September 26, 2016

Sierra Club California legislative priority list 2016

6348334054_5047c76966Each year, Sierra Club California staff and volunteer leaders work together to analyze and determine Club positions on hundreds of bills at the legislature. From among those on which we take a position, a number rise to the top as priority bills that deserve special attention and that we encourage our members to bring to the attention of their legislators. Below is the Sierra Club California list of priority bills in 2016 with our position and each bill’s status. This list is updated periodically — head to sierraclub.org/california for updates throughout the year.

The bills are grouped by topic area and listed within those by house and in ascending numerical order. Bills introduced by Assembly members begin with AB and bills introduced by Senators begin with SB.

Tackling Methane Pollution to Reduce Climate Change:

AB 2415 (Garcia, E) California Clean Truck, Bus, and Off-Road Vehicle and Equipment Technology Program
This bill, pushed by the natural gas industry, would stifle the state’s efforts to accelerate commercialization of zero-emission heavy-duty trucks and buses, including electric drayage trucks and electric transit buses, by directing funding to trucks powered by polluting methane. Oppose (double referred to Assembly Transportation and Assembly Natural Resources).

SB 380 (Pavley) Natural gas storage: moratorium. This would impose an immediate moratorium on natural gas injection and a restriction on natural gas production at the Aliso Canyon storage facility, where a major gas leak occurred in late 2015 and early 2016, forcing evacuation and thousands of residents and releasing tons of greenhouse gas pollution, until certain safety conditions are met. Support (Passed in Senate; passed in Assembly Energy, Utilities and Communication, in Assembly Appropriations)

SB 887 (Pavley ) Natural gas storage wells. This bill would develop a comprehensive reform of how the Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) oversees methane gas storage wells. Support (Passed in Senate Natural Resources and Water; in Senate Environmental Quality) SB 888 (Allen) Gas corporations: emergency management. This bill assures a timely response to methane leaks at storage facilities by designating an agency responsible for action and helps to fund those actions with a new account funded by violators. Support (In Senate Environmental Quality)

SB 1393 (De León) Intrastate transmission line: safety valves. This bill will would require the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to require utilities to install automatic or remote controlled shutoff valves on intrastate transmission lines that transport gas to or from a storage facility, if it is necessary to protect the public. Support (in Senate Energy, Utilities and Communication)

SB 1441 (Leno) Natural gas: vented and fugitive emissions. The bill would require the California Air Resources Board to include fugitive and vented methane gas in its compliance obligations under cap-and-trade rules in an attempt to fund the reduction of fugitive methane emissions in California’s methane gas infrastructure. This means that ratepayers won’t be paying for gas that gets vented or leaks. Support (in Senate Energy, Utilities and Communication)

Guarding California’s Bedrock Environmental Disclosure Law: CEQA

AB 1886 (McCarty) California Environmental Quality Act: transit priority projects. This bill weakens CEQA by allowing development further from transit stops than research shows most people will walk to catch a bus or train to receive a transit priority project and undergo less environmental analysis. Oppose (in Assembly Natural Resources)

AB 2356 (Gomez) California Environmental Quality Act: infill planning projects. This bill changes baselines for CEQA to a level that will allow impacts from new development to go unanalyzed and unmitigated. It essentially cuts public disclosure and environmental protection for infill projects. Oppose (Assembly Natural Resources)

Restoring the Integrity of the California Coastal Commission

AB 2002 (Stone) Political Reform Act of 1974: California Coastal Commission. This bill requires people who lobby the Coastal Commission to register as lobbyists and disclose their employers. The bill requires a two-thirds vote in both houses to pass. Support (in Assembly Elections and Redistricting)

AB 2616 (Burke) California Coastal Commission: Environmental Justice Membership. This bill would increase the membership of the California Coastal Commission by appointing 3 additional members who represent and work directly with environmental justice communities. Support (in Assembly Natural Resources)

AB 2628 (Levine) Political Reform Act of 1974: post governmental employment. This bill prevents ex-Coastal Commissioners from immediately being able to lobby the Commission following the end of their term. Support (in Assembly Elections and Redistricting)

Advancing Renewable Energy

AB 1937 (Gomez ) Thermal powerplants: certification. Before the Energy Commission (CEC) certifies a new fossil fuel power plant, this bill would require the CEC to assess alternative sources to meet demand. If preferable alternatives exist, the CEC would then be able to reject the certification on the grounds that there are cleaner alternatives to building another dirty power plant. Support (in Assembly Utilities and Commerce)

AB 2339 (Irwin) Net energy metering. This bill would give more Californians, especially in communities hardest hit by the recession, access to clean energy generation and its benefits by removing barriers that prohibit many from taking advantage of the net energy metering (NEM) program. Support (in Assembly Utilities and Commerce)

SB 215 (Leno and Hueso) & SB 512 (Hill ) Public Utilities Commission. These bills would reform the Public Utilities Commission’s (PUC) governance structure by more clearly outlining the roles and responsibilities of the commissioners and staff and would close loopholes that have allowed regulated utilities to influence the PUC commissioners without public engagement. Support (in Assembly Utilities and Commerce)

SB 1453 (De León) Electrical generation: greenhouse gases emission performance standard. This bill would prohibit utilities from recovering costs for procurement of energy if it does not comply with the PUC’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emission performance standards. The bill also protects California from dirty coal imports by eliminating the option for a utility to circumvent compliance with the state’s landmark GHG emission performance standards. Support (in Senate Energy, Utilities and Communication)

Protecting California’s Wildlife, Natural Areas and Parks

AB 2029 (Dahle) Timber harvesting plans: exemptions. This bill would extend a controversial pilot program that allows private forest owners to cut large, older trees without a timber harvest plan under certain circumstances. The extension would be allowed early and without a full evaluation of the pilot program’s effectiveness. It would also expand the exemption to trees that are 28 inches in stump diameter, even larger trees than allowed to be harvested without a plan during the existing pilot. Oppose (in Assembly Natural Resources Committee)

AB 2243 (Wood) Medical Cannabis: Cannabis Production and Environment Mitigation. This bill will establish an excise tax for medical marijuana that is charged to a licensed medical cannabis cultivator and collected by a licensed medical marijuana distributor. The funds collected will pay for environmental remediation, local law enforcement, and a program to address environmentally damaging marijuana cultivation practices. Support (in Assembly Revenue and Taxation)

AB 2444 (Garcia, Eduardo) California Water Quality, Coastal Protection, and Outdoor Access Improvement Act of 2016. This bill places the California Water, Climate, and Coastal Protection and Outdoor Access for All Act of 2016 Bond on the statewide general election ballot to finance programs to expand and promote access to and affordability of outdoor state park activities. Support (in Assembly Water, Parks and Wildlife)

SB 1062 (Lara) Elephants: prohibited treatment. This bill would provide further protection for elephants in California by updating existing law to prohibit the use of bullhooks or similar inhumane devices. Support (in Senate Natural Resources and Water)

SB 1114 (Allen) California Sustainable Swordfish and Marine Life Protection Act. This bill phases out the use of drift gillnets, and authorizes the use of deep set buoy gear, a more sustainable alternative to drift gillnets. Drift gillnets are responsible for a substantially higher rate of accidental catch and killing of dolphins and whales than other fishing gear. Support (in Senate Natural Resources and Water)

SB 1287 (McGuire) Commercial fishing: Dungeness crab. This bill allows Dungeness Crab Fishermen to collect abandoned crab traps in the ocean during the off season, and return them to the proper authorities in exchange for a reward. The owner of the crab trap must pay a fine in order to retrieve their trap and be eligible to renew their fishing permit for the next season. Support (in Senate Natural Resources and Water)

Reigning in Polluting Oil Extraction and Reporting Practices and Cutting Oil Dependence

AB 1759 (Bonta) Hydrogen fluoride: notice of use: substitution. This bill would phase out the use of hydrofluoric acid in refineries over course of one year. During that time, it would require a refinery to notify residents and businesses that they are in a lethal zone, which means they are at high risk of exposure during an incident. Support (in Assembly Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials)

AB 1882 (Williams) Oil and gas: groundwater monitoring. This bill protects California’s groundwater from underground injection of oil waste by giving the Regional Water Boards the ability to require monitoring of wells. Support (in Assembly Natural Resources)

AB 2729 (Williams D) Oil and gas: operations. This bill would increase bonding levels to incentivize abandonment of wells rather than allowing for long-term idle wells to occur. This bill also provides additional oversight and enforcement to state agencies. Support (in Assembly Natural Resources)

AB 2756 (Thurmond D) Oil and gas operations: enforcement actions. This bill would increase Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources’ enforcement and oversight for oil and gas operations. It will also provide the Oil and Gas Supervisor authority to assess additional penalties to incentivize violators to take immediate corrective action. Support (in Assembly Natural Resources)

SB 778 (Allen): Automotive repair: oil changes: notification to customers. This bill requires automotive repair dealers to recommend the oil drain interval specified in the maintenance schedule of the vehicle’s owner’s manual for the next oil change, which is less frequent than what is currently recommended. Unnecessarily frequent oil changes create more waste for the state to handle and endanger public health, wildlife, ecosystems and our drinking water. Support (in Assembly)

SB 900 (Jackson) State Lands: Coastal Hazard Removal and Remediation Program. This bill will protect California’s coastline by requiring the State Lands Commission to remediate abandoned oil wells in California’s coastal waters, while also conducting an in depth inventory and assessment of all these legacy oil wells. Support (Passed out of Senate Natural Resources and Water; in Senate Appropriations)

SB 1161 (Allen) Climate Science Truth & Accountability Act. This bill addresses the growing evidence that fossil fuel companies worked to deceive the public about the realities and risks of climate change for decades. Specifically, the bill would extend the statute of limitations under the state’s Unfair Competition Law from 4 to 30 years for deceptive behavior relating to the scientific evidence of climate change. Support (Awaiting assignment to a Senate committee)

Regulating Dangerous Pesticides

AB 2596 (Bloom) Pesticides: use of anticoagulants. This bill expands the list of prohibited pesticides to include those that contain five more newly determined anticoagulants and expands the prohibition geographically as well, from just certain wildlife areas to the entire state. This will ensure that aquatic, terrestrial and avian wildlife species remain a fully functional and healthy component of the ecosystems they inhabit and move through in California. Support (in Assembly Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials)

SB 1282 (Leno ) Pesticides: neonicotinoids: labeling and restricted material designation. This bill would require labeling of plants and seeds that contain neonicotinoid pesticides, indicating that they may harm bees. Support (Awaiting assignment to a Senate committee)

Rebooting California’s Water System for Sustainability

SB 1262 (Pavley) Water supply planning. This bill strengthens water supply availability assessments to look at groundwater use, preventing development where there is no water supply to match demand by the development’s occupants. Support (Passed out of Senate Natural Resources and Water; in Senate Governance and Finance)

SB 1263 (Wieckowski) Public water systems: permits. This bill prevents a permit for a new water system from going forward until the State Water Resources Control Board can determine that the agency has the ability to actually manage water. Support (in Senate Environmental Quality)

SB 1317 (Wolk) Conditional use permit: groundwater extraction facility. This bill requires a local agency to issue a conditional use permit for new wells in high use areas and prohibits permits for new wells in critical or probationary basins where water supply is critically impacted. Support (in Senate Natural Resources and Water)

SB 1318 (Wolk) Local government: drinking water infrastructure or services: wastewater infrastructure or services. This bill prevents a Local Agency Formation Commission from approving a new water agency or expanding a water agency if there are disadvantaged communities in the agency’s area that do not have safe drinking water supplies and the agency supplies those communities as well. Support (in Senate Governance and Finance)

Pope Francis and the population problem

2014 visit of Pope Francis to Korea. Photo courtesy Republic of Korea on Flickr Creative Commons.

2014 visit of Pope Francis to Korea. Photo courtesy Republic of Korea on Flickr Creative Commons.

The pope has come out against climate disruption and he is more articulate and compassionate than his recent predecessors. Certainly his encyclical on climate change is welcomed by Sierra Club members as well as others. Climate change or climate disruption is just one symptom of a planet overpopulated by its dominant animal, Homo sapiens.

The Pope is addressing poverty which is also a good thing. One of the best ways out of poverty is to provide contraception to poor women which enables them to have fewer children and thereby better their circumstances. The F. Scott Fitzgerald quote “the rich get richer and the poor get children” is still the state of the world. The Vatican has opposed provision of contraception to developing nations as far back as the 1950’s. Many Catholics in more developed nations have access to and use modern contraception. It is time for the Vatican to play catch up.

The Vatican remains out of step with all who understand the dire consequences of not addressing population growth and over consumption. Some consequences of the population explosion include, but are not limited to, refugees pouring into Europe, war, chaos, climate change, rising seas, myriad forms of pollution, depletion of resources: minerals, ores, oil, gas, soils, forests, and fisheries.  We need to get our priorities straight. The future for humans is calamitous without more efforts to humanely reduce our numbers using voluntary family planning.

Today, 225 million women have no access to contraception and over 50 percent of pregnancies here and abroad are unplanned. Population is growing by 80 million a year and is projected to explode from 7 billion to 9 or 10 billion by 2050, yet our efforts and funding are minuscule relative to other spending, e.g., military and weapons.

The lack of contraception leads to unsafe illegal abortions in much of the world with an estimated 68,000 women dying and 5.3 million suffering disabilities annually. Certainly these facts should trouble a concerned, compassionate Pope. He did say Catholics don’t have to ‘breed like rabbits’, on his way back from the overpopulated Philippines, but has yet to condone modern methods of birth prevention. The planet and the poor would both benefit greatly, if the Pope supported modern contraception and sex education for all.

The SF Bay Chapter’s Population, Health, and Environment Committee meets monthly and hosts occasional events.  If you are interested in getting involved, please contact committee co-chair Suzanne York at slyork27@gmail.com.

– Article by Lee Miller, Committee for a Sustainable World Population, Sierra Club Mother Lode Chapter

Art as activism — art’s persuasive power as a tool for the environmental movement

Designing for a sustainable planet requires a lot of creativity in almost every aspect, including policies, city planning, technology, and a myriad of other problems and innovations one may encounter. But we don’t call these “creative” practices, and they’re definitely not considered artistic practices. What if artistic practices were also thought of as essential to the environmental movement?

Barbara Boxer on C-SPAN 2 with photograph by Subhankar Banerjee.

Barbara Boxer on C-SPAN 2 with photograph by Subhankar Banerjee.

Art is persuasive. It is an argument not bound by the rules of language and can manifest itself in a wide range of mediums and forms. A 2003 U.S. Senate debate over drilling in the Arctic changed course when Senator Barbara Boxer showed a photograph taken by Subhankar Banerjee of a polar bear crossing a frozen harbor in response to a claim that the Arctic was just “a flat white nothingness.” Even in its simplicity, it overthrew an assumption that held together the pro-drilling argument, making a huge and abstract issue more tangible and immediate. It was images like this one that convinced lawmakers, including Alaska’s senior senator Ted Stevens, to oppose the drilling.

Both individual artists and large organizations are already using art to help drive political change, from exhibits dedicated to environmental art to huge installations in public spaces. It is happening all around us, and alongside it the potential to create change in a way entirely unique to its craft.

Wallace Stegner once called Ansel Adams and John Muir the “two great poets” of Yosemite and the Sierra Nevada. Adams worked closely with the Sierra Club, serving on the board of directors and later becoming an honorary vice-president, but his other contribution was his photography. Eventually his photographs of the National Parks built a visual timeline of what the parks looked like before and after tourism, which helped expand the national park system. Art creates emotional attachment in a way that empirical evidence rarely does, and can be both a reminder and a motivator.

Media other than photography can be just as effective. Two of the first environmental artists, Helen Mayer Harrison and Newton Harrison, created a landscape sculpture called California Wash in 1996. Built over a storm drain in Santa Monica, the sculpture formed a trail from the Pico Boulevard to the beach to show the former ecology of the area. It traced the pathway the water had once taken to reach the sea before being replaced by storm drains, with bronze plaques inset with images of the original fauna, and glass imitating the natural geology of the area–a reminder of what had been contaminated or removed after urbanization. It was a “memorial” that the viewer moved through as they walked along the coast, a narrative that could just as easily be applied to our own lost landscapes, such as the Bayshore wetlands or the Hetch Hetchy Valley.

“Solar Eagle” by Spectral Q, Los Angeles. Photo by Jeff Pantukhoff / Spectral Q.

“Solar Eagle” by Spectral Q, Los Angeles. Photo by Jeff Pantukhoff / Spectral Q.

Great art is also accessible. When options feel limited or people feel unequipped to make change happen on their own, it can bring them together to take a collective stance. This happened when thousands of volunteers collaborated on 350.org’s eARTh project to make human sculptures visible from space. These human sculptures took place all around the world, including one in Los Angeles called Solar Eagle. The participants’ individual bodies together formed the image of an eagle taking flight to show that people from all backgrounds would rise together, and held up solar panels to voice their support of solar energy.

Art alone won’t solve all of our biggest challenges, but there are a lot of ways it can be used and a lot we can learn from it. People act when they feel moved to do so, and art specializes in moving people. The art critic Peter Schjeldahl said in a speech that “[g]reat artworks are lawyers for our humanity in the court of existence.” Now more than ever, it’s time to make room in the court for art.

— Aya Kusch

San Francisco calls for state ban of clearcut logging and other factory tree-farming methods

Clearcutting

Photo by Sam Beebe, flickr.com/sbeebe

On Tuesday June 24, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a resolution to call on the state legislature and governor to enhance protections for California’s forest watersheds by banning factory tree farming methods based on clearcut logging and toxic herbicide application.

“In keeping with San Francisco’s leadership in the environmental justice movement, I felt compelled to collaborate with the Sierra Club and environmental leaders to introduce this resolution urging the state to stop these destructive clear cutting practices,” said resolution sponsor Supervisor David Campos. “It is incumbent upon us public officials to take a stand and fight to protect our natural resources. San Francisco’s pristine Sierra water supply and greenhouse gas-free hydro power, the integrity of the planet’s climate, and the security of wildlife and human health are intimately dependent on the health of our forests. I am proud that we received unanimous support from the Board of Supervisors for this measure.”

California’s forest watersheds store, filter, and gradually release 75% of the state’s clean water supply. Mature forests absorb up to 40% of all human-caused greenhouse gas emissions.

Currently, California law allows all trees to be cut on large tracts of forest (clearcutting) followed by the planting of new trees as factory-farmed industrial plantations of only one or two tree species. Toxic herbicides are applied to prevent the growth of ‘undesirable’ tree and plant species. Over a million acres in key watersheds in the Sierra Nevada, Cascade, and Redwood forests are in the process of being converted to highly uniform, fire-prone tree plantations.

Clearcutting and tree farming create a sterile landscape much like factory-scale corn, soy, or alfalfa fields, allowing minimal natural plant and animal biodiversity and creating soil disturbance and runoff that pollutes waterways and releases large amounts of greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere. Maintaining natural, mature forests is increasingly recognized as vital in reversing climate change.

The resolution also calls for a California prohibition of the outdoor cultivation of genetically engineered tree plantations, an even more aggressive and chemically-intensive form of factory tree farming for which biotech corporations are currently seeking approval at the USDA. Opponents warn that such genetically engineered tree plantations, if approved, could make destructive clearcutting even more profitable and desirable to the timber and tree pulp industry, and could present serious biological contamination dangers to the integrity and health of California wildlife.

Opponents of clearcutting call for trees to instead be logged using a less destructive method known as selective harvest, which involves the planned removal of carefully identified trees, while leaving overall forests intact.

Sierra Club spokesperson Juliette Beck hailed the passage of the measure, saying “This resolution against clearcutting marks the beginning of a turning point in California, away from destructive and toxic factory tree farms and toward more ecologically sustainable methods of selective logging which will preserve healthy forests, the Earth’s climate, and more stable jobs in forest products and tourism, far into the future.”

For more information, contact Juliette Beck, 530-902-8407, stopsierraclearcutting at gmail.com.

“Healthy People, Healthy Planet: A World Population Day Chat” — Friday, July 11

PopulationTrain_500pxFriday, July 11, 11 am, on your own computer–via Google Hangout!

Join the Sierra Club’s Global Population and Environment Program and our partners for a World Population Day chat to learn more about the connections among family planning, reproductive health, climate, and the environment. Find out how meeting women’s basic needs helps improve the lives of families, communities, local environments, and the planet, and hear how the Sierra Club and others are working to foster a balance between the earth and its inhabitants in a world of seven billion people and growing. Want to be a part of the solution? The conversation will conclude with ways to take action and get involved.

RSVP at action.sierraclub.org/WorldPopulationDay and the link will be sent to your inbox. For questions contact population@sierraclub.org.

To learn more about the Club’s Global Population and Environment Program, visit sierraclub.org/population.

Stopping East Bay billboard plague

Photo by Brant Ward/San Francisco Chronicle/Polaris.

Photo by Brant Ward/San Francisco Chronicle/Polaris.

A plague of giant digital billboards threatens to blight the East Bay, but Scenic East Bay, with the support of the Sierra Club’s Northern Alameda and West Contra Costa County Groups, is working to stop them.

The three existing billboards along the approach to the Bay Bridge are already a conspicuous blight, visible from the Oakland and Berkeley hills, Emeryville, Treasure Island, and even Sausalito. They distract drivers and endanger lives.

Foster Media has proposed five additional double-sided billboards (see February 2013, page 8) near the toll entry. Three (applications number 3, 4, and 5) have been approved by Cal­trans and may be construc­ted. Of the five, #1 and #2 near the toll entry would be particularly offensive, towering over the new bike/pedestrian path and on the edge of the planned Gateway Park. Because of public pressure from Scenic East Bay, and because Cal-trans long ago designated this a “landscaped freeway”, Foster has withdrawn its application for location #1 and has not yet submitted its application for #2. With continued public attention, Scenic East Bay is hoping to permanently protect this area from billboard construction.

The anti-billboard coalition, which includes Bike East Bay, Oakland Heritage Alliance, Citizens for Eastshore Parks, and Golden Gate Audubon, used time-tested tactics to win this partial victory: calling the press, educating the public and ourselves, making tee shirts and lawn signs, and showing up at Mayor Quan’s press conference to inaugurate the Bay Bridge. We set up numerous meetings with Oakland councilmembers and advisors, staff of state legislators, Oakland Mayor Quan, and the Caltrans department that handles outdoor advertising.

Caltrans should revoke the approvals for billboards #3 -­ 5. Under Caltrans regulations, such billboards are allowed only within 1,000 feet of a commercial business. The November 2013 applications cited Arthur Freyer Lighting, but this business had relocated to Berkeley the previous May, and the building is slated for demolition. Now it looks as though the East Bay Municipal Utility District sewage facility may be cited as the nearest business! Especially objectionable is billboard #3, which would rise out of a landscaped area, marring the bikeway/pedestrian path, spilling light unnecessarily, interrupting East Bay views, and distracting drivers in a complex series of intersections.

In addition, 11 more billboards may be in the pipeline for Oakland once the city enters into contracts following a Request for Proposals issued by the City Council three years ago. Despite Oakland’s long-standing regulations against new billboards, and its fighting and winning a 10-year-long lawsuit about them, elected officials are now intrigued by a potential source of revenue.

Other current fights regarding East Bay billboards include the illegally operating LED billboard at the Pacific East Mall in Richmond. Its permit limits it to publicizing on-site businesses, but it has been selling space to off-site advertisers. On May 13, the City Council voted to refer the problem to the Planning Commission.

On March 3 the Albany City Council amended its billboard ordinance to allow digital billboards in the Commercial Mixed Use Zoning District, apparently to pave the way for an enormous wall-mounted LED billboard on its proposed new public-works building.

WhatYouCanDo

Oaklanders should contact council­members at:

1 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza
Oakland, CA 94612
www2.oaklandnet.com/Government/o/CityCouncil.

Tell them not to approve further digital billboards in Oakland. Raise this issue during the current campaigns for Council and mayor.

Richmond residents should contact the City Council at:

440 Civic Center Plaza
Richmond, CA 94804
www.ci.richmond.ca.us/CityCouncil.

Urge the city to initiate enforcement action and shut down the Pacific East Mall LED billboard.

Albany residents, contact the Albany City Council at:

1000 San Pablo Ave.
Albany, CA 94706
www.albanyca.org/index.aspx?page=363.

Ask the City Council to reverse its decision to loosen billboard restrictions.

For updates and to sign a petition opposing the Bay Bridge billboards, go to www.sceniceastbay.org

Karen Hester and Naomi Schiff, Scenic East Bay

“Come Hell or High Water: The Battle for Turkey Creek”

Tuesday, April 29–on-line screening and live chat–5 – 6:30 pm.

Thursday, May 31, 2014 San Francisco Green Film Festival at the historic Roxie Theatre.

Last month Sierra Club Environmental Justice program director Leslie Fields was on a panel at the DC Environmental Film Festival after it screened Come Hell or High Water: The Battle for Turkey Creek. This amazing film about the Turkey Creek, MS community includes a great of footage of Rose Johnson, the former MS Chapter director and a cameo of former Club President Robin Mann! This community has battled the sprawl and pollution of Gulfport that is destroying the watershed, the corruption of the politicians, Hurricane Katrina and the BP oil disaster. It’s a great story of resilience and hope and the Sierra Club, through Rose Johnson, has a prominent role in this movie.

How far would you go to save your community? The WORLD Channel invites us to the broadcast premiere and live chat of series America ReFramed’s ”Come Hell or High Water: The Battle for Turkey Creek”. Engage in conversation, on the documentary and the continuing issues surrounding the Gulf Coast communities, with panelists.

  • filmmaker Leah Mahan;
  • Turkey Creek native Derrick Evans;
  • journalist Brentin Mock;
  • Sierra Club director of environmental justice and community partnerships Leslie Fields.

For more information on the film and the live chat, go to https://ovee.itvs.org/screenings/1psfq.

“Come Hell or High Water: The Battle for Turkey Creek” follows the journey of Derrick Evans, who moves home to Mississippi’s Gulf Coast when the graves of his ancestors are bulldozed to make way for the sprawling city of Gulfport. Derrick and his neighbors and allies stand up to corporate interests and local politicians as well as face Hurricane Katrina and the BP oil disaster to protect their community and fight for environmental justice.

A committee for folks who care about all the Sierra Club’s issues

400x400_sc-logoThursday, June 5, 6:30 pm, Chapter Office, 2530 San Pablo Avenue, Berkeley.

By Arthur Feinstein, chair, Sierra Club Bay Chapter Conservation Committee

Is climate change getting you down?

Do you occasionally think that the largest mass extinction of species since the dinosaurs might be a problem?

Are you frustrated with local policies that ignore nature and let our natural areas disappear under developers’ backhoes?

Or maybe you’re sad that salmon populations are disappearing in order to provide water for cotton and alfalfa?

Are you frustrated because you don’t know how to make your voice heard and how to influence these fateful decisions?

The Conservation Committee is being reorganized to help folks like you become effective advocates for the environment.

We will talk about how to be an effective advocate:

  • how to use Facebook, Twitter, and other social-media tools;
  • when and how to write e-mails, letters, etc. to influence decision-makers;
  • how to speak effectively at hearings and meetings–what makes an effective presentation in your allotted 2 – 3 minutes;
  • how to best use the few hours a month you may have available for preserving our world.

We’ll invite experts to brief us on major environmental issues and discuss the tools we have to influence decisions. For example, we’ll learn about:

  • the California Environmental Quality Act–what is it? How is it a tool to help preserve our environment? How do we use it?
  • the agencies that are supposed to protect our environment, such as the state and regional water and air boards and the Bay Conservation and Development Commission;
  • local agencies and zoning laws that that truly decide the fate of our communities;
  • federal and state laws on endangered species and other wildlife.

Of course, the Conservation Committee will also address specific conservation issues as they arise, and as members of the Committee you will help choose those issues. The Chapter has many issue-specific conservation committees such as the Energy, Water, Zero Waste, Transportation, and East Bay Public Lands Committees. But it is up to the Conservation Committee to address conservation issues that fall outside the purview of those issue-specific committees; for example, we may want to work to save threatened wetlands or work on sea-level rise issues.

The world is a scary place as its natural functions are being altered at a frightening pace. But everyday people have made a difference in the past and we can do it again. We just need to decide what we want to do and figure out how to do it. Join us to keep the Bay Area a healthy thriving environment and maybe even to set a model for others.

Come to our first meeting on Thu., June 5. At that meeting we will discuss future meeting dates and look for those that work best for everyone. If the first Thursday of the month doesn’t work for you, let me know at (415)282-5937 or arthurfeinstein@earthlink.net, so that we can find the best repeatable date.

Earth Day Climate Action March–Saturday April 19

Earty Day SF-Action-logo 300x218Saturday April 19, 11:30 am, Justin Hermann Plaza (at Embarcadero BART), San Francisco.

Each Earth Day, EarthDaySF.org holds a fair at Civic Center. This year the theme is A Call to Action, and a host of environmental groups will march down Market Street from Justin Hermann Plaza to UN Plaza (near the Civic Center). There we will rally at 1 pm for action against climate change and environmental injustice.

We need volunteers!

To help with planning:

  • coordinating or training volunteers;
  • coordinating logistics;
  • putting up posters in your area

contact John Anderson at p8ton.anderson@gmail.com.

To help at the march and rally:

  • as a monitor;
  • handing out flyers;
  • taking photos

sign up at www.350bayarea.org/earth_day_action_parade_2014_volunteers.

Keep tuned to Sacramento

Sierra Club California logo.

Do you wonder what’s happening in Sacramento and what the Sierra Club’s Sacramento staff and Club activists are doing to protect our state’s environment?

To be placed on an e-mail list to keep informed, sign up for the CAL-ACTIVIST listservOnce signed up, you will receive timely updates from our Sierra Club California director Kathryn Phillips on legislation and political news as well as announcements from Club activists on conservation issues and our quarterly state conservation meetings, where the Club’s state policy is decided. The list carries no discussion, just announcements, usually one or two a week.