July 24, 2014

Search Results for: tesla

Tesla Park decision-point coming soon

Tesla Park -- Corral Hollow Creek wilds in fall. Photo by Pete Veilleux, East Bay Wilds.

Tesla Park — Corral Hollow Creek wilds in fall. Photo by Pete Veilleux, East Bay Wilds.

The campaign to protect Tesla Park is coming to a head. Some time this spring we expect the Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Division of the State Parks Department to issue an Environmental Impact Report for its decision whether to turn these lands of great natural and historic value over to the use of destructive off-road vehicles.

Tesla Park’s combines many important resources–natural, historic and cultural–in one place. Tesla is believed to have been a seasonal hunting, gathering, trading, and ceremonial site for Ohlone peoples from the East Bay and Miwok and Yokut peoples from the Central Valley. Among the impressive Native American cultural resources are unusual bedrock mortars and 5 – 10,000 year-old petroglyphs. Local Ohlone leaders and Native American groups have joined the call to preserve not only the Native American archeological artifacts, but the natural landscape surrounding them. The Preferred Concept Plan issued in November by the Carnegie State Vehicular Recreation Area would allow off-highway-vehicle trails to be built around these important sacred and cultural sites. The Society of Native Americans in Livermore, Indian People Organizing for Change, and others recently wrote to State Parks Director Jackson and State Resource Agency Secretary Laird asking them to Save Tesla Park.

WhatYouCanDo

Write to:

Secretary John Laird
State Natural Resources Agency
1416 Ninth St., #1311
Sacramento, CA 95814

Major General Anthony L. Jackson, USMC (Retired)
Director, State Parks Department
1416 Ninth St., #1405
Sacramento, CA 95814.

Urge them to save Tesla Park as a non-motorized park and preserve.

We don’t know yet exactly when the Tesla EIR will be released for public comments. To get our notification, make sure you are on the Bay Chapter’s e-mail list. Go to http://action.sierraclub.org/site/PageNavigator/CHP_SFBay_SignUp, and sign up for our East Bay Bulletin and updates and alerts.

Contact your legislators to help save Tesla Park

Preserving the Tesla Park land is important because of its unique place in the regional ecosystem and its associated biodiversity. Tesla Park contains numerous threatened, endangered, and protected species, varied terrain, and rare plant communities, aside from its cultural riches and scenic beauty. Photo by Pete Veilleux, East Bay Wilds.

Preserving the Tesla Park land is important because of its unique place in the regional ecosystem and its associated biodiversity. Tesla Park contains numerous threatened, endangered, and protected species, varied terrain, and rare plant communities, aside from its cultural riches and scenic beauty. Photo by Pete Veilleux, East Bay Wilds.

We need your help to Save Tesla Park (see October-November Yodeler, page 3). This biologically unique and culturally important landscape in eastern Alameda County would be devastated if off-highway-vehicle recreation is allowed there. Tesla Park should be protected now and for future generations.

One of our strategies for protecting Tesla is to change its use plan at the state level to designate Tesla as a non-motorized recreation park and “sensitive area” (this is the bureaucratically correct term for making this area effectively a preserve). Tesla is located in the districts of Assemblymember Joan Buchanan and Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, who support preserving Tesla Park. Now we are working to expand the legislative support across the Bay Area caucus.

WhatYouCanDo

Contact your state senator and assemblymember at:

State Capitol
Sacramento, CA 95814
www.sen.ca.gov
www.assembly.ca.gov.

If you live in the district of Rep. Eric Swalwell, contact him at:

5075 Hopyard Road, # 220
Pleasanton, CA 94588
http://swalwell.house.gov/contact-me/email-eric/.

Urge them to ask Resource Agency Secretary John Laird and State Parks Director Anthony Jackson to designate Tesla Park as a non-motorized historic and natural-resource park and sensitive-area preserve.

For more information about Tesla see http://sanfranciscobay.sierraclub.org/environment/tesla-site.htm.

Celeste Garamendi, Friends of Tesla

Come to public meeting to support preserving Tesla Park

Preserving the Tesla Park land is important because of its unique place in the regional ecosystem and its associated biodiversity. Tesla Park contains numerous threatened, endangered, and protected species, varied terrain, and rare plant communities, aside from its cultural riches and scenic beauty. Photo by Pete Veilleux, East Bay Wilds.

Preserving the Tesla Park land is important because of its unique place in the regional ecosystem and its associated biodiversity. Tesla Park contains numerous threatened, endangered, and protected species, varied terrain, and rare plant communities, aside from its cultural riches and scenic beauty. Photo by Pete Veilleux, East Bay Wilds.

Help preserve Tesla Park from the threat of off-roaders (see “Tesla–a park for preservation or for ORVs?”).

On Nov. 12 the Carnegie State Vehicular Recreation Area and the State Parks Department’s Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Division are holding a public meeting. They will present their “Preferred Concept Alternative”, for adding Tesla to the off-roading area. We need to show up to show our strong opposition to this plan–and our support for preserving Tesla’s beauty, natural values, and historic remains.

We expect that a Draft Environmental Impact Report will be issued for the park some time in the next 2 – 3 months. At that time it will again be important to write letters.

Come speak out at the meeting!

What: A  public meeting regarding adding Tesla to the off-roading area, held by the Carnegie State Vehicular Recreation Area and the State Parks Department’s Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Division.
When: Tue., Nov. 12, at 7:30 pm on
Where: Amador High School, 1155 Santa Rita Road, Pleasanton (map).

To get the latest information about this meeting and to RSVP, sign up for email updates at sfbay.sierraclub.org/updates

If you are driving and can pick people up at 7 pm at the Dublin Pleasanton BART station and bring them to Amador High School, contact Janis Turner at (925)344-6150 or email her at janiskate@gmail.com

If you are taking BART and don’t want to or can’t ride your bike to the meeting from BART (it is about 3 miles), contact Janis Turner, (925)344-6150 / janiskate@gmail.com, and see if you can get a ride from BART.

After the meeting it will be possible to submit on-line comments on the “Preferred Conceptual Alternative” and this is another reason to sign up for email updates at sfbay.sierraclub.org/updates

For more information, see www.TeslaPark.org.

Save Tesla Park!

Speak up to keep Tesla in Park District Master Plan

A portion of the Tesla site. Don't let this be torn up by off-road vehicles.

A portion of the Tesla site. Don’t let this be torn up by off-road vehicles.

A state agency has sent a letter pressuring the East Bay Regional Park District to drop the Tesla Property from the District’s Master Plan.

The Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Division of the state Department of Parks and Recreation bought these 3,400 acres of rolling hills on the eastern border of Alameda County with the intent of adding them to its Carnegie State Vehicular Recreation Area. It is now preparing an Environmental Impact Report (EIR, expected to be issued in winter 2014) on future use of the land. A key provision of the California Environmental Quality Act is that the EIR must weigh alternative uses.

The Sierra Club is working to preserve these lands–in particular to protect them from the devastation of off-road vehicle use (see June-July Yodeler, page 4). The fact that the site is included in the Park District’s Master Plan as a potential regional preserve demonstrates that a more protective use is possible. We support keeping Tesla in the plan. The Division should fairly study this viable alternative use in its EIR, and not try to eliminate it.

WhatYouCanDo

Write to the Park District. Urge it to stand firm in keeping the Tesla property in its Master Plan, continue to offer to work with the Off-Highway Division on an alternative protective use for Tesla, and submit comments on the upcoming EIR.

Write to John Sutter, president of the Board of Directors; Ayn Wieskamp, director for Ward 5, the ward that includes Tesla; and general manager Robert Doyle at:

East Bay Regional Park District
P.O. Box 5381
Oakland, CA 94605

jsutter@ebparks.org

bdoyle@ebparks.org

awieskamp@ebparks.org

Text of the Off-Highway Division’s letter:

State of California • Natural Resources Agency
Edmund G. Brown Jr., Governor
DEPARTMENT OF PARKS AND RECREATION
Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Division
1725 23rd Street, Suite 200
Sacramento, California 95816

Major General Anthony L. Jackson, USMC (Ret.), Director

August 21, 2013

Mr. Robert Doyle
General Manager
East Bay Regional Park District
2950 Peralta Oaks Court
Oakland, CA 94605

Dear Mr. Doyle,

California State Parks has received the East Bay Regional Park District’s (EBRPD) letter dated July 16, 2013, regarding Carnegie State Vehicular Recreation Area (SVRA) General Plan Concept Alternatives. In the letter, there are a number of statements relevant to the present and future relationship between your group, the EBRPD and California State Parks Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation (OHMVR) Division.

The letter references Mr. Brian Holt’s attendance at a Public Workshop held by California State Parks regarding land within Carnegie SVRA. His letter offers feedback regarding your group’s opinion about public usage of the properties. We acknowledge and appreeratethis input, as this is precisely why Public Workshops are valuable for the creation of General Plans for parks in the California State Park System.

In his letter, Mr. Holt identifies the “Tesla Property” as being on the EBRPD Master Plan Map of 2007. He states that “it continues to be identified as potential parkland during the ongoing update of the Master Plan Map should the opportunity become available.” It is imperative to recognize that all properties in question are in fact owned by California State Parks. The specific property Mr. Holt refers to, the “Tesla Property”, was acquired by the OHMVR Division of California State Parks as an extension of Carnegie SVRA. This acquisition was approved by the Governor, the Legislature, and the Department of Finance. There is no disputing to whom this parcel belongs.

When the EBRPD first identified this State Park property on your Master Plan Map in 2007, Deputy Director Daphne Greene (OHMVR Division) issued a letter to you explaining that the “Tesla Property” would be included in the planning process for recreation within Carnegie SVRA. The letter specifically stated that “this area will remain in operation and management by the California State Parks OHMVR Division, and is not under considerationJor C!L -” Since the EBRPD assists in management of other properties owned by California State Parks, the letter also referenced future opportunities for the EBRPD to assist with interpretative programming at Carnegie SVRA.

We expected that once the EBRPD was officially notified that the property was owned by California State Parks for inclusion in the Carnegie SVRA General Plan, that the EBRPD would accept this reality and promptly remove the property from its own maps. Your recent letter and actions clearly say otherwise.

The ‘Tesla Property” was again included in your East Bay Regional Parks District Draft 2012 Master Plan. It was identified as “potential EBRPD parklands.” On October 16, 2012, you were issued another letter from the Acting Deputy Director OHMVR Division, Chief Phil Jenkins. His letter reiterated our position stated in the 2007 letter and further explained the legally mandated purpose of lands acquired by State Vehicular Recreation Areas for off­ highway vehicle usage. In part, his letter states, “Given OHMVR Division’s obligated interest in identifying uses of the properties consistent with use of OHV Trust Fund dollars, along with the underlying OHMVR Division Act, further inclusion of the ‘Tesla” property as “potential EBRPD parklands” appears to be inappropriate and the OHMVR Division requests its removal from the final EBRPD Master Plan.”

Chief Jenkins’ letter was intended to fully clarify our position, and to allow the EBRPD to correct your Master Plan before further straining the relationship between the EBRPD and California State Parks. For this reason we were very disappointed by your decision at the July 16, 2013 EBRPD Board Meeting to reassert false ownershiof portions of the Carnegie SVRA by including “Tesla Property” as a part of your Master Plan approval. These actions create undue confusion and ambiguity for our public, especially as we are attempting to complete our General Plan for the complete Carnegie SVRA.

There is no ambiguity regarding that parcel’s ownership status in the eyes of the law. The California Legislature approved acquisition of the Tesla Property for the expressed purpose of being part of the Carnegie SVRA. It is purposely misleading to identify portions of the Carnegie SVRA as a part of your Master Plan because it belongs, unequivocally to the California Department of Parks and Recreation. The EBRPD position on this issue stands in the way of our continued constructive partnership. Our organizations have many more shared goals and visions that should be the seeds of shared collaboration, not the center of conflict.

It is the mission of California State Parks to provide a multitude of recreational opportunities for our citizens. Therefore, we do encourage you to collaborate with OHMVR Division and the Twin Cities District (which Carnegie SVRA is a part of) in pursuing land use plans that will allow for more varied forms of recreation. Those forms of recreation include Off­ highway Motor Vehicle Recreation as mandated by our Legislature and managed by the OHMVR Division. We recognize the special attributes of the ‘Tesla Property,” and we would prefer to work together to complement your Master Plan rather than debate ownership rights.

We strongly request that the East Bay Regional Park District remove references to property owned by California State Parks from the East Bay Regional Park District Draft 2012 Master Plan and all subsequent documents. We sincerely hope that we can resolve our political differences and forge a shared path to provide Californians responsible access to our natural treasures.

Thank you for the opportunity to discuss the Tesla Property and California State Parks plans for its stewardship and access as part of Carnegie SVRA. Please feel free to call me at (916) 324-5801 if you have further questions.

Sincerely,

Christopher C. Conlin
Deputy Director
Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Division

cc: Major General Anthony L. Jackson, USMC (Ret), Director, California State Parks
Aaron Robertson, Chief Deputy Director, California State Parks
Mat Fuzie, Deputy Director, Park Operations, California State Parks
Phil Jenkins, Chief, OHMVR Division, California State Parks
Michael Fehling, District Superintendent, Twin Cities District, California State Parks

Your chance to help save Tesla Park–Monday, June 10

Update (July 1, 2013). Take action now to protect Tesla!

 

Monday, June 10–workshop on alternatives–6 – 8:30 pm (drop in any time), Tracy High School cafeteria, 315 East 11th Street, Tracy.

Should the Tesla property become a real park–or be added to the Carnegie State Vehicular Recreation Area for off-highway vehicles (OHV) to roar through (see August-September 2012, page H)?

Preserving the Tesla Park land is important because of its unique place in the regional ecosystem and its associated biodiversity. Tesla Park contains numerous threatened, endangered, and protected species, varied terrain, and rare plant communities, aside from its cultural riches and scenic beauty. Photo by Pete Veilleux, East Bay Wilds.

Preserving the Tesla Park land is important because of its unique place in the regional ecosystem and its associated biodiversity. Tesla Park contains numerous threatened, endangered, and protected species, varied terrain, and rare plant communities, aside from its cultural riches and scenic beauty. Photo by Pete Veilleux, East Bay Wilds.

The Sierra Club is working with Friends of Tesla Park to establish the Tesla Park land in eastern Alameda County as a natural and historic park for low-impact recreation. The State Parks Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Division (OHMVR), however, is moving forward on an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for adding Tesla to the Carnegie Vehicular Area. The draft is expected this fall or winter.

We have been insisting that the EIR must include analysis of non-OHV alternatives for the Tesla Park area. Thus far, the OHMVR Division has stated that it will not study these.

The OHMVR Division is holding a public workshop to unveil three alternatives for the EIR to evaluate. Through attending, you can show the Division that there is strong support for preserving this jewel of a park.

The Sierra Club, along with others in the Friends of Tesla Park alliance, is also petitioning the OHMVR Division to schedule another workshop in Alameda County.

For more information on how you can help Save Tesla Park, go to www.TeslaPark.org or e-mail Peter Rauch of the Sierra Club East Bay Public Lands Committee at peterar@berkeley.edu.

Saving Tesla Park from the off-road sci-fi crowd–Tri-Valley Group–Thursday, November 8

Carnegie State Vehicular Recreation Area. This is no way to take care of parklands. Should we be adding new acreage to it?

Carnegie State Vehicular Recreation Area. This is no way to take care of parklands. Should we be adding new acreage to it?

Thursday, November 8, 7:30 pm, Livermore Civic Center Library, 1188 South Livermore Avenue.

If you’ve never been on a hike to the Carnegie State Vehicular Recreation Area, there’s a good reason: it’s a reverse wonderland of ruts and gullies, bare earth denuded of all but the toughest vegetation, and the exhaust fumes of two-stroke engines. Ten-year-olds in fluorescently colored padded suits ride contraptions out of science-fiction movies up steep hillsides–or wipe out trying. If this spot has any redeeming social value, it is as a sacrifice area to concentrate off-roaders to keep them from ravaging other terrains.

If you’ve never been to Tesla Park, on the other hand, it’s because the state Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation (OHMVR) Division has purchased the site, and hasn’t opened it yet to general use. These rolling hills, though, are home to a large variety of rare, threatened, and endangered plant and wildlife species and are a migration route for many bird species, mountain lions, and tule elk. They contain Native American artifacts (some at least 4,000 years old) and hold the site of the abandoned historic coal-mining town of Tesla. It’s a perfect site for a low-impact park and preserve, but the OHMVR Division wants to use it as an addition to the adjacent Carnegie off-roading area.

The TriValley Group welcomes Nancy Rodrigue and Celeste Garamendi of Friends of Tesla Park, who will tell us of the campaign to preserve Tesla from the off-road fate. They will update the information Dan Mosier gave us a few years ago in a presentation and a hike. Come learn what you can do to keep off-road vehicles out of Tesla Park.

A portion of the Tesla site. Don't let this be torn up by off-road vehicles.

A portion of the Tesla site. Don’t let this be torn up by off-road vehicles.

For more information, contact Janis Kate Turner at janiskate@gmail.com or (925)443-4372.

Tesla–a park for preservation or for ORVs?

Carnegie State Vehicular Recreation Area. This is no way to take care of parklands. Should we be adding new acreage to it?

Carnegie State Vehicular Recreation Area. This is no way to take care of parklands. Should we be adding new acreage to it?

Should the state expand the 1,300-acre Carnegie State Vehicular Recreation Area (SVRA) to include the 3,400-acre Alameda/Tesla site?

For over 30 years Carnegie, on the Alameda-San Joaquin County border, has been a playground for all sorts of off-road vehicles. This motorized activity has denuded the hills of plant and animal life, and sent enough eroded sediments into Corral Hollow Creek that the park is under state mandate to repair the creek-bed and mitigate for the damages.

The state Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Division has purchased the Tesla site, on the eastern boundary of Alameda County near Tracy and 10 miles southeast of Livermore via Tesla Road, with the intention of expanding the Carnegie SVRA. It is currently preparing an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for this project.

Carnegie is an environmental and aesthetic disaster. Tesla should not be opened for similar abuse. The land is home to a large variety of rare, threatened, and endangered plant and wildlife species and is a migration route for many bird species, mountain lions, and tule elk. It contains native American artifacts (some at least 4,000 years old) and is the site of an abandoned historic coal-mining town.

A portion of the Tesla site. Don't let this be torn up by off-road vehicles.

A portion of the Tesla site. Don’t let this be torn up by off-road vehicles.

A better use would be to develop the site as a non-motorized, low-impact park oriented towards historic and natural resources.

WhatYouCanDo

To work with the Sierra Club to protect Tesla, contact Janis Kate Turner, chair of the Club’s Tri-Valley Group, at (925)443-4372 or janiskate@gmail.com.

When the EIR is finished, we will need you to write letters. To be sure of being notified, sign up for the Bay Chapter’s monthly e-mail East Bay Bulletin and “Updates and alerts”.

For an action alert to protect Tesla, go to http://action.biologicaldiversity.org/o/2167/t/5243/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=11029.

For more information, see the web site of Friends of Tesla Park at www.Teslapark.org.

State parks need to change approach to off-road vehicles

Tesla Park -- Corral Hollow Creek wilds in fall. Photo by Pete Veilleux.

Tesla Park — Corral Hollow Creek wilds in fall. Photo by Pete Veilleux.

The Sierra Club’s early experience with high country outings offers an important lesson for the agency overseeing state parks.

In 1901, just nine years after the Club’s founding, its volunteer leaders organized the Club’s first High Trip. Nearly 100 people traveled together to Tuolumne Meadows in the Sierra Nevada to participate in this multi-week camping trip supported by pack animals and a crew of cooks.

The annual High Trip became a signature Sierra Club event and exposed thousands of people to California’s most dramatic mountain range.

Yet eventually Club leaders and scientists grew concerned about the impact of such a large outing on the environment and on other outdoor enthusiasts trying to enjoy nature. Eventually, after 50 years of High Trips, to protect the Sierra Nevada we love, the Club ended the tradition.

The lesson from the High Trip history: sometimes an institution must change its practices to protect the land that is the essence of its purpose.

The Department of State Parks and Recreation and the Parks Forward Commission, responsible for envisioning the state-park system for coming decades, would do well to apply this lesson as they consider the role of off-road-vehicle (ORV) parks.

Late last year several Club members and I toured two existing ORV parks and one hilly oak-studded area planned for an off-road vehicle park. Our guides were the knowledgeable and dedicated director and other staff of the Off Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation (OHMVR) division of State Parks.

Carnegie State Vehicular Recreation Area. This is no way to take care of parklands. Should we be adding new ORV acreage?

Carnegie State Vehicular Recreation Area. This is no way to take care of parklands. Should we be adding new ORV acreage?

What we saw was distressing. First stop was the Carnegie State Vehicular Recreation Area (SVRA) near Tracy, once a private off-road vehicle park, which has been owned by the state for more than 25 years.

We saw heavy erosion on hillsides where all-terrain-vehicle (ATV) riders and motorcyclists have created deeply rutted paths.

We saw evidence of the park employees’ unsuccessful efforts to curb riders from zooming off trails and through grass and shrub.

Another tour destination, Hollister Hills SVRA outside of Hollister, is more organized and shows fewer signs of off-trail mayhem. State Parks points to this as a model off-road vehicle park.

Yet we saw that even this model suffers from the noise, dust, air pollution, and ruts that inherent with ORVs.

These two parks underscore the incompatibility of ORV parks with State Parks’ public-trust mission of preserving and protecting natural areas and their ecosystem services in perpetuity.

Which brings me to the third site on our tours, 3,400 acres of hilly blue-oak woodland, mountain-savannah grassland, scrub sage, and riparian areas. The site is in the southeast corner of Alameda County, a short hop from Carnegie SVRA.

Parts of this land have been overgrazed, but generally, when you stand on the hill in its center and look out over other undeveloped hills in the distance, you feel like you’re experiencing an increasingly rare natural area remarkably close to urban bustle.

The OHMVR division is determined to turn this land into another ORV park. The division likes this area because it is close to Carnegie. Others, including many of our active members, want to see this area preserved as a park–called Tesla Park–for hikers and picnickers. They want people and wildlife to be able to enjoy this jewel without competing with motorcycles and ATVs.

Earlier this month, the large volunteer committee that makes policy for Sierra Club California adopted a position opposing expansion of state vehicular recreational areas “because of the inherent detrimental and destructive environmental effects of expansion. These effects include destruction of habitat and vegetation, disturbance of wildlife, CO2 and other emissions, excessive noise, and preclusion of other visitors.”

I don’t make Club policy. The volunteers do. But I do have opinions and before my visit to Carnegie and Tesla, I might have thought expanding the SVRAs made sense because there are a lot of good people–including a childhood friend with whom I used to draw pictures of race cars–who really enjoy off-roading.

I have seen Carnegie and Tesla and Hollister Parks, though, and strongly believe our volunteers have taken the right position. It no longer makes sense, if it ever did, for the state to enable activities in natural areas that dramatically scar the land, disrupt wildlife, and create constant noise.

State Parks should apply the lesson the Club learned from the High Trips. It ought to start by abandoning plans to turn Tesla Park into a recreational-vehicle park.

Then it should double down on restoring the damage done at Carnegie.

Kathryn Phillips, director, Sierra Club California

2013—a year of successes and of building for the future

The Sierra Club Bay Chapter joined with the California Nurses Association in the “Heal America, End Climate Change” march across the Golden Gate Bridge on June 20. During 2013 the Bay Chapter collaborated with a wide range of organizations on efforts to stop climate disruption.

The Sierra Club Bay Chapter joined with the California Nurses Association in the “Heal America, End Climate Change” march across the Golden Gate Bridge on June 20. During 2013 the Bay Chapter collaborated with a wide range of organizations on efforts to stop climate disruption.

In 2013 the Sierra Club Bay Chapter achieved a series of big successes, looking outward to the global concerns of energy and climate change, looking inward to our cities and open spaces, and looking forward to build for the future.

Energy and climate change

Climate disruption is the great threat of our time—to open space and to cities, to wildlife and to humans, to all aspects of our environment—and the Bay Chapter focuses on greening our energy use—to reduce the Bay Area’s contribution to climate change, and to set an example for the rest of the nation and world. Our Energy and Climate Change Committee has re-energized itself with a set of active campaigns.

  • Solar Homes campaign. The Sierra Club’s Solar Homes campaign provides an affordable way for homeowners to install solar panels on their roofs. In 2013, 40 homeowners in the Bay Chapter got solar panels through our program. The campaign continues; get your solar panels now (see http://theyodeler.org/?p=8974).
  • Stop the Keystone XL pipeline. The Chapter is working with the Club’s national campaign and with numerous other organizations to persuade Pres. Obama to block completion of the Keystone XL pipeline, which would bring dirty tar-sands oil to U.S. refineries and shipping points. We played a major role in organizing the Feb. 17 Forward on Climate rally in San Francisco, with 5,000 participants the largest such rally ever in the city (see April, front page).
  • Keep fossil fuels out of the Bay Area—Bay Area Campaign on Fossil Fuels (BAC-OFF). We’ve started up a major new campaign to prevent the import of fossil fuels to the Bay Area, for local use or for export. The first major target is a proposed oil-storage and transfer facility in Pittsburg, which would increase the capacity of the five Bay Area refineries, putting our community’s health and safety on the line and increasing our contribution to climate disruption. (see article, page 3).
  • Cut Bay Area greenhouse gases. We are working with other local and national organizations to cut Bay Area greenhouse-gas emissions. On Nov. 6 the Board of the Bay Area Air Quality Management District passed a resolution for strong local action, including a reduction of CO2 to 80% below 1990 levels by 2050 (see Dec., page 1). We will keep working to develop an effective implementation plan.
  • Project Permit. We are working with the Sierra Club’s My Generation Campaign in a statewide effort to make it easier for homeowners and businesses to get permits for installing rooftop solar panels. Our first focus is Marin County (see Dec., page 5).
  • Don’t Frack California. The Chapter formed a working group just for fracking issues. We are working to get California to implement a moratorium on fracking in oil and gas wells until the dangers are clearly understood—the dangers of releasing toxics into our environment, especially into groundwater, and of turning this vast reservoir of fossil fuels into greenhouse gases (see page 4). We hope to see state legislation to this effect in 2014.
  • Community Choice energy. We are working to bring Community Choice energy to all of the Bay Area. By allowing local governments to sell electricity to residents, Community Choice enables communities to take control of their energy futures. In 2013 electricity started flowing in the city of Richmond from the Marin Energy Authority. A plan to roll out CleanPowerSF got through the staff at the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) with rates competitive to PG&E, but has been stymied by City Hall politics, failing to get the votes needed to move out of the mayor­ally appointed SFPUC itself. We are looking at ways to resolve this political deadlock and get CleanPowerSF started. Models for how to effectively launch Community Choice are popping around the country (see page 4 about Sonoma County’s new Community Choice program). Parts of the East Bay are also considering how to launch Community Choice (see page 3).
  • Divestment from fossil-fuel investments. We are part of a national campaign for divesting from fossil-fuels. On Oct. 9 the Board of the San Francisco Employees’ Retirement System passed a divestment policy, and we will keep involved to bring it to full implementation (see Dec., page H).

With all these new and revived campaigns, Chapter conservation organizer Jess Dervin-Ackerman works mostly on energy issues. Now is the perfect time for you to join in with her. To help in any of these efforts, contact Jess at (510)848-0800, ext. 304, or jess@sfbaysc.org

Our open spaces

The Sierra Club’s conservation efforts began with protecting parks and other wildlands, and the Bay Chapter has continued these efforts year-in and year-out. In 2013 we’ve had some major successes.

  • On Sep. 3 the federal Ninth Circuit judges ruled that then-Interior Secretary Ken Salazar had the authority to end a lease for a private company to raise oysters in Drakes Estero (see Oct., page 5). When the company’s legal maneuvering ends and it leaves the site, the estero will become the first marine wilderness on the West Coast.
  • In May the Alameda County Board of Supervisors denied a landowner’s request to weaken the open-space requirements of the county’s Urban Growth Boundary (see June, page 4).

    The Chapter picnic in August in Berkeley's Ohlone Park.

    The Chapter picnic in August in Berkeley’s Ohlone Park.

  • In 2013 the Alameda County Altamont Landfill and Resource Recovery Open Space Fund, created in a legal settlement we achieved in 1999, provided $1,670,000 to help the East Bay Regional Park District purchase lands adjacent to Pleasanton Ridge Regional Park and Brushy Peak Regional Preserve, and for Livermore to purchase a parcel in Doolan Canyon next to city-owned open space (see page 8).
  • We are engaged in a major campaign to protect 3,400-acre Tesla Park east of Livermore, in particular to make sure that this site of great environmental values does not get ecologically disrupted by proposed use for recreation by off-road motorized vehicles (see page 8). Rather, we want this area’s rich natural and historic cultural resources to provide significant environmental enjoyment and educational opportunity for the regional population. This will be a high priority in 2014, when the draft General Plan and Environmental Impact Report are made available for public comment.

As every year, our activities sections and groups have led hundreds of hikes and other outings all over the Bay Area and beyond. In 2013 we introduced a new on-line calendar system that uses 21st-century technology to help you find the outings and other Club activities of your choice; go to http://sfbay.sierraclub.org/activities.

Our cities

Cities are where most of our population spends most of their time. Development patterns in cities often determine development pressures on the open-space lands around them. We work therefore to shape urban development to improve the quality of urban life and to limit encroachments on the greenbelt.

In 2013 our San Francisco Group has had a series of notable successes.

A Gay and Lesbian Sierrans work party at the Presidio on National Trails Day. Photo by Russ Hartman.

A Gay and Lesbian Sierrans work party at the Presidio on National Trails Day. Photo by Russ Hartman.

  • We helped pass a condominium ordinance that helps to preserve affordable housing (see Aug., page 5).
  • We stopped a set of amendments that would have weakened the city’s protections under the state California Environmental Quality Act and got the Supervisors instead to pass several strengthening changes (see Oct., page 5).
  • We defeated Measures B and C, stopping development of a condominium tower at 8 Washington that would have far exceeded the height limits for the waterfront (see Dec., page 1). We are now helping to gather signatures for an initiative to make it harder to change waterfront height limits (see page 4).
  • We have been working to keep the Warriors from building an inappropriate shopping mall/entertainment arena on the waterfront. We succeeded in stopping a legislative effort to make the city the final arbiter for the project’s compliance with Public Trust requirements (see Aug., page H), and this project will continue as a leading concern in 2014.
  • Aided by a $10,000 grant from the East Bay Depot for Creative Reuse, the Northern Alameda County Group tree team planted 218 street trees in Oakland planting strips, bringing its total for four years of operations to 873.

Through the Alameda Sustainable Recycling Campaign, we have helped win big raises for the recycling workers at the Fremont transfer station. The campaign continues to win sustainable wages for all recycling workers in the county.

Looking forward

The year 2014 will be the 90th anniversary of the Bay Chapter. We are planning a series of events to celebrate, and to bring our efforts forward.

The year also is the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act, which establishes the protections for our country’s wildest lands. The Chapter Wilderness Committee will be organizing our chapterwide celebration.

In addition, the coming year is likely to see some major decisions about water policy, especially whether to implement the governor’s plan for twin tunnels through the Delta (see page C) and the plans of Bay Area water agencies to build a desalination facility. The Chapter Water Committee is gearing up to lead the opposition to these plans.

This is the year for you to join in. Whether you know exactly what you want to work on, or you want ideas for getting involved, give us a call. You can contact any of the leaders mentioned in the Yodeler or in the Chapter Leadership List or call the Chapter Office at (510)848-0800.

Donald Forman