Conservation issues to be concerned about
By Barbara Rivenes
Sierra Nevada Group
Fracking in California
Also called hydraulic fracturing — and the industrial development that comes with it — have left a grim trail of damage across America. This damaging oil and gas–drilling technique involves injecting millions of gallons of highly pressurized water, sand and toxic chemicals deep into the earth. This can lead to contaminated water, greenhouse gas pollution, dead wildlife and grave threats to public health. Now fracking has become a major issue in the Golden State. But Californians still have time to safeguard their water, air, wildlife and health from this dangerous and poorly regulated form of oil and gas production.
California officials must move quickly to address this dangerous practice. To protect our health and future, fracking should be banned in California.
Fracking is already taking place in at least nine California counties, and rising oil prices are sparking interest in doing it on other sites atop the Monterey Shale, a geological formation that holds an estimated 14 billion barrels of oil.
Uncontrolled, fracking emits large amounts of the potent greenhouse gas methane and other air pollutants. It undermines urgent efforts to head off catastrophic climate change
Fracking routinely employs numerous toxic chemicals, including methanol, benzene, naphthalene and trimethylbenzene. It can also expose people to harm from lead, arsenic and radioactivity that are brought back to the surface with fracking flowback fluid. It also requires an enormous amount of water — a single horizontal well can use more than 5 million gallons. Water-contamination problems associated with fracking have been documented in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Wyoming.
Wildlife is also at risk. In California, the pollution and development associated with fracking threaten endangered species like the California condor, San Joaquin kit fox and the blunt-nosed leopard lizard. Credit goes to the Center for Biological Diversity for the above information.
Kassie Siegel, an attorney for the Center For Biological Diversity, claims that FRACKING is the most important environmental issue in California. Water is life and the hydraulic fracturing industry’s own research has reported that new wells have a 6% well casing failure rate and 30 year old wells have a 50% failure rate for leakage and contamination, then California’s groundwater is in jeopardy. Contaminating our groundwater will affect out our #1 industry agriculture which will devastate our economy which will affect all communities and our current life styles. You can’t drink or grow food with oil. For more information on fracking, go to www.foodandwaterwatch.org
If you haven't heard about this already - the Sierra Club is sponsoring a Climate Change Rally in San Francisco on February 17. Recruit family, friends, neighbors and friends of friends to attend this rally and take this opportunity to make our voices heard.
100 Days of Action Climate Change Rallies in SF & DC on February 17th
There are immediate steps the President can take on fracking, arctic drilling, mountain top removal, clean energy, lands issues and the Keystone XL pipeline. These rallies are our opportunities to demonstrate public passion and empower the President to act decisively on the issues we know he can act on. The Forward On Climate Rally in Wash. DC is a partnership between the Sierra Club, 350.org, the Hip Hop Caucus and others. in Washington D.C. The rally in San Francisco is sponsored by Sierra Club chapters, 350 Bay Area, NRDC and others.
The Rally in SF on February 17:
One Market Plaza, San Francisco, CA Over 25,000 activists have already RSVP'd to create the biggest climate demonstration yet, at the White House in Washington D.C. on February 17.
Will you be there? If you cannot make it to Washington come to the Bay Area Forward on Climate Rally in San Francisco Sunday, February 17th, Presidents Day weekend, to demand President Obama take action on climate change and reject the Keystone XL Pipeline!
When: February 17, 1 pm
Where: One Market Plaza (next to the Embarcadero BART)
For more information on the Bay Area Rally visit http://sfbay.sierraclub.org/forward
Alarming News about the glaciers in Yosemite National Park. Read the full article.
Garden Bar Dam proposal on the Bear River
As you have probably heard the South Sutter Water District, a small agricultural district west of here, has partnered with three Southern California water districts and two Northern California agencies on a preliminary study to place a dam on the Bear River between Lake Combie and Camp Far West Reservoir that could have a reservoir storage of from 245,000 to 400,000 acre-feet.
An array of opponents emerged since the study has become public. Allan Eberhart representing the Sierra Club and Peter Van Zant for Sierra Watch have done extensive speaking and education visits to local commissions and boards to alert them to the concerns of the public. It paid off with a 7-0 vote opposing the dam at the Placer County Fish and Game Commission who also recommended that the Placer County Supervisors do the same.
At the Nevada Irrigation Board meeting, skeptical board members referred the issue to a committee to report back in December. Clearly, this dam has no benefits for Nevada or Placer County and would flood conserved lands in both of the counties, working ranchlands, cultural resources and impact important north/south wildlife corridors.
Another aspect is that floating a proposal like this with no firm commitments, nor an EIR thus far, puts a damper on the land trusts being able to obtain additional conservation easements since landowners do not know whether the lands would be protected from the possible inundation. This proposal should be turned down as soon as possible. Many consider this Garden Bar study/proposal to be a water grab from southern California’s desert communities and, even if this current threat is turned away, there may be more in the future. Detailed information is also on www.sierrawatch.org. If you would like to be informed of a meeting to join us in speaking up for the Bear River, just call or email me.
In a unanimous vote Tuesday November 8, 2011 the Placer County Board of Supervisors expressed ‘an official position of opposition’ to the proposed Garden Bar Dam.
Activists have been working for many years to stop clearcutting on private forest lands in the Sierra Nevada. Certain forestry practices are allowed that have the potential to destroy the important and intricate fabric of our Sierra forests which are havens for wildlife and are the source of 60% of California’s water - not to mention the lungs of the state as well.
However, recently sediment from private land logging methods has been clogging the streams where the state of California has been trying to restore a healthy salmon fishery. In case you missed it, here is a link to the Sacramento Bee story on the Battle for Battle Creek. At last, there may be a possibility to tighten some of the Forest Practice Rules.
Roadless Rule ReinstatedThe Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a long-awaited, landmark decision securing critical legal protections for nearly 50 million acres of pristine National Forest lands. These forests offer outstanding opportunities for hunting, fishing, and hiking, produce clean water for thousands of communities nationwide, and provide irreplaceable habitat for imperiled wildlife species including grizzly bears, lynx, and Pacific salmon. The appellate court reversed a lower court decision and affirmed the validity of the Roadless Rule – a 2001 federal rule that protects wild national forests and grasslands from new road building, logging, and development.
AN IMPORTANT OPPORTUNITY for ACTIVISM
If you write only one letter, or make one phone call, on behalf of the environment and climate change, I would like to suggest that it be to President Obama about the Keystone XL pipeline. He will be making the final decision on this climate destroying project. In the words of James Hansen, renowned NASA scientist, it will be “game over” for reducing our climate impact if this project goes forward.
The Keystone XL pipeline would transport dirty Canadian tars sands oil 1600 miles from the Alberta to American refineries at the Gulf of Mexico. Digging up new sources of fossil fuels will inevitably increase the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere, and the tar sands result in higher carbon emissions conventional oil. The State Department is relying on a flawed, and some say illegitimate, environmental impact report to greenwash the project. It’s a State Department decision because the pipeline owner is a Canadian company, TransCanada.
EPA has already roundly criticized the first two drafts of the State Department’s environmental impact report earlier this year. The environmental reviews and local hearing process were actually conducted by Cardno Entrix, a contracting company with major business ties to pipeline developer TransCanada. This biased process has glossed over the significant threats from this pipeline to American lands and waters, and the broader threat of major escalation of global warming pollution by rapidly developing and burning tar sands oil.
The EPA will issue its latest review of the State Department's Final Environmental Impact Report. Strong opposition from his own EPA will be essential if we're going to convince President Obama to reject this horrible pipeline. You can reach the Chief of the EPA, Lisa Jackson to urge opposition: 202-272-0167, EPA, Ariel Rios Bldg., 1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20460
And finally, the project must be approved by President Obama in order to proceed. Call 202-456-1414, or email: www.whitehouse.gov and voice your opposition.
NEW SUCTION DREDGE REQUIREMENTS
Threat to Fish, Frogs, Water Quality, and People!
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- Rev. February 24, 2013 Barbara Rivenes and Ernie Malamud