Posted on Categories Land Use, TransportationTags Leave a comment on NCRA proposes to drop environmental review for rail operations

NCRA proposes to drop environmental review for rail operations

Friends of the Eel River
After six attempts to avoid defending an environmental report in state court, the North Coast Railroad Authority (NCRA) is preparing to withdraw approval of its rail project at its April 10 meeting in Eureka.
The move appears to be a last-ditch effort to avoid a May 8 trial over whether the analysis complies with California environmental law. Californians for Alternatives to Toxics (CATs) and Friends of the Eel River (FOER) sued to demand the NCRA provide an accurate accounting of harm to the environment.
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Posted on Categories Climate Change & EnergyTags Leave a comment on 11 bidders compete to provide power to Sonoma County

11 bidders compete to provide power to Sonoma County

Brett Wilkison, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Ten companies and one nonprofit agency are competing for an initial contract to provide electricity to Sonoma County homes and businesses through the county’s proposed public power agency.

The bids are for a contract of at least three years with an estimated worth of about $340 million, according to county officials. The program seeks to displace PG&E as the area’s dominant electricity supplier, a move that supporters say would boost support for renewable energy and spur investment in local power projects.

via 11 bidders compete to provide power to Sonoma County | PressDemocrat.com.

Posted on Categories Climate Change & Energy, Land Use, WildlifeTags , Leave a comment on Scientists Question Impact as Vineyards Turn Up in New Places

Scientists Question Impact as Vineyards Turn Up in New Places

Felicity Barringer, THE NEW YORK TIMES

For more than a decade, wine experts have discussed the impact of climate change on wine grapes, agriculture’s diva, a marquee crop nurtured and pampered around the world.

Now scientists are raising a new question: when grapes are transported to new areas, assuming warming weather and flagging rain make current regions unsuited to such harvests, what will the crop’s arrival do to the animals and plants already in residence?

via Scientists Question Impact as Vineyards Turn Up in New Places – NYTimes.com.

Posted on Categories Climate Change & EnergyTags , , Leave a comment on Court deals blow to county energy retrofit program SCEIP

Court deals blow to county energy retrofit program SCEIP

Brett Wilkison, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

A legal fight to protect a program that allows Sonoma County residents to pay for energy-saving retrofits to their homes through property taxes was dealt a significant and possibly final setback last week.

via Court deals blow to county energy retrofit program | PressDemocrat.com.

Posted on Categories Local Organizations, Sustainable LivingTags , Leave a comment on 350 Home & Garden Challenge Kick-Off Party – March 25

350 Home & Garden Challenge Kick-Off Party – March 25

Ryan Johnston, DAILY ACTS
Please join Daily Acts to launch the biggest and boldest 350 Home and Garden Challenge ever! You will meet the organizers and partners, learn about the many exciting ways that you can get involved in this year’s Challenge, and be inspired. We will provide snacks, drinks, and tangible ideas for ways you can make your home, garden, and community more resilient!
This year’s 350 Home & Garden Challenge will center on May 18th and 19th, when thousands of people across Sonoma County will again rise to the challenge of creating a more sustainable community. Building upon the incredible success of 628 garden actions in 2010, 1,044 actions in 2011, and 2,304 in 2012, our goal this year is to inspire 3,500 actions to save water, save energy, grow food, and build community. And to continue to broaden the charge, we’re adding two new action areas: live local and green your ride. Small or large, every action counts. Only together can we become more food and energy independent, and build the strength, health, beauty, and resilience of our communities!
350 Home & Garden Challenge Kick-Off Party
Monday, March 25th, 6-8:30pm
Laguna Environmental Center, 900 Sanford Road
Santa Rosa, CA, 95401
RSVP kindly requested: https://events.nonprofiteasy.net/dailyacts/eventdetails?EventId=14024
For more information about the 350 Home & Garden Challenge, please visit www.dailyacts.org/campaigns

Posted on Categories Sustainable LivingTags , Leave a comment on Effort to reopen Sonoma County landfill advances

Effort to reopen Sonoma County landfill advances

Brett Wilkison, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Sonoma County’s plans to permanently reopen and expand its central landfill cleared a major hurdle Thursday, receiving a go-ahead from North Coast water regulators.

The decision approving a permit for up to 22 more years of operation at the Mecham Road site west of Cotati came from the same state agency that nearly a decade ago raised pollution concerns that triggered a five-year closure of the landfill.

via Effort to reopen Sonoma County landfill advances | PressDemocrat.com.

Posted on Categories Local OrganizationsTags , Leave a comment on Environmentalists recognized at Environmental Awards Dinner 2013

Environmentalists recognized at Environmental Awards Dinner 2013

The Sonoma County Conservation Council, the Sierra Club Sonoma Group and more than 160 activists gathered Sunday night at the Santa Rosa’s Veteran’s Auditorium to honor 5 deserving individuals.

Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey received the Ernestine I. Smith Lifetime Environmental Commitment Award. Tom Roth, Chief of Staff for Senator Noreen Evans and formerly Senior Policy Advisor for Woolsey, eloquently accepted on her behalf. Denny Rosatti, Executive Director of Sonoma County Conservation Action, received The Environmentalist Of The Year Award for his amazing leadership in the last year. Ken Wells of Sonoma County Trails Council and the Sierra Club Sonoma Group received the GrassRoots Trailblazer Award for his work over the years on behalf of our trails and forests as well as reducing the amount of discards our County sends to the landfill. SRJC Student Matt Lopez received the Environmental Youth award for his stellar progress from a novice volunteer into an enthusiastic and inspiring summer counselor with Landpaths Owl Camp Summer Camp.
In a special presentation, the late Jay Halcomb received a Special Recognition Award for his passionate commitment and outstanding leadership on behalf of our magnificent North Coast forests. As Chair of the Sierra Club’s Forest Protection Committee, Jay led its efforts to preserve forests from unsustainable logging and from forest to vineyard conversion. Most recently, his astute advocacy was instrumental in the Chapter’s negotiation of a successful settlement with the Bohemian Club that preserved the remaining stand of Bohemian Grove old growth redwoods from logging. He also served the Club with great distinction as Redwood Chapter Chair from 2008 until his death.
These awards are presented each March. Nomination requests are sent out starting in early January. The SCCC is particularly interested in nominations of folks not in the mainstream. Perhaps you will make a nomination next year. Details and award history can be found at http://envirocentersoco.org/awards/. For more about Jay Halcomb visit the Sierra Club Sonoma Group website at http://redwood.sierraclub.org/articles/February_13/article1.html.

Posted on Categories WaterTags Leave a comment on Regulators scrap Napa River, Sonoma Creek vineyard runoff waiver

Regulators scrap Napa River, Sonoma Creek vineyard runoff waiver

Jeff Quackenbush, NORTH BAY BUSINESS JOURNAL
State water-quality regulators this afternoon announced the withdrawal of a proposed conditional waiver program for vineyards in the Napa River and Sonoma Creek watersheds from state-set limits on erosion and plans to regulate vineyard water runoff under more general requirements.
Agricultural trade groups generally had been in favor of the concept of the waiver program because it allowed the industry to police itself under third-party environmental-quality certification programs already in widespread use in the North Coast. Yet, a Napa-based environment-protection group that has been battling state regulators in court for years over water-quality policy for the Napa River basin objected to what it called “outsourced” regulation by a third party and the environmental-review documents for the program.
via Regulators scrap Napa River, Sonoma Creek vineyard runoff waiver – North Bay Business Journal – North San Francisco Bay Area, Sonoma, Marin, Napa counties – Archive.

Posted on Categories WaterTags Leave a comment on Evidence of Fluoridation Danger Mounts With Little Benefit to Your Teeth

Evidence of Fluoridation Danger Mounts With Little Benefit to Your Teeth

Brian Foust and Deb Udall, researchers for SSU PROJECT CENSORED

Over two-thirds of U.S. public drinking water is fluoridated. “Experts” have told us that fluoride helps re-mineral enamel and that it prevents tooth decay. They have asserted its beneficial effects and claimed that its negative impacts were non-existent. New studies show this to be false, however, and there is mounting evidence of serious side effects of fluoride ingestion that can result in bone decay, infant mortality, and brain damage.

via 19. Evidence of Fluoridation Danger Mounts With Little Benefit to Your Teeth – Project Censored | Project Censored.

Posted on Categories Sustainable LivingTags , Leave a comment on Growing the Granges

Growing the Granges

Connie Madden, SONOMA COUNTY GAZETTE
California once had vibrant granges, most with their own halls, but they had since disappeared in many towns.  In the past few years, Grange news is upbeat and, in Sonoma County, there are now a total of TWELVE granges, several new, all of them growing.  Nationally, The Grange is comprised of over 350,000 members holding over 100,000 general membership meetings, Pomona Grange gatherings and Junior Grange meetings.
The Grange is news again as it was since its inception in 1867, and during the 1930’s when Granges helped each other recover from the hard farming days of the Depression.
Knowing that local foods are more sustainable and usually more flavorful and vibrant than those requiring fossil fuels to ship them thousands of miles, and that recent “100 year” droughts and floods events are becoming longer and more harsh than ever in history, the time to build local sources for food security is right in line the Grange practice called “Patrons of Husbandry” and a more communal way of life has come around again.
via Growing the Granges.