Environmental Report for June, 2017

By Larry Danos

June 6, 2017

Table of Contents

I.  Climate Change

Jun 1 – Trump Stumps Paris Agreement
Story from CNN, Jun 1, 2017
  • Trump’s announcement today came as no great surprise but with great disappointment to most of the world, Environmentalists, many corporate interests, national and regional government agencies, Rex Tillerson, Jared Kushner & Ivanka Trump, world business leaders, and, not least of all, the world’s scientists.
  • If proper protocol is followed it will take the U.S. out of the 2015 Paris Agreement of 195 countries after a legal four-year withdrawal process, making it official in November of 2020.
  • After Trump’s royally disgusting trip last week to Saudi Arabia, Israel, the Vatican and his tactless, embarrassing G7 Summit in Brussels, he took the stage again at a White House Rose Garden press release speech to set the U.S. on a backwards course that showed no concern for climate warming nor the role that the U.S. has played in the past and focused only on “leveling the playing field” between the U.S. and China on the world economic stage.
  • He failed to recognize the long struggle of reaching the international agreement, the intricacies of the agreement itself and the role the U.S. has played historically in exacerbating Global Warming.
  • You can send a message to Trump showing your support for the Paris Agreement here.
Jun 1 – Worldwide GHG Emission Statistics
Story from Statista, Jun 1, 2017
  • On the day Donald Trump is to announce whether the U.S. will stay in the Paris Agreement or not the statistics speak for t

https://infographic.statista.com/normal/chartoftheday_9633_global_greenhouse_gas_emission_countries_and_industries_n.jpg

May 24 – The Dubious Role of Banks for Climate Financing
Story from Oil Change International, May 24, 2017
  • Under the Paris Agreement multilateral development banks (MDBs) were chosen as the chief financing tool for international climate-related projects to help countries reach their GHG emission standards.
  • Data shows these banks have previously invested more money in financing fossil fuels than in climate projects.
  • Key Findings show the historical record of some of these banks, 2008-2015.  Germany and others have called for MDBs to phase out Fossil Fuel financing.
May 18:  Canada’s Fossil Fuel Plan
Story from Reuters, May 18, 2017
  • Eight out of the ten provinces have committed to a some kind of price for Carbon or a Cap-and-Trade system much like California’s plan. 
  • The cost under the plan would start at  C$10./ton starting in 2018 and rise C$10./ton each year to C$50./ton in 2022.
  • The oil-rich, western provinces (Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta) are not yet on-board with this plan.
May 8: – Overhaul of Government Science Advisories
Story by Washington Post, May 8, 2017
  • Ryan Zinke (Sec. of Dep. of Interiror) and Scott Pruitt (EPA Administrator) have undertaken the task of dismantling the various science advisory boards by terminating instead of renewing memberships as they come up for renewal.
  • The EPA’s Board of Scientific Counselors is losing half of its 18 members.
  • The changes are explained:
    1. “to change the way the federal government evaluates the scientific basis for its regulations”.
    2. A DOI spokeswoman said “The Secretary is committed to restoring trust in the Department’s decision-making…”.
  • These changes take place as the EPA has taken down the Climate Change science website for children and students.
May 3:  New Arctic Shipping Routes
Story from New York Times, May 3, 2017
  • Shipping routes, with the help of ice breakers, are opening directly over the North Pole.

http://e360.yale.edu/assets/site/ArcticShippingRoutes_TheArcticInstitute.jpg

  • Thinning arctic sea ice makes it possible to open more direct routes from Asia to Europe and North America.
  • It’s believed the thinning will continue decade after decade making this an economic plus for Global Warming!!
Mar 27 – Planetary Waves Have Human Fingerprint
Story from The Guardian, Mar. 27, 2017

*Temperature increases cause the normal eastward movement of air flow to form abnormally huge waves flowing from tropics to polar regions and causing the movement to halt or slow down giving rise to extreme warm in certain areas and extreme cold in others.

    • Waves across the U.S. tends to make the west warmer and the eastern half cooler, thereby exacerbating droughts, floods, and storms.
    • The latest data analyses show the most dramatic effects in the last four decades relating these wave changes to be a human-caused phenomenon consistent with other Climate Change data.

 

II.  Fossil Fuels


Fracking Tracking                                           Image result for ban fracking images        


May 2:  Computer Models to Increase Fracking Production
Story from Science Daily, May 2, 2017 
  • The science of fluids flowing through shale pore spaces, the tiniest of spaces, is modeled in computer programs to help drillers get more out their well productions.
  • Wells are generally only recovering 5% of oil and 20% of gas stored in shales.
  • The computer models can simulate every molecule of fluid within the pores of rock, thereby giving a better understanding of individual shale formations.

Oil and Pipeline Reports                           nodding donkey


May 24 – Subsidies Going to Oil Production on Public Lands
Story from Oil Change International, May 24, 2017
  • About $7 billion dollars in subsidies is going to oil companies to produce fossil fuels on federally held lands and to off shore leases.
  • Tax payers shoulder the burden of this type of production as well as the health and climate impacts associated with petroleum production.
May 10:  Dakota Pipeline Followup
Stories from Earthjustice.org, May 10, 2017 and DAPLpipelinefacts.com (undated), 
  • Legal proceedings under NEPA (National Environmental Protection Act) continue raising issues:
    1. The requirement of a full transparent, public environmental review needed.
    2. The Treaty Rights of the Standing Rock tribe have implied clean water  and cultural protections.
    3. The legality of Trump’s reversal of Obama’s decisions.
  • It’s 1200 miles long and much deeper under Lake Oehe than other pipelines in the area.
  • Oil started flowing through the pipeline in March, set to be fully operational in June, and will move about half of the oil from North Dakota to a distribution point in Illinois.
May 3:  Lawsuits Amid Keystone XL Pipeline Hearings
Stories from net (Nebraska PBS/NPR), Apr. 6, 2017, Global News, May 17, 2017 and CommonDreams.org, May, 18, 2017.
    • One public hearing took place in York, NE on May 3, giving anyone a chance for input.
    • Another public hearing date is set for Aug. 7 – 11, in Lincoln, Nebraska.
    • The Nebraska Public Service Commission has until Nov. 23 to approve one of the preferred routes (one shown in green and the other yellow) or order an alternative route (orange) that merges alongside the older Keystone Pipeline (purple).

Tribes representing tens of thousands of indigenous people on both sides of the U.S.-Canada border are signing a declaration against the planned Keystone XL pipeline.

    • The 275 mile segment across Nebraska is all that’s left to be built.
    • The Public Service Commission is taking comments at this site.

Coal Updates                                                     coal symbol


May 16:  No Coal in Oakland Meets
Story from No Coal in Oakland, May 16, 2017
  •  The status of Phil Tagami’s lawsuit  against the City of Oakland for stopping his terminal continues to be the topic of meetings.
  • This meeting was no exception and included the City Administrator, Claudio Cappio, since the City Administrator and the City Attorney are, by Charter, the only settlement negotiators.
  • Attendees made it clear to Mr. Cappio that they were against toxic substances being shipped from the terminal.  He reminded them that the City of Oakland’s stance against fossil fuels.
  • Ideas were discussed about how to convince Tagami to drop his lawsuit, involving young people and coal education, and, since Tagami owns the  Ume Yoga Studio, to appeal to basic yoga principles.

 

 III.  Water and Food Reports


  California Water Report                              rain cloud glossy


May 21:  Farm Water Noncompliance During Drought
Story from Sacramento Bee, May 21, 2017
  • Since 80% of California’s water goes to agriculture, a law set up to monitor how much goes to farm irrigation ditches (AB 1404, passed in 2007) mandated water agencies file reports, which were virtually ignored Water flows down a canal operated by the Byron-Bethany Irrigation District in 2015. The district was among those that didn’t issue reports to the state under a 2007 law that requires irrigation districts to provide an accounting of how much water they’re delivering to farmers.during the drought.
  • Only 4 out of the 123 water suppliers filed some sort of report making for useless data on where our water goes.
  • The DWR (Dept. of Water Resouces) cites little effort for compliance during the drought.
Apr 11 – Book About Our Water Concerns
Story from NPR, Apr. 11, 2017; Submitted by Margaret Pierce (UUSF Environmental Justice Working Group; 
  • Where the Water GoeWhere the Water Goess by David Owen focuses on the Colorado River but winds its way into our  psyches about the complex issue of  water and our leaders in charge of this complex issue.
  • The nature of how we deal with and affect the nation’s water, by the acre-foot, for agriculture, residential, and power production, is all put into perspective in an informal manner that brings the severity of this issue to the fore.

Foods, GMO, Pesticides, etc.                  


  May 3:  Legislation to Label GMO Plants
Story from Pesticide Action Nework: North America, May 3, 2017
  • SB 602 (Pollinator Protection Act) to require labels on plants or seeds, treated or coated with neonicotinoids, known for killing bees.
  • True Value and Walmart announced a policy to phase out neonicotinoid products in their stores.
  • Home Depot and Lowes have already started eliminating the use of these pesticides and use a labeling system

 

IV.   Politics and Other Items of Interest

May 31 – Air District’s Vote on Rule 12-16
Story from notes from attendees
  • BAAQMD (Bay Area Air Quality Management District’s Board listened to public comment and after months of debate have voted to adopt Rule 12-16 and certify the Environmental Impact Report (EIR).  A huge victory for Environmentalists and for the people who live in the Refinery corridor of Contra Costa and Solano counties.
  • This Rule was submitted by the people that live in the refinery area through CBE (Communites for a Better Environment) and fiercely fought against by BAAQMD’s Chief Executive Director and the oil companies.
  • Rule 12-16 recognizes the health effects of refinery emissions, especially from refining the dirtier Tar Sands oil coming to the Bay Area, and figures Green House Gases(GHGs) into a pollutant cap that limits all pollutants, including GHGs and include all of these pollutants in the Final EIR due for a hearing on June 21.
  • This meeting was a packed house of people giving comment, the Board and its contentious members,
May 30 – Protect National Monuments
Story from an Audubon communique, May 30, 2017

Organ Mountains. Photo: BLM New Mexico

  • Audubon speaks out on national monuments for their environmental, especially bird, habitats that would be very much affected by the Trump Administration plans to open public lands to exploitation.
  • You can send Sec. of the Interior, Ryan Zinke, a message with your opinion from this site.
  • Here’s a link to the Montana Wilderness Association with an opinion on Ryan Zinke and concerns about his policies.
May 29 – California’s Ambitious 100% Renewables
Story from EcoWatch, May 29, 2017
  • As Trump stages and stumbles on how he’s viewed by his peers California is serious about doing something about Climate Change.
  • SB 100 aims for 100% renewable energy by 2045 – passed the Senate and moves to Assembly!
May 25 – PDA’s Trump Era Environmental Push Back
Story from Notes by L.Danos
  • Progressive Democrats of America (PDA) sponsored A Report from Frontline Organizers in the form of a select panel of speakers.
  • It featured Robin Kropp, as moderator and the following speakers:
    1. Miyoko Sashita of Center for Biological Diversity
    2. Adam Scow of Food and Water Watch
    3. Elena Engel, LEED Professional, member of 350BA & 350SF
  • The issues broadly ranged from Trump’s dismantling of Environmental protections to issues regarding Water & Air, Fossil Fuels, Calif. Cap+Trade,  to the undoing of National Monuments, and San Francisco’s CleanPowerSF.
  • It was a two-hour program at UUSF and comprehensively did justice to the legitimate fears of the Trump Administration with notes available upon request.
May 20:  Refinery Walk from Martinez to Benicia
Story from attendees on May 20, 2017
  • Members (Kat Liu, Betsy Darr, Rev. John Buehrens, & Larry Danos) of the UU Environmental Justice Working Group participated with the Refinery Corridor Healing Walk for May.  The next one is on June 11.
     
May 18:  The UK on Climate Change
Story from DeSmog, May 18, 2017
  • Theresa May and her Conservative Party abolished the Dept. for Energy and Climate Change back in 2016, but they have pledged to phase out coal by 2025.
  • Although most Brits believe in Climate Change it was not a major issue in the latest general election.
  • The Labour Party and the Liberal Democrats, both, believe Climate Change is a major issue, support green jobs and a renewable energy mix.
  • The Scottish National Party is calling for 50% of Scotland’s energy to be from renewable sources.
  • The Green Party promotes the strongest polices to deal with Climate Change.
  • In France, Macron pledges to honor the Paris Agreement and supports the scientists.
  • Germany, is on the forefront of  transitioning to Renewables.
May 18:  The UK on Fracking
Story from DesnogUK, May18,2017
  • It’s no surprise that the Conservative Party, under Theresa May, is the only major party supporting Fracking and plans to develop as much as possible “like the U.S.”.
  • The Labor and Liberal Democrats, both came out against Fracking in the  latest general election.
  • In the previous election all three parties came out in favor of Fracking with proper regulations.
  • The Green Party opposed Fracking in both elections.
  • France banned fracking but imports LNG from the U.S.  Macron campaigned to maintain  fracking ban.
  • Germany bantered fracking around for several years and finally banned the process in 2016.
May 13:  Uranium Mill Protest in Utah
Story from GreenAction.org, May 15, 2017
  •  Green Action’s Bradley Angel participated with the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe and the White Mesa Ute Community in an action to draw attention to a uranium mill in southern Utah.
  • Water pollution and sacred site desecration spur several support organizations to join in on a 3-mile march to protest the Energy Fuels uranium mill.
  • Pictures of event.
May 9, 2017:   Hanford Toxic Site Incident
Story from Washington Post, May 9, 2017

  • A tunnel collapse at the notorious Hanford nuclear waste storage site is further evidence that the aging site is deteriorating and ever dangerous.
  • The Dept. of Energy’s PUREX site was used to extract plutonium from spent nuclear fuel has left behind the ultimate in a hazardous waste site.
  • No release of contamination was found but testing is still on-going.
  • The site is a relic left from the U.S. WW II nuclear weapons program and continued to be used for plutonium extraction until 1980.
May 8:  EPA, DOI Overhaul Science Advisories
Story by Washington Post, May 8, 2017
  • Ryan Zinke (Sec. of Dep. of Interiror) and Scott Pruitt (EPA Administrator) have undertaken the task of dismantling the various science advisory boards by terminating instead of renewing memberships as they come up for renewal.
  • The EPA’s Board of Scientific Counselors is losing half of its 18 members.
  • The changes are explained:
    1. “to change the way the federal government evaluates the scientific basis for its regulations”.
    2. A DOI spokeswoman said, “The Secretary is committed to restoring trust in the Department’s decision-making…”.
    3. From an EPA spokesperson, “…the agency was considering filling the vacancies with representatives that from the industry the EPA regulates…”.
  • These changes take place as the EPA has taken down the Climate Change science website for children and students.
Summer, 2017:  Artwork from Plastic
Story from World Wildlife Fund, Summer, 2017

  • Art from plastic is not a new idea but artist, Aurora Robson takes this to new heights.

 

V.   Events

Thursday, June 8 
  • 1:30pm, San Francisco City Hall, Room 400.
Thursday, June 8 – Everything You Wanted to Know About Going Solar
  • 7:00 – 8:30pm, 436 14th St., 7th Floor, Oakland; near 12th Street BART.
Sunday, June 11 – Refinery Corridor Healing Walk #3
  • 9:00a.m. – Meet in Benecia (near Valero) and walk to Rodeo (ConocoPhillips).
Wednesday, June 21 – Refinery GHG Vote at BAAQMD
  • 8:45am – 1:00pm – 375 Beale St., SF

Other Sources of Events:

Includes other 350 branches in the Bay Area.

Located in San Francisco, has a basic focus on watersheds but   emphasizes community projects and promotes ecological awareness.

 The environmental center of leadership and events in Berkeley

The Long-time Berkeley nonprofit focusing on green and healthy activities, especially in East Bay.

The Bay Area umbrella organization for spearheading activism centered around the SF Bay oil refineries, oil and coal trains, and environmental justice issues centered in East Bay but not limited to the Bay Area.

 

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