Monthly Environmental Report for August 2017

August 1, 2017



 I.  Climate Change


 Jul 27 – Carbon Tax Introduced by Senate & House

Story from EcoWatch, Jul 27, 2017
  • The “American Opportunity Carbon Fee Act” would charge a $49/ton fee on fossil fuels, produced and imported, that would rise annually to reach 80% below 2005 levels.
  • 70% of the fee revenue would generate a dividend to be paid to the families of America.
  • 30% of the revenue to be used for “corporate tax relief”.


Jul 17:  The Future of California’s Cap & Trade Decided

Story from The Mercury News, July 17, 2017

California Gov. Jerry Brown, left, responds to a question while testifying in support of Assembly Bill 398, by Assemblyman Eduardo Garcia, D-Coachella, one of two bills to extend state's cap and trade program, during a hearing of the Senate Environmental Quality committee, Thursday, July 13, 2017, in Sacramento, Calif. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

  • Both houses of State Legislators passed AB 398, AB 617 and ACA-1 on July 17, together, designed to be the necessary tools needed to continue a version of Cap & Trade that was rejected by many environmentalists who work on Climate Change issues but was endorsed by others.
  • The extension of Cap & Trade past 2020 will take the State, with a mediocre program, favored by the WSPA (Western States Petroleum Association), will allow corporations to purchase allowances to emit GHGs (Green House Gases) over and above the prevailing Cap without true incentives to meet hard emission goals.
  • This legislation, integral to AB 32 (California’s Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006), passed under Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, is hailed by Gov. Jerry Brown in his support speech as “the most important vote of your life”.
  • A disappointing point of AB 398 to local Environmentalists is that it doesn’t allow local air quality management districts to regulate GHGs, e.g., applying rules to the refineries regarding their GHG emissions.
  • The goals (FactSheet):
    • of AB 398 is to reach Green House Gas (GHG) reductions 40% below 1990 levels by 2030 by using the auction/trade system with a downward ratcheting cap
    • of AB 617 to ensure air quality in neighborhoods with heavier pollution levels, upgrade the technology for monitoring and strengthen penalty provisions.
    • of ACA-1 (Assembly Constitutional Amendment) will establish the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Reserve Fund to oversee the auction funds.
  • The original 2006 Cap & Trade (passed under Schwarzenegger) was set up as a credit system that allows corporations to purchase allowances to temporarily continue polluting and  meet a “cap” limit that decreases in annual steps so that participating corporations either meet the cap, pay a tonnage fee for continuing to pollute or purchase an offset for an equal amount of emission tonnage in another way (e.g. pay for trees somewhere else).


APR 2017:  Seal Level Rise Science Updated

Story from Oil Change International, May 24, 2017
  • The Ocean Protection Council Science Advisory Team (OPC-SAT), in collaboration with several other agencies updated the previous report of 2013, to guide agencies in planning, designing, permitting, etc. for incorporating sea level rise in projects.
  • The Findings show that data interpretation has given us a great deal more understanding of the meaning of ice loss and its effects to most coastal communities.
  • While there is uncertainty one can be sure of that taking mitigation action is better than waiting for phenomena to happen.


II.  Fossil Fuels

Jul 30: Kinder Morgan Pipeline Protests

Story from AlterNet, Jul. 31, 2017, CNN Jun. 28, 2017, CBC News, Nov. 29, 2016, May, 2017 , Greenfield Recorder July 31, 2017.


Story from KQED News(NPR), July 27, 2017.
  • The Phillips 66 Rodeo Refinery filed an EIR (Environmental Impact Report) to increase the number of ships delivering crude from 59/year to 135/year.
  • This would increase the offloading limit from 51,182 barrels/day to 130,000 barrels / day.
  • Recent oil spills and odor issues leave the company suspect.
  • The expansion request will go to BAAQMD for approval that could take place by next year.


Jul 25:  Santa Barbara’s Resolution Against Offshore Drilling

Story from Center for Biological Diversity, July 25,2017.
  • It’s the first California city to oppose the Trump Executive Order to expand offshore oil extraction..
  • The resolution:
    • Bans new drilling and fracking in the Pacific Ocean.
    • Phases out existing oil and gas wells.
    • Creates a framework for renewable energy development..
  • The 1969 massive offshore oil spill in the Santa Barbara Channel is not forgotten.
  • The last year an oil lease was granted in California waters was 1984.


Jul 20:  Dakota Pipeline Update

Story from Dylan Cooke of the Catalyst Project, July 20, 2017
  • A personal journal report as a member of Catalyst Project, was able to spend time at Standing Rock.


Jul 20:  Solar Panels Placed in Path of Keystone XL

Story from Nation of Change, July 20, 2017. 
  • “Solar XL” plan to interfere with Keystone XL by ranchers whose land has been tainted by eminent domain.
  • Nebraska ranchers construct various obstructions including a chapel built by nuns.

         Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipeline routes


III.  Water and Food Reports      


Jul 7:  Genetically Modified Forests

Story from EcoWatch, July 7, 2017

  • ArborGen, Inc. has applied to the USDA for approval for their GE eucalyptus tree that would tolerate freezing temperatures.
  • While GMO trees have been gaining in recent years in South America, it would be a first in the U.S.
  • The genetically engineered trees would be commercially spread  across southern states from South Carolina to Texas to be used for biomass electricity production.
  • Biomass is sold as a solution to Climate Change when, in actuality, the trees promote drought and are known for disastrous wildfires.
  • More than 1/4 million people and 500 organizations spoke out against this type of commercialization of forest trees (see


IV.   Politics and Miscellaneous Items


 July 6 – An Update from Tim DeChristopher

Story from his email update, July 6, 2017.

Recent personal events:

 Image result for picture of tim dechristopher


V. Events


 Aug. 10, 7:00pm – Local Clean Energy Alliance – to make sense of PG&E statements. Location:  Oakstop, 1721 Broadway, Oakland.

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.





The End