Environmental Report for May, 2017

By Larry Danos

June 6, 2017

I.  Fossil Fuels

Fracking Tracking                                           Image result for ban fracking images        

 Apr 30:  Oklahoma Not a Good Example for South Africa
Story from IOL News, Apr 30, 2017
  • South Africa’s online news source (IOL) uses Oklahoma as a poor example for Fracking newcomers to follow.
  • Oklahoma is cited as an example of an American state with a deplorable corporate business model:  “… extract everything as fast as possible to get the greatest dollar in the shortest time necessary”.
  • A moratorium was lifted in 2012 making it possible for gas and oil fracking development.
  • The Karoo is mostly desert, water is precious and there’s serious concerns about polluting groundwater sources.
Apr 18:  Local Lawyer Advises California to Ban Fracking
Story from Sacramento Bee, Apr. 18, 2017
  • Hollin Kretzmann from Center for Biological Diversity in the Bay Area has called for the State to follow the example of Maryland, New York and Vermont.
  • Even though California’s landmark legislation calls for GHG reduction, the State still legalizes fracking.
  • He asks the Governor to seize the moment, since banning fracking is a bipartisan issue, and end the practice.
  • And he cites the Governor’s tough commitment toward clean energy.
Apr 18:  China Begins Fracking for Gas
Story from The Daily Caller News Foundation, Apr. 18, 2017
  • In an effort to decrease its dependency on foreign sources, China moves forward with Fracking.
  • Even though its not geologically favorable for large quantities of fracking at a reasonable price, it’s beginning to employ the technology to reduce dependency on foreign natural gas.
 Apr 14:  Alaska, the New Fracking State
Story from The Daily Caller News Foundation, Apr. 14, 2017
  • New sources of Fracking Oil have been discovered on Alaska’s North Slope for 14 % increase in U.S. proven reserves.
  • As the price per barrel moves upward, Alaskan Fracking becomes profitable.
  • It would ensure the U.S. edge over others, like Russia, OPEC, etc.
  • The Climate Change – Fossil Fuel production relationship is not on the radar.

Coal Updates                                                     coal symbol

Apr 21:  Oakland’s Ongoing Fight Against Coal
Story from No Coal in Oakland, Apr.21, 2017
  •  Phil Tagami (the coal terminal developer) filed a lawsuit against the city for breach of contract last year, claiming banning coal in Oakland violates the Commerce Clause in the U.S. Constitution.
  • The City of Oakland claims that the Oakland Bulk and Over-sized Terminal (OBOT) agreement did not expressly spell out that the terminal would service coal export.
  • On April 20, the suit came before District Judge Vince Chhabria and it appears that he’s likely to dismiss the city’s request to “dismiss the breach of contract” portion of the suit.
  • Another issue was whether environmental groups Sierra Club and San Francisco Baykeeper be allowed to intervene in the suit and the judge appears to lean toward allowing the groups to do that.
  • No Coal in Oakland participating in the Climate March, Apr. 29:

NCIO's banner among a sea of marchers on Market Street, San Francisco. 22 April 2017.


Oil and Pipeline Reports                           nodding donkey

April:  Various Pipeline leaks
Stories from EcoWatch, April, 2017
Mar 15:  Fossil Fuels Report
(Story from Santa Cruz Sentinel-Apr. 15, 2017
    •  With Natural Gas on the rise GHG emissions on the way down.
    • Coal was producing about 60% of our electricity in the 1980s and now is only 32%; Natural Gas is at 33%.
    • Clean energy sources (solar, wind, biomass) produce only 7%.
    • In terms of CO2 emissions:
      1. Coal produces between 205.7 – 228.6 lbs. of CO2 / million BTUs.
      2. Natural gas produces 117 lbs. of CO2 / million BTUs.
    • U.S. carbon emissions declined to lowest point in first six months of 2016 since 1991 (when the population was even less).


II.  Climate Change

 Apr 29:  EPA Website “Undergoes Changes”
Story by Washington Post, Apr. 29, 2017
  • The EPA public affairs associate administrator made the following statement:

“We want to eliminate confusion by removing outdated language first and making room to discuss how we’re protecting the environment and human health by partnering with states and working within the law.”

  • Trump’s signing of an Executive Order on Mar. 28, to review Pres. Obama’s Clean Power Plan and make changes that would purportedly take the nation on an energy independent route.
  • On April 29, hours before the People’s Climate March, the EPA announced that the website would be under scrutiny.
  • Factsheets on the effects of green house gas emissions and certain environmental justice data appear to have been taken down.
  • There will be more to come on this subject.
Apr 29:  The People’s Climate March
Story from EcoWatch, Apr. 30, 2017
Photos by Dolores Perez Priem

  • Over 200,000 attended in Washington DC; thousands more marched globally.
  • A resounding message was made to Trump to mark his first 100 days in office.

Avoiding Climate Change is not an option but there’s hope of avoiding the worst impacts if our political leaders will put long-term planet health before short-term profits.

  • The capital was encircled with shouts of “Shame”.


Jan 20:  Quantifying the Social Cost of Carbon
Story from Living on Earth, Week of Jan. 20, 2017

  • A price on Carbon is even talked about in Republican circles and some sort of “Revenue Neutral” plan is likely soon, e.g. Citizens’ Climate Lobby’s Carbon Fee and Dividend Plan.
  • An interview with Prof. Billy Pizer by Helen Palmer of Living on Earth reveals the complex nature of pricing Carbon.
  • The last three years have all been the hottest on record and the social cost of a ton of Carbon has become an issue that should be regulated by government.
  • Computer models are used to calculate the price of losses due to Climate Change and find that $36.00 per ton is the best estimate with current information analyses.


III.  Water and Food Reports

  California Water Report                              rain cloud glossy

Apr 10:  Barge Sinks in Bay
Story from The Mercury News, Apr. 8, 2017

Divers Plug Oil Leak on Sunken Barge In San Francisco Bay

  • A barge used for BART tube maintenance containing 4000 gallons of diesel oil sunk during rough weather settled atop the BART tunnel.
  • The Coast Guard and other emergency response teams came on the scene and plugged most leaks, only a minor sheen observed.
  • A plan is being developed to salvage the barge.
Apr 7Gov. Brown Declares Drought End
(Story from ABC Channel 7 News, Apr. 7, 2017)
  • The Governor officially ended the state’s emergency drought conservation measures instituted in 2014.
  • Official Drought Declaration site.
  • The effect on the State from big agriculture to fish migrations, to lawn watering, to toilet flushing, the drought was enormous.
  • Diminished groundwater supplies make it necessary to continue drought policy in Fresno, Tulare and Tuolumne Counties.


Foods, GMO, Pesticides, etc.                  

  APR 24:  Amazing Caterpillar Eats Plastic
Story from TheGuardian, Apr. 25, 2017

  • Researchers have discovered the greater wax moth caterpillar eats its way out of plastic bags making possibilities in solving some environmental problems.
  • A chemical or enzyme(s) in the body of the worm breaks down polyethylene.
  • The study was published but needs more testing.
 Apr 6 :   Bee Protection Legislation in California
Story from Center for Food Safety, Mar. 3, 2017
  • SB 206, by Senators Ben Allan(Santa Monica) & Scott Wiener(San Francisco) is working its way through the Legislature –passed its 3rd reading on April 6.
  • It calls for a re-evaluation of Neonicotinoid peaticides, labeling, and consider those sold treated with such pesticides, known to be harmful to bees to be a violation.
  • The industry has declared Neonicotinoids legal even though they’re banned in some countries and recently declared a possible carcinogen and is sold in GMO treated plants, usually UN-LABELED.
  • Here’s the text of the bill.
  • Encourage you senator to vote ‘AYE’ for SB 206.


IV.   Miscellaneous

Apr 26:  Trump to Halt Protections on Public Lands
Story from Wild Earth Guardians, Apr. 26, 2017
  • The President’s Executive Order directs the Dept of Interior to review lands designated as National Monuments since Jan. 1, 1996.
  • It’s believed his order will open all public lands to oil and mining interests!
  • The 1906 Antiquities Act of 1906 gives presidents the right to protect significant sites with natural, cultural or scientific features.  No president has ever reversed a previous president’s choice.
Apr 24:  Trees Dying in Southern California
Story from Progress, Apr. 24, 2017
  • An unprecedented die-off of trees is taking place in Southern California due to drought stress and to higher salinity.
  • Orchard trees like avocado, citrus, almond, peach and shade trees like, sycamores, oak, and ash are affected.

  • Biologists have cited the various types of the shot hole borer beetle along with other insects as the culprits after trees are rendered vulnerable.
 Apr 6, 2017:    Analysis of Aliso Canyon Blowout
Story from DeSmog, Apr. 6, 2017

People holding signs protesting Aliso Canyon and supporting SB57

  • The complex Aliso Canyon natural gas (Methane) storage facility is an important source of energy affecting Southern California cities from Los Angeles to San Diego.
  • SB 57, making its way through legislature, would require a “root cause analysis” before lifting a moratorium on  natural gas injections.
  • The study would take 6 months; SoCalGas is opposed; there’s much political wrangling and changes to the bill being considered.


V. Events for May

Tuesday, May 9 SFPUC Meeting on CleanPowerSF
  • 1:30pm, San Francisco City Hall, Room 400.
Thursday, May 11 – Community Choice 101 for East Bay
  • 7:00 – 8:30pm, Ecology Center, 2530 San Pablo Ave., Berkeley.
Wednesday, May 17:  BAAQMD Board Meeting
  • 9:30 – 12:00 – Public comment on Rule 12-16.
Saturday, May 20: Refinery Corridor Healing Walks
  • Walks continue monthly through Sunday, July 16.
  • Contact members of the Environmental Justice Working group (green@uusf.org).

Other Sources of Events:

Includes other 350 branches in the Bay Area.

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

 The environmental center of leadership and events in Berkeley

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.


Schot, De Volkskrant, Netherlands

The End