Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Study to preserve native turtles at Mount Diablo pond

2013-07-31 "Study dials up western pond turtles"
by Carolyn Jones from "San Francisco Chronicle" []:
Turtles at a secluded Mount Diablo pond are outfitted with radio transmitters so researchers can follow their movements. Photo: Michael Macor, San Francisco Chronicle

Western pond turtles soak up the sun, seemingly oblivious to their participation in the study. Photo: Michael Macor, San Francisco Chronicle

Western Pond Turtle fitted with a transmitter is released back into the water after the collection of data on Wednesday July 24, 2013, in Clayton, Calif. Wildlife Biologist David "Doc Quack" Riensche with the East Bay Regional Park District is leading a plan to save endangered Western Pond Turtles, placing tiny antennas on their shells so scientists can track the reptiles and learn more about them. Photo: Michael Macor, San Francisco Chronicle

 Turtle No. 13 is pretty much like western pond turtles everywhere. The greenish, speckled reptile likes to wallow in the mud, bask on old logs and munch on dragonfly larvae.
But then there's the 8-inch antenna on her back.
She and each of her 23 cohorts in a secluded Mount Diablo pond are affixed with radio transmitters on their shells so scientists can track their every poky, mud-filled move.
The turtles are oblivious to their high-tech accessory, but the information they provide has given biologists a glimpse into one of the most rare, and mysterious, reptiles.
"This is the holy grail for turtles," said David "Doc Quack" Riensche, an East Bay Regional Park District biologist who's been conducting the study for three years.
"How far do they go? Where do they winter? What kind of vegetation do they like? We're trying to find these answers so we can learn what's the best way to save these guys."
Western pond turtles, the state's only native turtle, are a "species of special concern," according to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and are declining rapidly throughout the West. Once common in creeks and ponds in the Bay Area, the distinctive reptile is now fighting for survival.
The main culprits, aside from habitat loss, are nonnative bullfrogs, which eat the turtle eggs, and invasive red-eared slider turtles, which carry diseases and outcompete the western pond turtle for food and shelter.
The result is that few sizable colonies of pond turtles exist. When embarking on his study, Riensche scoured Alameda and Contra Costa counties for the elusive turtle and found almost none.
Then he stumbled across a 1-acre, spring-fed cattle pond in the eastern foothills of Mount Diablo outside Clayton.
There, he found more than 75 western pond turtles frolicking in the muck.
"It was like the Fertile Crescent," he said. "I was ecstatic."
During breeding season, Riensche and a crew of volunteers - including, sometimes, his wife and kids - trek to the pond daily to check on their subjects.
They catch a few turtles to weigh, measure and inspect for raccoon attacks, then they circle the pond with a wire antenna that resembles TV rabbit ears.
The antenna is affixed to a radio frequency tuner, which volunteers can adjust to locate individual turtles. It beeps when it receives a signal.
Fortunately, turtles don't go very far. Most are lounging in the mud or snoozing on a log. But when laying eggs, females can wander 100 yards or so from the pond - a migration that's critical to understanding how the turtle successfully breeds.
With the help of the antennas, scientists have learned the preferred nesting sites are sunny areas with grass about 1 1/2 feet high covering about 85 percent of the ground. There, the female turtle digs a small hole, deposits her eggs, buries them and lets them incubate in the warmth for two months or so.
Scientists also learned that turtles hibernate underwater for several months in the winter, clustered in the shallow end of the pond.
The information Riensche and his crew gather is sent to state Fish and Wildlife scientists, who use it to create a conservation plan.
Turtle tracking is not for the impatient. Volunteers spend many long hours by the pond with the antenna, waiting for one of nature's more relaxed creatures to do something interesting.
Maggie Clark, a bookkeeper from Lafayette, said she doesn't mind. In fact, it's sort of soothing, she said.
"Any little part I can do," she said. "This is a huge metropolitan area, and I think it's important we try to save as much as we can."
Richard Kaufmann of Oakland, a retired Lake Merritt naturalist, said he considers turtle tracking "payback."
"If you look at all the resources people have taken from the planet - wildlife has had to adapt. Some have, and some are having a harder time," he said. "I see this as a little return for what we've taken."

Turtle study -
To volunteer on the western pond turtle study, e-mail David Riensche at docquack@ebparks or call (510) 544-2319. For more information, go to

Comment by Eric Mills, coordinator ACTION FOR ANIMALS []:
This is truly maddening. The Dept. of Fish & Wildlife (DFW) says that the Western Pond Turtle is a "species of special concern," then notes that the main culprits are "nonnative bullfrogs, which eat the turtle eggs, and invasive red-eared slider turtles, which carry diseases and out-compete the western pond turtle for food and shelter."
The DFG needs to get its act together, else projects such as this one to restore Western Pond Turtles are doomed to failure. We've been petitioning the Dept. and the DFG Commission for 18+ years to stop issuing frog & turtle permits for live animal food markets (mostly in various "Chinatowns") due in part to this very problem. Back in 2010 the Commission voted 5:0 to halt the frog/turtle import permits, but were ignored. The Dept. continues to issue the permits on a month-to-month basis. When challenged by an irate Commissioner Dan Richards (one of the best commissioners ever), the Dept. lamely responded, "The Director acts at the pleasure of the Governor." So much for the democratic process. These non-native animals cause major environmental harm when released into local waters, a common though illegal practice, often by "do-gooders" or religious sects in "animal liberation" ceremonies.
California annually imports TWO MILLION American bullfrogs and an estimated 300,000-400,000 freshwater turtles (red-eared sliders & softshells) for human consumption. ALL are diseased and/or parasitized (though it's ILLEGAL to sell such products). Worse, the majority of the bullfrogs carry the dreaded CHYTRID FUNGUS (Bd), responsible for the extinctions of some 200 species of frogs and other amphibians worldwide in recent years. THIS COMMERCE SHOULD BE HALTED IMMEDIATELY.
WRITE: Chuck Bonham, DFW Director []
ALSO WRITE TO THE FISH & GAME COMMISSION [] (Mike Sutton, President), and ask that this issue be re-agendized, as we were promised in October of 2012.

Chevron settles civil suit for 19 airborne toxins violations between 2010 to 2012-08

2013-07-31 "Chevron to pay $190k for air quality violations prior to refinery fire"
from "" []:
RICHMOND, Calif. — Chevron has agreed to pay the Bay Area Air Quality Management District $190,000 to settle air quality violations at its Richmond refinery prior to the fire there last August, air quality officials announced Wednesday.
The civil settlement covers 19 violations at the refinery reported between 2010 and August 2012 and aren't linked to the Aug. 6 fire that spewed toxic smoke into the air and sent about 15,000 area residents to local hospitals, according to air quality officials.
The violations covered in the settlement included record-keeping errors, flaring and gas and oil releases into the air detected by the air district monitors positioned at the boundaries of the refinery, district spokesman Aaron Richardson said.
He said Chevron has since taken action to correct each of the issues.
In some cases, the refinery had to shut down equipment in order to remedy the violations, but the facility itself did not shut down, Richardson said.
“Refineries have thousands of components and they require strict oversight to ensure the facility maintains its emissions limits,” said air district executive officer Jack Broadbent. “This penalty against Chevron is intended to remind them that they need to be vigilant in the maintenance and operation of the refinery.”
A separate investigation into air quality violations at the refinery during last August's fire is ongoing.

Monday, July 29, 2013

PG&E and the toxic fall-out of it's natural gas pipeline business

2013-07-26 "Toxic plume spreads, PG&E faces 2nd Hinkley suit"
by David R. Baker []:
Years ago, Pacific Gas and Electric Co. promised to clean up the groundwater beneath Hinkley, a small Mojave Desert town crossed by one of the company's natural gas pipelines.
A toxic form of chromium used by PG&E had seeped into the water, in a place where every home needs a well. Helped by a little-known law clerk named Erin Brockovich, 636 Hinkley residents sued the San Francisco utility and, in 1996, won a $333 million settlement.
But 17 years later, the chromium remains. And despite PG&E's efforts, the plume of tainted water appears to be spreading, with the chemical showing up in more wells than before.
Now, Hinkley residents who weren't part of the original court case have filed a new lawsuit against the company, saying PG&E has rendered their homes virtually worthless.
"These guys are in the middle of the desert, and they're wholly dependent on well water - there's no option," said Javier van Oordt, a principal at the Santa Ana law firm handling the case. "I can say with a fair amount of confidence that nobody but PG&E is buying property out there right now."
Hinkley is, in fact, emptying out.
PG&E has been buying and bulldozing homes from residents who have decided to flee - 130 properties so far. The town, about 15 miles northwest of Barstow in San Bernardino County, recently lost its only school. Exact population figures aren't available because the town is unincorporated, but some longtime residents say the population has dropped substantially to 3,000 or fewer.

'It's a ghost town' -
Roberta Walker, 59, helped craft the original lawsuit, doing her own research that she passed on to Brockovich, played by actress Julia Roberts in a 2000 movie about the case.
 Now Walker and her husband are negotiating with PG&E to sell their home.
"It's inevitable," said Walker, who is not part of the new suit. "We can't stay here. It's a ghost town."
The new class-action suit, filed July 19 in San Bernardino County, covers Hinkley residents who did not participate in the first lawsuit - people who thought their homes and wells were miles away from the chromium plume. More than 100 property owners could eventually join, said van Oordt, with the Callahan & Blaine law firm.
The chemical - hexavalent chromium, or chromium-6 - started leaching into Hinkley's water decades ago.
The town lies along the route of a pipeline bringing natural gas from Texas to the Bay Area. PG&E built a compressor station for the pipeline in 1952 and for the next 14 years used hexavalent chromium in the station's cooling system, adding the substance to water as a way to fight corrosion in the machinery. The chromium-laced water was then dumped in unlined ponds nearby.
 The Environmental Protection Agency has proposed classifying chromium-6 as likely to cause cancer when ingested. The EPA already considers it a carcinogen when inhaled.
Since settling the original lawsuit, PG&E has tried to pen in the plume of tainted groundwater while testing ways to clean up the chromium. One method involves injecting small amounts of food-grade ethanol - similar to hard liquor - into the aquifer. Bacteria feed off the ethanol and multiply. And those bacteria convert chromium-6 into chromium-3, a nontoxic form of the metal.
Alfalfa fields -
 "The thing we like about that is, it gets to the problem down where it is," said Kevin Sullivan, the manager of PG&E's Hinkley cleanup project.
The company also pumps the tainted water onto alfalfa fields, where bacteria in the soil convert the chemical into chromium-3.
Sullivan said that the most-polluted wells, those near the compressor station, have shown a steep drop in chromium-6 concentrations, with levels falling more than 50 percent.
"We're making good progress on this plume," said Sullivan, who has spent seven years trying to clean Hinkley's water. "We're knocking out the core."
And yet, the plume may be moving.
Chromium-6 has been detected in wells several miles from the original plume. To PG&E, this is a sign of better testing - not spreading contamination. More wells are now being checked, and the hexavalent chromium within them may be naturally occurring, according to the company.
The government agency overseeing the cleanup, the Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board, isn't entirely convinced. Some wells that have been tested for years, wells several miles north of the original plume, have shown rising chromium-6 levels, said Lauri Kemper, the board's assistant executive director.
"At least in some areas, we believe it's spread," she said.
Fully cleaning up the aquifer could take as long as 30 to 60 years, according to PG&E. In the meantime, the company is buying water for some homeowners and has installed water purifying systems for others. And for people within a mile of the expanded plume - as defined by the water board - the company will discuss buying their property, with PG&E basing its offers on home values in nearby towns such as Apple Valley.

Loss to homeowners -
But in some cases, PG&E's offers, which are not part of the original lawsuit settlement, represent a substantial loss to the homeowners. Barbara Ray lives a half-mile west of the compressor plant and wants to sell. But the company's last offer was less than she owes on the mortgage, she said.
"I told them it was ridiculous," said Ray, an elementary school teacher in Barstow who is not part of the new suit.
Although she still loves Hinkley's open landscape and the quiet of a small town, she doesn't want to stay and wait for PG&E to finish its cleanup. Five of her neighbors have already moved, and a sixth will soon.
"I'm 53," Ray said. "I may still be alive in 40 years, but I don't want to be here."

Bee die-off is caused by, and censored by, Monsanto and it's allies

2013-07-29 "Here’s What’s Killing Bees…and Why We’re All Screwed"
by Kevin Mathews []:
Americans may have largely shrugged off the ongoing mass bee deaths, but at least scientists are still on the case. Supporting several previous studies [], new research by the USDA and University of Maryland links pesticides to Colony Collapse Disorder, which not only threatens the existence of bees, but also the human food supply. Moreover, the research also suggests that fungicide plays a similarly large role in bee deaths (Crop Pollination Exposes Honey Bees to Pesticides Which Alters Their Susceptibility to the Gut Pathogen Nosema ceranae []).
While previous research has found correlations between pesticide use and bee fatalities, what makes this new study unique is the in depth autopsy performed on affected bees. Specifically, scientists looked at the combination of toxins with which the bees were dealing. The average pollen sample contained nine different pesticides and fungicides, though one test was found to include 21 such chemicals [].
This chemical exposure is too much for most bees to contend with, leaving them particularly weak and susceptible to parasites. Putting this theory to the test, researchers gave pesticide-laden pollen to healthy bees and found they were no longer able to withstand infections.
In particular, when fungicides were present in pollen, bees were three times as likely to succumb to parasitic infection. This discovery is important because, while pesticide use is supposed to be restricted to minimize exposure to bees, fungicides are not regulated since they aren’t thought to harm insects.
“The pesticide issue in itself is much more complex than we have [been] led to believe,” said Dennis vanEngelsdorp, one of the study’s authors. “It’s a lot more complicated than just one product, which means of course the solution does not lie in just banning one class of product.
Since chemicals seem to be working in conjunction to devastate bee populations, Europe’s current solution of banning certain pesticides may be too narrow of an effort to actually save bees.
This University of Maryland study is not the only one examining pesticides and bees to emerge in recent weeks. An international study demonstrated that neonicotinioids (a particular kind of pesticides) not only killed bees, but also bat and amphibian populations. Another study more concretely showed how diminishing bee populations similarly decreases plant reproduction. Fortunately, Monsanto hasn’t managed to buy and silence every research firm that finds its practices responsible for bee deaths! []
According to USDA, one in three bites of food we eat is the direct or indirect result of bee pollination. Experts anticipate that the reduction in pollination due to fewer bees will result in higher food prices in the near future. Hopefully all of this research will spawn substantial action.
Although protecting the bees should be motivation enough in itself, it also means protecting the food supply on the whole. It would be really shortsighted to continue dismissing Colony Collapse Disorder as one of nature’s unsolvable mysteries.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

"Stop Green Diamond" campaign

We mean to save Strawberry Rock with its surrounding forests.It should be set aside as a Trinidad Protected Sacred Site!
Strawberry Rock is only the tip of the iceberg and our first concern, while Green Diamond has been hammering our forest and water sheds for years.  Our most basic work begins by exposing their hostile practices to the entire community.  Recently on KMUD it was pointed out, nothing will stop this company!
It's up to the efforts of caring people to collectively stop this company!
All logging spokespeople will tell you "We follow California Forest Regulations, the most stringent in the nation." 
Thus the community for the most part, is purposely kept ignorant of what's happening in our back country and the atrocious standards go on being practiced. 
In Costa Rica, Nature has a Bill Of Rights!
* Friends Of Trinidad Forests
* Forest Defenders
* Trinidad Tree Sit
For further info:  [707-616-2212] [541-731-9502]
"Redwood Nation Earth First!" media contacts Freddie Long [707-459-5267], Jamie Chevalier [707-354-4796], []

Other Ecological Actions happening in the Redwood Curtain:
* Occupy Willits Bypass! Save Little Lake Valley! []
* Ecology Solidarity: Save Richardson Grove! []

2013-07-13 "Treesit in Trinidad still Challenging Green Diamond"
message from "EF! Humboldt"
Treesitters have been living in the canopy above the Strawberry Rock trail since the logging plan THP #1-10-137 threatened to ruin these already ravaged, but still breathtaking forests. The so-called "Strawberry Rock THP," a proposed 88 acre series of clearcuts, is just a small part of Green Diamond's big vision for the future of Humboldt's forests. Adjacent THPs threaten even more acres of forest in the Trinidad area and Green Diamond has snuck in through the backdoor and begun clearcutting one of these nearby THPs! Immediate action is needed to resist GD's atrocious clearcut practices and continuous exploitation of Humboldt's forests. Contact EF! to get involved and join other local activists for a hike-out to these threatened forests as well as the current treesit July 20, 11 AM at the Strawberry Rock trailhead.

2013-05-20 Letter by Jack Nounnan to Editor of Times Standard:
In reply to a letter in the Sun edition by some of the Yurok community,
Friends Of Trinidad Forests want the Yurok Community to know we never supported the idea of TreeSpirit using the top of Strawberry Rock as a site for their art project, while knowing they came to help our effort in drawing attention to the almost forgotten beauty, vulnerability and sacredness of nature. Why have so many forgotten these roots?
Not only did we write them to state our position long before this took place, but we were there April 27th, before the hike began... to remind them how although many Yurok's were supportive, there were still those who did not agree. We felt TreeSpirit would honor the Yuroks and our position. Only later did we learn what happened.
What is it we can agree upon, which will keep us focused on the real work here toward finding a formula to protect not just Strawberry Rock, but the entire forests surrounding... and more immediately, asking Green Diamond to end its reckless forest practices in replacing them with thoughtful, sustainable caretaking of our precious natural wonders, which make life on Earth possible?
What is it we must do as a community in protecting our local part of this planet?
What do we hold in common to assure ourselves of rising out of this crisis of such widely "taken for granted" disruption and ruin of nature?
Only in recent years has this culture began to even look at the high esteem given to, say, Columbus and those he represented of his regime in Europe, (he finding in his own words) a native people, unclothed, absolutely stunning for their beautiful features, standing before him in all their vulnerability, welcoming his arrival, generous and innocence, millions of them crowded upon those islands, yet not 'in want', no sense of boundaries, no weapons, no possessiveness or if he had discovered an Eden.
Can we find our own 21st century sensibility and affection for what's left?....... Do we see it's in our hands now to "caretake" to preserve and enjoy...or are we like the blind humans, trying to describe an elephant from each of our own perspectives.......... rather than out to save the elephant?
[signed] jack nounnan and Dave Goggin

2013-05-16 "Earth First Protests Green Diamond Logging": 
Trinidad, CA: 9:00 am Earth First! Humboldt dropped a large banner 100 ft. up in trees that can be seen from Highway 101 just North of Trinidad, Ca.

The banner reads in large print "Respect Strawberry Rock", and below in smaller print, "Forest Stewardship Council and Sustainable Forestry Initiative Green-Wash Green Diamond's Clear-Cuts."
Green Diamond is the first U. S. based company that has received FSC certification while still practicing clear cut forestry methods, something that FSC is selling to the public as sustainable. For the SFI, industry created label, clear-cutting is status quo. Green Diamond holds both FSC and SFI certifications.
Despite much vocal opposition from the community, including the mayor of Trinidad, as well as a few dedicated tree-sitters maintaining tree-sits, Green Diamond Resource Company is continuing its clear-cutting, aka "even aged management" around Strawberry Rock. These plans include logging stands of residual old-growth and old second growth redwoods. Included in the forest is a rare and little understood species, Bishop Pine.
Green Diamond has a 45 year clear-cut rotation plan, including all of the land around Strawberry Rock.
Earth! First Humboldt is calling for Green Diamond Resource Company to create a special management zone of the Strawberry Rock area in which restoration forestry practices are followed and include but are not limited to: not taking more than a third of the annual growth of the forest, protecting rare and endangered species such as the Bishop Pine, Spotted Owl, and Marbled Murelet, and restoring mature forest habitat.
The group plans on continuing to support as well as engage in the resistance to Green Diamond's destructive forestry practices, and will be hosting a skill building camp beginning June 14th called Redwood Coast Rendezvous.
Comment from "Friends Of Trinidad Forests":
Friends Of Trinidad forests and all others already involved in attempts to protect these vital areas of our bio-region ......thank Earth First! for joining us at this crucial stage of our protest against Green Diamond. It magnifies the need for all of us who are concerned to see the necessity of direct action and being involved.

2013-05-07 Alert! Green Diamond clear-cutting!
from "Friends Of Trinidad Forests":
Green Diamond is clear-cutting units about 1/2 mile from Strawberry Rock.
 The chain-saws can be heard from our tree sit.
All you hikers and lovers of this area: Yes we'll be having a fine Festival to celebrate our work this summer, but right now we need your deeper involvement!
This Sat. May 11 - at 11:00
Meet at trail head on Frontage R. to Strawberry Rock.
We'll hike, "yes" . . . but we'll be gathering to decide our best actions for confronting these aggressive new Green diamond clear-cutting within 1/2 mile of Strawberry Rock. The chain-saws can be heard from our tree sit. All you hikers and lovers of this area we need your deeper involvement now.......
All those who've already been trained in tree climbing or want to learn and/or help with ground support please be with us Saturday.
This is our future being torn apart by a company, which has consistently assured us they're good neighbors and have our best interests at heart.
If truth be old they've been busy doing whatever they can get away with in terms of their practices for years, and the Board Of Forestry being so undermanned and not able to closely regulate the companies doings.
From the very beginning our protest have done all in their power to publicly expose these devastating forest practices creating a pocked marked landscape of barren wasted clear-cuts and the ruin of watersheds, pollution and lost species.
If you saw these cuts for yourself, you'd have no hesitation in saying: "Count me in!"
"Come on People."

2013-04-25 "Green Diamond's at it! (again)": 
Just reported from the forest in Trinidad!: What to expect? Green Diamond at it... clear-cutting forests, to the north by northwest and very close to Strawberry rock, but not in the same unit. This is precisely the focus and determination of our whole protest movement bring greatly needed public awareness and then changes of such forest practices in stopping the destruction of our forested mountains.
Our tree sitters heard noises going on earlier this week in what they expected was to do with road work, but today it was confirmed that the company is cutting in an area known as 47-1020, less than a mile and being heard from tree-sits and Strawberry Rock.
In light of Earth life's precarious situation with clear-cutting of forests, causing its share of species lost, soil erosions, herbicides, polluted waters and lack of oxygen to offset Climate change, what must we do?
What is it about, being in any process of one's own dehumanizing to what is harmed by ones existence coming to somehow be acceptable? What does it mean to be part of the plunder and disintegration of all we hold dear? If one is busy rationalizing away any such knowledge, based upon the long suffering and destructions raging through the ages, it allows one to think it's inevitable, rather than seeing we have choices! And among such possibilities is refusing to join any historical "mob" practices.
How do we best protect it, if Green Diamond feels it's acceptable to go right on doing as they wish?

2013-02-13 "Community Speaks Out Against Green Diamond's Plans to Clearcut Strawberry Rock forests":
This past Wed. almost three hundred people packed the Bayside Grange for the first annual Green Diamond Resource Company Public Meeting. Negative public sentiment has been building up for a long time about the timber harvest practices of this Seattle-based corporation that owns and operates 400,000 acres in Humboldt and Del Norte counties.
The public's dominant demand was to completely cancel Green Diamond's timber harvest plan (THP 01-10-137 HUM) to clearcut 85 acres around Strawberry Rock, a scenic hiking spot in Trinidad that is treasured by the community.
The grassroots group Friends of Trinidad Forests wants the cancellation of the timber harvest plan(THP 01-10-137 HUM) and the protection in perpetuity of the one square mile area surrounding Strawberry Rock.
We propose this area to be managed as a community forest by the City of Trinidad and/or Humboldt County.
At the meeting, Green Diamond Vice President Neal Ewald announced the company's offer to save 27 acres bordering the trail (Unit E) while proceeding with 58 acres of clearcuts around Strawberry Rock. The community did not feel that Green Diamond's offer to preserve less than a third of this popular hiking spot met Trinidad's need for a Community Forest with a protected view-shed.
"Green Diamond's offer to protect 1/3rd of the 85 acres slated for clearcut near Strawberry Rock is encouraging, but it doesn't go far enough. The next step for them should be to sit down and negotiate a community forest deal with the residents of Trinidad," said Eileen Kitayama after Wednesday's meeting.
Friends of Trinidad Forests will hold a second Town Hall Meeting and other public events (all to be announced shortly) to  invite further community input. Addressed will be the growing demands for a Strawberry Rock Community Forest, bringing to light the Green diamond's critical forest practices and the difference between fact and fiction regarding their own positions.
We will also be inviting folks to regular hikes into this treasured area (also to be announced soon).

2013-02-09 "A Town Hall Meeting!"
Sat. 1:00 - 4:00                
City Hall, Main St., Trinidad
"We've got to pack the Town Hall!"
All community members please come join us!
Let's learn more, and express our deepest concerns...
It promises to be a good session for nailing down our best ideas...
It's a huge turning point in halting Green Diamond!

We're here to say that California forest standards, which permit devastating and untold generational upheaval of our forest lands by Green Diamond must stop! 
Clear-cutting thousands of acres of forested mountains in our back country while arrogantly enforcing their concept of  a never ending dwarfed forest must stop! 
All this denies these areas any chance of ever again becoming great mature healthy forest habitats and watersheds, with all its creatures left to thrive. Such damnable standards are shameful and must be changed out.
This all leads to strengthening our position by requesting The Trinidad City Council join us by signing  our Petition in support of Strawberry Rock at their next meeting: Wed. Feb. 13,  6:30.

This needs our heavy foot on the peddle!
If you were a City Council member and suddenly faced with numbers of community members, wouldn't it alert you that they mean to be heard and have these changes?
Please... "Tell them where you stand on Green Diamond!" 
Ask them: "Please... Have you signed our On Line petition yet?"
This ought to send a strong signal to Green Diamond that we mean to have them cancel their plans to ruin forests around Strawberry Roc, to end their unscrupulous clear cutting and their dwarfed vision of "even management planning". Enough!
Save Trinidad Forests Now!
Call the Trinidad City Council [707-677-0223] (only between 9 and 2) {You can leave a message with the clerk for one or all council members} 
Or write:
Mayor Julie Fulkerson    
Mayor Pro-Tem Dwight Miller
Kathy Bhardwaj               
Tom Davies                               not given
Maria Bauman                           not given

Not convinced? One more look... (Yes, the brown patches are clear-cut areas)

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Marin County Ordinance governing GMOs

Section 1. Findings and Purpose.
The People of the County of Marin, desiring to protect our agricultural industry, our natural environment, the private property rights of our citizens, and the health, safety and welfare of our People, deem it advisable and appropriate to restrict the cultivation of genetically modified crops, livestock, and other organisms in our County.
a. Genetically modified life forms and products are being developed with precipitous speed, and have been introduced into the marketplace, often without the consumers' knowledge and before the potential risks and long term health and environmental effects of these products have been adequately studied.
b. Many companies and markets do not accept genetically modified food products. Further, the irreversible danger of contaminating and thereby reducing the value of neighboring crops by genetically engineered crops, creates a serious economic threat to farmers. Finally, the impact on our natural environment from genetically modified organisms, including pollen drift and contamination (GMO pollen can be carried a long distance by migrating and commuting pollinators), is unpredictable, uncontrollable, and has not received adequate study.
c. The Natural Systems Element, Agriculture and Food Section, for the 2004 Marin Countywide Plan supports sustainable agriculture and recommends a positive vision for the future of food and farming in our county including greatly improved agricultural viability.
d. For all of these reasons, the People of County of Marin find and declare that the propagation, cultivation, raising, and growing of genetically modified organisms in Marin County is a hazardous activity which constitutes a public nuisance subject to the abatement remedies and procedures set forth under Chapter 1.05 of the Marin County Code.

Section 2. Prohibitions.
It is unlawful for any person or entity to propagate, cultivate, raise, or grow genetically modified organisms in Marin County, and any act in violation of this provision is declared to constitute a public nuisance.

Section 3. Exemptions.
Nothing in this Ordinance shall make it unlawful for (1) state or federally licensed: medical research institutions, medical laboratories, or medical manufacturing facilities to engage in licensed medical production, or medical research
involving genetically modified organisms provided such activities are conducted under secure, enclosed indoor laboratory conditions, with utmost precautions to prevent release of genetically modified organisms into the outside environment, or (2) any licensed health care practitioner to provide any diagnosis, care or treatment to any human patient.

Section 4. Definitions.
(a) "Genetically modified organism" ("GMO") means an organism, or the offspring of an organism, the DNA of which has been altered or amended through genetic engineering.
(b) "Genetic engineering" means altering or amending DNA using recombinant DNA technology such as gene deletion, gene doubling, introducing a foreign gene, or changing the position of genes, and includes cell fusion, microencapsulation, macroencapsulation, gene splicing, and other similar processes. Genetic engineering does not include traditional selective breeding, conjugation, fermentation, hybridization, in vitro fertilization, non-directed mutagenesis or tissue culture.
(c) "DNA" means deoxyribonucleic acid, the material naturally found within living cells which contains the genetic code and transmits hereditary patterns.
(d) "Organism" means any living thing, exclusive of human beings and human fetuses.
(e) "Commissioner" means the Agricultural Commissioner of Marin County.
(f) "Person" or "entity" means an individual, partnership, corporation, governmental agency or organization of any kind.
(g) "Indoors" means within a structure meeting the Requirements of the 2001 California Building Code, Section 304 for Group B Occupancies and a minimum of "Type III" construction.

Section 5. Enforcement.
(a) The Marin County Agricultural Commissioner is hereby designated to enforce this Ordinance and may exercise such powers as may be necessary or convenient to carry out and effectuate the purposes and provisions of this Ordinance.
(b) The Agricultural Commissioner shall notify any person, corporation, or other entity that may be in violation of Section 2 of this Code section, that any organisms that violate this code constitute a public nuisance, subject to confiscation, destruction or quarantine and subject to the nuisance abatement penalties and procedures set forth under Chapter 1.05 of the Marin County Code.
(c) Any person, corporation, or other entity that receives notification under subparagraph (b) shall have fifteen (15) days to respond to such notification with evidence that such organisms are not in violation of this Code, or have been destroyed
or entirely removed from Marin County.
(d) Upon receipt of any evidence under subparagraph (c), the Agricultural Commissioner shall consider such evidence and any other evidence that is presented or which is relevant to a determination of such violation. Within five (5) days of receipt of such evidence, the Agricultural Commissioner shall determine if the organisms are in violation of this code, or have been destroyed or removed.
(e) Upon making a determination that a violation of this code exists, or if no evidence has been submitted pursuant to subparagraph (c), upon reasonable notice, the Agricultural Commissioner shall thereafter promptly take all actions necessary to ensure that such organisms do not cause genetic contamination or other harm, including but not limited to the following: confiscation, destruction or quarantine. Such action shall be undertaken during daylight hours.
(f) Either the party effected by the enforcement or the Agricultural Commissioner may thereafter request a hearing provided such request is made in writing within thirty days thereafter. The hearing shall be held in accordance with the nuisance abatement procedures under Chapter 1.05 of the Marin County Code. Violation of Section 2 of this code is not entitled to the privileges and immunities set forth under section 23.03.040 of the Marin County Code exempting pre-existing agricultural activity from nuisance abatement.
(g) Any person or persons knowingly and willfully responsible for a violation of this Ordinance may be held responsible for administrative and abatement costs. Costs of enforcement shall not be imposed upon any person whose violation is not knowing and willful, nor shall costs be imposed for enforcement for crops planted or animals possessed in the County prior to the effective date of this Ordinance. The County Agricultural Commissioner shall submit an annual report to the Marin County Board of Supervisors which describes all complaints received and enforcement actions taken under this Ordinance.
(h) The provisions of this Ordinance are cumulative, and nothing in this Ordinance affects any other remedies any individual or government entity may have against any person resulting from a violation of this Ordinance.

Section 6. Severability.
The provisions of this Ordinance are severable. If any provision of this Ordinance or its application is held invalid, that invalidity shall not affect other provisions or applications that can be given effect without the invalid provision or application.