By Kevin McCallum, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Cleaning wastewater requires huge amounts of energy.
It has to be moved with pumps, blasted with pressurized air and zapped with ultraviolet lights. Even after it’s cleaned, it has to be pumped to local farms and soccer fields or piped 40 miles to be injected into the Geysers steam fields.
All that makes the Llano Road wastewater treatment plant, operated by the City of Santa Rosa, one of the largest energy users in Sonoma County, absorbing between 3 and 7 megawatts of electricity daily.
via Santa Rosa wastewater treatment plant on Llano Road undergoing energy upgrade | PressDemocrat.com.
by Bob Norberg, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Hop Kiln Winery’s proposal for a major expansion was denied by Sonoma County officials Thursday as being out of scale with the rural Westside Road.
Westside Grapes, the owner of Hop Kiln, was also told by the Board of Zoning Adjustments that it needs to resolve lingering illegal uses on the property and come back with a proposal for a new production facility.
via County panel denies Hop Kiln Winery’s expansion bid | PressDemocrat.com.
by Brett Wilkison, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
A Sonoma County judge has sided with key points in a lawsuit challenging approval of the controversial Roblar Road rock quarry, a move that could derail the project west of Cotati.
A split county Board of Supervisors approved the 70-acre project in late 2010 over the objections of a group of neighbors and others concerned about environmental impacts.
via Opponents of Roblar Road quarry win round in court | Petaluma360.
by Brett Wilkison, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Three environmental groups sued the state and a Spanish wine conglomerate on Thursday over approval of a hotly disputed vineyard project in northwest Sonoma County.
The groups oppose plans by Artesa Vineyards and Winery of Napa, owned by the Spanish wine giant Grupo Codorniu, to clear about 150 acres of second-growth forest and former orchard land outside of Annapolis to grow chardonnay and pinot noir grapes.
via Opponents file lawsuits over Artesa vineyard project | PressDemocrat.com.
Santa Rosa Planning Commission: Thursday, May 24, 4:00 pm
Santa Rosa City Council Chambers, 100 Santa Rosa Avenue, Santa Rosa
After months of public meetings and workshops, the Guerneville Road SMART Station Area Plan will be up for a vote at the Santa Rosa Planning Commission on Thursday. One important piece currently included in the plan is the bike/pedestrian bridge over Hwy 101 connecting the Santa Rosa Junior College on the east to Coddingtown and the SMART station on the west. For information about other issues and comments on the Plan see the following evaluation by Greenbelt Alliance.
by Jay Gamel, THE KENWOOD PRESS
The gloves have come off. After months of meetings and vague promises to “discuss” tree removal, PG&E told Oakmont and Bennett Valley residents on May 7 that it intends to clear cut the entire 39-mile-long, high voltage line that stretches from Petaluma to the Geysers. Steve Tankersley, head of the statewide vegetation management program told people at the meeting that the company intends to remove up to 4,000 trees between May 15 and June 15, and to finish the entire job by December.
The decision to clear cut is a significant departure from the company’s 50-year policy of examining and trimming trees that threaten power lines.
via The Kenwood Press – PG&E intends to clear cut.
Press Release: Stewards of the Coast and Redwoods
Responding to further State Parks cut-backs, Stewards of the Coast and Redwoods (Stewards) announces two public meetings. Over the past two years, campgrounds and coastal access sites have been closed and further closures may be coming. Working with local State Park staff, Stewards is considering ways to offset the closures. The public is invited to hear about plans to keep Austin Creek State Recreation Area and Sonoma Coast State Park open and share your ideas as well.
The meetings will be held in Bodega Bay and Monte Rio:
Bodega Bay Meeting
Wednesday, June 6, 2012, 6-7:30
Bodega Bay Grange
1370 Bodega Ave. Bodega Bay
Monte Rio Meeting
Monday, June 11, 2012, 6-7:30
Monte Rio Community Center
20488 Highway 116, Monte Rio
For more information: http://www.stewardsofthecoastandredwoods.org/news/2012/news20120515.htm
by bvesser, CLIMATE PROTECTION CAMPAIGN
April 10, 2012, the Sonoma County Water Agency Board voted unanimously to continue its evaluation of Sonoma Clean Power. Since 2011 the Sonoma County Water Agency has studied the feasibility and desirability of implementing Sonoma Clean Power, a local program that will buy and generate electricity for businesses and residents to reduce local greenhouse gas emissions.
April 24, 2012, PG&E announced it had asked permission of the California Public Utilities Commission to offer its electric ratepayers a voluntary new program to support 100 percent renewable energy. PG&E expects that residential customers who voluntarily opt in to the program will pay on average about $6.00 more per month.
via Sonoma Clean Power vs. PG&E’s “Green Option” Program | Climate Protection Campaign.
by Martin Espinoza, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Sonoma County has taken a big step toward a countywide ban on plastic carryout bags to reduce landfill waste and litter. The county Waste Management Agency authorized its staff Wednesday to request proposals from consultants for environmental review of the proposed ban.
via Sonoma County Waste Management Agency OKs review of proposed plastic bag ban | PressDemocrat.com.
by Sarah Yang, UC BERKELEY NEWS CENTER
The competition between farmers and fish for precious water in California is intensifying in wine country, suggests a new study by biologists at the University of California, Berkeley. Juvenile steelhead trout are hit hard when water levels are low.
The findings, published in the May issue of the journal Transactions of the American Fisheries Society, link higher death rates for threatened juvenile steelhead trout with low water levels in the summer and the amount of vineyard acreage upstream.
via Steelhead trout lose out when water is low in wine country.