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I find some hope for the future of our planet in the emergence of millions of unconnected environmental and social movements. The leaderless Anarchy of this mass phenomenon and its macro scale means that its cells will not be centrally controlled or turned aside by profit motives. It seems to be a genuine grass roots response to the global threat which our planet faces. —Paul Hawken

Activists warn that SB 350 will do nothing to address CA oil and gas drilling

Groups Charge Delta Tunnels Plan with Violating Clean Water Act

Environmental and fishing groups on October 7 alerted the Federal and State agencies responsible for issuing permits before any construction of the Delta Tunnels can start that the controversial project will violate the federal Clean Water Act (CWA).

A 15-page letter from the groups documents multiple violations of the landmark CWA if the project is built and operated as described in the EIR/EIS for the "California Water Fix, formerly known as the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) under public review until October 30, 2015.

The groups signing the letter include Restore the Delta, Earth Law Center, Friends of the River, the Center for Biological Diversity, the California Water Impact Network, the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance, and the Environment Water Caucus (a coalition of over 30 nonprofit environmental and community organizations and California Indian Tribes.)

“The BDCP Delta Water Tunnels project is not a permissible project under the federal Clean Water Act (CWA) because it would degrade water quality in the San Francisco Bay-Delta Estuary," the letter warns federal officials. "This in turn will adversely impact numerous recognized beneficial uses and public health. The Water Tunnels project will require a Clean Water Act Section 401 certification, it cannot legally be given one since it will not comply with established water quality standards.” 

On September 9, 2015 the coalition sent a similar letter outlining the provisions of the federal Endangered Species Act that the Delta Tunnels will violate, according to a joint press release from the groups.

That letter found, “The BDCP Delta Water Tunnels project is not a permissible project under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) because it would adversely modify critical habitat for at least five endangered and threatened fish species.”

The Delta Independent Science Board has also found the tunnels plan "lacking."  In a scathing review sent to Randy Fiorini, Chair, Delta Stewardship Council and Charlton Bonham, Director, California Department of Fish and Wildlife on September 30, 2015, the Delta Science Board found:

"The Current Draft lacks key information, analyses, summaries, and comparisons. The missing content is needed for evaluation of the science that underpins the proposed project. Accordingly, the Current Draft fails to adequately inform weighty decisions about public policy." 

Today’s letter concludes that by rejecting permits for the Delta Tunnels project, these agencies still have a chance to “restore and enhance the integrity and health of the Bay-Delta Estuary by adopting (at a minimum) sufficient flows to support healthy fish species and Delta habitats. Moreover, the time is overdue to establish a comprehensive instream water rights program that ensures the longevity of the Delta ecosystem and species, and serves as a model for the state as a whole.”

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by Dan Bacher

Activists warn that SB 350 will do nothing to address CA oil and gas drilling

Governor Jerry Brown, in yet one more photo opportunity to portray himself as the "Green Governor," will join government, climate, business, environmental justice and community leaders today in Los Angeles to sign legislation – SB 350 by Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles),

This bill "bolsters California’s nation-leading commitment to energy efficiency, renewable energy and the fight against climate change," according to a press advisory from the Governor's Office.

The event will take place at 10:30 a.m. at the Griffith Observatory, East Terrace, 2800 East Observatory Rd, Los Angeles, CA 90027.

"SB 350 codifies goals Governor Brown laid out in his January 2015 inaugural address to double the rate of energy efficiency savings in California buildings and generate half of the state’s electricity from renewable sources by 2030," according to the Governor's Office. "The legislation is an important step in the state's landmark plan to cut climate-warming pollution." 

Californians Against Fracking cautiously applauded this step, but warned that the bill "does nothing to address oil and gas drilling in California, which remains the third largest oil producer in the country."

"There’s no question that increasing the amount of power California gets from renewable sources is good for our state, but cutting emissions and increasing clean energy use only gets us part of the way," said Rebecca Claassen, Santa Barbara County organizer at Food & Water Watch, in a statement on behalf of Californians Against Fracking.

"Climate change affects us globally and to continue to lead, California must also reduce oil and gas production. Gov. Brown should immediately stop the worst drilling practices including all forms of fracking to further protect not just California communities, but natural resources worldwide," concluded Claasen.

While Jerry Brown grandstands about "green energy" and "climate change" in conferences and photo opportunities in California and across the globe, he has promoted the expansion of the environmentally destructive practice of fracking in the state.

And fracking is just one of the many environmentally destructive policies of the Brown administration. Governor Brown has relentlessly pushed the salmon-killing Delta Tunnels under the Bay Delta Conservation Plan/California Water Fix; has promoted water policies that have driven salmon, steelhead, Delta smelt and other fish to the edge of extinction; presided over record water exports out of the Delta in 2011; backs the clearcutting of forests in the Sierra Nevada; and is a strong supporter of neo-liberal carbon trading policies that routinely promote environmentally ineffective and socially unjust projects across the globe.