Thursday, March 31, 2011

2011-03-31 "Protect Water Quality in the Central Valley!" by Dan Bacher
Below is a brief explanation and draft letter to the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board that Bill Jennings of the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance is asking organizations to sign on to. This problem goes to the heart of whether California is serious about controlling the largest identified source of pollution to Central Valley waterways: pollution that threatens drinking water, recreation and fisheries.
The Regional Board is proposing to continue its present policy of ceding implementation of the state's water quality act to industry advocacy groups that will continue to shield discharges: i.e., the Board will not know who is discharging, what theyre discharging, whether measures have been taken to reduce pollution of if those measures are working.This approach has grievously failed in the past and will continue to fail in the future.
The Regional Board will consider a long-term program to regulate discharges from six million acres of irrigated agriculture on 7 April 2011. I don't believe we can restore the estuary if we can't get a handle on the pervasive pollutant discharges from some six million acres of irrigated farmland in the Central Valley.
Toxic water discharges into the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers and their tributaries are one of several key factors in the pelagic (open water) organism decline in the California Delta, along with water exports and invasive species. Since 2005, populations of Delta smelt, longfin smelt, Sacramento splittail, threadfin shad, young striped bass and other fish species have declined to record low levels. Sacramento River fall-run chinook populations also collapsed in 2008 and 2009, spurred unprecedented closures of river and ocean salmon fishing.
Please review the information below and attached and get back to Jennings and John Newbold if you can sign on. Please makeyour voice heard by signing the attached coalition letter and sending your organizational logo and the individual signing the letter (with title) to John Newbold (jdnewbold [at] and Jennings (deltakeep [at]
Dan Bacher

Important Sign On Letter to Protect Water Quality
The California Sportfishing Protection Alliance (CSPA) and a coalition of fishing and environmental groups ask for your help in an important campaign to improve fisheries and water quality.Were seeking organizations to sign on to the attached coalition letter to the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board.
Present supporters include CSPA, PCFFA, Northern and Southern California Councils of Flyfishers, Sierra Club, Defenders of Wildlife, Center for Biological Diversity, Endangered Species Coalition, Bay Institute, Planning and Conservation League, California Coastkeeper Alliance, Friends of the River, Clean Water Action, California Water Impact Network, Food & Water Watch, Southern California Watershed Alliance and many, many others who care about clean water and the fisheries that depend upon it.
Runoff from irrigated agriculture is identified as the largest source of pollution to Central Valley waterways and the Delta. Monitoring downstream of agricultural areas reveals that virtually all sites exceed water quality standards and almost two thirds are toxic to aquatic life. Pollution is identified as one of the principle causes of the collapse of Central Valleys pelagic and salmonid fisheries. Agricultural pollution also threatens drinking water supplies and public health and is a major source of groundwater impairment.
However, irrigated agriculture remains exempt from routine requirements to protect water quality that have long been applicable to virtually every other segment of society. The existing regulatory waiver covering discharges from irrigated lands expires in June 2011, and the Regional Board will consider a new long-term program at a hearing on April 7.
Unfortunately, the Regional Board is proposing a Framework that is not protective of water quality. They propose to continue the same basic approach to regulating agriculture that has proved to be a dismal failure: i.e., ceding implementation of the program to industry advocacy groups.
Under this scheme, the Board doesnt know who is discharging, what pollutants are being discharged, the localized impacts to receiving waters and whether dischargers are implementing measures to reduce or eliminate pollution or if those measures are working. Consequently, the Board cannot identify any improvement in water quality or any effort to stop pollution.
More information, including CSPA's formal comments on the proposed Framework and PEIR can be found at the Clean Farms Clean Water button at
Regional Boards ILRP Framework website: []
It is important that the Regional Board understand that agricultural special interests do not represent the entire Central Valley community. Make your voice heard by signing the attached coalition letter and sending your organizational logo and the individual signing the letter (with title) to John Newbold (jdnewbold [at] and me (deltakeep [at] Cheers!
Bill Jennings, Chairman
Executive Director
California Sportfishing Protection Alliance
3536 Rainier Avenue
Stockton, CA 95204
t: 209-464-5067
c: 209-938-9053
f: 209-464-1028
e: deltakeep [at]

5 April 2011
Ms. Katherine Hart, Chair
Regional Water Quality Control Board, Central Valley Region
11020 Sun Center Drive, #200
Rancho Cordova, CA 95670
Re: Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program Framework
Dear Chairperson Hart and Board Members:
As representatives of commercial and sport fishing communities in the Central Valley and throughout California, we write to encourage the Regional Board to embrace a regulatory framework that will meaningfully reduce the pollution caused by irrigated agriculture.
Runoff from irrigated agriculture is identified as the largest source of pollution to Central Valley waterways and the Delta. This pollution is documented to be one of the principal causes of the collapse of Central Valley fisheries. Inexplicably, irrigated agriculture remains exempt from requirements to monitor discharges and identify measures implemented to reduce or eliminate pollution that have long been applicable to every other segment of society, from municipalities to industry to mom-&-pop businesses.
The present approach to regulating irrigated agriculture has grievously failed. After two iterations of the present regulatory scheme, the Regional Board doesn’t know who is actually discharging, what pollutants are being discharged, the localized impacts to receiving waters and whether management measures (BMPs) have been implemented to reduce pollution or if implemented BMPs are effective. The Board simply cannot continue to cede its regulatory responsibilities to third-party industry advocacy groups if it hopes to succeed in reducing pollutant discharges from irrigated agriculture.
We urge the Regional Board to reject the Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program Framework proposed by staff and, instead, embrace an approach that has a reasonable chance of success. Continuing to avoid direct regulation of pollution dischargers cannot reduce the pollution of ambient waters.
Restoration of degraded waters and protection of water quality requires the following changes:
1. Eliminate third party coalitions and require instead that individual dischargers submit reports to the Regional Board identifying the location and content of discharges to both surface water and groundwater. The Regional Board has the duty to implement Porter-Cologne and to assure that farm dischargers do not pollute the Central Valley’s waters. Third party coalitions add bureaucracy, obfuscate critical information the Regional Board needs to have, create permanent lobbies to weaken or undermine any true regulation of farm dischargers, and cannot be effectively enforced.
2. Monitor discharges to surface water and groundwater and the effectiveness of measures implemented to reduce pollution. The blunt fact is that water quality cannot be protected if you don’t measure actual discharges to quantify pollution and evaluate the effectiveness of implemented management measures. If irrigated agriculture discharges pollution, they, like every other discharger in the state, should be required to measure what they are discharging and be able to show that their pollution is not harming any water of the State, whether the waters are flowing immediately adjacent to their fields or miles downstream.
3. Require all farm dischargers to prepare individual farm water quality management plans (FWQMPs) that identify measures implemented to reduce pollution. These plans must be made available to the Regional Board and the public. The proposed Framework fails to provide any scheme to track whether any management practices are being implemented or maintained, especially on a farm-specific basis. Nor does the Framework provide basic information about nutrients and pesticides being applied by specific farms for the Board to evaluate whether any installed measures are appropriate. The Regional Board must not tolerate another decade of delay waiting for dischargers to save the Board from its own failure to act. The Board has to stop putting off this first step and require FWQMPs be prepared by every discharger within 6 months of the termination date of the current waiver.
4. Require compliance with water quality standards in the near-term, not some uncertain distant future. Staff proposes three years to allow third-party coalitions yet another opportunity to show that whatever they are doing is resulting in implementation of effective management practices and improved water quality. The framework allows three months for coalitions to tell their existing members of the new requirements, an entire year for existing members to reconfirm their membership, and two and a half years to attract a few new members. Staff then further proposes to delay compliance by each of the categories of dischargers by another five to ten years. Given twenty-plus years of no regulation followed by seven years of failed regulation, additional delays are unacceptable.
5. Demonstrate consistency with the state’s non-point source and antidegradation policies. An irrigated lands program relying upon third party coalition groups has no likelihood of ever achieving any water quality objectives. After seven years of oversight by the Regional Board, staff cannot point to a single farm that has implemented Best Practical Treatments or Controls. Staff cannot describe or quantify the management practices, if any, that have been implemented throughout the Central Valley. The data collected during the last seven-year period shows water quality continuing to be degraded throughout large areas of the Central Valley. Furthermore, we are unaware of any consequences to a farmer who did absolutely nothing for the last seven years as long as they could say they were enrolled in a coalition. As for the coalitions, the only consequences of their missing deadlines or not achieving any measurable water quality benefits is receiving additional extensions of time or weakening of requirements. They have utterly failed to facilitate implementation of controls as is required by the Non Point Source Policy.
The only way farm dischargers will recognize any consequences of not complying with conditions of an irrigated lands program is for the Regional Board to remove the coalitions from the equation and regulate the dischargers directly. The abject failure of the existing program and coalitions to regulate agricultural runoff, the largest source of water pollution in California, demonstrates that the Regional Board should move the irrigated lands program into a regulatory system similar to the industrial and construction storm water programs. We urge the Board not to abdicate its responsibility to protect the quality of water discharged from irrigated lands.
2011-03-31 "Mare Island denied National Park Status and rightly so trashed and contaminated by Lennar" by Francisco Da Costa
Mare Island did have a Naval History and it did play a major role in the Shipbuilding during World War II. Mare Island is also very contaminated and prone to flooding and liquefaction. When Congressperson, George Miller - naively thought he might try passing is as an designation as a National Park - much like say; the Presidio of San Francisco - he was totally mistaken. Mare Island is contaminated and a total mess. Lennar, a Rogue Developer was given a chance and promised Vallejo City - under whose jurisdiction Mare Island comes to develop Mare Island. Complete with building 10,000 homes and a through clean up. Ten years later in 2009 - nothing came of the promise. Lennar declared BANKRUPTCY and a year later so did VALLEJO. Vallejo was anxiously waiting for the tax increment money - from the proposed 10,000 homes and nothing - happened. Much the same as will happen at Hunters Point Naval Shipyard. - LENNAR is DEAD at the Shipyard - but, still trying to pull a fast one.
Our City and County of San Francisco has not learned much from mistakes - and continues to play with fire. Case in point trying to salvage and help LENNAR who is deeply entrenched at Treasure Island and Hunters Point Naval Shipyard - and who is destined to fiscally ruin San Francisco - if we UNITED do not severe our relations with LENNAR and bury this monster after severing its head - this City will endure the same as did Vallejo - from the repercussions linked to Mare Island.
LENNAR is a Rogue Developer that thought it would take us San Franciscans for a ride. This will NOT happen on my watch.
I have watched this monster since 1998 when it incorporated as an Limited Liability Corporation. It changed it LLC status three times - and in now incorporated in Delaware and is a Limited Liability Partnership (LLP). In 1998 with the blessing of Willie L Brown Jr. and some dubious folks all Blacks, sell outs were put on Lennar's "thug pay roll". I remember Roy Wills and I do remember very well - Willie L.Brown Jr. who invited Lennar to California and gave them opportunities on a platter. Starting with the Golf Course in Sacramento in the early 1995.
Well, in this case that this article addresses - Lennar was involved with Mare Island. Mare Island affected VALLEJO the City under whose jurisdiction Mare Island come. Lennar promised VALLEJO millions in tax increment money but nothing came ten years later. Today VALLEJO a City that is bankruptcy, is also in a mess, and where Health and Safety issues are minimum and the constituents of Mare Island and Vallejo - desperate.
It all boils down to good judgement. Never, ever trust Lennar and today more and more folks have come to a conclusion that LENNAR is very bad news.
Some of us said it a long time - look at Mare Island. Some of ventured as Stop Lennar Action Movement (SLAM) to speak to the Vallejo Council and we did well. We openly called Lennar a Rogue Developer then and we call it openly a Rogue Developer - now.
There will be no MOVEMENT at Treasure Island and Hunters Point Naval Shipyard - not with the DEMISE of the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency and rightly so. The pimps and whores that made their abode at this agency - have come to realize that for too many years - these evil people - adversely impacted innocent people - while placating Big Developers who are going no where. Not with today Economy and the unstable state of the U.S. Dollar. Time will tell.
The former Mayor of San Francisco -Gavin Newsom aka Mr. Dipstick was involved with Lennar and with the various fake promises made at Treasure Island and Hunters Point Naval Shipyard. " No good will happen at both of these locations".
Congressperson, George Miller tried one more time not to moth ball Mare Island and leave it sore for all the world to see. However, in trying to declare Mare Island as a National Park is a JOKE.
Mare Island is not Port Chicago - where over 400 Blacks lost their lives and more were injured and traumatized for life. The Blacks were mandated by the U.S. to hurry up and load cases and more cases of dynamite on Ships that who go out to Sea - as part of the World War II operations. The did this manually - something today's Black do not know and few really remember Port Chicago.
When that explosion took place - Oakland for sure heard it but we heard it in San Francisco. Few want to talk about such incidents - because racism was rampant and discrimination against people of color practiced openly.
One fateful day - some mishap dynamited most of what is called Port Chicago today - uprooting the Piers and shattering debris all over the place. Blacks lost their lives and the U.S. authority that be - caring less about the Blacks and their lives - forced those that were traumatized and alive, to to back to work. The Blacks refused - were court marshaled and jailed - treated bad and only recently President Bill Clinton - formally acknowledged the grave mistake made, apologized vaguely, and made good to forgive a few of the Blacks still alive - by honoring them for their service and brave deeds.
However, the U.S. Government has yet to apologize for the "dirty deed" of using Blacks to work like slaves - and putting them in harms way.
Forcing the the hard working, innocent Blacks in the name of serving their Nation - to meet quotas and hurrying them up in despicable conditions to load dynamite and carry out other dangerous operations - without first putting SAFETY - first. The U.S. Navy has learned some but even today - nothing much has changed. Study the word "jettison" and learn more about nefarious activities linked to the U.S. Navy.
Today's news about Mare Island is something some of us knew for some time.
The National Park Service knows much about Lennar and more about contamination.
Clean up cost money - millions of dollars - even though some think the Presidio of San Francisco is clean - it cost over $400 million to do some basic clean up. Yet, today there are contaminated batteries - large underground salvos or bunkers where linked to one Battery; the size of three football fields - atomic experiments were conducted - some of us remember the NIKE missiles.
In a another at the Presidio of San Francisco; which has a National Park Service designation for all practical purposes - a Battery large and the size of four football fields - where "germ warfare experiments " were carried out. Few know about the exact locations - but, for the curious trying researching Battery Caufield and Battery Wagner.
These sites are underground and all sealed - but still very dangerous and in a National Park Service that defies - logic.
Mare Island has been disgraced by Lennar - the contamination wide spread and surrounded by leaking old ships and other contamination linked to the World War II operations; that only recently are been salvaged and addressed by clean up and recycling of the material gathered.
Mare Island is a Light House shinning to the world - a light pointing to Lennar and saying - watch out for this monster, this Rogue Developer, this scumbag of scumbags - that has destroyed the lives of many.
Do not trust Lennar in any form or shape: []
Francisco Da Costa
Environmental Justice Advocacy
2011-03-31 "Fashion from trash" by Emily Charrier-Botts from "INDEX-TRIBUNE" newspaper of Sonoma County
Where else can you find a cocktail dress festooned with vintage turkey insemination tubes? Or a shroud reconstituted from a wedding dress? Only at the Trashion fashion show at 5 p.m. this Saturday at the Sonoma Community Center.
Organizers of the event invited anyone interested to construct clothing and accessories from found, recycled or used material - and dozens of entries poured in with materials ranging from trash bags to Iraq war uniforms to maps to wisdom teeth. That's right, wisdom teeth.
"People were very creative," said Margaret Hatcher, special projects manager at the center. A costume designer herself, Hatcher has long wanted to host a fashion show, and saw a unique opening with the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art's "Eco Chic" exhibit of sustainable Swedish fashion designs, on display through May 15.
"We saw an obvious opportunity. We like to partner with any organization and the museum was a clear fit," Hatcher said, adding that the event will also spread awareness about the importance of conservation. "The theme of trash was a natural. It's a concept that's broader than just artists, just designers, just costume designers. Everyone makes trash, it's something everyone can relate to."
The event begins with a cocktail hour, where appetizers and "white trash" cocktails will be served. Jean Arnold Sessions will act as the mistress of ceremonies, and will be introducing the designs and explaining the materials used. Following the show, the party moves upstairs to Gallery 212 where the designs will be displayed alongside the "Accessories Exhibit," featuring jewelry, handbags and shoes crafted from found objects.
Winning designs will be selected by a panel of judges including Pamela Johnson, costume designer and performing arts technician at Sonoma State University; Shelly Willis of Art In Public Places in Sacramento; Kate Eilertsen, executive director of the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art; and Kathy Swett, executive director of Sonoma Community Center.
The winning designer will be awarded $500, with $250 going to the winner in the teen category. A $500 prize will also be awarded to the "Best of Exhibit" from the accessories display.
Valley designers had fun finding unique material to fashion clothing - especially Alexa Wood, who tailored chicken feed bags into a dress decorated with beads she constructed from antique turkey insemination tubes. Going for a full poultry theme, she added a wide-brimmed white hat with a yellow center to look like a fried egg.
"It's a 'cock-tail' dress, as in rooster. It has a tail too," she said, adding that she made a matching clutch and shoes. "I think I'm going to make her a little poofy dog too. After a little wine sitting around with friends, the ideas get bigger."
The students at Crescent Montessori School also got into the fashion, designing a dress from maps of California. School Director Karin Niehoff said the students participated on their own time, with assistance from several seamstresses who are related to one of the students.
"We go over to their studio after school. The students help by folding maps and pinning things into place," Niehoff said. "We're only using California maps because it's our state and it ties into our studies on California history."
Tickets to the event are $25 and available in extremely limited supply, and could be standing room only. All proceeds will benefit art programs at the center. Contact the center at 938-4626, ext. 1, to inquire about the status of tickets.
The exhibit of accessories will stay on display at the center in Gallery 212 through April 23.
The Sonoma Community Center is located at 276 E. Napa St.
In conjunction with the Trashion show, the center will host classes and workshops related to recycled art. These include "From Trash to Treasure: Art as Object," beginning April 14; "Multidimensional Mono-printing with Brigitte McReynolds" May 7 and 8; and "Papermaking with Plant Inclusions" with visiting artist Rhiannon Alpers on July 23. For complete class details, visit

ALEXA WOOD works on the finishing touches of her poultry-themed "cock-tail" dress, made from chicken feed bags and adorned with beads fashioned from antique turkey insemination tubes.
Robbi Pengelly/Index-Tribune
2011-03-31 "County open space district wins $1.5 million grant" from "American Canyon Eagle" newspaper
Kids in Napa County and nearby areas will have a better chance of sleeping under the stars, watching osprey dive for fish or doing rolls in a kayak, thanks to a $1.5 million grant that the California Coastal Conservancy awarded March 17 to the Napa County Regional Park and Open Space District to construct an outdoor education camp in eastern Napa County.
Located on the Putah Creek arm of Lake Berryessa, Camp Berryessa will be the first and only public outdoor environmental education camp in Napa County, and will complement a small private facility near Angwin operated by the 4-H Club, and a very rustic camp operated by the Girl Scouts near Mt. Veeder. Camp Berryessa will be located at the same site where the Boy Scouts formerly operated a camp. That facility was closed in 2004.
“This is a great opportunity to reverse the loss of the Scout camp,” noted district Director Dave Finigan, who is also a former Boy Scout leader. “By building a camp that many organizations can share, more people will benefit, and the costs to any one organization should be manageable.”
Myrna Abramowicz, district director for Ward 5, American Canyon’s ward, said one group that might benefit from the camp is the city’s Boy Scout Troop 62. She said the largest block of support for Measure I, the ballot measure the created the district in 2006, was from Napa’s second largest city.
“The largest vote we got was from American Canyon,” said Abramowicz.
When the Bureau of Reclamation released a “record of decision” at Lake Berryessa in 2006 setting new standards for lakeside use  it expressed the desire to see an outdoor education camp established at the site of the former Scout camp, provided a local partner would be willing to take the lead in financing, constructing, operating and maintaining the camp.
The district has spent the last four years coordinating with the Bureau of Reclamation and working with community groups to develop plans. The district is now in the final stages of negotiating a long-term agreement with the bureau.
Last fall the local Mead Foundation awarded a $50,000 seed grant to the district. The district used the seed grant as local matching funds, which then leveraged the $1.5 million Coastal Conservancy grant.
The grant will enable the district to construct the first phase of the camp, which will include approximately 30 tent cabins, campfire amphitheater, swimming area, canoes and kayaks, nature trails, and numerous other activity areas. Once the basic camp is up and operating, the district will seek funding to complete the campground by adding a central dining and meeting facility.
The camp is planned to be a living demonstration in sustainable design and operations. It will have the first legally installed composting toilets in Napa County. Gray water from the showers will be used for landscaping and maintaining a native plant nature walk. Solar panels and a small wind turbine will generate all power needs for the camp. Local and recycled building materials will be used as much as possible. Solid waste generation will be minimized through composting and recycling, and by avoiding as much as possible materials and supplies which cannot be either composted or recycled.
“This camp is about kids having fun, of course,” observed park district Director Guy Kay, who represents the Lake Berryessa area. “But it’s a lot more. The future of our county’s agricultural preserve and open space protections depends on the understanding and support of future generations. There’s no better way to build that understanding and support than by giving kids the chance to get outdoors, get dirty and touch, taste, hear and smell nature.”
The Bureau of Reclamation is making the land for the camp available through the direction of the 2006 record of decision. Youth and other non-profit community groups using the site will support the camp through discounted user fees and volunteer labor. When the camp is not being utilized by non-profit users, the camp will be available for other groups at market rates to help subsidize the non-profit use. According to the feasibility study commissioned by the district, this business model should enable the camp to break even financially while still being affordable to students and groups with limited resources.
The district’s plans call for construction to start late this summer, beginning with work on a new wastewater system. The district anticipates opening the camp in the fall of 2012.
Since it’s creation in January of 2007 by Measure I, the district has been funded by transient occupancy tax revenue from the county’s Special Projects Fund.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

2011-03-30 "Chinook and Sonoma County Water Agency" by Larry from "Northern California River Watch Activist's Blog"
When will the SCWA be updating this page on their website with the 2009 and 2010 Chinook count figures?
The PD and other newspapers around the state seems to think every thing is just swell with our Chinook populations.
Tis it so in the Russian?
This has not been a banner year for Steelhead at the hatchery at Lake Sonoma.  Here are the numbers:
1,458 Steelhead, 44 Chinook and 8 Coho.  (The Chinook and Coho were lost and blamed it on their new GPS unit.)
At least 50 spawning pairs, or 100 fish are needed to sustain a salmonid population in one tributary.
The Russian is over 100 miles long and has over 100 tributaries that should be supporting salmonid spawning and rearing.
2011-03-30 "Study: Packaged food raises levels of bisphenol A" by Victoria Colliver from "San Francisco Chronicle" newspaper
Forgoing packaged foods such as canned soups and vegetables could dramatically lower levels of a hormone-disrupting chemical that has been linked to myriad health problems, including birth defects, autism and reproductive issues, according to a study released today.
In the study, published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, five Bay Area families were asked to eliminate packaged foods from their diets and store food only in glass or stainless steel containers. After only three days, levels of the chemical bisphenol A in the subjects' urine dropped by more than 60 percent, researchers found.
Researchers were surprised by the dramatic drop in levels of the chemical after such a short change in diet, even though it was known that bisphenol A, also known as BPA, does not stay in the body for long.
"We're hoping these very remarkable results will help us in our outreach and education to people to show them how easily changes can be made in their personal habits that may diminish significant exposure to BPA," said Janet Gray, an author of the report and science adviser to the Breast Cancer Fund, a San Francisco advocacy group and partner in the study.
Researchers focused on just five families - 10 adults and 10 children - because they considered the study a pilot project to test the methodology for future research, Gray said. They limited the test period to three days because BPA metabolizes rapidly.
After testing the family members' BPA level in urine samples, researchers provided the families with the three days of organic meals and snacks prepared by a caterer and delivered to their homes last year. Families were instructed to follow very strict protocols if they needed to diverge from the prepared foods for any reason.
The level of BPA found in the family members dropped from an average of 3.7 nanograms per milliliter of urine, which is on par with the national average found in other research, to 1.2 nanograms per milliliter.
Levels of another chemical, DEHP, or bis(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate, which is found in some plastic food packaging and is also linked to reproductive and other health issues, dropped by more than 50 percent. Average BPA levels returned to previous levels after they returned to their normal diets.
Laurlund is a stay-at-home mom, and her family doesn't eat many prepared foods, so she said she was surprised to learn her family's base BPA levels actually exceeded the national average. The final results spurred her to remove canned foods from her home and replace them with alternatives, such as those packaged in glass or Tetra Pak containers.
"Because it has such a short life in your body, anyone can make these changes," she said. "Those changes are so easy to make, and it's going to affect your body immediately."
Representatives from the grocery and chemical industries say trace BPA levels found in humans are safe.
"We agree with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration that foods packaged in cans with epoxy linings that utilize BPA are safe, and that there is no need for consumers to change their consumption habits," the Grocery Manufacturers Association said in a statement.
Yet there is plenty of debate over whether the government-sanctioned BPA levels are, in fact, safe for humans.
Connie Engel, program coordinator for the Breast Cancer Fund and one of the study's authors, said recent lab studies have found adverse health effects at BPA levels under the government threshold.
Engel suggested glass and stainless steel as alternatives. She noted that some BPA alternatives have not been fully tested.
More than 20 states, including California, are considering legislation to curb BPA exposure. So far, the efforts in this state and nationwide have been largely unsuccessful.
-- Opt for foods packaged in alternatives such as Tetra Pak cartons.
-- Avoid canned foods with the highest BPA concentrations: coconut milk, soup, meat.
-- Frozen fruits or vegetables may be a convenient alternative.
-- Do not microwave food in plastic containers.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

2011-03-26 "Navy training linked to at least 3 dolphin deaths" from "Associated Press" newswire:
A Naval training exercise that included an underwater blast off San Diego's coast has been linked to at least three dolphin deaths earlier this month, prompting a probe into whether the military violated the federal law that protects marine mammals.
Navy officials, who reported the deaths of the long-beaked common dolphins following the March 4 detonation off the coast, say they were following proper procedures and will continue with the training.
The National Marine Fisheries Service plans to take another look at the Navy's pending request to disturb marine mammals between Imperial Beach and Coronado, where it conducts amphibious and special warfare training, agency leaders told the San Diego Union-Tribune on Friday.
The Navy's application, which has been in the works for years, says it does not anticipate any dolphin deaths due to training. But following the March 4 incident, the fisheries service opened an enforcement case to determine whether the Navy violated the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972, which is designed to safeguard dolphins, whales and similar creatures.
Along with the three deaths reported to the fisheries service, two other dead dolphins were found later, but it's not clear if they were injured by the Navy exercises.
Environmentalists have called on the Navy to suspend activities involved in the deaths and conduct a transparent investigation.
But Navy officials said the program it calls "mission-critical" would continue. They said they were following proper procedures on the day of the blast and are conducting their own investigation to see if changes are necessary.
"We have an excellent track record in our training and have exacting standards that we apply to try to prevent these types of incidents," Cmdr. Greg Hicks, a spokesman for the Navy's Third Fleet, told the Union-Tribune. "We do our best to protect marine life while conducting essential training."
Hicks said there were no dolphins in view when the training countdown began, and when they could be seen it was too late to stop safely.
He could not say how many underwater blasts the Navy has performed at the site in recent years. Documents show the Navy's permit request for underwater explosives involve up to 415 "small" detonations during 311 training events a year.
Underwater explosives are important for clearing obstacles out of harbors so ships can enter. When the Navy practices with them offshore, Hicks said observers look for dolphins, seals, whales and similar creatures that might swim into the danger zone.
Michael Jasny of the Natural Resources Defense Council, which years ago sued the Navy to minimize damage to whales by sonar, said the Navy doesn't have the best environmental record when it comes to ocean life.
"There is training and there is training safely with full safeguards for the protection of the environment," Jasny said. "They haven't always done that."

Friday, March 25, 2011

2011-03-25 "Glitches hamper radiation warning system in California" by Jack Dolan and Rong-Gong Lin II from "Los Angeles Times" newspaper
The federal government’s radiation alert network in California is not fully functional, leaving the stretch of coast between Los Angeles and San Francisco without the crucial real-time warning system in the event of a nuclear emergency.
Six of the Environmental Protection Agency’s 12 California sensors — including the three closest to the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant — are sending data with "anomalies" to the agency’s laboratory in Montgomery, Ala., said Mike Bandrowski, manager of the EPA’s radiation program.
The problem delays from 30 minutes to several hours the updating of a database that would be critical for warning the public in case of a sudden radiation danger from air wafting to the United States from a foreign country, for example, or from a radiation leak at a domestic nuclear facility.
The lag has not been a concern during the Japanese nuclear crisis because the minuscule amounts of radiation that have reached California have posed no threat to human health, and the plume of irradiated air from Japan is so widespread that other equipment from Washington to Los Angeles has been able to monitor it in real time, Bandrowski said.
The agency’s critics, however, say the weakness in the EPA system could pose a public health concern.
"The unreliability of the EPA monitoring effort revealed by this event raises troubling questions about whether Californians would receive timely warning to evacuate, or take other protective actions, in case of a nuclear accident here," said Dan Hirsch, a nuclear policy lecturer at UC Santa Cruz and president of the Committee to Bridge the Gap, an anti-nuclear group.
The troubled transmissions are part of the federal RadNet system, which is "designed to protect the public by notifying scientists, in near real time, of elevated levels of radiation so they can determine whether protective action is required," according to a recent press release from the agency.
Without immediate information from RadNet, state and local emergency managers would be dependent on the private owners of nuclear power facilities to alert them in the first hours of a dangerous radiation leak from a domestic source.
"I believe the utilities monitor the sensors; they're good about reporting things," said David McIntyre, a spokesman for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which oversees nuclear reactors in the U.S. He added that federal regulations require nuclear plant operators to report small problems that could lead to a release of radiation, so it's unlikely such an event would come as a surprise.
Paul Flake, a spokesman for Pacific Gas & Electric's Diablo Canyon plant, said late Thursday that he did not have details at hand about the company's monitoring system and warning protocols.
Tokyo Electric Power Co., which runs the stricken Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan, was widely criticized for failing to provide timely, accurate data about the pending danger to the Japanese government, which was reliant on the company for such information.
"There's a natural reluctance to reporting something embarrassing," said Arjun Makhijani, president of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research.
The California Department of Public Health maintains two of its own sensors at each of the state's nuclear power plants — at Diablo Canyon and at San Onofre near San Clemente — but data from those devices are collected every 48 hours, said Jordan Scott, a spokesman with the California Emergency Management Agency. Before the accident in Japan, data was collected once a week, Scott said.
There are other detectors spread across the United States, including some at universities and some deployed by the Department of Homeland Security in large cities when a terrorist threat is received. But none of those transmits data in real time to a dedicated early-warning system, officials said.
The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization, based in Vienna, has four real-time radiation monitors in the continental U.S. The one in Sacramento, operated by the U.S. Department of Energy, was the first to detect traces of radiation from Japan in California.
But that system is designed to detect evidence of nuclear bomb tests, not to notify the U.S. public to evacuate or take other precautions if elevated levels of radiation are detected.
At the outset of the Japanese crisis, environmentalists noticed that a map on the Environmental Protection Agency's website showing the locations of the monitors nationwide indicated that only about half were "running." Most of the others were producing data that was "undergoing quality review."
The website has since been updated to say that data from the problematic monitors "is being reviewed at EPA's National Air and Radiation Environmental Laboratory" and that the sensors are still collecting data.
Bandrowski said the data from those sensors, transmitted via satellite to the Alabama lab every hour, arrive with problems that mean it can't be added to the database automatically. Instead, a staff member has to manually review the information, a process that can take up to several hours.
"That's the nature of satellite transmissions," Bandrowski said. "There's always going to be glitches."

Thursday, March 24, 2011

2011-03-24 "Grassroots Power Defeats Dirty Gas Pipeline in Oregon"
Amidst discouraging news that the Obama administration is expanding coal mining [] and investing in dangerous nuclear policies [], I’m glad to report on an important victory against dirty energy in the Pacific Northwest.  Yesterday NW Natural Gas and other companies withdrew their permit application for the Palomar liquefied natural gas (LNG) pipeline project.  One of three proposed LNG pipelines in Oregon, Palomar would have transformed the Northwest into a gateway for a high-carbon fossil fuel not currently imported anywhere on the US west coast.  The defeat of Palomar marks the end of a years-long grassroots battle.
LNG is a fossil fuel with a carbon footprint much greater than ordinary natural gas, imported from regions of the world like the Middle East, Russia, and Peru.  LNG companies are trying to make inroads in Oregon, but grassroots activists have held them back so far.  Almost a year ago the Palomar pipeline application was indefinitely suspended [] – this happened shortly after the Bradwood LNG import terminal (which Palomar was supposed to connect to) was cancelled.  Now energy companies have officially given up on Palomar.  Should they try to resurrect the pipeline later, they would have to start from scratch and it would be treated as a completely new project.
There are still two proposals to build LNG infrastructure in Oregon: the Oregon LNG pipeline and terminal on the Columbia River, and the Jordan Cove project in southern Oregon.  But I believe the elimination of Palomar and the Bradwood terminal marks the beginning of the end for LNG.  Activists who have been fighting the Palomar pipeline for years can now channel their energy into defeating the remaining two LNG proposals and other fossil fuel projects.  Already both Oregon LNG and Jordan Cove LNG are years behind schedule and struggling to obtain permits they need to begin construction.
The defeat of Palomar is a testament to the power of grassroots activism and a reminder that big victories do not happen overnight.  Activists in Oregon began fighting this pipeline proposal years ago; when they started they were laughed at, and told it was impossible to stop powerful companies like Northwest Natural Gas from doing whatever they wanted.  Yet this week Oregon communities have triumphed over some of the most important energy players in our region.  We’ll do this again and again, as many times as is necessary, until the remaining fossil fuel companies pack up and leave.
Our national elected leaders have failed us when it comes to generating the kind of change needed to avert catastrophic global warming.  But meanwhile communities are getting to work and taking matters into their own hands.  Coal mines, nuclear power plants, LNG pipelines and other destructive projects will have to break through a wall of resistance before they can think about breaking ground.  Let’s make their job as hard as possible.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

2011-03-23 "Solano Land Trust will strive to raise funds in next five months to purchase 1,500 acres" by Tony Burchyns from "Vallejo Times-Herald" newspaper
A 30-year land battle between rural Solano County residents and a developer has ended with the purchase of the 1,500-acre Rockville Trails Estates property for $13.5 million.
The Solano Land Trust and White Wing Highlands Associates signed the purchase and sale agreement Friday.
Nestled between Vallejo and Fairfield on Rockville Road, the property consists of rolling hills, oak woodlands and rocky outcrops. It had once been targeted for a subdivision.
The depressed housing market, however, and opposition from Green Valley residents to developing the area created the purchase opportunity, Solano Land Trust Executive Director Nicole Byrd said Tuesday.
But the deal's not totally sealed. Initially, the land trust will buy 330 acres this spring, with the option to buy the remaining 1,170 acres by year's end. But the trust must first raise $2 million, Byrd said.
"It's a perfect opportunity and challenge for us this year, as we are celebrating our 25th anniversary," Byrd said.
The funds must be raised or pledged by Aug. 31. "This is one of those unbelievable opportunities that rarely come along," Byrd said. "It will be a treasure for all of Solano County to enjoy. We are going to need help from the entire community to pull this together, but we feel confident we can do it."
Proposed for development since the early 1970s, the property between Green Valley and Suisun Valley roads was approved for a 370-unit rural residential subdivision. But the projectwas halted by an environmental lawsuit in 2008.
Two years ago, property owner Dave Carroll and the Green Valley Landowners Association approached the land trust to explore how the three parties could settle the legal dispute filed by the homeowners group. The parties agreed that the best result would be for the land trust to buy the property, Byrd said.
Carroll could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
Money from local assessment districts in Solano County and the city of Fairfield are anticipated to fund the purchase of the first 330 acres, which will cost $3 million. Added funds of $8.5 million for the remaining 1,170 acres will be requested through state and private sources, according to the land trust.
That leaves $2 million to find in the next five months, Byrd said.
"Even though this is a small portion of the total purchase price, it will be a challenge to secure," she said. She added that the land trust is actively seeking donations. "This opportunity may be once in a lifetime."

How to help -
You can help the Solano Land Trust raise $2 million by visiting and clicking on the Rockville Trails Estate link. Or, send a check to Solano Land Trust, 1001 Texas St., Suite C, Fairfield, CA, 94533. Make a note on your check that the funds are intended to support the campaign. For more information, contact the land trust at (707) 432-0150.

The Suisun Marsh and Mount Diablo are visible from Rockville Trails Estates between Vallejo and Fairfield. (Jorge Fleige / Courtesy)  
2011-03-23 "Marine Protected Areas – Or Paper Reserves?" by Dan Bacher
Warner Chabot, in his article in the California Progress Report on March 16, affirms that we have “a responsibility to ensure” that the ocean “is managed sustainably and responsibly.”
Just about everybody can agree that we need to manage the ocean “sustainably and responsibly.” Where the disagreement comes is the type and scope of protection that will be provided. The essential problem is that the MLPA Initiative doesn't provide the comprehensive, holistic protection that is now needed to preserve marine ecosystems.
Chabot, the CEO of the California League of Conservation Voters, and other MLPA Initiative proponents falsely portray representatives of fishing groups and other critics of the process as “opponents of ocean protection” and proponents of “overfishing."
Nothing could be further from the truth. Recreational fishing groups that I have worked with led the charge to restrict gillnetting, trammel netting, longlining and other fishing methods along the coast to protect rockfish, halibut and other species, as well as working with Tribes, environmentalists and commercial fishermen to restore salmon and Delta fish populations.
In fact, the Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC), including federal and state officials, Indian Tribal representatives and recreational and commercial group representatives, voted over a decade ago to create one of the largest marine protected areas in the world stretching the entire length of the continental shelf of California from Oregon to Mexico. This giant marine protected area (MPA), the Rockfish Conservation Zone, was designed to rebuild deep water rockfish stocks, yet its existence been hasn't ever been factored into the MLPA process.
The Council has also imposed very strict regulations on fishing seasons, bag limits and others for rockfish and other species.
A groundbreaking study published in the July 31, 2009 issue of Science magazine revealed that the California Current ecosystem has the lowest fishery exploitation rate of any place in the world examined by co-authors Ray Hilborn and Boris Worm and 19 other scientists.
“The drastic reductions in harvest in California have been designed to rebuild the overexploited rockfish stocks,” said Hilborn. “At present the community of groundfish is now at about 60% of its unfished biomass, far above the 30-40% level target for maximum sustained yield.”
Dr. Hilborn, a professor at the School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences at the University of Washington, added, “Much of the motivation for the MLPA was concern about the state of the groundfish stocks - there is clear evidence that these can be rebuilt without MPAs resulting from the MLPA that have only recently begun to be implemented.”
Comprehensive Protection Is Needed -
While problems with overfishing have been largely addressed due to the impositions of strict regulations and the creation of the Rockfish Conservation Zone, California ocean and bay waters are beset with an array of problems – water pollution, particularly from unregulated agricultural users and storm runoff, water diversions from coastal and Central Valley rivers, and water exports out of the Delta to southern California and corporate agribusiness.
The initiative's "marine protected areas" don't protect the ocean waters from any of these problems, as well as threats posed by oil spills and drilling, wave energy projects, corporate aquaculture, coastal development, habitat destruction and other human impacts other than fishing and gathering. That's bad public policy, especially when oil industry, marina development and real estate interests with numerous conflicts of interest are on the panels overseeing the implementation of the law.
The first two goals of the MLPA mandate that we “protect the natural diversity and abundance of marine life, and the structure, function, and integrity of marine ecosystems” and “help sustain, conserve, and protect marine life populations, including those of economic value, and rebuild those that are depleted.”
The MLPA Initiative is at odds with the letter and intent of the actual Marine Life Protection Act, which was designed to provide comprehensive protection to “help sustain, conserve, and protect marine life populations,” not the questionable “protection” provided under the implementation of the law under Schwarzenegger.
For example, environmental leader Robert Ovetz was very critical of how the North Central Coast marine protected areas failed to include strong protections for fish, birds, sea mammals and other marine life from oil tankers entering San Francisco Bay (
“The Cosco Busan tragedy has yet to teach many of those planning the new MPA network a lesson,” said Ovetz, in April 2008, as the North Central MLPA process was underway. “How well will these crown jewels of our new MPA network be protected from the 732 potential Exxon Valdez oil tankers entering the Bay every year with an estimated 400 million gallons of fuel in their holds?”
MPAs: Marine Poaching Areas -
In addition to failing to comprehensively protect fish and other species, there is still no solution in sight for enforcing the new marine protected areas, making these zones into virtual “paper” marine reserves. This is a global problem, as David McGuire, currently with a team of Costa Rican biologists from the environmental organization Pretoma on the vessel Sirneuse to film and tag turtles and sharks at Cocos Island, points out (
“The problem in any case is observance and enforcement,” he said. “There have been success in countries with resources to enforce and convict violators, but many of the areas on the global map are in name only – ‘paper parks.’ Boats fish freely in world heritage sites and areas designated protected by governments. I am writing this from one such area outside Cocos Island approximately 400 miles off the coast of Costa Rica.”
Unfortunately, California is one such area where the government, in its greatest economic crisis ever, simply doesn’t have the funds to enforce new MPAs. The California Game Wardens Association has opposed the creation of any new marine protected areas along the coast until the state acquires the necessary funds to enforce them.
In an an excellent opinion piece in the Sacramento Bee on January 31, 2010 Jerry Karnow, Legislative Liason for the California Fish and Game Wardens Association, criticized the MLPA process for proceeding forward at a time when California has the "lowest ratio of wardens to population of any state or province in North America (
"It is impossible for the warden force to effectively enforce existing regulations, much less new regulations that the Fish and Game Commission approves over our objections," says Karnow. "Many of the regulations approved by the commission will not protect the natural resources of California. They will serve only one purpose; they will stretch the warden force ever thinner, which will eventually result in another warden's on-duty injury or death."
"While it seeks to design Marine Protected Areas, my warden colleagues have a different meaning for 'MPA' – we call them Marine Poaching Areas," says Karnow. "Since the protection act closes productive fishing areas, poachers will know where to rape our resources, and they will know that there is unlikely to be any law enforcement presence or legal anglers present to turn in poachers."
Shouldn’t initiative proponents listen to the advice of California’s game wardens, since they’re the ones charged with enforcing the MLPA?
Initiative Advocates Refuse to Address Flaws -
MLPA Initiative advocates constantly refuse to address the questions that myself and others have posed regarding the many flaws in the MLPA process, led by failure of the initiative to provide comprehensive marine protection. They pretend these flaws don't exist, preferring to repeat generic statements that the MLPA process is "open, transparent and inclusive" when 25 pages of documents of secret, illegal meetings and hour after hour of testimony of fishermen, Tribal members and grassroots environmentalists prove that it isn't.
When will MLPA Initiative backers finally show some courage to admit that there are serious flaws in the process?
When will they face up to the fact that Schwarzenegger’s appointment of a big oil lobbyist to be chair of the South Coast Task Force and to serve on the North Coast and North Central Coast panels was wrong?
When will they acknowledge that refusing to appoint tribal scientists to the Science Advisory Team and not appointing any tribal representatives to the MLPA Blue Ribbon Task Force until 2010 Coast is really bad policy?
Frankie Joe Myers, Yurok Tribe member and Coastal Justice Coalition activist, exposed the refusal to incorporate tribal science that underlies the "science" of the MLPA process during a direct action protest by a coalition of 50-plus tribes and their allies in Fort Bragg, California, on July 21, 2010.
“The whole process is inherently flawed by institutionalized racism," Myers said. "It doesn’t recognize tribes as political entities, or tribal biologists as legitimate scientists.”
Hopefully, Governor Jerry Brown and Natural Resources Secretary John Laird will show some courage, break with Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's abysmal environmental ocean policies and instead work to implement comprehensive policies along the California coast that protect the marine ecosystem from water pollution, water diversions, oil spills, corporate aquaculture, military testing, wave energy projects and other human impacts, rather than just penalizing fishermen and gatherers.

Ten Big Questions about the MLPA
I have challenge MLPA advocates to answer the 10 big questions that proponents of the controversial, privately funded process refuse to answer. None have responded to these questions to date.
1. Why did Schwarzenegger and MLPA officials install an oil industry lobbyist, a marina developer, a real estate executive and other corporate operatives with numerous conflicts of interest on the MLPA Blue Ribbon Task Forces to remove fishermen, Tribal gatherers and seaweed harvesters from the water by creating so-called “marine protected areas” (MPAs)?
2. Why was Catherine Reheis-Boyd, the president of the Western States Petroleum Association, allowed to make decisions as the chair of the BRTF for the South Coast, a panel that is supposedly designed to “protect” the ocean, when she has called for new oil drilling off the California coast?
3. Why has the MLPA Initiative taken water pollution, oil spills and drilling, military testing, corporate aquaculture, habitat destruction and all other impacts on the ocean other than fishing and gathering off the table in its bizarre concept of marine protection?
4. Why is a private corporation, the shadowy Resources Legacy Fund Foundation, being allowed to privatize ocean resource management in California through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the DFG?
5. Why do MLPA staff and the California Fish and Game Commission refuse to hear the pleas of the representatives of the California Fish and Game Wardens Association, who oppose the creation of any new MPAs until they have enough funding for wardens to patrol existing reserves?
6. Why were there no Tribal scientists on the MLPA Science Advisory Team and why were there no Tribal representatives on the Blue Ribbon Task Forces for the Central Coast, North Central Coast or South Coast MLPA Study Regions? How can you say that "science" guided the process when no Tribal scientists have been appointed to the Science Advisory Team since the process was privatized in 2004?
7. Why does the initiative discard the results of any scientists who disagree with the MLPA’s pre-ordained conclusions? These include the peer reviewed study by Dr. Ray Hilborn, Dr. Boris Worm and 18 other scientists, featured in Science magazine in July 2009, that concluded that the California current had the lowest rate of fishery exploitation of any place studied on the planet. These also include studies and data compiled by Yurok Tribe biologists and lawyers that differ with the MLPA's pre-ordained conclusions.
8. Why did the MLPA Blue Ribbon Task Force hold illegal secret meetings, including those held in April 2007 and on November 3, 2008, December 10, 2008, February 25, 2009, October 20, 21 and 22, 2009, as revealed in a 25 page document presented to the California Fish and Game Commission on February 2? This doesn't sound to me like an "open, transparent and inclusive" process, as you and others have constantly claimed the MLPA process is.
9. Why did it take a lawsuit by a coalition of fishing organizations to get the emails and correspondence by MLPA officials documenting these private, non-public meetings disclosed to the public?
10. Why did it take the outrage over the arrest of an independent journalist last spring to open work sessions of the MLPA to coverage by video-journalists?

Nuclear Power is Anti-Life

Monday, March 21, 2011

2011-03-21 "PG&E Statement On The Humboldt Bay Power Plant"
Note: Local news media today received this communication from PG&E representative Brandi Ehlers. – Ed.
In light of recent events in Japan, I would like to share some information about the Humboldt Bay Power Plant and Generating Station.
The Humboldt Bay Power Plant is in the process of decommissioning.  The spent nuclear fuel stored on site is located in a very secure underground structure.  The Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installation (ISFSI) project was completed in 2008 and the facilities have been designed to withstand an 8.8 magnitude Cascadia subduction zone earth quake and a tsunami surge between 28 to 43 feet above sea level. The underground vault affords greater seismic stability, greater protection from tsunamis, reduced maintenance, enhanced aesthetics, and uses conductive cooling, making it completely passive, meaning that the facility is able to perform its job without requiring any actions to be taken by plant workers.
At the Humboldt Bay Power Plant we have both the ability to monitor for external radiation and a highly trained radiation protection team at the site. We have two different types of sensors to detect external radiation at the Humboldt Bay Power Plant, air samplers and thermoluminescent dosimeters.  They are located on site as well as throughout Humboldt County.  We are coordinating with the California Department of Public Health and local agencies to provide them with information obtained from the sensors that could be made available to the public.
The Humboldt Bay Generating Station was designed to comply with the requirements for a seismic zone established by the California Building Code.  It was also designed to minimize risk from potential flooding impacts.
Media Relations Representative
Humboldt, North Coast

Sunday, March 20, 2011

2011-03-20 "Call for video doesn't float with Marina Coast Water" by LARRY PARSONS from "The Monterey County Herald" newspaper
Usually when offered the chance for face time on television, public officials jump toward the cameras.
Not so directors of the Marina Coast Water District, who have been under pressure for months to televise their meetings because of the district's key role in the proposed regional water desalination project.
Most local cities and some other local agencies contract with Access Monterey Peninsula, or AMP, to televise their meetings on the nonprofit's local government channels.
The Marina Coast District, which would own the proposed regional water desalination plant under a partnership with California American Water and the county Water Resource Agency, has shied away from spending its money to televise once-a-month board meetings. The proposed project, which would supplant the overdrafted Carmel River as the main water supply for the Peninsula, would cost an estimated $400million.
For months, videographers hired by the Green Party of Monterey County and, most recently, LandWatch Monterey County, have recorded the meetings and televised them during the party's three weekly one-hour slots on AMP's public-access channel.
"I have strong feelings about the public's right to know what's going on with a half-billion-dollar project," said Marina resident Richard Newhouse, who has shot the water board meetings for the past six months.
At their Feb. 8 meeting, Marina Coast board members failed to support a motion by director Jan Shriner, who had videotaped district board meetings before being elected to the board herself, to look into installing a videotaping system in their chambers.
A staff report put the cost of the five-camera system at $30,500 with an annual cost of $6,000 to broadcast the meetings. Board chairman Bill Lee said his conversations with district residents hasn't indicated support for spending that amount of money to televise the board meetings.
"We would like our people who pay the rates to say that's OK," Lee said last week.
He said it would be premature, with the regional desalination project still not certain, for the district to spend a lot of money to televise board meetings.
"When it gets down to Marina Coast Water actually making some decisions, then people might have a pretty good argument," he said.
As it stands, Lee said there is a handful of people pressing for televised board meetings. "I don't think they would be consistent viewers," he said.
Earlier this month, the Marina City Council got into the action.
The council approved an offer to broadcast videos of the Marina Coast board meetings on the city's AMP channel as long as the videos provided by community volunteers didn't conflict with city programming.
Marina Coast Water hasn't decided whether to take up the city's offer, Lee said.
He expressed displeasure at the city's move to inject itself into water district business. They are two different entities, and he questioned why one would "try to impose (its) will on the other guy."
Paul Congo, executive director of AMP, said he was aware of the city's offer through informal channels.
"We haven't been officially informed of any of this," he said. "We are just waiting for someone to bring us a copy."
Amy White, executive director of LandWatch, said the Marina Coast Water board doesn't appear ready to budge on the issue.
As the regional desalination project "inches closer to fruition, these guys are going to have so much power controlling almost a half-billion-dollar water project," she said.
She said Marina Coast Water directors "seem almost cavalier" about trying to make public business "more public."
"What is the value of transparency and public participation?" she said.

2011-03-22 "THE HERALD'S VIEW Editorial: Opaque Marina Coast Water District board wants to stay that way" from "The Monterey County Herald" newspaper
It would be unrealistic to expect the Marina Coast Water District to pay to broadcast its meetings for public consumption. Unrealistic because the district isn't like most other public entities.
Its board of directors is the kind that likes to keep people guessing.
It's the kind of district where a longtime director like Ken Nishi can quit without explanation and then join again weeks later without explanation.
Though it doesn't always act like it, it is, in fact, a public entity.
That's how it came to be a front for Cal Am as a partner in the Regional Desalination Project. A county ordinance required participation by a public entity, and what better to step in than  Marina Coast?
But if you want to know who is on the board or how to contact them, don't bother with the district's website. Names and faces are hard, if not impossible to find. These folks aren't politicians in the usual "how can I serve you?" sense.
When Bill Lee, the board chairman, was running for re-election last year, another candidate was his half brother, George Eads. When Lee introduced Eads to others in the district, then-director Tom Moore asked how they knew each other. Uh, er, we served in the military together, Lee offered, not very brotherly.
It's the kind of district where Nishi ally Howard Gustafson describes new board member Jan Shriner as "not worth discussing" and calls Marina Mayor Bruce Delgado "that little freak."
So no one should be shocked to learn that Marina
Coasters aren't eager to follow the lead of most other public agencies hereabouts and provide for their meetings to be televised.
For a time, their meetings were being aired courtesy of the Green Party and more recently by LandWatch Monterey County. But Shriner got nowhere with her recent request to have the district look into doing the work itself by installing a videotaping system.
It matters beyond Marina because the little district is a key component of the $400 million-plus desalination project, easily the largest, most controversial and most important area public works effort of the past several decades. While Marina-area district customers will receive the benefit of a new water supply at little cost, rates for water users on the Peninsula are expected to double, triple or quadruple. No one knows for sure.
Chairman Lee, though, told The Herald last week that it would be premature to spend money now on videotaping.
"When it gets down to Marina Coast Water actually making some decisions, then people might have a pretty good argument," said Lee, who seemed unaffected by the fact that the district reached that state many months ago.
The directors will attribute their bashfulness to frugality, but it is easy to suspect they're also afraid that if the larger community got a better look at how they conduct themselves, they'd be embarrassed.
The way we see if, if Nishi, Gustafson, Lee and the others are to receive the attention they genuinely deserve, someone else in the community is going to have to make it work.

Friday, March 18, 2011

2011-03-18 "Valero Refinery experiences problem with flaring" from "Vallejo Times-Herald" newspaper
BENICIA -- Valero Benicia Refinery experienced an upset in one of its processing units Thursday afternoon that led to flaring, a refinery official said.
Valero and Benicia emergency personnel responded at about 2:35 p.m. to the refinery at 3400 E. Second St.
The unit was isolated and there were no injuries, refinery spokeswoman Sue Fisher said.
"An investigation is under way," Fisher said. "We expect flaring to continue intermittently over the next 24 hours or so as the unit is prepared for a restart."
Flaring is a regulated safety measure designed to burn off excess gas in an environmentally sound manner when processing units are taken out of service.
The Valero Benicia Refinery this week completed startup activities after a prolo

Nuclear Power is Anti-Life

Advocates for "safe" nuclear power are sick.
They remain blind to the truth of human error.
Once a nuclear accident happens, it is too late.

Coffee House Teach Ins
San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace [] / (805) 773-3881 / P.O. Box 3608 San Luis Obispo, CA 93403
PROTEST against Diablo and stand up for clean energy.
Join at a peaceful demonstration on Saturday, April 16.
Meet at Avila Pier in Avila Beach, CA, at noon.
Bring signs and the messages that:
* We can no longer ignore the warnings from Fukushima Daiichi, Chernobyl, and Three Mile Island
* Diablo Canyon is on shaky ground; the area is riddled with over a dozen earthquake faults
* Nuclear Energy is not worth the risk to our lives and our planet
* Stop the license renewal process at Diablo

2011-03-18 "Diablo Canyon nuclear plant 'near miss' in report" by David R. Baker from "San Francisco Chronicle" newspaper 
Bloomberg News contributed to this report.
For 18 months, operators at the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant near San Luis Obispo didn't realize that a system to pump water into one of their reactors during an emergency wasn't working.
It had been accidentally disabled by the plant's own engineers, according to a report issued Thursday on the safety of nuclear reactors in the United States.
The report, from the Union of Concerned Scientists watchdog group, lists 14 recent "near misses" - instances in which serious problems at a plant required federal regulators to respond.
The report criticizes both plant operators and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for allowing some known safety issues to fester.
"The severe accidents at Three Mile Island in 1979 and Chernobyl in 1986 occurred when a handful of known problems - aggravated by a few worker miscues - transformed fairly routine events into catastrophes," the report notes.
The problem
The problem at Diablo Canyon, which is owned by Pacific Gas and Electric Co., involved a series of valves that allow water to pour into one of the plant's two reactors during emergencies, keeping the reactor from overheating.
The loss of water in a reactor can lead to at least a partial meltdown - a process believed to be under way at Japan's stricken Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant after last week's earthquake and tsunami.
Engineers at Diablo Canyon inadvertently created the problem while trying to solve another issue, according to the report.
A pair of remotely operated valves in the emergency cooling system was taking too long to move from completely closed to completely open. So engineers shortened the distance between those two positions, according to the report.
Unfortunately, two other pairs of valves were interlocked with the first. They couldn't open at all until the first pair opened all the way. No one noticed until the valves refused to open during a test in October 2009, 18 months after the engineers made the changes.
"It was disabled, and they didn't know it," said Jane Swanson, spokeswoman for the Mothers for Peace anti-nuclear group, which frequently spars with federal regulators over Diablo Canyon. "That's unforgivable, and it's not that unusual."
In an emergency, Diablo Canyon operators still could have opened the valves manually.
They could also have used a separate system of pumps to inject water into the reactor, PG&E spokesman Kory Raftery said.
"We want to make sure we put safety first - that's why we have redundant systems," he said.
He added, "The potential is very small for the type of situation where we'd need this system in the first place."
PG&E has asked the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to extend the licenses of Diablo Canyon's twin reactors past their original expiration dates of 2024 and 2025. Mothers for Peace has opposed that move.
The valve problem and the union's report, Swanson said, illustrate how even minor technical issues at a plant have the potential to cause serious problems.
'Domino effect'
"Any given nuclear power plant is such a complex system," she said. "As we've seen in Japan, the domino effect can happen."
With the Japanese crisis riveting world attention, Sens. Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein called on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission on Wednesday to perform thorough safety inspections at Diablo Canyon as well as California's other commercial nuclear plant, San Onofre, in San Diego County.
But the commission's chairman said Thursday there was no immediate need to inspect any U.S. nuclear plants.
Later Thursday, President Obama said the United States faces no danger of radioactive contamination from Japan's nuclear plant and has ordered a comprehensive review of safety at U.S. plants.

2011-03-16 "NEW FAULT DISCOVERED NEAR DIABLO CANYON" by David Perlman from "San Francisco Chronicle" newspaper
An unknown seismic fault has been detected on the ocean floor a half-mile from Pacific Gas & Electric Co.'s Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant, and a company report on the discovery says the plant could safely withstand a magnitude- 6.5 earthquake on the fault.
The fault zone was detected more than two years ago by scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey working with the utility, and was promptly reported to the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission, but its existence did not become widely known until Tuesday.
William Ellsworth, the USGS scientist who developed the method used to determine the fault's dimensions, said it is "not a major fault." The Shoreline Fault Zone runs for 14 miles offshore in three segments, roughly from the vicinity of a coastal feature called Point Buchon northwest of the plant to well out in San Luis Obispo Bay.
Ellsworth said the USGS and the utility have long had a standard cooperative agreement to work jointly on seismic research, and that the fault was found by scientists gathering seafloor data for a new assessment of probabilities for major quakes in the Bay Area.
The fault, Ellsworth said, runs vertically about 6 miles beneath the seafloor and is known as a "strike-slip" fault, which means that in its motion one side would slip past the other.
The fault lies about 3 miles inshore from the well-known Hosgri Fault, whose discovery in 1971 by scientists forced PG&E to upgrade the plant's design.

California's ecology was nearly DESTROYED
Below photographs show the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant:

2011-03-18 "Nuclear safety: Five recent 'near miss' incidents at US nuclear power plants" from "Christian Science Monitor" newspaper
Fourteen safety-related events at nuclear power plants required follow-up inspections from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the NRC reported in 2010. These "near-miss" events "raised the risk of damage to the reactor core – and thus to the safety of workers and the public," concluded a new report, "The NRC and Nuclear Power Plant Safety in 2010," by the Union of Concerned Scientists. Here are five of these 14 "near miss" examples:

1. Diablo Canyon, California – Emergency systems disabled
At the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant, operators found themselves unable to open the valves that provide emergency cooling water to the reactor core and containment vessel, during a test on October 22, 2009.
A misguided fix of an earlier problem had prevented the emergency valves from opening, the NRC team sent to investigate found.
Tests after the valve repairs had failed to detect the problem, meaning that the reactor had operated for nearly 18 months with vital emergency systems disabled. Although the earlier modification impaired the emergency core cooling systems, workers could have opened the valves manually, which reduced the severity of the violation, the report said.

2. Wolf Creek, Kansas – Emergency system leaks
Seven hours after the Aug. 19, 2009 automatic shutdown of the Wolf Creek nuclear plant, due to an electric problem related to a lightning strike, an NRC inspector found water leaking from the system that cools the emergency diesel generators and virtually all other emergency equipment.
An internal study in 2007 had forecast such leakage, showing that a vital cooling system was prone to rust damage that would result in leaks. Management did nothing, the UCS report says. In 2008, the same piping developed the leaks, just as predicted. Management only patched the leaks, doing little about the rusting causing the problem. In 2009, the piping developed more leaks. This time, workers failed to notice the water puddling on the floor until an NRC inspector found it 7 hours later.
(While the event occurred in 2009, the NRC report appeared in 2010.)

3. Brunswick, North Carolina – Delayed reactor time
At the Brunswick nuclear plant, Halon gas – a fire suppression agent – was mistakenly discharged into the basement of the building housing the emergency diesel generator, on June 6, 2010. The release of the toxic gas into a vital area prompted control room operators to declare an alert – the third-most-serious emergency classification.
Workers did not know how to notify emergency responders, the NRC team discovered, so it took 2-1/2 hours to fully staff and activate onsite emergency response facilities – twice as long as specified in the plant’s emergency response procedures.
Fortunately, the incident was not an actual emergency, the report author notes.

4. Fort Calhoun Nuclear Plant, Nebraska – Failure of emergency equipment
On Feb. 17, 2010, the NRC sent a team to the nuclear plant after the turbine-driven auxiliary feedwater (AFW) pump automatically shut down shortly after operators started the pump during a monthly test.
The AFW system is an emergency system that remains in standby mode during normal plant operation. However, although the AFW system plays a vital role in an accident, the NRC investigators found that the pump had failed numerous times over many years. The owner had never found the cause of the problem, and therefore had never taken steps to prevent it.
The NRC identified four violations of its safety regulations.

5. Surry Nuclear Plant, Virginia – Failure to recognize a problem
Degraded electrical equipment caught fire in the control room of Unit 1, about 90 minutes after an electrical short led to an inadvertent shutdown of the reactor, on June 8, 2010.
Six months earlier, a fire had broken out in the Unit 2 control room – because of similarly degraded electrical components.
After putting out the Unit 2 fire in November 2009, workers had asked technicians to investigate, but the company closed the report without any investigation or evaluation.
After the second fire, workers tested electrical components in both control rooms and found many were degraded, including some that produced visible sparks during testing.
Because the company had taken no action to protect Unit 1 from the problem they had been warned of in Unit 2, NRC's investigation team sanctioned the company.

Republicans are Anti-Life

2011-03-18 "Right-Wing Media Respond To Japanese Nuclear Crisis By Attacking Renewable Energy"
In the wake of the earthquake in Japan and the resulting threat of nuclear disaster in that country, right-wing media have attacked renewable energy sources such as wind and solar, arguing that it's a waste of time to pursue these sources as possible alternatives to fossil fuels and nuclear power. However, studies show that the use of wind and solar energy is increasing at a record pace, and continuing investment in wind and solar will yield significant economic benefits.
Conservative Media Dismiss Wind, Solar As Viable Energy Sources

Fox's Bolling Bashes Renewables By Pointing To Birds, People "Killed By Wind Turbines" And Installing Solar Panels. On his Fox Business show, discussing the nuclear crisis in Japan, Eric Bolling turned to what he said "the left wants to talk about -- a wind turbine," and showed footage of a hawk flying into a spinning wind turbine and being knocked to the ground. He then followed with footage of what appeared to be a crime scene: barrier tape in front of a solar panel sitting on the ground next to a house, and the chalk outline of a body on the ground.

Bolling stated:
[begin excerpt]
BOLLING: Here's Japan with an 8.9 magnitude earthquake and it survived -- not a death. You can't say that about some of the other things that the left wants to talk about. They want to talk about a wind turbine. Take a look at this. Oh!
BOLLING: All right, a wind turbine versus a beautiful hawk, innocent hawk spinning away in the sky -- wham! No more hawk. Even experts in the renewable energy point out that dozens, dozens of people have been killed by wind turbines, including one poor woman who parachuted into one. And workers have been killed falling off roofs while installing solar panels.
BOLLING: Here's the point. The point is everything comes with dangers. And Leslie, all of them. All forms of power come with danger.
BOLLING: However, there's never been a death directly associated with a radiation leak ever in the history of North American power generated from nuclear. [Fox Business, Follow the Money, 3/11/11] []
[end excerpt]

Limbaugh: "Wind And Solar Aren't Capable of Producing Anything -- They're Just Dreams Of The Environmentalist Wackos." On his radio show, Rush Limbaugh stated:
[begin excerpt]
LIMBAUGH: What is U.S. energy policy? U.S. energy policy is to shut down -- you know, the -- here's something fascinating. You know, this -- folks, things do have a tendency to work out in strange ways. Would it be a safe bet that since wind and solar really aren't capable of producing anything -- they're just dreams of the environmentalist wackos. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 3/14/11]
[end excerpt]

Limbaugh: Solar And Wind Are "Just Not Practical." Citing the work of his "official climatologist" Roy Spencer, a scientist with the University of Alabama-Huntsville, Limbaugh further stated on his radio show:
[begin excerpt]
LIMBAUGH: Practical energy sources -- see this is the thing. Practical, it's such an important word and it is so absent. Practicality takes a long vacation during an event like this.
LIMBAUGH: As Dr. Spencer, our official climatologist, Dr. Roy Spencer, University of Alabama-Huntsville, points out, practical energy sources are inherently risky. There is risk associated with virtually everything, particularly in energy production. And the reason is, is that we need so much of it. There's no way to provide it without using concentrated forms of it. Petroleum, natural gas, coal, nuclear -- those are all -- think of concentrated frozen orange juice in your can, and the way you make it is you dump that into a pitcher of water and you stir it.
Our energy sources, before we refine them and prepare them for practical use, are really concentrated in their power -- a barrel of oil, natural gas, coal, what have you. Solar and wind never compete because they produce so little energy when you look at it, say, per acre of land required. It's just not practical. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 3/14/11] []
[end excerpt]

Limbaugh: "The Wind Will Stop Blowing. The Sun Will Be Obscured By The Clouds." Limbaugh also said:
[begin excerpt]
LIMBAUGH: We get less than 1 percent of our nation's energy from solar and wind, even now. Thirty percent in this country comes from nuclear. The rest, sorry to tell you, fossil -- all natural gas and all the derivatives. And we have an appetite for it. And we better be producing it to meet our demand and grow, otherwise our economy is going to stagnate. We cannot have a growing economy and stagnating energy production at the same time -- cannot happen. We cannot grow an economy with wind energy or solar. It isn't practical. There is no concentrated form of it.
You can't even guarantee it. The wind will stop blowing. The sun will be obscured by the clouds. So all of our energy sources, all of our options have dangers, have risks inherent to their existence. Look at the deaths due to coal mine disasters. That's all in the name of fulfilling our energy needs. Natural gas explosions. Even the occasional oil rig explosion, the occasional oil tanker springing a leak. And in the context of all this, nuclear really is our safest option in the long term, especially with newer technologies. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 3/14/11] []
[end excerpt]

Fox's Varney Dismisses Renewable Energy: "It's Not An Answer For The Whole Country." Fox Business anchor Stuart Varney hosted Bob Deans, director of Federal Communications for the Natural Resources Defense Council, to discuss the nuclear energy crisis in Japan and what it might mean for the United States. Varney subsequently dismissed renewable energy, saying, "It's not an answer for the whole country." From the show:
VARNEY: You want to extend the time frame for getting new nuclear plants online. We're probably gonna be shutting some of these coal-fired electricity plants -- and you really don't like oil. Where do we get the juice from?
VARNEY: Now, demand's gonna go up. We all know that. Demand is going -- you've got a flat-screen TV. I'm sure you do. Demand is going up and you want to reduce the -- what we get from nuclear power. You want to reduce what we get from coal power. Come on, where do you get the extra supply of juice from? Tell me.
DEANS: We need to do two things, Stuart. We need to invest in efficiency gains in this country so that we're doing more with less.
VARNEY: That's not going to do it, Bob. That's not gonna do it.
DEANS: Our economy grows. It won't get us all the way there, but what can help us, too --
VARNEY: It won't. Nowhere near. Nowhere near.
DEANS: -- are renewables. Stuart, you know, in Texas, you've been there lately, 8 percent of Texas electricity -- Texas, the oil capital of the world -- 8 percent of its electricity is now coming from wind turbines on ranches, on farms. They're helping to keep these family ranchers and farmers viable and intact, and preserve --
VARNEY: It's not an answer for the whole country, though, is it? By the way, did you bike to work today?
DEANS: Stuart, I've been fighting a cold but, normally, I do bike to work and I've been doing it for about 10 years, and I would -- I tell you, I've got a tandem and the next time you're in Washington, I'll swing by and pick you up. We can ride in together.
VARNEY: Nicely done, young man. [Fox Business, Varney & Company, 3/17/11] []
[end excerpt]

Fox's LaJeunesse: Nuclear Power "Cannot Be Replaced By Wind And Solar, Which Are Subject To The Weather." On Fox News' Fox & Friends, correspondent William LaJeunesse reported on how experts believe that in a "worst-case scenario," the Japanese nuclear crisis "could disable the [nuclear] industry for decades, creating a power shortage, driving up prices." He added: "You know, what's important about nuclear, like coal, it provides something called base-load power: It's reliable, it's constant, it's immediate and it cannot be replaced by wind and solar, which are subject to the weather." [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 3/15/11] []

Big Journalism Contributor Horner Calls Wind, Solar Energies "Stupid, Costly And Harmful." In a post on Andrew Breitbart's BigJournalism website, Christopher Horner of the Competitive Enterprise Institute wrote:
[begin excerpt]
[T]here is also that long trail of aspirational comments, well beyond vowing to cause electricity prices to 'skyrocket', indicating this steady gas price hike is their objective, even if overseas developments are causing problems for them [helping the rise advance too quickly such that people pay attention, with these developments adding to the price hikes the admin have built in, with much more obviously undone but hopefully on the way]. As I detailed with many more admissions ten months ago in Power Grab.
Obviously, this is one of the items worrying Team Obama, along with their foreign policy fecklessness. And -- in lieu of gimmickry to redirect voters' gazes from policies that contribute to this, such as by releasing Strategic [NB: not 'Political'] Petroleum Reserve crude -- Obama cheerleaders (like Politico) note he could take the opportunity to push his "Clean Energy Standard".
That's one of the "other ways to skin the cat" after cap-and-trade failed legislatively. Of course, for one, that is an electricity standard, adding windmill and solar panel mandates that are superfluous to a GHG rationing scheme like EPA's backdoor cap-n-trade. Because we drive wind- and solar-powered cars. Or something.
But speaking of EPA's involvement in all of this, Speaker Boehner jabbed at it yesterday when co-incidentally rolling out the Republicans' energy arguments, "American Energy". This follows up Newt Gingrich's chosen talking point -- which of course draws no line to exclude stupid, costly and harmful 'American energy' like ethanol, windmills or solar panels, any more than that previous stab of "All of the Above". Sigh. Will someone please stand up and yell "Stop!"? [, 3/11/11] []
[end excerpt]

Wind, Solar Energies Continue To Grow At Record Pace -
Energy Information Administration: "Wind Power Has Been The Fastest-Growing Source Of New Electric Power Generation For Several Years." According to data from the U.S. Energy Department's Energy Information Administration (EIA), "[w]ind power has been the fastest-growing source of new electric power generation for several years." The EIA further stated:
In 2009, generation from wind power increased 33.5 percent over 2008, bringing the share of total generation to 1.9 percent. This followed year-over-year generation gains of 60.7 percent in 2008, 29.6 percent in 2007, and 49.3 percent in 2006 (See the "Electric Power Annual" Table ES.1). Wind capacity in 2009 totaled 34,296 megawatts (MW), as compared to 24,651 MW in 2008. [U.S. Energy Information Administration, January 2011] []

The EIA also included the following graphic showing the ascent of wind generation versus capacity:
[U.S. Energy Information Administration, January 2011] []

Solar Energy Industries Association: "2010 Was A Banner Year For The Solar Energy Market In The United States." In its "US Solar Market Insight: Year-in-Review 2010" report, the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) found that "2010 was a banner year for the solar energy market in the United States." SEIA continued:
[begin excerpt]
In contrast to U.S. GDP growth of 2.8%, the U.S. solar market grew 67% in value in 2010. Not only did the market expand greatly, but it showed substantial diversity across market segments, geography, and technologies. Solar is growing quickly across the U.S. at the residential, commercial, and utility scale levels. It is powering and heating buildings in all fifty states, and using a variety of technologies to do so. The rapid growth and unique diversity has made the U.S. market a focus of global industry attention for the first time in many years. In 2010, the U.S. solar market grew to reach $6.0 billion, up from $3.6 billion in 2009.
2011 will be a pivotal year for the U.S. PV market. While installations in the U.S. are likely to double the 2010 total, the global market will experience slower growth. As a result, much of the global PV industry is turning its eye toward the U.S. with great expectations. On the whole, the demand picture for the U.S. market appears strong. Project financing remains available at attractive terms for some projects, new markets are emerging and showing strength, and incumbent markets continue their rise. [Solar Energy Industries Association, "US Solar Market Insight: Year-in-Review 2010," 3/10/11] []
[end excerpt]

SEIA CEO: "This Remarkable [2010] Growth Puts The Solar Industry's Goal Of Powering 2 Million Homes Annually By 2015 Within Reach." The day SEIA released its "Year-in-Review 2010" report, the organization's president and CEO, Rhone Resch, stated:
[begin excerpt]
"This report shows that solar energy is now one of the fastest growing industries in the United States, creating new opportunities for both large and small businesses. Every day, Americans across the country are going to work at well-paying, stable jobs at solar companies, from small installers all the way up to Fortune 500 companies.
"This remarkable growth puts the solar industry's goal of powering 2 million homes annually by 2015 within reach. Achieving such amazing growth during the economic downturn shows that smart polices combined with American ingenuity adds up to a great return on investment for the public. The bottom line is that the solar energy industry is creating tens of thousands of new American jobs each year." [Solar Energy Industries Association, 3/10/11] []
[end excerpt]

EIA: The U.S. Solar "Industry Hit A Record High In 2009." According to an EIA report released in January, "The U.S. photovoltaic (PV) industry hit a record high in 2009, shipping nearly 1.3 peak gigawatts of cells and modules. This represents a nearly 30-percent increase from 2008." The report further stated:
[begin excerpt]
With overall shipments of 1,282,560 peak kilowatts of cells and modules in 2009, the PV industry saw increases in shipments from existing companies as well as new companies entering the PV market. The number of active PV manufacturers and/or importers that ship PV cells and modules increased 53 percent, from 66 companies in 2008 to 101 companies in 2009.
In addition, several manufacturers are planning to introduce new photovoltaic-related technical products in the next calendar year. [U.S. Energy Information Administration, January 2011] []
[end excerpt]

Renewable Energy Research Shows Sector's Promising Future

Energy Department Study Concluded That Distribution Of Renewable Power Across Large Geographic Area Would "Mitigat[e] The Unpredictability Of Mother Nature." As The New York Times reported, a 2010 Department of Energy (DOE) study that focused on renewable power's "clearest drawback ... unreliability" concluded "that intermittency -- long considered a major shortcoming -- may have little impact on the potential for wind to power much of the electric grid in the western United States." The Times further reported:
[begin excerpt]
The study, released in late May [2010], found that the power grid for five western states -- Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and Wyoming -- could operate on as much as 30 percent wind and 5 percent solar without the construction of extensive new infrastructure.
Wind power proponents have long faced skepticism that renewables could ever displace conventional power sources in a meaningful way, with critics asserting that large coal or nuclear plants would always need to stand ready to provide backup power whenever the wind ceased to blow or clouds blocked the sun.
The authors of the N.R.E.L. [National Renewable Energy Lab] study tackled this supposition head on and found it largely baseless. It concluded that in the West, the broad distribution of wind turbines and solar generation would essentially smooth out the supply of renewable power.
"When you coordinate the operations between utilities across a large geographic area, you decrease the effect of the variability of wind and solar energy sources, mitigating the unpredictability of Mother Nature," Dr. Lew said. [The New York Times, Green, 6/1/10] []
[end excerpt]

[... continue reading the article by clicking the link at the top of this post ...]

The article continues with information about the growing investments and uses of renewable energy, including polls which show the MAJORITY of United States residents supporting the expansion of alternative energy sources.
So, why are Republican Party members against renewable energy? Fascism is the process where private wealth dictate public policy, and the Republican Party "works" for the oil and nuclear industry!