Derek Moore, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday pressed forward with a controversial plan to put fluoride into most of the county’s drinking water during an emotional hearing in which dozens of speakers debated whether the chemical compound is a panacea or a poison.
Dentists and other health care professionals, along with a larger, more vocal contingent of fluoride skeptics, packed board chambers for the marathon five-hour public hearing.
via Board of Supervisors takes next step toward fluoridating county water | PressDemocrat.com.
CLIMATE PROTECTION CAMPAIGN
The Board of the Sonoma County Water Agency and the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors today created a joint powers authority to oversee Sonoma Clean Power, a proposed local program to buy and generate electricity for residents and businesses.
Three local organizations hailed the move and pledged to work with the new Sonoma Clean Power Authority, while cautioning that the power provider must be run like a competitive business venture rather than a government program. Climate Protection Campaign, Sonoma County Alliance, and the North Coast Builders Exchange each communicated their concerns to county officials.
“For Sonoma Clean Power to be successful in local job creation as well as greenhouse gas reduction, it must be run by proven energy entrepreneurs with a competitive mentality,” said Ann Hancock, Executive Director of the Climate Protection Campaign.
via County Creates Sonoma Clean Power | Climate Protection Campaign.
The latest draft of a Mitigation Policy for the Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District (APOSD) prohibits private mitigation on most District conservation easements or property. Laws such as the Endangered Species Act and the Clean Water Act require compensation, or mitigation, when an activity harms habitat or waterways. Mitigation may be in the form of money, or it may require long-term protection of other at-risk habitat.
The District has needed to set policy guidelines for mitigation – this was made clear by the Roblar Road quarry proposal in 2010. A complicated exchange was worked out by quarry proponents which included mitigating for the loss of a California Tiger Salamander breeding pond on the quarry site by constructing habitat on a nearby property protected by an Open Space conservation easement. This deal was criticized for several reasons, but especially because the mitigation would occur on land that was already protected by the conservation easement. However, there was no Open Space District policy on mitigation at the time and the Board of Supervisors voted to approve the quarry. Lawsuits have stopped the project for the last couple of years, giving the District time to put together the new Mitigation Policy.
The second draft of the Mitigation Policy contains the following guidelines:
- The District will not accept mitigation funding from private parties or accept acquisitions that result from third party mitigation projects.
- Existing conservation easements that expressly allow habitat mitigation will be able to do so, but new easements will mostly expressly prohibit mitigation.
- Mitigation-related funding (that is, when mitigation requires paying money rather than buying land) from public projects only, may be used by the District to buy land or to fund habitat-enhancement projects on District land.
This Policy, if adopted and followed by the Board, will close the door to most private mitigation projects on Open Space District land, but will still allow some kinds of mitigation for public projects.
APOSD Mitigation Policy draft
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.
By Cathy Bussewitz, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Dozens of environmental activists adorned with branches and dressed like fluffy redwood trees demonstrated outside the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday to protest a proposal to convert nearly 1,800 acres of coastal forests to vineyards.
Preservation Ranch Protest
A man costumed as an eight-foot tall bottle of “Pinot Egrigio” labeled “Chainsaw Wine” wielded a fake chainsaw before the animated trees.
“It’s a Sonoma County vintage,” said Dave Jordan, volunteer with Friends of Gualala River, a group that carpooled down from Gualala to Santa Rosa to attend the meeting. “It’s not against wine. It’s not against vineyards. It’s about cutting down redwood forests to plant grapes.”
via Activists protest Preservation Ranch at Sonoma County Board of Supervisors meeting | PressDemocrat.com.
The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors voted 5 to 0 to put in place a moratorium on ridge-top tree removal for vineyards. This issue will come back to the Board on April 24 with the ag commissioner’s recommendations for changes to VESCO, the Vineyard Erosion and Sediment Control Ordinance.
Hearing Tuesday, January 31
Please attend the BOS meeting this Tuesday, 9 am, to support a County “freeze” on any new vineyard and orchard development until June 1st. At that time, VESCO (Vineyard Erosion and Sediment Control Ordinance) will be updated to incorporate tree removal protection language.
The meeting will be held in the Supervisors’ Chambers, Room 100A,
575 Administrative Drive, Santa Rosa at 9:00 am.