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.
by Brett Wilkison, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
State forestry officials on Tuesday approved a controversial timber-to-vineyard conversion project in northwest Sonoma County, following through with a decision expected months ago.
The decision on what is considered the largest timber-to-vineyard project in state history clears the most significant regulatory hurdle facing Artesa Vineyards and Winery.
State OKs forest-to-vineyard plan in Sonoma County | PressDemocrat.com.
The third annual 350 Home & Garden Challenge returns on May 12-13, encouraging thousands to transform Sonoma County homes and gardens by taking practical actions to save water and energy, increase local food production, and reduce greenhouse gases. Last year, the challenge inspired 1044 home and garden actions in Sonoma County, including installing 21 grey water systems and transforming 243 lawns. Ideas include transforming lawns to food or waterwise landscapes, installing a grey water system, line-drying clothes, planting fruit trees and more!
The Challenge has taken its call to action national for the second year running with Transition US’s “Transition Challenge,” encouraging citizen’s nationwide to take action and implement community-powered solutions to climate change. It is an initiative of Daily Acts in parnership with iGROW Sonoma County and others.
For more information, or to register your action, go to http://dailyacts.org/350-challenge/.
In March 2011, the Sierra Club and the Bohemian Redwood Rescue Club (BRRC) won a lawsuit in Sonoma County Superior Court, which required the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL-FIRE) to rescind a timber management plan that it had previously issued to the Bohemian Club to log its Bohemian Grove property outside Monte Rio on the Russian River. The Court’s ruling was based largely on the fact that the NTMP had not considered a range of feasible, less damaging alternatives, a central provision of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).
The Sierra Club and BRRC are pleased to announce that a mediated settlement has now been reached with the Bohemian Club over its long-range logging plans. A resubmitted Non-Industrial Timber Management Plan (NTMP), revised to reflect the terms of the settlement agreement, has recently been released for public comment by CAL-FIRE.
The court decision in Sierra Club v CAL-FIRE has put the agency on notice that it can no longer approve logging plans until it has considered a range of feasible, less damaging alternatives. “A proper consideration of alternatives should improve environmental review and better protect our forests,” said Paul V. Carroll, the attorney who represented the Sierra Club and the BRRC through the legal proceedings and mediation.
For more information, see http://www.redwood.sierraclub.org/sonoma/Forest.html.
The City of Santa Rosa Transit Division will be holding a first round of public outreach meetings for the 2012 Short-Range Transportation Plan (SRTP), which is updated every few years. The SRTP is a planning and funding document that will guide Santa Rosa CityBus for the next five to 10 years. All are invited to attend one or both of the two initial outreach meetings. Details of the meetings are in the attached flyer. There will be a second round of SRTP outreach meetings in the late summer.
Spanish and English versions of the flyer are attached.
Please contact Richard Marcus, Transit Planner, at (707) 543-3334 or at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.
It’s very important that CityBus create plans for expansion as well as contraction – or contraction will be the only path possible!
by Kevin McCallum, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
In 2005, Santa Rosa set two goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The first was to reduce its own emissions from municipal operations to 2000 levels by 2010.
The second was to reduce emissions citywide to 25 percent below 1990 levels by 2015, one of the most aggressive targets in the nation.
The city government missed the first goal and the community is almost certain to miss the second, which is less than three years away.
via Santa Rosa likely to miss 2015 climate target | PressDemocrat.com.
by Maria Gallucci, INSIDECLIMATE NEWS
A judge forces the federal agency that squashed the PACE home energy program to draft rules and start over.
In 2010, FHFA, overseer of the nation’s largest mortgage buyers and sellers, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, issued a statement saying that PACE posed “significant risks” to mortgage companies and urged all local governments to suspend their programs. At Rod Stevenson’s sprawling country home in Santa Rosa, Calif., in Sonoma County, once-leaky walls and windows are now sealed tight for energy efficiency, and his roof and yard are glittering with two dozen solar panels.”We expect to save about $10,000 a year,” on electricity and heating bills, Stevenson says, a nearly 70 percent drop from last year.Stevenson, 62, runs a successful, century-old family business that sells construction supplies and materials to control soil erosion in Northern California. But retirement was hanging over him and his wife. “I really wanted to get to the point where we could get our [utility] bill down to virtually nothing,” Stevenson recalls.
via Home Energy Program in Sonoma a Beacon for Broken National Effort | InsideClimate News.
by Kevin McCallum, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
New rules making it tougher to rip up forested hillsides to plant vineyards won qualified approval from the Sonoma County Board of Supervisor Tuesday.
The stronger erosion prevention measures were unanimously approved by the five supervisors, but most acknowledged that the process was viewed as frustrating and flawed by many involved.
via Sonoma County adopts hillside vineyard restrictions.