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Environment & Forest Defense News

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The Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA) is not a household name in California and the West, but it should be. WSPA is the trade association for the oil industry and the largest and most powerful corporate lobbying organization in California. It represents a who's who of oil companies including Aera Energy, Chevron, California Resources Corporation (formerly Occidental Petroleum), ExxonMobil, Phillips 66, Shell, Valero and many others. Yet most people — even many environmental activists — have never heard of the organization and the enormous influence it wields over politicians and regulators in the western states.
Sun Nov 27 2016 (Updated 12/01/16)
Standing Rock Solidarity in Northern California
The Standing Rock Sioux Nation called for indigenous nations and others to stand in solidarity as they fight to prevent continued construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline in their ancestral lands, especially near the Missouri River. Since federal agencies blocked construction under the Missouri River in early September, police have greatly increased the violence unleashed against the Water Protectors. Hundreds of demonstrators have been arrested and injured by police weaponry. Now, federal authorities are threatening to close the NoDAPL camp by December 5, but protesters promise continued resistance.
Dozens of local supporters of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe gathered at the Town Clock on the evening of November 15 for a loud, raucous and joyous celebration of the NoDAPL Day of Action. Allegra David, an organizer of the demonstration, led the group on short walk to full throated chants of "Water is Life" and "You Can't Drink Oil." The group's spirits were uplifted by the report that the Army Corps of Engineers dealt a blow to the progress of the Dakota Access Pipeline, saying in a letter that more analysis and discussion with the Standing Rock Sioux tribe is needed before construction can take place under the Missouri River.
On November 15, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors approved legislation prohibiting new fossil fuel leases on city-owned property in an effort to combat climate change. The legislation by Supervisor John Avalos originated with 350 Bay Area analyst Jed Holtzman, who discovered the city was leasing to Chevron an 800-acre property that it inherited in Kern County. City finance officials say converting the property to a solar array could generate more revenue than current oil operations, which net the city about $320,000 annually.
Voters in Monterey County, California's fourth-largest oil-producing county, passed Measure Z to ban fracking and other dangerous extraction techniques. The measure won with more than fifty-five percent of the vote, despite supporters being outspent thirty to one by oil companies, including Chevron and Aera Energy. Measure Z also phases out toxic wastewater injection and prohibits new oil wells in the county. "David beat Goliath in Monterey County's stunning victory against oil industry pollution,” said Kassie Siegel of the Center for Biological Diversity.
Sun Oct 30 2016 (Updated 11/05/16)
D is for Dilemma in Santa Cruz County
Big money is being spent to influence the outcome of Measure D on the November Santa Cruz County ballot. Unlike political offices, campaigns for ballot measures have no limit to the amount of money that can be contributed. There is no restriction on the source of contributions, so special interests from outside the County can buy influence in our local ballot measures. This week, The No on D group, Widening Won't Work, has organized two public demonstrations in front of two of the major corporate donors to Measure D, Granite Rock Construction Company and Palo Alto Medical Foundation.
A U.S. district judge on September 6 overturned a Bureau of Land Management plan to open more than one million acres of public land and mineral estate in central California to drilling and fracking. The ruling notes that BLM officials estimate that oil companies would frack 25 percent of new wells drilled on vast stretches of land in California’s Central Valley, the southern Sierra Nevada, and in Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo and Ventura counties. Yet the bureau’s 1,073-page management plan contained just three brief mentions of fracking and offered no analysis of fracking pollution’s threats to endangered species or California’s water supplies.
Crude from Monterey County's biggest oilfield is more climate damaging than any other large source of oil produced in, or imported into, California, according to a new Center for Biological Diversity analysis of state data. The Center’s report, titled Stealing California's Future, found that crude from the San Ardo oilfield is even more carbon-intensive than notoriously dirty oil from the Alberta tar sands in Canada. The report also found that the San Ardo field is the most carbon-intensive large oilfield in California, ultimately generating about 3.3 million metric tons of greenhouse gas pollution a year.
Sat Sep 10 2016 (Updated 11/26/16)
Three Federal Agencies Block Dakota Access Pipeline
On September 9, a federal judge denied the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s motion to stop the Dakota Access oil pipeline in North Dakota. Minutes later, the U.S. Department of Justice, Department of the Army, and Department of the Interior issued a joint statement announcing a temporary halt to work on the pipeline. Actions in support of the Water protectors continue to be held across California in response to the global call for solidarity by the Standing Rock protest camps for September 3-17.
The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe filed an emergency motion on September 4 for a temporary restraining order to prevent further destruction of the Tribe’s sacred sites by the Dakota Access Pipeline. On the previous day, Water protectors clashed with security to successfully stop pipeline construction and some were viciously attacked by guard dogs. Protest camps have issued a global call for solidarity actions to be held September 3-17. In the Bay Area, solidarity actions will take place in Sacramento on September 7 and San Francisco on September 8.
The official campaign kick-off party for Yes on Measure Z, to ban fracking in Monterey County, will be held in Salinas on Saturday, September 10. A rally will be held in addition to the grand opening of the campaign's new headquarters, which is located in the heart of Salinas on Main Street. Measure Z made it to the November ballot as the result of months of work by volunteers with Protect Monterey County, a group working to safe-guard local water supplies and protect the county's agricultural production.
Sat Aug 20 2016 (Updated 09/05/16)
No Dakota Access Pipeline
The Standing Rock Sioux Nation is calling out to all indigenous nations of the world to stand in solidarity with them as they fight yet another pipeline on tribal lands. Some 250 supporters are camped along the reservation border, tribal youth have completed a run to Washington with petitions against the pipeline, and the battle against Bakken Oil has drawn the attention of environmental groups, tribal people and individuals from across the country. In California, the Winnemem Wintu, Yurok, and Klamath Tribes issued letters of support for the Standing Rock Protectors, and a demonstration of solidarity took place in San Francisco on August 24.
On August 11, the California Coastal Commission found by an 11-1 vote that the City of Santa Cruz' midnight to 5 PM RV (recreational vehicle) parking ban involved a "substantial issue" and so would require a new hearing in the months to come. The CCC was not convinced by Assistant City Manager Scott Collins's claims that Santa Cruz provides RV alternatives, is dealing with an RV "crime crisis", and is only duplicating what other cities have done.
iCal feed From the Calendar:
Marin-Based Wildlife Group Slams EPA Pick joanna@tirn.net Friday Dec 9th 2:51 PM
Kern County Approves Sprawling 8,000-acre Grapevine Development Center for Biological Diversity Thursday Dec 8th 6:38 PM
Forest Service Agrees to Halt Oil, Gas Leasing in Los Padres National Forest Center for Biological Diversity (1 comment) Tuesday Dec 6th 1:32 PM
Santa Cruz Holiday Parade December 3, 2016 AutumnSun Saturday Dec 3rd 10:26 PM
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api and BOEM luncheon wtul news Thursday Nov 10th 9:39 AM
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Fracking and measure Z AutumnSun Friday Oct 21st 11:05 AM
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