroads Tour:
Delano (Jan 16), San Juan Bautista
(Jan 17) and Oakland
(Jan 18) | March for Real Climate Leadership
See Also: California Oil Officials Release Deeply Flawed Fracking Environmental Review
Previous Coverage: "Big Oil Brown" Expands Fracking in California
|| Voters Approve Fracking Bans in San Benito and Mendocino Counties
On January 8, Eric McDavid was ordered released from prison. It has been almost 9 years exactly since he was arrested in Auburn, CA, on January 13, 2006.
Eric’s release came about because of the habeas petition that he and his legal team filed in May 2012. Because the government withheld important documents from the defense at trial, Eric’s original judgment and sentencing were vacated and he pleaded guilty to a lesser charge that carried a five year maximum sentence. This means Eric has already spent four years longer in prison than could have been required under the statute for the charge he pleaded guilty to. He received credit for time served and was ordered released.
McDavid has always asserted he and his two codefendants were entrapped by an overzealous FBI and its then 19 year old informant, “Anna.” “Anna literally herded the group together from around the country, paying for their transportation, food, and lodging,” said Ben Rosenfeld, one of McDavid’s attorneys. “And when they failed to show enthusiasm for her schemes, she berated them and threw fits,” Rosenfeld said. “Any conspiracy that existed was hers not theirs.”
Read More | Civil Liberties Defense Center | Support Eric McDavid
|| NY Times
|| Sac Bee
Indybay's Past Coverage of Eric McDavid's case: Trial Date of September 10th for Eco-Prisoner Eric McDavid
|| As Trial Begins, Supporters Concerned About Lack of Vegan Food for Eric McDavid
|| Eric McDavid is Given Commissary Again; Trial Continues
|| Eric McDavid Found Guilty
|| Eric McDavid Ends Hunger Strike— For Now
|| Motion for New Trial for Eric McDavid to Be Heard on January 24th
|| Eric McDavid Sentenced to 235 Months in Prison After FBI Entrapment
|| Eric McDavid Maintains Strength After Three Years in Prison
|| Radio Interview with Sac Prisoner Support about Eric McDavid
Stephany Seay writes:
Many believed that a Salmon, Idaho-based wolf and coyote killing spree was canceled when organizations released to the media that the BLM had revoked permits for the event. However the Forest Service still allowed it, and the derby was still on. Eight individuals, rallied by Brian Ertz of Wildlands Defense, braved the hostile Salmon community to be on the ground and document the carnage. We were able to expose it, let them know people are watching, and we shamed them into hiding their carnival parade of cruelty.
Christopher Ketcham writes:
Salmon, like many small towns in the rural West, is a ranching society. Ranchers who run their cattle on the open range have historically regarded wild predators not as majestic creatures but as vermin to be exterminated. Investigative journalist Jack Olsen, writing in his 1971 book Slaughter the Animals, Poison the Earth, concluded that the livestock industry's hatred of predators—wolves and coyotes foremost, but also cougars, black bears, grizzlies, wolverines, lynx, bobcats, hawks, eagles, and on and on—went "so far beyond the dimensions of reality as to be almost pathological in origin."
Read More | How to Kill a Wolf - An Undercover Report from the Idaho Coyote and Wolf Derby | WildLands Defense
In response to a petition by the Center for Biological Diversity, Center for Food Safety, Xerces Society and renowned monarch scientist Dr. Lincoln Brower, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service stated that Endangered Species Act protection may be warranted for monarch butterflies. The agency will now conduct a one-year status review on monarchs, which have declined by 90 percent in the past 20 years.
The butterfly’s dramatic decline is being driven in large part by the widespread planting of genetically engineered crops in the Midwest, where most monarchs are born. The vast majority of genetically engineered crops are made to be resistant to Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide, a potent killer of milkweed, the monarch caterpillar’s only food. The dramatic surge in Roundup use with Roundup Ready crops has virtually wiped out milkweed plants in Midwestern corn and soybean fields. In the past 20 years it is estimated that these once-common iconic orange and black butterflies may have lost more than 165 million acres of habitat — an area about the size of Texas — including nearly a third of their summer breeding grounds.
Read More | Previous Coverage: After 90 Percent Decline, Federal Protection Sought for Monarch Butterfly
Dan Bacher writes:
Governor Jerry Brown continued to live up to his reputation as "Big Oil Brown" with his administration's release of the finalized text of the state's regulations for fracking and well stimulation on December 30, 2014.
Although Senate Bill 4, passed in September 2013, requires California's Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) to complete an environmental impact report and approve an independent scientific study, "neither one of those documents were ready in time to inform the final rules," according to a news release from CAFrack Facts
“California has essentially reversed the regulatory process when it comes to fracking,” said Jackie Pomeroy, spokesperson for CAFrackFacts. “State regulators have finalized California's fracking rules a full six months before any of the mandated scientific studies have been completed. Given the long-term and potentially irreversible impacts of fracking and well stimulation, it is critical that we make policy decisions based on science—unfortunately, the current timeline makes this impossible.”
Read More | See Also: Big Oil spokesman admits water use will rise with expanded fracking
|| Protesters urge Brown to protect California's water by banning fracking
|| Big Oil spends big money to stop fracking ban in Santa Barbara County
|| Voters Approve Fracking Bans in San Benito and Mendocino Counties
|| Lawsuit Launched Against Offshore Fracking in California's Santa Barbara Channel
|| Congressman Mark Pocan Introduces Bill to Ban Fracking on Public Lands
Dan Bacher writes:
Unfortunately, I fear that the abysmal management of the American, Sacramento, Feather and other Central Valley rivers over the past few years has spurred this apparent decline in the steelhead population. Department of Water Resources and Bureau of Reclamation officials systematically drained Trinity Reservoir on the Trinity River, Lake Shasta on the Sacramento River, Lake Oroville on the Feather River and Folsom Lake on the American River in 2013, during a record drought, to export water through the State Water Project and federal Central Valley Project.
This water was shipped to fill the Kern Water Bank and Southern California reservoirs, as well as to supply water to corporate agribusiness interests in the Westlands Water District and oil companies conducting fracking and steam injection operations in Kern County. Little carryover storage in the reservoirs, particularly in Folsom, was left in 2014 as the drought continued. Folsom Reservoir reached a record low of 17 percent of capacity in January 2014, due to mismanagement by the state and federal governments.
Read More | American River fish hatcheries evacuated as water is mismanaged
On December 22, with the full support of Turtle Island Restoration Network, OCEANA and other marine conservation organizations, California Assemblymembers Marc Levine (D-San Rafael) and Mark Stone (D-Monterey Bay), Das Williams (D-Santa Barbara), Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica), and Senator Bill Monning (D-Carmel) called on the Pacific Fisheries Management Council and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries Service to transition away from deadly California drift gillnets.
Every fishing season mile-long drift nets are set to soak overnight in California's coastal waters. They have entangled an average of a hundred marine mammals in recent years, including protected whales, dolphins, seals and sea lions, as well as thousands of sharks, sunfish and other fish. Sea turtles are also at risk. The vast majority of marine wildlife is dumped back into the ocean, dead or injured. The swordfish and sharks they keep are so high in mercury, that the U.S. FDA warns women and children never to eat it.
“California drift gillnets are deadly curtains of death for marine wildlife like whales and sea turtles,” said Doug Karpa, legal program director at Turtle Island Restoration Network. “We applaud Assemblymember Levine for taking a leadership role to ensure our oceans are not indiscriminately mined.”
Read More | Turtle Island Restoration Network | OCEANA
Previous Coverage: New Data Shows California Drift Gillnets Not Sustainable, Continue to Kill Marine Mammals
|| Swordfish Drift Gillnet Fishery Restricted to Protect Loggerhead Sea Turtles
|| Whales and Sea Turtles Win One: No Driftnet Expansion in California
The Committee for Responsible and Accurate Posters (CRAP) writes:
Chevron, in exercising their completely hard-fought right to defecate unlimited cash into a small-town election (thanks, Citizens United), has flooded Richmond with $3 million in propaganda both to support their own prop candidates and to shamelessly attack Team Richmond.... Richmond residents should know that Nat Bates isn’t running for Richmond’s mayor, he’s running to be Chevron’s puppet. And so are city council candidates Donna Powers, Charles Ramsey, and Al Martinez. Sorry Chevron, but Richmond’s election is not for sale.