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G2. Local Greens

Liverpool Plains farmland bought up for Santos’ Hunter Gas Pipeline, department quietly approves “staged” construction

Lock the Gate Alliance - Thu, 10/26/2023 - 14:30

Hunter Gas Pipeline opponents have vowed to ramp up the fight after a company connected to Santos’ land access contractor purchased a 20 hectare farm on the Liverpool Plains and the Planning Department quietly approved the “staged” construction of the pipeline this month.

Categories: G2. Local Greens

MT part of $1 billion hydrogen hub

Montana Environmental Information Center - Thu, 10/26/2023 - 14:30

By Mark Moran, Public Service News The Biden administration has announced investments in a hydrogen hub to produce energy in the Northwest, including in Montana. Clean-energy advocates say it could be a huge benefit to the region, but add there are potential pitfalls with its implementation. The Pacific Northwest Hydrogen Hub – which includes Montana …

The post MT part of $1 billion hydrogen hub appeared first on Montana Environmental Information Center - MEIC.

Categories: G2. Local Greens

Tribes urge U.S., Canada to reach promised agreement on Lake Koocanusa selenium

Montana Environmental Information Center - Thu, 10/26/2023 - 14:18

By Joshua Murdock, Ravalli Republic A coalition of tribal nations is calling for a meeting with the U.S. and Canadian governments after the two countries failed to meet their own deadline of addressing toxic water contamination that flows into Montana from Canadian mines. Last week, the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes in Montana, Kootenai Tribe …

The post Tribes urge U.S., Canada to reach promised agreement on Lake Koocanusa selenium appeared first on Montana Environmental Information Center - MEIC.

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Public Calls on DEQ to Abide by Held Decision, Analyze Impacts to Climate Change

Montana Environmental Information Center - Thu, 10/26/2023 - 13:35

By Micah Drew, Flathead Beacon The Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has held a series of listening sessions across the state to collect public input on how the agency implements the Montana Environmental Policy Act (MEPA). The policy review comes two months after a Helena district court judge ordered the state to evaluate greenhouse …

The post Public Calls on DEQ to Abide by Held Decision, Analyze Impacts to Climate Change appeared first on Montana Environmental Information Center - MEIC.

Categories: G2. Local Greens

Hopkins Support for Biomass called out: “Not so Clean Energy”

Wine And Water Watch - Thu, 10/26/2023 - 12:40
Sonoma Clean Power Board needs new members who understand facts and science….   Not so clean energy EDITOR: In his Aug. 13 Close to Home column, Sonoma Clean Power CEO Geof Syphers admitted that Sonoma Clean Power relies on gas-powered electricity plants that negatively impact the health of people in low-income communities (“North Coast’s dirty …

Hopkins Support for Biomass called out: “Not so Clean Energy” Read More »

Categories: G2. Local Greens

Russian River Water forum date change to December 7th

Wine And Water Watch - Thu, 10/26/2023 - 12:32
Russian River Water forum date change to December 7th As you may know, PG&E intends to release its initial draft decommissioning plan in mid-November. In the interest of having a substantive discussion on that topic, the November 2 Planning Group meeting will be postponed to December 7. The December 7 meeting will cover the following topics (and …

Russian River Water forum date change to December 7th Read More »

Categories: G2. Local Greens

International Glyphosate Study Shows Likely Cause of Explosion in Childhood Leukemia

Wine And Water Watch - Thu, 10/26/2023 - 12:27
International Glyphosate Study Shows Likely Cause of Explosion in Childhood Leukemia   Multiple news agencies are reporting new studies that show use of glyphosate, AKA Roundup, is making our children sick. Already linked to autism, cancers and more,  what does it take for the wine industry to phase out use? See Pam Strayers, “What’s on …

International Glyphosate Study Shows Likely Cause of Explosion in Childhood Leukemia Read More »

Categories: G2. Local Greens

Government refuses to disclose impact of policy change on carbon emissions

DRILL OR DROP? - Thu, 10/26/2023 - 11:22

The energy secretary has rejected a request from MPs to set out calculations on how recent changes to transport and home heating policies will affect UK emissions targets.

Claire Coutinho. Photo: UK Government

Claire Coutinho was responding to calls from parliament’s environmental audit committee for an updated carbon budget delivery plan, following the delay until 2035 of a ban on new petrol and diesel car sales and fossil fuel boilers.

The committee, which published the minister’s response today, said a revised plan would allow for “ready examination” of the government’s claim that the UK remains on track to meet the majority of its carbon budget obligations, following the changes in policy.

But Ms Coutinho said:

“With a constantly changing external environment covering economic, technological, and wider trends our plans will of course need to be revised over time.

“However, it is not appropriate, nor is it a requirement, to update and publish a revised version of the Carbon Budget Delivery Plan every time there is a change in economic data, a policy or wider factor.

“The Carbon Budget Delivery Plan, published in March, remains the most recent presentation of our detailed plans, with the vast majority of the near-200 quantified policies set out in the plan continuing unamended and remaining in place following the Prime Minister’s announcements.”

She said the changes, announced last month by the prime minister, were “fairer” and more “pragmatic”.

Philip Dunne. Photo: UK Parliament

The committee’s chair, Philip Dunne, said it was disappointing that Ms Coutinho had not answered many of his specific questions:

“A detailed response showing the impact on future emissions would have assisted our scrutiny of the revised timeframes for the phasing out of petrol and diesel vehicles and of fossil fuel boilers, and the potential impact of these changes on the emissions reductions required to meet net zero.”

In a separate response to the government’s climate advisor, Ms Coutinho said the UK was on track to meet its legal target of making the UK net zero by 2050.

Earlier this month, the Climate Change Committee (CCC) said the policy rollback on fossil fuel cars and boilers would make it harder for the UK to meet its emissions targets.

In June, in the annual report to parliament, the CCC criticised ministers for “backtracking on fossil fuel commitments” with the approval of a new coal mine in Cumbria and a new round of oil and gas licences in the North Sea.

The CCC said the government was on track with only nine of the 50 key indicators for emissions reduction.

Ms Coutinho said:  

“we will take a pragmatic, proportional and realistic approach to net zero. That means not taking forward CCC recommendations on policies that force families to make costly and burdensome changes to their lifestyles.”

She said government policy would ease the burden on families and preserve choice. Ministers were “anti-aviation emissions, not flying”, she said. They wanted to deliver “sustainable flying for everyone”.

On oil and gas, she said:

“Despite the declining role of oil and gas in our energy mix, there will still be a role for oil and gas in our energy system up to 2050 and beyond. Britain will still need to continue to import energy and our own production is key to our export strategy.”

She said the oil and gas industry provided “vital engineering skills and high-quality jobs” that would be crucial to expanding the offshore wind sector.

She also said the government would continue to ensure emissions from oil and gas projects were minimised.

“Government off track”

Danny Gross, energy campaigner, Friends of the Earth, said:

“No matter how it tries to spin it, the fact remains that the UK government is well off track for meeting both its legally-binding sixth carbon budget and its international pledge to cut emissions by two thirds by 2030.

“Tougher action, such as a comprehensive home-insulation programme, is urgently needed to make up for the shortfall. But with Rishi Sunak’s recent preference for weakening green commitments, the prospects are far from encouraging.

“Ministers mustn’t be allowed to shirk their duty to act on the climate crisis. We are already taking the government to court next year over its climate strategy and are prepared to take further legal action if its revised policies fall short of what is required.

“Accelerating the transition to a carbon-free future isn’t just good for the environment, it will also bring huge economic benefits with new jobs, cheaper bills and increased energy security.”

Categories: G2. Local Greens

A coalition of agency and community people take a close look at the El Valle Fire

La Jicarita - Thu, 10/26/2023 - 10:10


Turnout for the Tres Rios Watershed Coalition sponsored tour of the recent El Valle Fire was an encouraging demonstration of community and agency collaboration of forest and fire management on the Carson National Forest. The Coalition was founded in 2020 to “improve the resilience of the forests and watersheds within the Greater Rio Embudo basin to benefit communities, cultures, and ecosystems.” The Rio de las Trampas basin, where the El Valle Fire occurred, is included in the approximately 204,000 acres of the larger Embudo Watershed overseen by the Coalition. The El Valle Fire burned approximately 525 acres of predominantly ponderosa pine on the ridges above the Rio de las Trampas that separate the communities of El Valle and Las Trampas.

For the tour, J.R. Logan, Taos County Forest and Watershed Health Program Manager, brought stakeholders together to take a close look at the aftermath of the fire and have an informed conversation about where it happened, how it happened, how to restore it, and lessons learned on how to prevent or manage subsequent fire. The list of attendees included Carson National Forest hydrology and fire managers, the incident commander of the El Valle Fire, the Camino Real District Ranger, a National Forest Foundation modeling expert, several local forest contractors (including one whose crews thinned the area prior to the fire), the Taos County Fire Marshall, Taos Soil and Water Conservation District, the Ojo Sarco Volunteer Fire Department, a State Forester, ecologists, board members of the Rio de Las Tramps Forest Council, the Las Trampas Land Grant, Las Trampas and Chamisal acequia commissioners, and members of the surrounding communities including El Valle, Las Trampas, and Ojo Sarco.

The first leg of the tour took the group directly into the heart of the fire where the dominant ponderosa pines were killed and the ground was black. As I discussed in an earlier La Jicarita article, the fire burned hot because the slash piles from the area’s contract thinning project were still on the ground. If the piles had been burned and a fire came through the thinned area we would have been able to assess the project’s resiliency in keeping fire on the ground with reduced crowning, which was one of the goals of the project.

A discussion ensued about the history of fire in ponderosa pine frequent fire zones that normally occur every twelve to 20 years. Fairly high severity fires that could burn the standing trees but not kill them kept the forest from filling in with small diameter trees and ladder fuels. Then, as we all know—and as contractor Mark Schuetz described it—the 1,2, 3 punch of the loss of grass cover due to gracing, the Forest Service policy of total fire suppression, and an extractive economy turned these forests into overcrowded, monocultural stands.

A Soil Burn Severity Map had been compiled from on the ground fire fighting teams and satellite images that everyone agreed failed to adequately represent the severity of the fire. This segued into a conversation about the potential for recovery. Jan Willem Jansens of Ecotone looked at the depth of ash at the burn site and observed that the top soil will inevitably erode from the top of the canyon to the bottom but can be mitigated by roughing up the soil surface, directional felling of burned trees, and building up small structures from top to bottom. A spring in the canyon bottom that is threatened by erosion elicited discussion about how much remediation can be reasonably practiced in a timely fashion. BAER assessment teams conduct field surveys and use science-based models to rapidly evaluate and assess burned areas and prescribe emergency stabilization measures but are dependent upon additional funding to complete the surveys. The El Valle Fire is too small for this kind of funding but there’s potential funding through the Good Neighbor Agreement between Carson National Forest and Taos County. Recovery is also complicated by the fact that the fire burned on both public and private land, but Mary Stuever, Cimarron District Forester, emphasized that everyone was working towards bringing public and private agencies together on post fire work.

The consensus from the group was that a sensible plan would be to watch for natural recovery for a year (we also observed that there were cones at the tops of trees that were still alive), aided by the practices Jansens recommended, and potential future plantings of grass and nuclei of seed trees. Everyone agreed that with the climate crisis we’re facing megafires like last year’s Hermit’s Peak and Calf Canyon Fire will continue to occur and remediation will be difficult. On a more positive—but ironic—note, El Valle now has a fuel break and is protected from future fires fueled by predominantly southwest winds.

Fabian Montaño, the El Valle Fire Incident Commander, provided a run-down of how the fire was attacked by air and ground crews. The fire was reported at 12:49 on Friday, September 8. The cause remains unknown, although it’s likely that a wood cutter started the fire as the area was open to fuelwood gathering and none of the thinning crews were present at the time. Because of the red needle slash piles that hadn’t been removed—the Forest Service was hoping to burn them this winter—the fire burned especially hot.

Photo by Marty Peale

The area burned was a 65/35 per cent split between public and private land. The air crew was called in immediately with a helicopter from Angel Fire and air tankers from Arizona and Colorado, as the air tanker base in Albuquerque was closed for repairs. Ground crews began bulldozing fuel breaks on each end of the fire and hot shot crews from Taos, Picuris and Taos pueblos, Santa Fe, Albuquerque, South Dakota, and California were deployed over the weekend. Numerous volunteer fire departments aided in the fire but were restricted to private land. Everyone agreed that the fire response was outstanding and because of favorable no-wind conditions and precipitation—it rained on Sunday—we dodged a bullet.

Photo by Kay Matthews Photo by Kay Matthews

Taos County Fire Marshall James Hampton explained that his department shifted from fire suppression to community evacuations in coordination with the Taos County Sheriff’s Department and the New Mexico State Police. El Valle and Las Trampas were under evacuation order with nearby villages on standby. I questioned Hampton about evacuation protocols that prevented community residents who weren’t present when the fire broke out from accessing El Valle to get their animals and possessions. The State Police closed State Highway 76 from Peñasco to Truchas on Friday afternoon and those of us who weren’t allowed in had to rely on neighbors to evacuate our animals. Hampton stressed that his agency has to limit access based on the potential danger of the fire and close the highway to allow for fire related traffic. He admitted that the county’s emergency management alert system is inadequate, in that residents have to sign up for the service and that cell phone service in the communities is limited. A solution to this problem is to assign a separate communications officer to each fire rather than relying on the Sheriff or State Police communication systems. Another step than can be taken is for every community to create a Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP) specific to each community to set up plans for fuels reduction, community engagement, and post-fire planning/response.

The group then moved on to a site where the fire had been slowed down with a blackline (purposely lit fire by crews) to prevent additional pile and tree burning. Here the conversation focused on fire prevention treatments including prescriptions and protocols for dealing with leftover slash. This area had previously been designated as a green fuelwood resource for the local communities but morphed into contractor thinning as the terrain steepened and became too difficult for individual firewood cutting. It remained open for dead and down collection (there was discussion as to whether the access road, Forest Road 714, should have been closed to protect the area due to dry conditions) to fill community firewood needs. The fact that the area is on the upwind side of the communities made it a perfect site for the thinning operations to reduce fuels with a landscape fuel break rather than a straight-line break.

Photo by Kay Matthews

Although the opportunity to assess the success of fire in a thinned area was obviated by the extant slash piles, El Valle resident Bill deBuys was able to report that the thinned acres on his private land burned less hot than his untreated land of ponderosa and juniper. However, deBuys questioned whether the prescription employed on the public lands was too monocultural, with all species besides ponderosa pine taken from the landscape. Jan Willem Jansens added that because of the randomness of climate change the risks being taken with these treatments are increasing. Perhaps a more “clumping” of leave trees, i.e., leaving groups of trees rather than the prescribed 33 foot spacing between individual trees, would provide better openings for slash burning.

This elicited a firm response from both Michael Lujan, Camino Real District Ranger, and Ray Corral, former Carson National Forest Fire Manager Officer. They pointed out that this is a Wildland/Urban Interface project with a prescription to meet the goal of community protection. A prescription for other landscapes in the forest can better meet the goals of clumping and wildlife habitat. Lujan asserted that the contractors had “hit the mark” with the prescription and to keep in mind we still have a million and a half acres to treat. The “fear and uneasiness” of fire is related to where we live. J.R. Logan offered to send a copy of the prescription to anyone who wanted to engage in a more detailed analysis.

Photo by Kay Matthews

Another area of concern was the method utilized for slash pile disposal. The Forest Service makes a decision on a case-by-case basis as to whether the slash will be piled for future burning or lopped and scattered for a future broadcast burn. In rare situations a masticator is utilized when the terrain is appropriate and the funding available. There wasn’t much agreement among the group as to which method proposes the least amount of risk and provides the best results. One resident of Las Trampas insisted that fire should never be utilized in a Wildland/Urban Interface Project. As a longtime resident of El Valle, I’ve witnessed the successful pile burn operations that occurred on the decades long contact stewardship thinning project all along Forest Road 207.  

Pile burning on a previous El Valle stewardship project.

The tour ended at the school house in Las Trampas where Logan summarized the issues discussed and follow-up objectives to address post-fire recovery issues, improve thinning treatments in the future, and improve incident response and public communication. He left with a to-do list in hand (you can contact Logan at 575 779-5c67 and about the CWPP program).    

Categories: G2. Local Greens

DEP’s new environmental justice policy includes more communities impacted by pollution

Allegheny Front - Thu, 10/26/2023 - 03:15

Fernando Treviño, DEP's head of environmental justice, says he wants impacted communities to have "a real voice and [be] part of the process from the beginning."

The post DEP’s new environmental justice policy includes more communities impacted by pollution appeared first on The Allegheny Front.

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Why teaching people about invasive plants can get a little thorny

Allegheny Front - Thu, 10/26/2023 - 03:00

The Carnegie Museum of Natural History is developing educational materials about the problems caused by invasive plants, and what people can do about them.

The post Why teaching people about invasive plants can get a little thorny appeared first on The Allegheny Front.

Categories: G2. Local Greens

Allegheny County to consider ban on single-use plastic bags

Allegheny Front - Thu, 10/26/2023 - 02:55

The ordinance was introduced at a meeting Tuesday and referred to council’s committee on sustainability and green initiatives.

The post Allegheny County to consider ban on single-use plastic bags appeared first on The Allegheny Front.

Categories: G2. Local Greens

BHP’s Mt Arthur expansion exposes Minns Government’s broken promise

Lock the Gate Alliance - Wed, 10/25/2023 - 19:11

Lock the Gate Alliance has accused the NSW Minns Government of breaking an election promise by allowing BHP’s planned Mt Arthur expansion to be determined behind closed doors rather than referring it to the Independent Planning Commission.

Categories: G2. Local Greens

Public Service Commission approves NorthWestern Energy rate hike

Montana Environmental Information Center - Wed, 10/25/2023 - 14:56

By Amanda Eggert, Montana Free Press Credit: Nora Saks / Montana Public Radio After at least 20 commenters urged the Public Service Commission to deny an electricity and natural gas rate increase for Montana consumers, commissioners Wednesday approved a new NorthWestern Energy rate structure that will go into effect next month. Residential customers will see a …

The post Public Service Commission approves NorthWestern Energy rate hike appeared first on Montana Environmental Information Center - MEIC.

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Montana Public Service Commission votes to increase NorthWestern Energy rates

Montana Environmental Information Center - Wed, 10/25/2023 - 14:46

By Nicole Girten, Daily Montanan Montana Public Service Commission President James Brown speaks during a meeting on Oct. 25, 2023 (Photo by Nicole Girten/Daily Montanan) Montanans are about to pay more to heat their homes going into winter. Montana’s Public Service Commission voted unanimously Wednesday on a settlement with NorthWestern Energy which will result in …

The post Montana Public Service Commission votes to increase NorthWestern Energy rates appeared first on Montana Environmental Information Center - MEIC.

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Unions Launch California Worker Climate Bill of Rights

Sunflower Alliance - Wed, 10/25/2023 - 13:45

California Labor for Climate Jobs (CLCJ), a coalition of California unions, has just released its state policy platform, the California Worker Climate Bill of Rights, calling on the state to support a “worker-led transition to a just and climate-safe economy.”

The bill of rights calls for:

* Protections from climate hazards
* Safety nets … Read more

Categories: G2. Local Greens

Tell the CA Assembly: Require Zero-Emissions Ports, November 2

Sunflower Alliance - Wed, 10/25/2023 - 13:08

Ships idling at our ports fill the air with pollutants that cause asthma, heart and lung disease, and cancer. Come urge the California Assembly Committee on Ports and Goods Movement to support  a standard for 100% zero-emission shipping by 2040 along with requirements to immediately reduce toxic air pollution and protect port communities.

Ship pollution … Read more

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Webinar: MT Legislative Interim Committees

Montana Environmental Information Center - Wed, 10/25/2023 - 12:53

What do our legislators do when they’re not in session? They’re working on interim committees, which have a number of functions and impacts on our day-to-day lives. In this webinar, we talk about the interim committees MEIC is following, what you should know about them, and how you can get involved. Links and info shared …

The post Webinar: MT Legislative Interim Committees appeared first on Montana Environmental Information Center - MEIC.

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Capital Power wants to almost double pollution from Brampton gas plant

Ontario Clean Air Alliance - Wed, 10/25/2023 - 10:30

Capital Power is seeking permission from the Ford Government to increase the smog and greenhouse gas pollution from its Goreway gas-fired power plant in Brampton by more than 80% by 2032. If Capital Power’s request is approved, Goreway’s air pollution in 2032 will be equal to that of 266,000 cars. Capital Power has not provided

The post Capital Power wants to almost double pollution from Brampton gas plant appeared first on Ontario Clean Air Alliance.

Categories: G2. Local Greens

Plastic recycler plans to move ahead with Pa. plant after withdrawing key permit application

Allegheny Front - Wed, 10/25/2023 - 07:50

The plant along the Susquehanna River in Northumberland County would break down plastics into chemical building blocks.

The post Plastic recycler plans to move ahead with Pa. plant after withdrawing key permit application appeared first on The Allegheny Front.

Categories: G2. Local Greens


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