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Protecting our Environmental Resources
Updated: 3 hours 16 min ago

Trump admin. wants to make it easier to frack and mine in national forests

Sun, 10/21/2018 - 15:56
Trump admin. wants to make it easier to frack and mine in national forests

“Instead of weakening protections, Trump should clean up the mess the mining industry has already left behind in our forests.”

Ashley Curtin / NationofChange / News Report – October 16, 2018

The Trump administration announced a move to make it easier to frack and mine in national forests. But conservation groups argue that it would endanger climate, wildlife and watersheds, EcoWatch reported. Open to public comment, the Center for Biological Diversity said that “More fracking and mining, with fewer safeguards, would be disastrous for national forests and watersheds.”

“Pushing new fossil-fuel development in our national forests ignores the alarm bells that world climate scientists rang loudly last week,” Taylor McKinnon, a public-lands campaigner at the Center for Biological Diversity, said. “National forests and public lands are where we should stop fossil-fuel expansion first.”

According to the Center for Biological Diversity, national forests in the U.S. – besides wilderness areas and national monuments – “contain 1.8 billion barrels of oil and 24 trillion cubic feet of natural gas,” EcoWatch reported. And EcoWatch reported that if proposed Forest Service oil and gas rule-making was approved, it would “produce 2.4 billion tons of greenhouse gas pollution,” which is the “equivalent of annual emissions from 601 coal-fired power plants.”

While the Bureau of Land Management is known for pushing policies justifying it as “critical minerals,” conservation groups are calling on the department to “improve transparency and public involvement in decisions about drilling, fracking and mining in national forests,” EcoWatch reported.

“Instead of weakening protections, Trump should clean up the mess the mining industry has already left behind in our forests,” McKinnon said.

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Categories: Food and Farming

Sonoma County Superior Court rules in favor of Friends of Gualala River’s second lawsuit over the “Dogwood” floodplain timber harvest plan

Sun, 10/21/2018 - 15:50
Sonoma County Superior Court rules in favor of
Friends of Gualala River’s second lawsuit over the
“Dogwood” floodplain timber harvest plan

Media Release
October 19, 2018

Sonoma County Superior Court once again has ruled in favor of Friends of Gualala River (FoGR) in its lawsuit against CAL FIRE’s approval of logging of coastal floodplain redwood forest in hundreds of acres of the Wild and Scenic Gualala River. The controversial “Dogwood” timber harvest plan (THP) proposed by Gualala Redwoods Timber LLC has been opposed by public protests, petitions, and litigation since 2015.

On October 16, 2018, Judge René Chouteau concluded that the second Dogwood THP failed to meet California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) requirements for evaluating project alternatives with less environmental impact, and for assessing cumulative environmental impacts to the river, forest and floodplain, in addition to those from the Dogwood THP itself.

FoGR, Forest Unlimited, and California Native Plant Society previously sued CAL FIRE over similar environmental review flaws in the first Dogwood THP (1-15-042), and prevailed in case SCV 259216, requiring CAL FIRE to revoke the permit to log “Dogwood” in March, 2017. The applicant, Gualala Redwoods Timber (GRT), resubmitted the logging plan with minimal corrections, and CAL FIRE again approved it over major public opposition on March 30, 2018. FoGR again sued over the same basic flaws in CAL FIRE’s environmental review process for “Dogwood II” in case SCV 262241.

In agreement with legal precedents, the Court stated in “Dogwood II” that it is “absolutely clear” that THPs must be functionally equivalent to Environmental Impact Reports (EIRs). THPs must meet the same fundamental standards of CEQA with regard to evaluation of alternatives that reduce impacts to the environment, which the Court reaffirmed is “one of the most important functions of an EIR.” The Court ruled that CAL FIRE’s position on THP requirements for alternatives analysis was incorrect, and its discussion of alternatives for Dogwood simply presented no information, analysis, or explanation of how it reached its conclusions in rejecting all alternatives as infeasible. FoGR argued that CAL FIRE uncritically accepted the prejudicial arguments of the applicant, Gualala Redwoods Timber, in rejecting alternatives without analysis.

Once again, the Court ruled that CAL FIRE failed to assess cumulative environmental impacts to the Gualala River and its watershed in accordance with requirements of CEQA. The basic flaw in CAL FIRE’s analysis was a lack of a reasoned discussion for the basis of its conclusions, the Court ruled, consistent with FoGR’s position that CAL FIRE jumped to conclusions of “no impact” without evidence or accounting for other impacts from past or future logging and land and water uses.

With regard to specific flaws in CEQA-equivalent analysis of rare plants, “wetlands,” and steelhead trout and coho salmon, the Court applied legal standards that “do not focus on the ‘correctness’ of a report’s environmental conclusions, but on agency (CAL FIRE) findings that are presumed to be supported by substantial evidence – the minimum requirement for CEQA compliance. On these issues, the Court gave weight to the “expertise” of findings and approvals from other state agencies (California Dept. of Fish and Wildlife, Regional Water Quality Control Board), and the adequacy of “expertise” of registered professional foresters.

CAL FIRE, formerly known as the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, is governed by the Board of Forestry, which is composed of members drawn from among timber industry, forestry, and environmental professionals. It has a reputation of substantial influence from the industry it regulates.

FoGR is seeking reform of CAL FIRE’s THP procedures and documents so that they actually function as efficient equivalents of CEQA Environmental Impact Reports that focus on significant environmental impacts and solutions in the public interest, not just private interests of the timber industry applicants. FoGR and its broad coalition of public citizens and organizations will continue to pursue conservation of the unique Gualala Redwood Floodplain Forest, including full consideration of alternatives that protect the most sensitive extensive wetland and floodplain habitats.

Jeanne Jackson, natural history author of “Mendonoma Sightings” and a leader in FoGR’s opposition to Dogwood, emphasized the implications of the Court’s decision regarding alternatives: “The Gualala River is the only river in Sonoma and Mendocino Counties that has not protected its mature redwood floodplain forests. Judge Chouteau asked why the alternative of conservation sale of this unique area’s sensitive habitats wasn’t considered to comply with CEQA,” she said. “GRT’s attorneys’ answer was that the owner wants to log and isn’t interested in fair market value prices for the land. The river needs its floodplain protected. GRT owns almost 30,000 acres of timberland in the Gualala River watershed. The floodplain forest in “Dogwood,” less than 400 acres, deserves to be protected from harm.”

Contact:

Edward Yates, Friends of Gualala River’s attorney, 415.990.4805

For more background information on the Dogwood THP lawsuit, visit:www.GualalaRiver.org 90-100 year old redwood tree marked for cutting in Gualala River floodplain; photo credit: copyright © 2016 Mike Shoys, used with permission. Copyright © 2018 Friends of the Gualala River, All rights reserved. 
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P.O. Box 1543

Gualala,   CA   95445

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Categories: Food and Farming

Partisan SCOTUS: Supreme Court halts landmark youth climate change lawsuit

Sat, 10/20/2018 - 10:09
Partisan games: SCOTUS halts discovery in lawsuit to appease Trump administration climate deniers and cover for fossil fuel industry… Supreme Court halts landmark youth climate change lawsuit Chief Justice John Roberts gives the Trump administration another win. Frank Dale Oct 20, 2018, 11:50 am SHARE

A view of the Supreme Court of the United States on June 26, 2017. (BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images) SHARE -->

U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts brought a temporary halt late Friday to a landmark climate change lawsuit that was set to begin later this month. President Donald Trump’s Justice Department asked the Supreme Court to stop the lawsuit in a filing on Thursday. Roberts approved the request on Friday even though the US high court in a unanimous ruling in July had said that the case could proceed.

Twenty-one children and young adults sued the federal government in August 2015, alleging the government had failed to protect them from the impacts of climate change.

Here’s what’s at stake for the 21 kids suing the Trump administration over climate change

ThinkProgress’ Kyla Mandel explained the basis for the case.

The lawsuit uses a legal theory known as atmospheric trust litigation, which argues the government must hold certain common elements such as rivers or shorelines, and in this case, the atmosphere, for public use. By failing to protect and preserve a clean atmosphere for future generations — by promoting fossil fuels, for instance — the lawsuit argues that the government is violating its obligation to the public trust.

Now, Roberts has halted discovery and the trial “pending a response to DOJ’s stay request, which is due by 3p Wednesday,” per BuzzFeed News’ Chris Geidner, who noted the timeline for the lawsuit is now unclear. Trump, who once bizarrely claimed “global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive,” accused scientists of having a “political agenda” while discussing climate change during an interview on CBS’ 60 Minutes that aired last weekend.

 

FULL STORY
Categories: Food and Farming

Oil industry gets aggressive in fight over Colorado ballot measure to protect public from drilling

Sat, 10/20/2018 - 09:30
Oil company’s profits more important than children’s health? Oil industry gets aggressive in fight over Colorado ballot measure to protect public from drilling Outcome of vote to increase buffer zone between homes and drill sites expected to be extremely close. Mark Hand Twitter Oct 19, 2018, 1:56 pm Notable Coloradans such as former star Denver Broncos quarterback John Elway and former U.S. Interior Secretary Gale Norton have appeared in television advertisements financed by the oil and gas industry to oppose a grass roots-driven ballot initiative — known as Proposition 112 — that would expand the buffer zone between homes and drilling sites.

In the latest development in the ballot initiative battle, the oil industry is bringing in celebrities to push back on the popular grassroots initiative. Individual natural gas companies are also spending huge sums of unregulated money on anti-proposition television advertisements.

“Given Elway’s past forays into politics, his presence alone suggests that he’s probably advocating for something bad,” the sports news website Deadspin reported Thursday. “That the ad itself contains nothing that could even charitably be described as ‘information’ beyond one suspiciously precise figure on Jobs Somehow Destroyed By Proposition 112 does nothing to assuage that suspicion.”

The Colorado ballot initiative would expand the buffer zones between homes and industrial oil and gas facilities. As with other ballot initiative attempts in the past, Colorado’s anti-fracking activists are sending the oil and industry into a frenzy, despite the relatively modest nature of the proposition.

If the proposition passes, it would give residents the peace of mind of knowing they will be safer from potential blasts and further away from the noise and odors that come with drilling operations. And it would allow the industry to continue drilling in less populated areas.

Study shows oil and gas industry wields ‘meta power,’ but Colorado residents are fighting back The industry has so far raised $30 million to defeat the measure, about 40 times the money that environmental groups have raised. But Proposition 112 is far from radical. It doesn’t call for banning fracking in Colorado. The measure would simply keep new wells farther away from homes and schools, expanding the distance from a 500-foot minimum to 2,500 feet.

Yet, the industry’s efforts to defeat Proposition 112 are moving into the realm of dirty politics. Westword reported Thursday that in a last-ditch attempt to defeat the measure before November 6, natural gas giant Noble Energy is blanketing Colorado television with election-focused political ads that it claims are outside the purview of all state campaign-finance laws.

The U.S. Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision weakened regulation of federal campaign laws, but it preserved state statutes that require direct election expenditures to be disclosed. Noble Energy’s advertisements explicitly urge Coloradans to vote against the ballot measure, but the company has declared that such ads are not governed by state campaign-finance or disclosure laws, according to Westword.

FULL STORY
Categories: Food and Farming

What could possibly go wrong: Trump orders quicker environmental review of California water projects

Sat, 10/20/2018 - 09:15
Just another campaign rally/show to help flailing GOP candidates running for reelection…..it’s all about the optics…….”Legal experts say that any attempts by the Trump administration to skirt state environmental regulations could run afoul of a 1978 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in a case that pitted California against the Central Valley Project.” Trump orders quicker environmental review of California water projects

 

By Oct 19, 2018 | 3:25 PM

The intake channel at the C.W. “Bill” Jones Pumping Plant in Tracy. The federal plant sends water south to San Joaquin Valley farmers. (Katie Falkenberg / Los Angeles Times) President Trump on Friday directed federal agencies to speed up their environmental review of major water projects in California and to develop plans to suspend or revise regulations that hamper water deliveries.

The directive will have little immediate practical effect. But it comes a bit more than two weeks before a midterm election in which some Central Valley Republicans are in close races to hold on to their congressional seats.

Railing against environmental regulations that have hurt water deliveries to the valley is a perennial GOP battle cry — and one that could give a political boost to Republican incumbents. But the presidential memo also illustrates the legal constraints that prevent the federal government from single-handedly sending more water to San Joaquin Valley growers.

The memo sets 2019 deadlines for the U.S. Interior and Commerce departments to issue updated environmental rules that govern water exports from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta — the center of California’s sprawling water supply system.

The review of export limits under the Endangered Species Act started under the Obama administration, which signaled that the protections could grow more restrictive because populations of imperiled fish continue to plummet.

Federal biologists could retreat from that, loosening export limits when they issue the new rules next spring. But if they do, the action will inevitably be challenged in the courts, which blocked a similar effort by the George W. Bush administration.

California’s massive federal irrigation system, the Central Valley Project, must also adhere to rules next spring. But if they do, the action will inevitably be challenged in the courts, which blocked a similar effort by the George W. Bush administration.

California’s massive federal irrigation system, the Central Valley Project, must also adhere to state environmental regulations and water rights permits.

In tweets this summer, Trump echoed farmers’ protests that water flowing to the sea is wasted. In one tweet that was quickly condemned by state officials, Trump incorrectly claimed that water that had been “diverted into the Pacific Ocean” was inhibiting efforts to fight Northern California wildfires.

The Trump administration signaled that it was wading into California water politics in August.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke ordered the Bureau of Reclamation, which oversees the Central Valley Project, and other Interior agencies to develop an “initial plan of action” that would — among other things — maximize water deliveries, streamline federal environmental reviews of project operations and prepare “legislative and litigation measures” to increase deliveries.

The efforts have been led by Deputy Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, a former partner in one of the nation’s top-grossing lobbying law firms, Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck. There, he represented the politically influential Westlands Water District, which would be among the chief beneficiaries of improved deliveries to south-of-delta Central Valley Project customers

In a briefing on Friday’s directive, Bernhardt said it could be the single most significant action a president has taken on Western water in his lifetime.

The memo, which Trump signed on a trip to Arizona, also sets a 2019 deadline for environmental reviews of the Klamath Project, which delivers water for irrigation in Oregon and Northern California.

Five Republican congressmen from the Central Valley — House Majority leader Kevin McCarthy, David Valadao, Devin Nunes, Jeff Denham and Tom McClintock — watched as Trump signed the memo after a fundraising lunch in Scottsdale.

Trump then handed the pen to Nunes, who for years has introduced legislation attacking the federal Endangered Species Act. Several of his proposals have passed the House only to die in the Senate.

“This will move things along at a record clip,” Trump told the group. “And you’ll have a lot of water. I hope you’ll enjoy the water you’ll have.”

McCarthy, casting the signing as another promise kept by Trump, said the order could increase deliveries to the Central Valley by more than a million acre-feet. He gave no details as to how.

Three valley Republicans are facing serious challengers, although Denham, of Turlock, is the only incumbent polling behind his Democratic challenger. Josh Harder, a former venture capitalist, has a 5-point lead among likely voters in California’s 10th Congressional District, according to a recent poll conducted by UC Berkeley’s Institute of Governmental Studies. The race is listed as a “Republican toss-up” by the nonpartisan political handicapper Cook Political Report.

As water exports from the delta increased in recent decades, populations of migrating salmon and delta smelt — a finger-sized fish found only in the delta — plummeted. That has triggered endangered species protections under state and federal law that periodically limit the intake of the government pumping plants that divert supplies to San Joaquin Valley fields and Southland cities.

State water quality standards also mandate that a certain level of fresh water flows through the delta to keep salt water from the San Francisco Bay away from the delta pumps.

Legal experts say that any attempts by the Trump administration to skirt state environmental regulations could run afoul of a 1978 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in a case that pitted California against the Central Valley Project.

The high court found that, under the 1902 Reclamation Act, federal irrigation projects in the West must conform to state laws.

Kate Poole, an attorney with the environmental group the Natural Resources Defense Council, has waged numerous legal battles to uphold Endangered Species Act protections in the delta. She saw more politics than policy in the memo.

“We cannot comment on campaign stunts,” she said after reviewing Trump’s directive.

FULL STORY

Categories: Food and Farming

Local Fury and Health Concerns as Japan Plans to Dump a Million Tons of Radioactive Fukushima Water Into Ocean

Fri, 10/19/2018 - 09:45
In the United States, it is a different story. It is a public health issue and not a personal health issue. What that means is that we will never know who is the individual who got cancer from Fukushima. But we can be sure that the radiation did reach here and that there will be an increase in cancers, especially on the West Coast where the Rocky Mountains stopped most of the radiation and deposited it on the ground.

Read more: http://naturalsociety.com/fukushima-nuclear-disaster-health-united-states-citizens/#ixzz5UOchUWrb
Follow us: @naturalsociety on Twitter | NaturalSociety on Facebook

Local Fury and Health Concerns as Japan Plans to Dump a Million Tons of Radioactive Fukushima Water Into Ocean

One nuclear specialist argued that the Japanese government’s reported plan “cannot be considered an action without risk to the marine environment and human health”

by Common Dreams Jake Johnson, staff writer 27 Comments

“The government is running out of space to store contaminated water that has come into contact with fuel that escaped from three nuclear reactors after the plant was destroyed in the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami that struck northeast Japan,” the Telegraph reported. (Photo: AP)

In a move that has sparked outrage from local residents and dire health warnings from environmentalists, the Japanese government is reportedly planning to release 1.09 million tons of water from the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant into the Pacific Ocean despite evidence that it contains “radioactive material well above legally permitted levels.”

While both the Japanese government and Tokyo Electric Power Co. (Tepco)—the company that runs the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant—have claimed that radioactive material in the water has been reduced to indetectable amounts and that only “safe levels of tritium” remain, documents obtained by the London-based Telegraph suggest that the cleaning system being used to decontaminate the water “has consistently failed to eliminate a cocktail of other radioactive elements, including iodine, ruthenium, rhodium, antimony, tellurium, cobalt, and strontium.”

“The government is running out of space to store contaminated water that has come into contact with fuel that escaped from three nuclear reactors after the plant was destroyed in the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami that struck northeast Japan,” the Telegraph reported. “Its plan to release the approximately 1.09 million tons of water currently stored in 900 tanks into the Pacific has triggered a fierce backlash from local residents and environmental organizations, as well as groups in South Korea and Taiwan fearful that radioactivity from the second-worst nuclear disaster in history might wash up on their shores.”

One document the Telegraph obtained from the government body charged with responding to the 2011 Fukushima disaster reportedly indicates that the Japanese government is perfectly aware that the Advanced Liquid Processing System (ALPS) is failing to eliminate radioactive materials from the water stored at the Fukushima site, despite its claims to the contrary.

Last September, the Telegraph notes, “Tepco was forced to admit that around 80 percent of the water stored at the Fukushima site still contains radioactive substances above legal levels after the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry held public hearings in Tokyo and Fukushima at which local residents and fishermen protested against the plans.”

Shaun Burnie, a nuclear specialist with Greenpeace, argued that even so-called “safe” levels of tritium are harmful to humans and marine life.

“Its beta particles inside the human body are more harmful than most X-rays and gamma rays,” Burnie told the Telegraph, adding that there “are major uncertainties over the long-term effects posed by radioactive tritium that is absorbed by marine life and, through the food chain, humans.”

The Japanese government’s reported plans to release the water into the Pacific despite these warnings “cannot be considered an action without risk to the marine environment and human health,” Burnie concluded.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License More than a non-profit news outlet, a galvanizing force for those who believe in a better world.

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Categories: Food and Farming

Logging on Dogwood 2 shut down again.

Fri, 10/19/2018 - 09:08
Friends of the Gualala River (FOGR) haae gone to court and once again prevailed in shutting down plans by  CalFire and Gualala Timber’s THP (Timber Harvest Plan). In a 24 page decision, the judge has halted plans to log along the floodplains of the Gualala River. Summary of the actions coming soon! Thank you FOGR for all your time and money saving this last jewel along the scenic and severely impacted river due to past logging. Numerous rare and endangered species including plants have been saved for now.  

Response from Coastal Action Group: More work to do! Problems – with the Gualala “Victory”. I am not jumping for joy over this “Victory”.  Yes,  FoGR prevailed on some issues and may live to fight another battle.   The battle of “Dogwood” is not over.

If you look at the case,  we did not prevail on major (pertinent issues) – the need for appropriate botanic surveys and protection of endangered plants.  We also lost on the wetland issues, GHG effects, and salmonid protections.

So… where have we prevailed – Cumulative Watershed Effects analysis were the THP failed to disclose the analytic rout to the conclusion that continuing effects from harvest operations are not significant,  and that the plan did an inadequate job of considering the full range of Project Alternatives. 

It should be obvious that the two areas the Court found inconsistent with statute can easily be remedied.  GRT will  get this work done and resubmit this plan and it will be approved and there will be no case – unless:

FoGR can be inventive and dogged in the pursuit of issue that must be addressed in the new CWE analysis that will be presented.

The Plan, “Dogwood” proposes timber harvest operations in a migrating stream channel in a watershed that is impaired by sediment and temperature.  The plan preparer must present analysis and conclusions related to the potential impact of these operations and related remedies.
Thus:  all relevant information and methodology related to this issue must be presented.  This includes consideration, and analysis of the following:

 

Calfire, or the RPF, must supplement the information provided in the THP “when necessary to insure that all relevant information is considered.”  See – 14CCR section 898.  Does this mean that Calfire should independently assess the cumulative impact analysis in the plan? And/or or should Calfire supplement analysis with information in Calfire’s possession  –  which , in this case should include Calfire’s own methodology for the management of timber harvest in flood plans -” FLOOD PRONE AREA CONSIDERATIONS IN COAST REDWOOD ZONE”. See  14 CCR Section 896 (a) and (b).  ”RPFs are expected to submit sufficient information  to support their findings if significant issues are raised  during [Calfire’s] review of the THP” In  the case of Dogwood – this information/methodology and analysis should be applied.

And:

Section 898 has been amended to require specific evaluation for cumulative impacts that may occur in waterbodies listed under section 303 (d) ( California’s  List of Water Quality Limited Segments). When any waterbody, or portion thereof, listed under section 303 (d) is located within or downstream  of a proposed timber operation, the RPF must assess “ the degree to which the proposed operations would result in impacts that may combine with existing listed stressors to impair a waterbody’s beneficial uses, thereby causing a significant  adverse effect on the environment.”  The plan submitter must provide feasible mitigation measures to reduce any such impact to a level of insignificance. This, when applied to FRP 916.9 (a) (1) indicates that the plan submitter must show how the plan meets any  approved TMDL – with mitigation factors that are feasible.

The suggestion is to attempt to introduce appropriate methodology in the standard of review for assessing these operations.  In Dogwood – Calfire, and the RPF, did not use Calfire’s own methodology in assessment of operations and related CWE – nor – did they present lucid and comprehensive of cumulative sediment production.

Additionally, in the review of future THPs in the Gualala – it would be good if more work – including consultation with Tom Lippe, Sharon Duggan , and your attorney – on how to make arguments on GHG issue work for us.  This is an area, if pursued, may provide benefits in the comment on future timber harvest plans.

If FoGR intends to be successful in addressing forestry issue in their chosen watershed, every GRT THP should be addressed.  There is some momentum associated with this Court action.  Now  this momentum needs to be used.

 

Alan Levine
Coast Action Group
Affiliate of Redwood Coast Watersheds Alliance

Categories: Food and Farming

Marijuana is emerging among California’s vineyards, offering promise and concern

Fri, 10/19/2018 - 08:58

Marijuana is emerging among California’s vineyards, offering promise and concern

By Scott Wilson
October 14

Marijuana is emerging among California’s vineyards, offering promise and concern
John De Friel, CEO of Raw Garden, at his cannabis farm in Buellton, Calif., this month. The farm sits among cabbage patches and wineries in Santa Barbara County, where agriculture is being reshaped by legalized marijuana. (Philip Cheung for The Washington Post) By Scott Wilson

Scott Wilson

Senior national correspondent focusing on California and the West Email Bio Follow

October 14

SANTA YNEZ VALLEY, Calif. — It is the fall harvest here in this fertile stretch of oaks and hills that produces some of the country’s best wine. This season, though, workers also are plucking the sticky, fragrant flowers of a new crop.

Marijuana is emerging among the vineyards, not as a rival to the valley’s grapes but as a high-value commodity that could help reinvigorate a fading agricultural tradition along the state’s Central Coast. Brushed by ocean breeze, cannabis has taken root, offering promise and prompting the age-old question of whether there can be too much of a good thing.

Cannabis has been fully legal in California for less than a year, and no place is generating more interest in it than the stretch of coast from Monterey to here in Santa Barbara County, where farmers now hold more marijuana cultivation licenses than in any other county.

The shift in legal cultivation patterns is coming at the expense of the remote Emerald Triangle, the trio of far-northern California counties where an illegal marijuana industry has thrived for decades. The Central Coast is not growing more marijuana than the Emerald Triangle, but it could be on track to grow more legally, if trends hold.

“We’re nearly right in between Los Angeles and San Francisco, the two big consumer hubs,” said John De Friel, whose 17-acre Raw Garden Farm and seed lab sit among cabbage patches and wineries. “We really didn’t foresee how advantageous that would turn out to be.”

The regulated California cannabis market is a $4 billion-a-year industry, a boon to the local tax base and to a generation of entrepreneurial farmers more schooled in the agricultural sciences than in the dark arts of deception.

But legalization already is reordering the business and geography of cannabis cultivation, pushing crops into places they have never been. The new cultivations are challenging long-held beliefs in some conservative communities, including this one, where a rural libertarian streak is confronting a crop still stigmatized despite its legality.

The novelty of cannabis here also is a benefit. In northern California, the marijuana industry’s decades-old outlaw culture has proved a major obstacle to transforming the black market into a legal one. With so much lower-cost, unregulated marijuana on the market there, farmers complying with the stiff, expensive new regulations are struggling to make it into the light.


Cannabis buds dry on racks at Vertical cannabis farm in Buellton. (Philip Cheung for The Washington Post)

Here, along the Central Coast, growers complying with the licensing process are having an easier time without a thriving black market as competition. California farmers have only until the end of the year to meet the licensing and regulatory requirements — a process that can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars — or face the law.

While expensive, the commercial logic to get legal is undeniable. In approving recreational marijuana use in November 2016, California voters vastly expanded the legal market, which previously was accessible only to the roughly 200,000 residents with medical marijuana cards. Now, marijuana can be sold to the entire drinking-age population of the nation’s most populous state.

The initiative allowed counties and cities to make their own rules, including outright bans on sale and cultivation. As a result, hundreds of potential growers are still “jurisdiction shopping,” trying to find counties with the lowest cannabis taxes, the right climate, an experienced labor force and a favorable location.

Santa Barbara County set its tax on cannabis revenue at 4 percent, the lower end of the scale, hoping to attract farmers to a place where many agriculture jobs have been lost to the economics of free trade.

The approximately 330 acres under cannabis cultivation here is a tiny fraction of the land devoted to vineyards, which once helped replace a declining beef and dairy cattle industry in the valley.

But government officials and growers acknowledge that more cannabis will come, in part because the “Santa Barbara brand built by its pinot noirs could help sell the locally grown product to new consumers.

Just how much more is a concern to some government officials, all of whom see the need for new crops to boost the tax base but worry whether marijuana in the county’s northern hills and southern greenhouses will change the local culture.

Excerpt:

” Cannabis has been fully legal in California for less than a year, and no place is generating more interest in it than the stretch of coast from Monterey to here in Santa Barbara County, where farmers now hold more marijuana cultivation licenses than in any other county. The shift in legal cultivation patterns is coming at the expense of the remote Emerald Triangle, the trio of far-northern California counties where an illegal marijuana industry has thrived for decades. The Central Coast is not growing more marijuana than the Emerald Triangle, but it could be on track to grow more legally, if trends hold.

“We’re nearly right in between Los Angeles and San Francisco, the two big consumer hubs,” said John De Friel, whose 17-acre Raw Garden Farm and seed lab sit among cabbage patches and wineries. “We really didn’t foresee how advantageous that would turn out to be.””

Full article here

 

Categories: Food and Farming

Save our Sonoma Neighborhoods (S.O.S.) has alot to say about the Graton project

Thu, 10/18/2018 - 10:30
LOCAL GROUPS ORGANZING for sensible regulations… SOS, No Pot on Purvine

Neighbors all over the county object to industrial grows in neighborhoods. Will Graton be the next collateral damaged neighborhood to this industry?

From SOS: Sonoma County has shown that they lack the tools and resources to administer their cannabis program and protect their citizens. It should cease and desist in all permitting until it can do so. If those tools and resources to protect citizens don’t exist, don’t have commercial cannabis in Sonoma County. Dispensaries can buy it elsewhere.  The ongoing environmental catastrophe of marijuana cultivation (Bioscience) June 14, 2018 High Time for Conservation:

Adding the Environment to the Debate on Marijuana Liberalization The liberalization of marijuana policies, including the legalization of medical and recreational marijuana, is sweeping the United States and other countries. Marijuana cultivation can have significant negative collateral effects on the environment that are often unknown or overlooked. Read More…

________________ Big Tobacco 2.0 Big Marijuana Coming to Sonoma County ________________ Phase 1: PROGRESS! The Sonoma County Cannabis Ordinance has been sent back for revision thanks to the letters and phone calls from our members.

For Phase 2, we need to ensure that our policy changes – to protect rural homeowners – are adopted by the Board of Supervisors. We also need to be prepared for possible litigation or ballot measure. We are a citizens group of volunteers. All donations are applied 100% to cover the substantial costs associated with advocacy for rural Sonoma County homeowners. Please click on the Donate button. Any amounts are appreciated. We are in this campaign for the long haul and that is what it will take for us to succeed. Save Our Sonoma Neighborhoods Citizens Advisory Group

SOS NEIGHBORHOODS Is a commercial Pot Grow coming to your neighborhood?

Destroying your neighborhood is just a formality in many cases. No notification, no review, no hearings, no environmental impact study…

What Other Jurisdictions are Doing Most Bay Area cities and counties have banned commercial cultivation. Why does Sonoma County promote it? What’s in it for you? SOS POLICY POSITION SOS Neighborhoods Policy Positions

Listed in priority order, Save our Sonoma Neighborhoods urges the electorate and the Board of Supervisors to support the following Sonoma County policy changes:

1) All commercial marijuana cultivation should be restricted to industrial zoning or other comparable centralized zones only. Commercial marijuana cultivation does not belong in neighborhoods, regardless of their zoning. It should be relegated to industrial-zoned or similar areas where it does not jeopardize the health general welfare, and safety of residents and can be properly monitored, regulated and contained by the County.

2) The County must immediately STOP issuing marijuana permits until the Sonoma County Ordinance is revised. The current Ordinance is fatally flawed, and the county must stop issuing new permits until the Supervisors can amend it to reflect community concerns over due process, water use, utility services, odor, public health and safety. Issuing more permits exacerbates these problems and creates vested interest among marijuana growers in conflict to incumbent interest of County residents.

3) Ministerial marijuana cultivation permits should not be allowed. The community demands due process to raise compatibility issues before the County, without a public ballot or a hearing process, determines whether a commercial marijuana grow is compatible with a neighborhood and surrounding environment.

4) The County must cap the number of marijuana cultivation permits issued. Marijuana permits must be limited to prevent concentration and oversupply in the County. In addition to the cumulative environmental impact, this presents a problem for public safety. The county should have published target of permits and supply to allow for the proper planning of supporting services.  The county should not allow a condition to exist which inadvertently supports growers who supply the black market to other states and should avoid becoming a target for federal enforcement activities.

5) Disband the Cannabis Advisory Group (CAG). The current Cannabis Advisory Group (CAG) is so biased towards promoting marijuana operations that its recommendations lack credibility and cannot be allowed to continue. Many members have conflicts of interest from their pending cultivation applications, or their representation of cultivators as lawyers or consultants. Their conflicts of interest violate the public trust by making self-serving recommendations and are an embarrassment to good government. If the supervisors need an advisory group, it should be reconstituted to have equal representation from citizens who are not in the marijuana industry.

6) Sonoma County taxpayers should not be asked to subsidize the Marijuana industry through land conservation property tax relief.  The state of California stopped Williamson Act subvention payments to counties in 2010 placing the entire burden on Sonoma County taxpayers.  We believe that it is inappropriate to force Sonoma County property taxpayers, who have not voted, to subsidize marijuana operations.

Here we go Again… Home Invasion Number 5

Manhunt on for 2 suspects in cannabis-related Santa Rosa home invasion robbery A manhunt is underway for at least two armed men who barged into a home on the southwestern outskirts of Santa Rosa Wednesday morning, tied up a male resident and made off with an unknown amount of cannabis. Just before 9:30 a.m., one…

Can you believe Sonoma County is still bending over backwards to bring large scale commercial pot cultivation to the County????? Ask yourself WHY? Then ask the Board of Supervisors
You may have voted for legalization of cannabis, but

Did you vote for SWAT Teams in your rural neighborhood?

We are Save Our Sonoma Neighborhoods and we don’t think so.

East coast home invaders brutalize innocent neighbor’s of former pot farm, kicking in doors and robbing and victimizing residents. Reporters attribute spate of criminal activity to county’s “open arms approach “ to commercial marijuana .

3 More Suspects Arrested In Petaluma Home Invasion Robberies IS THIS THE SONOMA  COUNTY YOU WANT TO LIVE IN?

No that’s not the rancher next door looking for a stray cow. They are searching your neighborhood for 4 murder suspects who just invaded 3 of your NEIGHBORS homes.

And less we forget, 1 month ago…Two innocent people shot, one person killed in dual Santa Rosa home invasions where, again East Coast criminals invade Sonoma residents looking for Pot and Cash.

Do We need this?

“Witnesses in the first shooting described a terrifying scene. Five masked intruders kicked in the front door, setting off an alarm system at the modest home and jolting awake the entire household — a married couple and their three children, ages 9, 14 and 18.One of the masked suspects fired a gunshot into the ceiling and shoved the 18-year-old into a laundry room, tying her wrists together with duct tape. Then they started making demands.”

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Categories: Food and Farming

Friends of the Earth Action Endorses Candidates in Races Across the Country

Thu, 10/18/2018 - 09:49
Friends of the Earth Action Endorses Candidates in Races Across the Country

 

WASHINGTON – Friends of the Earth Action today announced its endorsement of [number] gubernatorial, statewide, U.S. House and Senate candidates around the nation, moving the organization’s support behind candidates ready to protect our planet and resist the corruption of Donald Trump’s administration.

“These progressive candidates will fight for people and the planet and are a reflection of the American values that have been betrayed under Trump,” said Erich Pica, president of Friends of the Earth Action. “We proudly endorse these candidates who inspire hope in a progressive tomorrow.”

A complete list of Friends of the Earth Action’s endorsements follows:

Governors:

  • Andrew Gillum – Florida
  • Stacey Abrams – Georgia
  • Paulette Jordan – Idaho
  • Ben Jealous – Maryland
  • Christine Hallquist – Vermont

U.S. Senate

  • Zak Ringelstein – Maine
  • Elizabeth Warren – Massachusetts
  • Kirsten Gillibrand – New York
  • Bernie Sanders – Vermont
  • Tammy Baldwin – Wisconsin

U.S. House

  • Ammar Campa-Najjar – California 50th District
  • Ayanna Pressley – Massachusetts 7th District
  • Rashida Tlaib – Michigan 13th District
  • Ilhan Omar – Minnesota 5th District
  • Kara Eastman – Nebraska 2nd District
  • Deb Haaland – New Mexico 1st District
  • Antonio Delgado – New York 19th District
  • Dana Balter – New York 24th District
  • Nydia Velazquez – New York 7th District
  • Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez – New York 14th District
  • Scott Wallace – Pennsylvania 1st District
  • Jess King – Pennsylvania 11th District
  • Leslie Cockburn – Virginia 5th District
  • Pramila Jayapal – Washington 7th District
  • Mark Pocan – Wisconsin 2nd District

Statewide and Local Races

  • Christa Yoakum – Nebraska Public Service Commission
  • Steve Fischmann – New Mexico Public Regulation Commission
  • Stephanie Garcia Richards – Land Commissioner of New Mexico
  • Anita Earls – North Carolina Supreme Court
  • Katy Eymann – Coos County (Oregon) Commission
### More than a non-profit news outlet, a galvanizing force for those who believe in a better world.

Common Dreams provides daily news and opinion from around the globe, but our deeper mission is to be a galvanizing force for the millions of brave people around the world who believe in a more sustainable, just, and beautiful world — and are committed to achieving it. Funded solely by our readers and allies who believe in our mission, if you can support our work today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Won’t Exist.

$15 $27$50 $100Other

Friends of the Earth Action provides extra political muscle on legislative battles here in the U.S. to our sister organization, Friends of the Earth, which is part of a network of affiliates in 76 nations around the world. Friends of the Earth Action and its affiliated PAC make thoughtful political endorsements, provide direct support to candidates and place environmentalists in the field on critical campaigns.

Categories: Food and Farming

Out of towners host meeting to convince Graton neighbors their industrial cannabis project is great

Thu, 10/18/2018 - 09:09
graton cannabis grow poster Out of towners host meeting to convince Graton neighbors their industrial cannabis project is great FROM (FAW) Friends of Atascadero Wetlands: There are several actions to take at this point. First familiarize yourself with the issue with this link to the plans: https://documentcloud.adobe.com/link/track?uri=urn%3Aaaid%3Ascds%3AUS%3A24ee04ba-59a1-4c19-b2bc-8a867bee1dc8 This is a link to all the documentation that goes with the plans: https://documentcloud.adobe.com/link/track?uri=urn%3Aaaid%3Ascds%3AUS%3A3df39599-7c1d-4f88-8f49-d09e1518dc01 The planner will now create a report that he will submit to Permit Sonoma and then a public hearing before the Planning Commission will be scheduled. Send comments to: srosen@migcom.com Finally, there is a pdf flyer attached that you can print in color or black and white and hand out to neighbors or on the trail. The applicants will be lobbying Saturday 10-2 with cookies and a table at the farm gate at the end of Railroad Street. Feel free to stop by and let them know how you feel about their proposal.

8.5X11 Poster Final 4

 

Categories: Food and Farming

Sonoma County supervisors OK recreational cannabis sales but limit pot growing

Wed, 10/17/2018 - 10:48

Out of towners creating angst in Graton……meeting to be held in Graton on Saturday to convince locals to approve industrial operation next to wetlands, water scarce area, public trails, child day care center and neighborhood.


Sonoma County supervisors OK recreational cannabis sales but limit pot growing

JULIE JOHNSON
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT | October 16, 2018, 7:45PM

Expand

Sonoma County supervisors Tuesday voted to allow recreational sales to begin at marijuana dispensaries as early as mid-November and limited most pot-growing farms to properties at least 10 acres or larger.

The size requirement eliminates more than 5,100 properties previously eligible for cannabis cultivation, county staff said.

This action and other rules for the newly regulated cannabis industry are the latest in a series of amendments to the ordinance governing marijuana cultivation, sales, production and other commercial activities outside city limits. This process began nearly two years ago to establish local regulations for a cannabis industry that previously operated either in the black market or under the state’s loosely defined medical marijuana laws.

But the most pressing issue that emerged during Tuesday’s meeting was not on the agenda for county supervisors to consider: A newly proposed cannabis cultivation project near a portion of the West County Regional Trail in Graton. The proposal drew about two dozen residents from the unincorporated community north of Sebastopol who expressed outrage by the prospect of a large marijuana farm in the bucolic community and adjacent to the regional park bicycle thoroughfare.

“It’s the scale and location of the operation I’m opposed to,” said Joe Howard, a resident on Railroad Street, a dead-end lane where the project is proposed. “I voted for cultivation in Sonoma County where appropriate.”

Sonoma County Supervisor Lynda Hopkins said she was surprised to learn setbacks required between cannabis operations and parks don’t apply to the county’s trail system for bicyclists and pedestrians.

“Sometimes applications bring up policy concerns and we can address that through policy solutions,” Hopkins said.

The outcry echoed complaints from other areas of the county where people establishing cannabis farms — in the open for the first time — are met with neighbors balking at the smell and public safety considerations that come with the plant, still illegal under federal law.

Continues here

Categories: Food and Farming

The ultimate “I don’t give a damn do you….” Trump administration mulls plan to turn West Coast military bases into coal export ports

Wed, 10/17/2018 - 10:38
SWAMP WATCH Since when is paying back political donors “national security”? Forest Gump, “you can’t fix stupid”. Daily Kos: Trump administration mulls plan to turn West Coast military bases into coal export ports

Just when you think you’ve heard everything, Team Trump comes up with a new plan so incredibly ridiculous and malevolent that it actually manages to surprise you. This time, it’s a new proposal to use West Coast military bases as … government-run coal export centers.

No, really. Because West Coast states have put steep environmental requirements on new would-be coal terminals, the Trump Administration proposal is, Eff it, we’ll just start our own coal ports on military bases where nobody can do a damn thing about it! The almost comically crooked Ryan Zinke, still heading the Interior Department mostly because twenty other Trump scandals have overwhelmed his own in recent months, is bold in attempting to justify it as a national security concern.

“I respect the state of Washington and Oregon and California,” Zinke said. “But also, it’s in our interest for national security and our allies to make sure that they have access to affordable energy commodities.”

So every U.S. naval officer on the West Coast will have to show up to work each day with a bucket of coal to put on the pile, or something, lest our nation be imperiled by a lack of coal elsewhere in the world? Not quite; the first site being mentioned is the mostly abandoned Naval Air Facility Adak in the Aleutian Islands, but Zinke suggests it’s only the first of several to be used up and down the Pacific coast. The other planned sites are as of yet undisclosed.

There are approximately fifty reasons why this is Deeply And Amazingly Stupid and will probably not go anywhere, unless Ryan Zinke and cohorts go to some rather amazing lengths to force it into being out of pure spite. The first is that there are very few suitable sites to begin with; deep-water ports are difficult to come by on the West Coast. The second is that you would have to get the flippin’ coal to the military bases to begin with, which presumably still means sending enormous amounts of rail traffic through places that will still want a say in how that happens. The third is that the long-term export market for coal continues to look quite grim, even if Ryan Zinke and his coal-state buddies commandeer American military bases as free real estate for shipping the stuff. This would be a stopgap at best, a way to squeeze a few more pennies out of an industry doomed to extinction by free-market forces, regardless of what Trump’s allies do.

Also, setting aside the astonishing corruption of it all, the glib merger of military and corporate interests represented by such a move would be, ahem, astonishing, even in this climate.

Nonetheless, there seems to be genuine interest in this plan among Republicans of the coal-producing states, partly as sop to a still-powerful lobbying industry, and partly as a way to screw with less-Republican states just for the sake of doing so.

“That might be, for example, retired military facilities or other places where we would be able to use those for exports — frankly, to get around some of the unreasonable obstacles that have been thrown up,” [Wyoming Republican and personification of malevolence Liz Cheney] said.

Wyoming and Montana Republicans may be playing the long game here: Temporarily obstructed from selling coal through western ports, Plan B will be to screw the planet so severely as to make the Pacific Ocean come to them, Rocky Mountains or no. The notion that Trump, Zinke, and the rest of the corrupt crew could manage to repurpose coastal military bases as coal export centers without facing a wave of coastal voter opposition that would strip every last remaining local Republican from power for approximately Forever, however, is a dicey one. The Republican Party is running out of Americans it can afford to piss off.

Comments and original article:

 

Categories: Food and Farming

Food & Water Watch Sues over water bill, “We’re suing in CA over shady $11B water deal!”

Wed, 10/17/2018 - 10:30
Food & Water Watch Sues: “We’re suing in CA over shady $11B water deal!”

For over five years, we’ve been fighting every step of the way, with you by our side, to stop Jerry Brown from making Californians pay for his massive water tunnels that will mainly benefit corporate agribusinesses.

And even though Governor Brown colluded with Metropolitan Water District of Southern California to approve an $11 billion downpayment for the tunnels earlier this year, the fight isn’t over.

Not only is Metropolitan’s funding committment for the Delta tunnels a huge waste of SoCal resident dollars — it’s also illegal. That’s why we’re suing the Metropolitan Water District.

Give to Food & Water Watch today to fuel our legal fight against Brown’s shady corporate water tunnels scheme!

We found that the approved Metropolitan funding violates taxpayer protection provisions in Propositions 26 and 13 of California’s constitution.1

Proposition 26 makes it unconstitutional for water ratepayers and taxpayers to subsidize out-of-district water users — including agribusinesses — and Proposition 13 requires a two-thirds approval from voters before property taxes can be raised — which is exactly what Metropolitan plans on doing in addition to rate hikes! 

Metropolitan’s financing blatantly violates Prop 26 by sticking Southern Californians with most of the bill for Brown’s multi-billion dollar tunnels project that will mainly benefit corporate agribusinesses in Kern County.

Donate to support our ongoing fight against Brown’s backhand attempts to force the cost of his corporate water tunnels on California residents!

Californians deserve real water solutions, not corporate schemes proposed by sell-out politicians.

Invalidating the funding secured by Metropolitan will be a massive blow to the financial viability of the project. Help us win this legal battle so we can try to bury this project once and for all!

From our fights in the California legislature to protect people from water shutoffs to our fight in the courts, we look forward to continue working with you to disrupt corporate water schemes and ensure that Californians have access to safe, clean and affordable water.

Donate to fuel our legal fight!

Onward together,

Adam Scow
California Director
Food & Water Watch

1. Watchdogs Sue Methropolitan Water District Over Delta Tunnel Financing, Maven’s Notebook, September 10, 2018.

We’ll never take money from the corporations that got us into this mess. Not one cent. 
Food & Water Watch is powered by people like YOU. Donate
Categories: Food and Farming

Jim Woods SB 901 and PD endorsement

Wed, 10/17/2018 - 10:14

Note: PD is also endorsing Prop 3 water bond, one of the very few in the state supporting Prop 3 boondoggle on taxpayers which will short change education, health and more.

PD Staff

I was not surprised, but was disappointed, with the PD’s support for
Jim Wood, et al, for (in your words) for delivering the goods in
wildfire response (with the approval of SB 901)
My disappointment arises from some misplaced expectation that PD
staff would actually put some effort into assessing the issue of what
goods were actually delivered.

The forest management aspect of SB 901 was written and supported by
industry that allows for the cutting of larger trees that are not a
source of fuel ladder or load causing wildfire threat.  With
questions of how really to manage wildfire fuel load reduction – the
issue is quite open as to what resources are to be expended, where
they will be expended, and how this is to be managed and paid
for.  In my mind (and it will probably be proven to be) this is just
another government screw up – due haste and a lack of study and
planning (supported by experts) that is needed.

Funds supporting such operations are not necessarily in place.  The
State (it is not clear which agency – Calfire or the Air Resources
Board) must complete GHG analysis before funds are available.
And…the “mandated” 200 million to be spent each year needs to be
parceled out across the State.

Additionally, as I had mentioned, any such fuel load reduction work
in fire prone chaparral/grassland/mixed conifer areas would need to
be periodic – as there is rapid regeneration in these areas. Any such
work will need to be assessed and managed so as not to produce
negative water quality effects – flooding and erosion. Little effort is being put into community planning for areas of
wildfire risk. There are many areas that already developed in such
wildfire risk areas.  The idea of protecting these areas with
greenbelts is economically and physically impossible.  There is not
enough money to support Greenbelts and they will provide little help
in the face of a moving fire pushed by 70 mph winds. So what goods were actually delivered and will anything effective
really occur?  Possibly the PD might look into that question.   Do
your research – before you report.

Alan Levine
Coast Action Group

Categories: Food and Farming

Mom’s Across America: No Safe Levels

Tue, 10/16/2018 - 10:48
Mom’s Across America and Food Integrity Now have been on a mission to test levels of glyphosate in our food and environment. Here is their latest release of wine residues. There are no safe levels. Gallo, Barefoot and Sutter Home had highest rates. Please visit their websites to see all the products tested in professional labs and their results. https://foodintegritynow.org/no-safe-levels/ Welcome to No Safe Levels. This page was created to assist you in understanding why there are no safe levels of glyphosate (the active ingredient in RoundUp), and it’s other generic brands such as Ranger Pro and Rodeo, in your food, drink or water. Studies have shown that small amounts of glyphosate at even I part per trillion (1 ppt) which is the equivalent of 1 drop in 22 olympic-sized swimming pools, was shown in a study to cause the growth of breast cancer cells, and 1 part per billion (1 ppb) of glyphosate was shown in a study to cause kidney and liver damage, reproductive damage, and other ill health effects. Glyphosate has been shown in a study to cause fatty liver disease at very low levels. Again, there are NO SAFE LEVELS. Over 3188 foods tested by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency compiled by Tony Mitra in the book “Poison Foods of North America” show us that the highest contamination of glyphosate (Roundup herbicide) is not in GMO corn and soy as we would expect, but in numerous non GMO crops that are commonly found in “healthy” foods such as vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free foods. These non-organic foods are highly contaminated with this carcinogen, neurotoxin, endocrine disruptor, and antibiotic that causes liver disease because glyphosate herbicides are often sprayed as a drying agent on grains, beans and legume crops. Test Results of Wine

WINE

 

 

 

 

 

Click here for full pdf report of wine testing.

 

Categories: Food and Farming

Prop. 3 promises more California water projects.

Tue, 10/16/2018 - 10:11
Prop. 3 promises more California water projects. Too bad so many are the wrong projects By The Sacramento Bee Editorial Board September 24, 2018 05:00 AM The Friant-Kern Canal is sinking as part of the San Joaquin Valley floor collapse because of excessive groundwater pumping during the drought. Proposition 3 includes money to repair the canal. Craig Kohlruss Fresno Bee We must do more to protect the future of California’s water, but that doesn’t mean just pumping in more money without making sure the investments will have widespread benefits for the public. Proposition 3 – the $8.9 billion bond on the Nov. 6 ballot – fails that test. Voters should say “no.” The measure promises money for quite a few local agencies, nonprofits, private water companies and others, which is great for them. It’s not clear, however, that these are the projects that California needs most right now, or that they couldn’t get the money elsewhere. For example, clean drinking water is an urgent issue , with more than 1 million Californians potentially exposed to unsafe water. But Proposition 3 isn’t the solution. Only $750 million is specifically aimed at safe drinking water and wastewater disposal in poor communities, mainly in the Central Valley. Another big strike against Proposition 3: It doesn’t call for as much oversight as many previous statewide water bond issues. For instance, the California Water Commission required storage projects seeking money from Proposition 1, the $7.5 billion water bond approved in 2014, to prove they had public benefits, such as flood control, recreation and environmental improvements. While supporters of the Sites reservoir and other projects chafed, it made their proposals stronger. By contrast, the Proposition 3 money would continuously flow into more than a dozen different state departments, which would pass on the dollars in the form of grants, according to the independent Legislative Analyst’s Office . Opponents, led by the Sierra Club, make a compelling case that Proposition 3 amounts to “pay to play.” Some beneficiaries – including a who’s who of agriculture companies and trade associations – are the biggest contributors to “yes” campaign committees, which have raised well more than $4 million so far. And although he isn’t publicizing his opposition, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon is among the critics of Proposition 3 because of what his office calls a lack of oversight, an absence of statewide priorities and a surplus of special interest projects for Central Valley agriculture. Besides the bonds, the measure also would directly benefit the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, the Contra Costa Water District, the San Luis and Delta Mendota Water Authority and the state Department of Water Resources by giving them state cap-and-trade revenue to offset higher electricity costs. The LAO says that could total tens of millions of dollars a year. Since 2000, voters have approved about $3 1 billion in general obligation bonds for water and environmental projects, the LAO says. As of June, about one-third was still available, including $4 billion that was in Proposition 68, approved by voters in June and put together by the Legislature after public hearings. Proposition 3 would authorize general obligation bonds that would be repaid out of the state’s general fund. If all the bonds are sold, it would take an average of $430 million a year for 40 years to pay them off. Gov. Jerry Brown, who has made it a priority to reduce the state’s debt and put money into reserves to prepare for the next recession, is staying neutral on this measure. Jerry Meral, a former Brown administration water official, crafted Proposition 3. He says Proposition 68 didn’t go far enough, and says that opponents are trying to pit agriculture against urban water users and environmental groups. The measure divides the money into six major categories: watersheds and water quality; water supply; fish and wildlife habitat; water infrastructure; groundwater; and flood protection. There are important projects on the list, including $750 million to repair the federal Madera and Friant-Kern canals, so it’s understandable why many Central Valley groups back Proposition 3. But this is not how water spending should be done in California. While the state’s water politics and finances are immensely complicated, they come down to who pays and who benefits. On Proposition 3, all taxpayers would have to repay the bonds. But the list of beneficiaries is far smaller – not enough to deserve voters’ support. https://www.sacbee.com/opinion/election-endorsements/article218816280.html
Categories: Food and Farming

Chronicle recommends: No on state Prop. 3

Tue, 10/16/2018 - 10:01
Chronicle recommends: No on state Prop. 3

Chronicle editorial board Sep. 10, 2018 Updated: Sep. 10, 2018 1:52 p.m.        

California voters may be wondering why they are looking at an $8.9 billion water bond on the Nov. 6 ballot. They may be asking: Didn’t we just approve a $4 billion bond in June? Why are our elected officials coming back for more?

The short answer: They aren’t.

Unlike the recently passed bond, Proposition 3 did not go through the legislative process. Its $430 million in annual spending commitments over the next four decades will not need to go through the annual legislative budgeting cycle to ensure that the funds are going where the voters intended. This scheme was devised as an initiative that is being funded, in part, by individuals and entities that are going to be receiving a share of the bond money. The pay-to-play aspect in itself should give voters ample reason to reject Prop. 3.

There are also good policy reasons to vote no.

One of the egregious examples cited by the Sierra Club, which opposes the initiative, is the $750 million for repairs of the Friant-Kern Canal. As the environmental organization noted, the damage was caused by subsidence caused by overpumping of aquifers. Such costs are traditionally covered by the beneficiaries. Instead, Prop. 3 shifts the burden to taxpayers.

As the Sierra Club acknowledged, the measure does include some worthwhile projects to ensure safe drinking water, habitat protection and watershed and fisheries improvements. But it also could result in funding of new or raised dams and agribusiness subsidies that many environmentalists loathe.

Voters defeated a similarly constructed pay-to-pay scheme by the architect of this measure, Gerald Meral, in 2002. That scheme (Proposition 51, rejected by 58.2 percent) would have diverted 30 percent of the state’s sales tax revenue from vehicle sales and leases into a fund distributed outside the normal budgeting process, showering largesse on big contributors to the campaign.

This is no way to spend taxpayer dollars. Voters should reject Prop. 3 on both principle and substance.
Categories: Food and Farming

Occupy Sonoma County film showing The Reluctant Radical Thurs. Nov. 8, 7 PM Arlene Francis Center

Tue, 10/16/2018 - 09:36

Occupy Sonoma County film showing The Reluctant Radical Thurs. Nov. 8, 7 PM Arlene Francis Center\

The Arlene Francis Center presents an Occupy Sonoma County showing of

The Reluctant Radical
Thursday, November 8, 7-9 PM
Arlene Francis Center
99 6th Street, Santa Rosa, CA 95401
Free with donations welcome

If a crime is committed in order to prevent a greater crime, is it forgivable? Is it, in fact, necessary?
THE RELUCTANT RADICAL follows activist Ken Ward as he confronts his fears and puts himself in the direct path of the fossil fuel industry to combat climate change.
The film reveals both the personal costs and also the fulfillment that comes from following one’s moral calling­­ even if that means breaking the law.

Join our Facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/470513523437282
For more information contact OccupySonomaCounty.org or call 707-877-6650 (website contact is preferred)

Occupy Sonoma County embraces the egalitarian, deep democracy principles of the Occupy Movement with a regional strategy for effectively organizing countywide social justice campaigns that are globally relevant.

To remove a secondary email address reply to this email with the word ‘duplicate’ in the subject line.
To be removed from the OSC mailing list, reply to this email with the word ‘unsubscribe’ in the subject line and include a brief explanation such as ‘moved away’.

 

 

Categories: Food and Farming

Pork would rain from water bond

Tue, 10/16/2018 - 09:26
PD supporting this because of wine industry over pumping here? This bill make taxpayers subsidize water over use by big ag. “The Fresno Bee and Santa Rosa Press Democrat are the only major newspapers with a “thumbs up” on Proposition 3, with the latter acknowledging that it is a close call. I assume that the Bakersfield Californian will also endorse Proposition 3. How could it not? Kern County is at the receiving end of the Friant-Kern Canal, a canal out of alignment because of overpumping by area farmers, who not averse to taxpayer subsidies either. ”      CAPITOL JOURNAL Pork would rain from water bond

george.skelton@latimes.com

PROPOSITION 3 on the Nov. 6 ballot would authorize the largest water bond in California history, $8.9 billion. It offers a nice gift for almost everyone, especially eastern San Joaquin Valley farmers. (Katie Falkenberg Los Angeles Times)

GEORGE SKELTON in sacramento:

Call it a Christmas tree or a candy shop, Proposition 3 has a nice gift for almost everyone, especially eastern San Joaquin Valley farmers.

The Nov. 6 ballot initiative would authorize the largest water bond in California history, $8.9 billion. Add in $8.4 billion for interest payments and the total reaches $17.3 billion. That’s $430 million annually for 40 years.

Proposition 3 is the product of a classic pay-to-play operation. It’s probably not what Gov. Hiram Johnson envisioned when he and Progressive reformers created California’s direct democracy system more than a century ago.

Those reforms included the initiative, referendum and recall. The idea was to empower citizens to fight special interests — not to provide the interests with another tool to buy themselves public benefits.

Under pay to play, an initiative creator shops his draft proposal to interest groups, trolling for financial backing. Interests that donate to the cost of collecting voter signatures and the election campaign usually buy themselves a share of the initiative’s benefits. It’s a good investment. Roughly 80% of state bond measures pass.

There’s also a version of pay to play in every legislative body in America. It’s old-fashioned pork barrel politics, a sort of “pay to vote” extortion. A legislator demands a special carve-out for his district in exchange for his vote.

In 2009, the California Legislature passed a water bond so bloated with pork that lawmakers were too embarrassed and fearful to even place it on the ballot. It totaled $11.1 billion and was saturated with such extraneous lard as bike trails, “watershed education centers” and money for a Lake Tahoe water taxi.

Finally in 2014, the Legislature — motivated by common sense and a devastating drought — passed a more modest, relatively pork-free $7.5-billion water bond that voters overwhelmingly approved.

Last year, the Legislature passed a water and parks bond — held down to $4.1 billion by Gov. Jerry Brown — and voters approved it in June.

Neither the governor nor the Legislature thought a third water bond in four years was practical or prudent. But Jerry Meral, a veteran water expert, environmentalist and pay-to-play practitioner, thought otherwise and devised Proposition 3.

The campaign had raised $4.7 million as of Oct. 1. There has been no opposition money.

Agriculture has been a major bankroller — nut orchards, fruit trees, dairies, rice.

Also kicking in big have been bird hunters and watchers — Ducks Unlimited, the California Waterfowl Assn. — and the California Wildlife Foundation. Some wetlands would be restored under the proposal.

Environmentalists are split. The Nature Conservancy supports the measure. The Sierra Club opposes it.

“A lot of the money is going to a few big farming interests in the Central Valley,” asserts Kathryn Phillips, the Sierra Club director in California.

Opponents are especially bothered by a $750-million expenditure to repair the federally owned Friant-Kern and Madera canals between Fresno and Bakersfield.

Two problems, critics say:

First, the canals aren’t working right because they’ve sunk. And the land has sunk because farmers have over-pumped groundwater, causing major subsidence. Growers caused their own problem. Now they want the whole state to pony up to solve it.

Historically, water projects are funded on the basis of beneficiary pay. Water users pay through their monthly bills. Proposition 3 would undo that policy for these two broken canals.

Second problem: The federal government owns the canals and should be responsible for fixing them — not the state.

“In the age of Trump, California taxpayers are going to fix a federal project? It’s just mind-boggling,” says Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Paramount), who wrote the cleaned-up $7.5-billion water bond in 2014 and strongly opposes Proposition 3.

Meral answers: “The federal government has been a little bit missing in action in California. It will be an unmitigated catastrophe if those canals aren’t fixed. We just can’t let them go. An agricultural water supply means we have a food supply.”

Not just “we” have the supply, however. California growers export much of their produce overseas. Maybe the whole world should kick in with repair dough if all Californians are expected to.

Actually, there are many good things on this loaded Christmas tree — money for purifying water for drinking, flood protection, dam repairs, recycling, desalination and habitat restoration.

An expenditure I especially like is $80 million to finally tear down Matilija Dam on the Ventura River near Ojai. It was built when I was a kid. My steelhead-fishing dad predicted it would silt up. Steelhead runs soon ceased because the oceangoing trout lost their spawning beds. And the reservoir sure enough filled up with silt and became utterly useless.

The question is whether all these projects are needed right now and are cost-effective. There seemed to be no prioritizing.

“It’s garbage — nothing but pet projects,” Rendon says. “It’s the old way of doing business. Cynical politics, what people don’t like.”

In the other legislative chamber, however, state Senate leader Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) supports the measure. Her district would make out well under Proposition 3. “It will increase reliable water supply in my district and across the state,” Atkins said in an email to me.

One crucial flaw in the initiative is that the Legislature would have no say over the bond program’s operation. No legislative oversight. The money would be spent unchecked by state agencies.

 

Voters should resist Proposition 3. And the next Legislature should devise a more modest plan with less candy.

 

george.skelton@latimes.com

 

 

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Categories: Food and Farming

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