June 25, 2016

Air District commits to studying refinery pollution caps

rodeo-p66-refineryThe community-worker coalition that’s been fighting for years to limit pollution from Bay Area refineries won a significant victory on June 15th. The Air District board directed its staff to evaluate our proposal for immediate, numerical caps on refinery emissions, along with three other proposals. This move came despite strong opposition from Air District staff, who argued that numerical caps on greenhouse gases are pointless and that numerical limits on all forms of pollution are legally questionable.

The next challenge for the coalition will be getting the Air District to move fast enough to prevent the refineries from bringing in a major influx of extra-polluting crude oil from Canadian tar sands.

In the June 15th board meeting of the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, staff presented four proposals for controlling refinery emissions:

  • Analyze each refinery’s total energy efficiency as a way of reducing greenhouse gases
  • Continue the current program of making rules for reducing greenhouse gas and toxic emissions by separately analyzing each process in the refinery.
  • Place an immediate overall cap on greenhouse gas and toxic emissions from each refinery
  • Develop a Bay-Area-wide program for reducing emissions of methane (a powerful greenhouse gas)

The staff recommended that the board authorize further analysis of three of these proposals. It recommended dropping the community-worker proposal, using the same arguments offered before: that emissions caps may not be legally defensible and could conflict with the state’s cap-and-trade process for greenhouse gas emissions.

After strong arguments from the community-worker coalition and allies on the board, however, the board directed the staff to prepare an official Environmental Impact Review of each of the proposals. In more than two years since the coalition has been advocating these caps, the staff has failed to produce a detailed analysis of this proposal, despite numerous board requests. So this clear board direction represents a major advance for the environmental, community, and labor groups.

Board members John Avalos of San Francisco, Rebecca Kaplan of Oakland, and John Gioia, the Contra Costa County supervisor whose district includes four oil refineries, joined the community-worker coalition in insisting on a full review of all four proposals.

It should be possible to produce the Environmental Impact Reviews, provide a period for the public to comment, and produce revised reviews before the BAAQMD’s next board meeting in September. But given the slow pace of work on refinery emissions rules in the past, the community-worker coalition intends to keep pushing for a September report, so it will be possible to adopt final rules before the end of the year.

There’s also the question of what topics the Environmental Impact Review will include. In the June 15 meeting, Board member Kaplan insisted that the EIR must include an estimate of the health impacts of the emissions increases that would occur if caps are not adopted.

Background

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) has been discussing methods for limiting refinery pollution for more than three years. More than two years ago the community-worker coalition submitted its proposal: Tell refineries they’re not allowed to increase the levels of pollution they emit, starting now.

In addition to limiting harm to health and the climate, this proposal is critical for stopping Bay Area refineries from bringing in large amounts of crude oil from Canadian tar sands. Because tar sands oil takes so much energy to process, and because it spews out such large amounts of pollution that’s harmful to health, a cap on refinery emissions would effectively prevent an increase in tar sands refining. Scientists have stated that to prevent runaway climate disaster, the tar sands oil has to stay in the ground.

Bay Area refineries are turning to tar sands crude because their traditional sources of crude oil – in California and Alaska – are drying up. Tar sands oil producers, for their part, are increasingly looking to the Bay Area as an outlet for their product, since the Keystone XL pipeline was defeated, and Canadian First Nations are strongly resisting the shipment of tar sands oil through their territories. And Bay Area refineries, already equipped to handle “heavy” crude oil, are closer to being ready to refine tar sands than most others.

The Western States Petroleum Association, representing the oil companies, has been fighting regulation every step of the way. Recently they’ve sent mailers opposing regulation to residents in the districts of selected BAAQMD board members. It is reported that they are hoping to get a California legislator to introduce a bill banning local caps on greenhouse gas emissions.

– Article courtesy of the Sunflower Alliance

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2016 David Brower Dinner to honor intrepid visionaries who embody values of National Park Service

The 6th annual David Brower Dinner will be held on Thursday, September 8th, from 6 to 9 pm, at the Delancey Street Town Hall in San Francisco. Purchase tickets and sponsorships online here.

Illustration by Emily Rasmussen, www.emilyras.com

Illustration by Emily Rasmussen, www.emilyras.com

Throughout the 100 years of the National Park Service’s history, the Sierra Club, in tandem with local organizations big and small, has worked to protect the natural and cultural heritage of the Bay Area and beyond. The granite peaks of Kings Canyon, the wind-sculpted terrain of Joshua Tree, the rugged cliffs of Point Reyes — all are protected through our National Park System. And all of these parks owe their existence in part to the Bay Area residents — including many Sierra Club members — who have worked for their creation and continued protection.

These places were not protected by accident. Were it not for the intrepid visionaries who worked so hard to preserve these national treasures, the old-growth forests of Muir Woods might have been flattened to make way for suburban sprawl; the natural and cultural history of Alcatraz and the Presidio could have disappeared beneath condos and office buildings; and a wall of hotels might have obscured the views off the Marin Headlands.

At this year’s David Brower Dinner, we will celebrate the people who led the campaigns to preserve the unique and fragile natural and cultural resources of the Bay Area; as well as the people whose lives and work embody the values of park preservation, education, and access.

We are thrilled to honor local heroes like Mia Monroe, who has introduced thousands of Bay Area residents to the wonders of nature during her tenure as park ranger at Muir Woods. With her deep passion for the forest and her commitment to sharing this passion with countless visitors young and old, Monroe has led generations of visitors into a deeper connection with this unique ecosystem. Monroe will be honored with our Edward Bennett Lifetime Achievement Award. Read more about Monroe.

Betty Reid Soskin, famed as the oldest active national park ranger, will receive our Trailblazer Award for a lifetime of service and barrier-breaking. Soskin, age 94, interprets local history at Rosie the Riveter WWII Home Front National Historical Park in Richmond. But that’s just the latest chapter in her story; she once told TV host Arsenio Hall, “I try to reinvent myself every decade”. From her first job in 1941 as a 20-year-old clerk in a Jim Crow-segregated union hall to serving as a West Contra Costa County field representative for two members of the California State Assembly, to becoming a National Park Service ranger at 85, Soskin views her trajectory as analogous to the country’s. Soskin urges park visitors to use WWII history as a template for facing down seemingly insurmountable odds, to ensure future generations will have a livable planet. Read more about Soskin.

We’re pleased to announce that we will also be recognizing Youth Going Green, a youth-focused waste-reduction program based in Oakland. Their work with elementary, middle school, and high school students fosters a sense of ecological awareness and environmental stewardship in the North Oakland community. These traits are increasingly essential as we continue to navigate the relationship between our expanding communities and the natural systems that define our beautiful region. The inspiring work of Youth Going Green serves to instill these values in the next generation of engaged citizens.

And, of course, we will acknowledge the contributions made by David Brower to our National Parks, both local and otherwise. Few figures embody the drive and dedication, the passion and commitment to protect our most beautiful wild places more than David Brower. As the leader of Sierra Club from 1952 to 1969, he helped protect some of our most cherished parks, from Redwood to Kings Canyon, Point Reyes to the canyons of the Colorado. Under his leadership, the Sierra Club grew from a regional hiking club to a conservation powerhouse, dedicated to preserving wild, beautiful places across the country. His spirit of passionate engagement has inspired countless conservationists to protect the wild places they love, and his belief in the “national park idea” has shaped our relationship to the parks in turn.

Today our national parks are more necessary than ever before. Urban refuges like the Golden Gate National Recreation Area offer easy access to open space for every member of our community. Wild places like Point Reyes and Muir Woods lie within close proximity to the diverse population centers of our region, providing every person with opportunities to connect with something larger than ourselves — regardless of age, race, class or creed. Across the country, national parks serve as beacons of beauty, proof that as a nation we can choose restraint, that we can honor the land that we call home.

We invite you to join us in celebrating this momentous milestone in our nation’s history. At this year’s David Brower Dinner, we’ll celebrate the 100-year anniversary of the National Park Service, and take time to acknowledge those who have protected our national heritage in the past, celebrate those who are continuing this vital effort in the present, and look forward to continuing this work into the future.

– Tayler Buffington

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Ranger and park advocate Mia Monroe to receive Edward Bennett Lifetime Achievement Award at 2016 David Brower Dinner

Muir Woods Site Supervisor Mia Monroe will be honored with the Edward Bennett Lifetime Achievement Award at the Sierra Club’s 2016 David Brower Dinner Gala: a celebration of the National Park Service centennial. The event will be held on Thursday, September 8th, 6 to 9 pm, at the Delancey Street Town Hall in San Francisco. To learn more about the event, and to purchase tickets or sponsorships, click here.

Photo by Paolo Vescia, courtesy Save the Redwoods League, http://bit.ly/28PJktv

Photo by Paolo Vescia, courtesy Save the Redwoods League, http://bit.ly/28PJktv

Mia Monroe took to the outdoors and stewardship early, from scouting to family sojourns in the Mojave. Conservation leaders on the Peninsula inspired her to organize a “walk to work/school”  event for the First Earth Day, in 1970, and to set up the area’s first recycling centers. It was only natural that when seeking a college internship she would turn to the Sierra Club. Becky Evans, a longtime Club activist and current Chapter chair, recommended Monroe to People for a Golden Gate National Recreation Area and introduced her to Amy Meyer, the “godmother of the GGNRA”.

Meyer forged Monroe’s commitment to the value of national parks near urban areas and the importance of park access for all. Meyer encouraged Monroe to help the Sierra Club’s Inner City Outings program (now Inspiring Connections Outdoors) get established. Monroe helped ICO grow into a national network, herself leading hundreds of ICO trips and serving as national ICO chair. She also led national trips for the Outings Program.

Mia Monroe shows kids the wonder of redwoods. Photo courtesy Save the Redwoods League, http://bit.ly/28OIjxb

Mia Monroe shows kids the wonder of redwoods. Photo courtesy Save the Redwoods League, http://bit.ly/28OIjxb

Early on, Monroe caught the attention of the fledgling GGNRA and was hired to bring youth to Fort Point National Historic Site as a park ranger. Her biological training seemed better suited for Muir Woods, and she transferred there in 1981. The old-growth forest and opportunities to steward, share, and educate in the Redwood Creek Watershed have become her life work.

Monroe is noted for being an early advocate of volunteerism, promoting the values of the natural soundscape, protection of endangered species, accessible parks for all (especially youth!), fostering collaborative work such as the Redwood Creek Vision, OneTam, and close cooperation with park partners such as Slide Ranch. Monroe is an avid hiker and gardener, and is often out watching for monarch butterflies.  She is a proud Life Member of the Sierra Club.

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Betty Reid Soskin, oldest active national park ranger, to receive Trailblazer Award at 2016 David Brower Dinner

Betty Reid Soskin will be honored with the Trailblazer Award at the Sierra Club’s 2016 David Brower Dinner Gala: a celebration of the National Park Service centennial. The event will be held on Thursday, September 8th, 6 to 9 pm, at the Delancey Street Town Hall in San Francisco. To learn more about the event, and to purchase tickets or sponsorships, click here.

Photo courtesy of Nancy DeVille for Sierra magazine.

Photo courtesy of Nancy DeVille for Sierra magazine.

Although Betty Reid Soskin has recently received national attention as the country’s oldest active national park ranger, she’s not resting on her laurels: she’s still got important work to do, and she says she’s got little time to waste. Three times each week, Soskin, 94, interprets the country’s history at Rosie the Riveter WWII Home Front National Historical Park in Richmond, California.

Soskin’s life has given her a unique view of history on the WWII “home front” and many other aspects of our national history. Betty Soskin (née Charbonnet) grew up in a Cajun/Creole African-American family that settled in the East Bay after the historic floods that devastated the City of New Orleans in 1927. Her parents joined her maternal grandfather, George Allen, who had resettled in Oakland at the end of World War I. The Allen family followed the pattern set by the black railroad workers who discovered the West Coast while serving as sleeping-car porters, waiters, and chefs for Southern Pacific and Santa Fe railroads — settling their families at the western end of their run where life might be less impacted by southern hostility.

Soskin attended local schools, graduating from Castlemont High School during the World’s Fair at Treasure Island. She can recall ferry-boat crossings at a time that precedes the construction of the bridges that span the Bay; and at a time when the Oakland International Airport consisted of two small hangars. She remembers Amelia Earhart’s departure and tragic loss as if it happened yesterday. She remembers the explosion at Port Chicago on July 17, 1944 and subsequent mutiny trials.

Soskin once told TV host Arsenio Hall, “I try to reinvent myself every decade”. From her first job in 1941 as a 20-year-old clerk in a Jim Crow-segregated union hall to serving as a West Contra Costa County field representative for two members of the California State Assembly, to becoming a National Park Service ranger at 85, Soskin views her trajectory as analogous to the country’s. In 1945 she and her young husband, Mel Reid, founded a small Berkeley music store called Reid’s Records, which still exists today. Betty also held positions as staff to a Berkeley city council member and as a field representative serving West Contra Costa County for two members of the California State Assembly: former Assemblywoman Dion Aroner and Senator Loni Hancock.

Soskin, who served as a consultant early on to help shape the Rosie the Riveter WWII Home Front National Historical Park, sees herself as a truth teller at heart. Though she never worked on a production line as a riveter, she views her history as relevant to the park’s mission, which is to explain the narrative of how the country hung together during the trying time of World War II. Soskin’s great grandmother was born a slave and died in 1948 at 102, and her mother lived to be 101. Soskin attended Barack Obama’s 2009 inauguration with a photo of her great grandmother in her breast pocket, standing in the shadow of the Lincoln Memorial.

“All of that American history, slavery through reconstruction, Plessy v. Ferguson, the Scottsboro Boys, and the First World War and through Black Lives Matter…all occurred within the lifetime of three women who were adults at the same time,” Soskin told Sierra magazine last year. She remembers how the country faced down the threat of fascism, and she believes those lessons can serve us today.

“I realized that we can use those years as a template to ensure our grandchildren will have a livable planet. I think we’re on the right track. I really do. I just wish I were going to be around longer,” she says.

Content thanks to Brad Rassler for Sierra magazine and Betty Reid Soskin.

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Celebrate national historic designation for the John Muir Memorial Hut

Muir Memorial Shelter NPS Conference Poster (1)Local Sierra Club members are invited to attend a special celebratory gathering at the new Sierra Club headquarters in downtown Oakland on August 18th. What are we celebrating? The John Muir Memorial Shelter on the Muir Trail’s Muir Pass in Kings Canyon National Park is — at last — on the National Register of Historic Places.

WHAT: Celebration of historic designation for Muir Memorial Shelter
WHEN: Thursday, August 18, 5 pm
WHERE
: Sierra Club headquarters, 2101 Webster Street, between Franklin and Webster, on the 13th floor. The closest BART station is 19th Street.
Please RSVP here!

This event is part of the Club’s yearlong celebration of the National Park Service Centennial, and a salute to the importance of Sierra Club history to America’s whole system of national parks. Early Sierra Club leader William Colby — who started the Club’s Outings program in 1901 — had the idea for a shelter at Muir Pass, about halfway along the length of the Muir Trail in Kings Canyon National Park. Colby saw the shelter as a specific tribute to John Muir and also as an emergency refuge for Muir Trail hikers. The 1930 stone building is the only structure built by the Sierra Club to honor our founder and environmental leader John Muir.

The gathering may also be the first chance for local Sierra Club members to experience the new Club headquarters, centrally located in downtown Oakland near Lake Merritt, two blocks from the 19th Street BART station.

Light refreshments will be available starting at 5 pm, just before the early-evening program: a presentation by legacy architect and Sierra Club volunteer Doug Harnsberger highlighting the history and unique architectural form of the octagonal stone hut. The structure was designed (on Will Colby’s request) by Bay Area architect Henry Gutterson, who was both a student and a colleague of Bernard Maybeck.

And we’re excited to report that we expect John Muir himself to grace this gathering by his presence.

A Sierra Club group of 15 will head up to Muir Pass for an August 25th ceremony to rededicate the Muir Memorial Shelter for its historic status. August 25th is the official National Park Centennial Day. The ceremony will include participants from the National Park Service, who will help install a new plaque for the Shelter. The plaque will be on display at the Sierra Club gathering in Oakland on August 18th.

There is no charge for this historic celebration, but a plea will be raised for donations to help keep in Sierra Club hands another historic Sierra Club structure in another important national park in the Sierra: namely, the former LeConte Memorial — now entitled Yosemite Conservation Heritage Center — in Yosemite Valley.

Chapter Chair Becky Evans encourages you to join us on August 18th for a happy celebration of history, parks, and Muir’s Range of Light.

Read more about Doug Harnsberger’s campaign get the John Muir Memorial Shelter on the National Register of Historic Places.

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On June 27th, Oakland could close the door on coal

Youth leaders from West Oakland at a July, 2015 rally against coal exports.

Youth leaders from West Oakland at a July, 2015 rally against coal exports.

It’s been nearly 15 months since we first learned about a backroom deal to turn Oakland into the West Coast’s biggest coal exporter. Now, the nightmare could finally be coming to an end. On Monday, June 27th, the Oakland City Council will hold a special hearing to unveil an ordinance designed to block coal and petroleum coke (petcoke) exports through Oakland. We need to turn out in force to show the council that if they stand up to the special interests pushing this dirty deal, we will have their backs.

Please join us on June 27th and help hold the council members to their promise to protect us all from coal exports. Here are the details:

WHAT: Oakland City Council hearing of an ordinance addressing coal exports
WHEN: Monday, June 27th, 4:30 pm (hearing begins at 5 pm)
WHERE: City Council Chambers, 3rd floor of City Hall, 1 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza, Oakland, CA 94612
RSVP Here!


We haven’t seen the language of the ordinance yet, but we have reason to hope that it will effectively block the deal to ship up to 10 million tons of Utah coal annually through a new export terminal planned for the Oakland Army Base redevelopment — a taxpayer-funded project located on public land. The coal would travel to the Bay Area in mile-long open-top rail cars, spreading toxic coal dust through countless communities along the way. West Oakland residents, who already suffer disproportionately from bad air quality,1 would be hit hardest by health impacts including asthma, pneumonia,2 emphysema and heart disease.3

Please join us on the 27th and help ensure that Oakland’s elected officials prioritize public health and safety above the profits of Utah’s coal industry and private developers.

If we can stop this coal-export project, we’ll be strengthening the “thin green line” being drawn down the West Coast by communities like ours. The goal is a continent-wide blockade of coal exports, and the stakes are no less than the future of our planet. If we can stop this proposal to export 10 million tons of coal to overseas markets each year, it will be the equivalent of wiping out the carbon emissions of seven average power plants.4

June 27th could be the day we close the door on coal for good — but we can’t underestimate the persuasive power of the special interests who stand to benefit financially from the coal-export deal. They’ll be sure to turn out in force, so we need you to show up, too. Please RSVP today to let us know we can count on you on the 27th.

 

[1] Rubenstein, Grace. “Air Pollution Controversy Swirls Around Oakland Army Base Development | News Fix | KQED News.” KQED News. May 6, 2014. http://ww2.kqed.org/news/air-pollution-dispute-west-oakland-army-base.

[2] Brook, Robert, et al, “Particulate Matter Air Pollution and Cardiovascular Disease. An Update to the Scientific Statement From the American Heart Association.” May 9, 2010. Accessed February 10, 2016. http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/early/2010/05/10/CIR.b013e3181dbece1.

[3] Landen, Deborah D., James T. Wassell, Linda Mcwilliams, and Ami Patel, et al. “Coal Dust Exposure and Mortality from Ischemic Heart Disease among a Cohort of U.S. Coal Miners.” Am. J. Ind. Med. American Journal of Industrial Medicine 54, no. 10 (2011): 727-33



[4] Technical Memorandum Air Quality, Climate Change, And Environmental Justice Issues From Oakland Trade And Global Logistics Center. Sustainable Systems Research, LLC, 2015.

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Meeting on High Sierra forest plans on June 29th in SF

Two bristlecone pines on the Discovery Trail in the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest, Inyo  National Forest.

Two bristlecone pines on the Discovery Trail in the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest, Inyo
National Forest.

The Forest Service has just released its Draft Environmental Impact Statement (Draft EIS) for the revision of the land-management plans (“forest plans”) for Inyo, Sierra, and Sequoia National Forests. These are the forests adjacent to Yosemite and Sequoia Kings Canyon National Parks in the High Sierra. Inyo includes the White Mountains. Together the forests include nearly 4.6 million acres of national forest system lands in the southern Sierra Nevada of California and parts of western Nevada. You can find the Draft EIS and other related documents here.

Each of the three forests has multiple wild, un-roaded areas eminently deserving and eligible for being recommended for wilderness designation: the highest level of conservation protection for federal lands. However, of four alternatives offered in the EIS, the one identified as “preferred” (Alternative B) contains NO additional wilderness recommendations for Sierra or Sequoia, and proposes only small additions to three existing wildernesses in Inyo — out of a dozen eligible areas deserving of wilderness protection. The wilderness recommendations in Alternative B are totally inadequate.

Alternative C is the most environmentally friendly alternative in the EIS. It contains a reasonable amount of additional wilderness and Wild and Scenic River recommendations. It emphasizes the role of natural processes in forest restoration and provides less acreage for timber production. It retains and adds prescriptive standards and guidelines to reduce potential short-term impacts to habitats for the California spotted owl, Sierra marten, and Pacific fisher.

The Forest Service is holding a public meeting on these proposed plans on June 29th in San Francisco. Please join us at this meeting to tell the Forest Service to fully protect our precious National Forests. We will provide further information prior to the meeting in front of the meeting room.

DATE: Wednesday, June 29th
TIME: 6 to 9 pm
LOCATION: Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture, Gallery 308, 2 Marina Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94123
RSVP here

You can also directly comment on the EIS for these forest plans online here, or by email to r5planrevision@fs.fed.us.

For further information, contact Alan Carlton at carltonal@yahoo.com.

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Volunteer signature-gatherers needed for initiative to protect Richmond hills

The Richmond Hills Scenic Area Initiative applies to an undeveloped hillside area of roughly 430 acres (greyed out in map above) surrounded by public and private lands.

The Richmond Hills Scenic Area Initiative applies to an undeveloped hillside area of roughly 430 acres (greyed out in map above) surrounded by public and private lands.

We need your help to qualify an initiative for the ballot that would protect a special stretch of scenic open space in the Richmond hills north of Wildcat Canyon.

To qualify the Richmond Hills Initiative for the ballot, we need to gather 6,000 signatures in the next few months. It’s a big effort, but we can do it if we all pitch in! If you can volunteer a few hours of your time to support this important initiative, please sign up for one or more signature-gathering shifts.

Slump on the Clark-Boas portion of the property. If the city of Richmond approves housing developments here, it could open itself to liability due to geologic instability.

Slump on the Clark-Boas portion of the property. If the city of Richmond approves housing developments here, it could open itself to liability due to geologic instability.

The initiative would protect 430 acres of undeveloped hillside with stunning panoramic views and important ecological value. The area offers a mixture of dense oak forest, rolling hills, stream beds, and pasture — all providing homes for birds and wildlife. Although the land is poorly suited for development (it’s prone to landslides, for one), it has been targeted for large-scale housing projects numerous times over the years. Right now, these misguided developments have to be beaten back one-by-one.

The Richmond Hills Initiative would protect this land forever by rezoning it to preserve scenic views, protect wildlife habitat, and prevent residential subdivisions and other harmful development. The area would be open to recreation like hiking and horseback riding, as well as small-scale agriculture and grazing. This initiative is modeled after similar initiatives that have successfully protected open space in Dublin, Hercules, and elsewhere.

Nine watersheds provide potential habitat for endangered species.

Nine watersheds provide potential habitat for endangered species.

Signature gatherers will work in pairs at high-traffic locations like farmers markets, grocery stores, and special events. It’s a great way to do good and meet new people, so sign up today! If you’re interested in volunteering, or even if you’re still on the fence, come to this Saturday’s volunteer orientation to learn more about the initiative and get trained in signature gathering:

WHAT: Volunteer orientation
WHEN: Saturday, May 28th, 9 – 10 am
WHERE: 3841 Linden Lane, El Sobrante (map)
RSVP: to richmondhills2016@gmail.com

This is our chance to protect our hills for the long-term — but first, the initiative needs to qualify for the ballot. Please sign up to gather signatures, even if you have only a few hours to give. This is a big endeavor and we need your help now to protect our beautiful open space forever!

Alameda County fracking ban moves forward — Come to 6/1 campaign meeting to strategize next steps

What a whirlwind Monday’s hearing was! In case you missed it, after years of immense pressure and delays from the oil industry, the Planning Commission voted 6-0 to approve the anti-fracking ordinance! The next step is a vote of the Transportation and Planning Committee (stay tuned for details). Then it will move on to a final vote of the full Board of Supervisors.

We are well on our way to banning fracking and protecting our groundwater, our children’s health, and the future of Alameda County. What’s next? Join us at a critical campaign meeting Wednesday, June 1st, to hammer out how we’re going to win!

The fracking ban as it stands also prohibits cyclic steam injection, acid fracturing, well stimulation, and nearly every other dirty and dangerous method of extreme oil extraction. But here’s the tricky part: the ordinance that the Planning Commission recommended includes one weakness, which is a loophole allowing some kinds of waterflooding, a water-intensive “cousin” of fracking.

Can we stand behind this ordinance as it moves to the Board of Supervisors? As Alameda County Against Fracking, we have to decide. And for that, we need you. Join us at a can’t-miss campaign meeting to discuss our future and what winning will look like:

WHAT: Alameda County Against Fracking: What’s next? Campaign meeting and supporter meet-up
WHERE: Food & Water Watch, 1814 Franklin St., 11th Floor, Oakland, CA (take BART to 19th St.)
WHEN: Wednesday, June 1st, 6-7:30 PM
RSVP: on Facebook, or email eteevan@fwwatch.org

We’ve come this far, thanks to your tireless work. Now it’s time to think hard about the future of Alameda County.

Ella Teevan, Food & Water Watch

Zeke rides again! Fourth annual climate ride for 15-year-old from Berkeley

Zeke and his bike, from his Instagram page, @zekegerwein

Zeke and his bike, from his Instagram page, @zekegerwein

Now 15 years old, Zeke Gerwin will ride again this summer to raise awareness of climate change and raise money for the Bay Chapter’s work to create a just transition to a 100-percent-renewable-energy economy and stop dangerous fossil fuels from coming through the Bay Area.

This is the fourth year in a row that Zeke will be spending his summer  break pedaling for climate justice. Last year he raised $4,939 from fans and supporters who share his concerns about the climate and want to encourage Zeke’s dedication. Here are a few words from Zeke about this year’s ride:

“This summer I’ve chosen to ride my bicycle along the dirt roads and trails that run 4,000 miles along the length of the Rocky Mountains through three countries (Canada, the U.S., and Mexico).

While I am super excited about this ride because it will be an amazing adventure, it does not seem like it will do all that much to stop climate change. It might not. It might be useless (come to think of it, this might not actually be the smartest thing to put in a letter imploring people to give money to the Sierra Club). But I really, really hope it will do at least something, act as a tiny levee to stop the flood of carbon dioxide.

I want to talk to the people who live along the Great Divide; the First Nations people of Alberta whose homes are destroyed by the Tar Sands; the ranchers in Montana who have watched coal mining ruin whole mountains; the Coloradans who have to admire the view of miles of pine forest scoured by the pine beetle (which is now surviving through the winter due to global warming); farmers in Estado de Chihuahua who have observed the Chihuahuan Desert march forward, once lush mountainsides ravaged by drought.

I want to talk to people who subscribe to the views of the Koch Brothers and Cruz and Trump and Kasich and Clinton. It will be hard, and I may end up avoiding it, but I want to convince them that this is happening, to show them the evidence.

The Sierra Club has defeated over half of the coal plants in the United States, worked with many other environmental groups to stop the Keystone XL pipeline, and is now battling on the front lines to stop coal exports, right here in the Bay Area.

And in case you were wondering, since this is a self-organized ride funded by my oh-so-generous parents, every cent of your donation goes to the Sierra Club.”

Show your support

Zeke dipping his tire in the Pacific after last summer’s 4,000-plus-mile ride across the continental U.S.

Zeke dipping his tire in the Pacific after last summer’s 4,000-plus-mile ride across the continental U.S.

If you believe in Zeke’s mission, please give today! You can make a donation online, or make out a check payable to “SF Bay Chapter, Sierra  Club” and send it to:

2530 San Pablo Avenue, Suite I
Berkeley CA 94702

Put  “Zeke’s Ride” in the memo line so that your contribution counts toward Zeke’s goals.

Want to ride with Zeke?

Zeke is looking for a biking buddy for the last leg of his trip from August 15th in Los Angeles to August 24th in Mexico. If you are a seasoned cyclist interested in joining the trip, send an email to zekesride@sfbaysc.org for more information.

Follow Zeke’s ride online

Can’t get enough Zeke? Follow him on Instagram @zekegerwein and check out his blog. Happy trails, Zeke, and thanks!