Yesterday, I went down the hill. I saw vehicles and campers everywhere, off-road, cutting through fences and installed barriers to get where they wanted to go. And when I came home, most of them were gone, leaving large amounts of tp and trash behind.
I just want to take this opportunity to remind all that I have created two separate pages, where I am collecting photographs Loving Big Sur to death and data and suggestions on the Overuse of Big Sur Page. I add to both of these several times a week, usually. Some of you are checking these regularly, others seem to have forgotten. The discussion continues and gains momentum on social media sites. Per readers, these links do not work (and I cannot figure out why – they work for me!) but don’t despair – these same links are up above in the “Info” post and to the right under pages. Those DO work!
From: “Bogdan, Grace x6414” <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: February 11, 2015 2:54:33 PM PST
To: Undisclosed recipients:;
Subject: Second Stakeholder Oil & Gas Meeting
The second stakeholder meeting for amendments to the Monterey County Zoning Ordinance for oil and gas projects will be held in the Monterey Room on the second floor of the Government Center located in Salinas on February 24th from 6-8pm. This meeting is intended to gather input from stakeholders within the industry and general public at large. Please feel free to forward this invitation to any interested parties. A follow up email will be sent with the agenda for this meeting. Please contact Grace Bogdan with any questions at email@example.com
February 24, 2015 from 6pm-8pm
Government Center, 2nd floor
168 W Alisal St Salinas, CA 93901
DONT FORGET TO VOTE FOR YOUR FAVORITE HEADER PHOTO IN THE POST BELOW!
From: “Tia Lebherz, Food & Water Watch”
Date: September 17, 2014 11:55:58 AM PDT
Subject: Don’t frack Monterey County!
Reply-To: “Tia Lebherz, Food & Water Watch”
This fall, the Board of Supervisors will be considering a moratorium on fracking in Monterey County. It’s going to be a real fight, and we’re kicking it off with an educational forum to help get the word out about this serious threat to the county. Can you join us in Salinas this Saturday, September 20 at 1:00 p.m.?
What: Educational forum – hear from local speakers about how fracking would impact Monterey County
When: Saturday, September 20 at 1:00 p.m.
Where: Hartnell College – Steinbeck Hall, 411 Central Ave., Salinas, CA
RSVP at act.foodandwaterwatch.org
Fracking is an extreme form of energy extraction the involves blasting millions of gallons of water, mixed with toxic chemicals and sand, at high pressure deep underground to retrieve oil and natural gas. Fracking is water intensive, opens the door for potential water contamination, has been linked to birth defects, can cause earthquakes and puts our farmland at risk.
As oil and gas companies search for more fossil fuels to extract, fracking operations continue to expand across the state. There is no place for fracking in Monterey, and we’re building a movement to stop fracking from harming our farm-rich, tourism-attracting, beautiful county.
RSVP to join us for this important event.
I hope to see you there,
Food & Water Watch
P.S. Free childcare will be provided at this event!
FOOD & WATER WATCH • 1616 P STREET NW, SUITE 300
WASHINGTON, DC 20036 • TEL: (202) 683-2500
California Halts Injection of Fracking Waste into Ground
The state warns that fracking for natural gas might be contaminating aquifers used as a source for drinking water
Jul 21, 2014 |By Abrahm Lustgarten and ProPublica
California officials have ordered an emergency shut-down of 11 oil and gas waste injection sites and a review more than 100 others in the state’s drought-wracked Central Valley out of fear that companies may have been pumping fracking fluids and other toxic waste into drinking water aquifers there.
The state’s Division of Oil and Gas and Geothermal Resources on July 7 issued cease and desist orders to seven energy companies warning that they may be injecting their waste into aquifers that could be a source of drinking water, and stating that their waste disposal “poses danger to life, health, property, and natural resources.” The orders were first reported by the Bakersfield Californian, and the state has confirmed with ProPublica that its investigation is expanding to look at additional wells.
The action comes as California’s agriculture industry copes with a drought crisis that has emptied reservoirs and cost the state $2.2 billion this year alone. The lack of water has forced farmers across the state to supplement their water supply from underground aquifers, according to a study released this week by the University of California Davis.
The problem is that at least 100 of the state’s aquifers were presumed to be useless for drinking and farming because the water was either of poor quality, or too deep underground to easily access. Years ago, the state exempted them from environmental protection and allowed the oil and gas industry to intentionally pollute them. But not all aquifers are exempted, and the system amounts to a patchwork of protected and unprotected water resources deep underground. Now, according to the cease and desist orders issued by the state, it appears that at least seven injection wells are likely pumping waste into fresh water aquifers protected by the law, and not other aquifers sacrificed by the state long ago.
“The aquifers in question with respect to the orders that have been issued are not exempt,” said Ed Wilson, a spokesperson for the California Department of Conservation in an email.
A 2012 ProPublica investigation of more than 700,000 injection wells across the country found that wells were often poorly regulated and experienced high rates of failure, outcomes that were likely polluting underground water supplies that are supposed to be protected by federal law. That investigation also disclosed a little-known program overseen by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that exempted more than 1,000 other drinking water aquifers from any sort of pollution protection at all, many of them in California.
Those are the aquifers at issue today. The exempted aquifers, according to documents the state filed with the U.S. EPA in 1981 and obtained by ProPublica, were poorly defined and ambiguously outlined. They were often identified by hand-drawn lines on a map, making it difficult to know today exactly which bodies of water were supposed to be protected, and by which aspects of the governing laws. Those exemptions and documents were signed by California Gov. Jerry Brown, who also was governor in 1981.
State officials emphasized to ProPublica that they will now order water testing and monitoring at the injection well sites in question. To date, they said, they have not yet found any of the more regulated aquifers to have been contaminated.
“We do not have any direct evidence any drinking water has been affected,” wrote Steve Bohlen, the state oil and gas supervisor, in a statement to ProPublica.
Bohlen said his office was acting “out of an abundance of caution,” and a spokesperson said that the state became aware of the problems through a review of facilities it was conducting according to California’s fracking law passed late last year, which required the state to study fracking impacts and adopt regulations to address its risks, presumably including underground disposal.
California officials have long been under fire for their injection well practices, a waste disposal program that the state runs according to federal law and under a sort of license — called “primacy” — given to it by the EPA.
For one, experts say that aquifers the states and the EPA once thought would never be needed may soon become important sources of water as the climate changes and technology reduces the cost of pumping it from deep underground and treating it for consumption. Indeed, towns in Wyoming and Texas — two states also suffering long-term droughts — are pumping, treating, then delivering drinking water to taps from aquifers which would be considered unusable under California state regulations governing the oil and gas industry.
In June 2011, the EPA conducted a review of other aspects of California’s injection well program and found enforcement, testing and oversight problems so significant that the agency demanded California improve its regulations and warned that the state’s authority could be revoked.
Among the issues, California and the federal government disagree about what type of water is worth protecting in the first place, with California law only protecting a fraction of the waters that the federal Safe Drinking Water Act requires.
The EPA’s report, commissioned from outside consultants, also said that California regulators routinely failed to adequately examine the geology around an injection well to ensure that fluids pumped into it would not leak underground and contaminate drinking water aquifers. The report found that state inspectors often allowed injection at pressures that exceeded the capabilities of the wells and thus risked cracking the surrounding rock and spreading contaminants. Several accidents in recent years in California involved injected waste or injected steam leaking back out of abandoned wells, or blowing out of the ground and creating sinkholes, including one 2011 incident that killed an oil worker.
The exemptions and other failings, said Damon Nagami, a senior attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council in an email, are “especially disturbing” in a state that has been keenly aware of severe water constraints for more than a century and is now suffering from a crippling drought. “Our drinking water sources must be protected and preserved for the precious resources they are, not sacrificed as a garbage dump for the oil and gas industry.”
Still, three years after the EPA’s report, California has not yet completed its review of its underground injection program, according to state officials. The scrutiny of the wells surrounding Bakersfield may be the start.
The California Department of Conservation (DOC) has sent out public notice of proposed regulations for the use of well stimulation in oil and gas production. The public notice begins the formal rulemaking process and marks the beginning of a 60-day public comment period. The regulations, which are to go into effect on January 1, 2015, are designed to protect health, safety and the environment, and supplement existing strong well construction standards. They address a comprehensive list of issues, including testing, monitoring, public notice, and permitting. The Department also will have emergency regulations in place by January 1, 2014 to ensure the major requirements on SB 4 are addressed in the interim.
The California Department of Conservation and its Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources conducted five workshops in 2013 to hear public comments on the “discussion draft” of hydraulic fracturing regulations prior to the start of the formal rulemaking process. During 2012, seven workshops were held to gain public input on hydraulic fracturing. So, what happens next? All comments – including those given orally or in writing at the workshops, and electronically through the online comment links located on the Department’s and Division’s Web sites – will be taken into consideration as the process of developing the next draft of the regulations moves forward. Once the next draft and the required supporting documents are complete, the Department will begin the formal rulemaking process. These next steps in the rulemaking process are expected to take several months, and the public can continue to submit comments during this time via the Department and Division online links. There will also be an opportunity for public input during the formal rulemaking process.
Next Big Sur River Watershed Planning Meeting is March 28th!
The next meeting to discuss the Big Sur Watershed Management Plan is set for Thursday March 28th from 3 to 5 pm at the Big Sur Station MAF conference room. The group has been meeting every other month since last September to discuss the preparation of a plan that will look at the health of the watershed. If you live in and/or work in the Big Sur River watershed, or use water from the Big Sur River, your participation is extremely valuable. The focus of this meeting will be to discuss factors, which may be limiting the steelhead population; we will also start to gather historical knowledge about how the Big Sur River has changed over time. If you have family stories or pictures that show the river or activities on the river, please let us know or bring them along.
Development of the plan is being coordinated by the Resource Conservation District of Monterey County with assistance from the Garrapata Watershed Council. For more information, please call Ken Ekelund at (831) 625-9621.
You are invited to a free showing of Ocean Frontiers on Thursday, January 10 at the Big Sur Grange. Come for soup, salad and bread at 6. Bring your own place setting. Or come just for the show at 6:30. We plan to be prompt.
Ocean Frontiers” will take you on an inspiring 60‐minute voyage to seaports and watersheds across the country; from the busy shipping lanes and whale corridors of Boston Harbor to the small fishing community of Port Orford, Oregon; from the nation’s premier seafood nursery in the Mississippi Delta to the cornfields of Iowa.
Hear the voices of unlikely allies working together: industrial shippers teaming up with whale biologists, pig farmers with wetland ecologists, and many more, all of them embarking on a new course of cooperation.
The panel discussion immediately following the film showing will be moderated by retired Fire Chief, Frank Pinney. On the panel will be Laura Kasa, Executive Director of Save Our Shores, Biologists David Moen and Joe Burnett from Ventana Wildlife Society, Marcus Foster – surfer, Jess Mason – deep sea diver and Kirk Gafill, President of the Big Sur Chamber of Commerce. Dr. George Somero, Hopkins Marine Station will be present if his schedule allows. The panel will discuss the film and take questions and comments from the audience.
Ocean Frontiers is an independent film from Green Fire Productions, founded by Oregon residents Karen and Ralf Meyer. To make the documentary, the couple crisscrossed the country, meeting and filming people they call “ocean pioneers.” Along the way they discovered some unlikely allies at the forefront of implementing promising new approaches to ocean and coastal management.
The HuffPost internet newspaper notes: “Ocean Frontiers is a film that can help
turn the tide in protecting our oceans, and one which every member of Congress―and
every American―should see. It has been premiering to rave reviews all across the
country and internationally as well, and it delivers a message we all need to heed.
Ocean Frontiers” is an Official Selection of the 2012 Wild and Scenic Film Festival in Nevada City, Calif., as well as a jury nomination for Best Science Communication and Official Selection for the 2012 Reel Earth Environmental Film Festival in Palmerston, New Zealand.
California Department of Fish and Game News Release
September 20, 2012
Warden Patrick Foy, DFG Law Enforcement, (916) 651-2084
Marina Man Convicted of Poaching Endangered Black Abalone
A Monterey County jury recently convicted a Marina man of poaching 22 black abalone, a federally endangered species.
Hoang Tan Dinh, 53, was sentenced Sept. 12 to three years probation, a 90-day jail term suspended, and fined $15,000 for possession of black abalone for sale. His commercial fishing license was permanently revoked, and he is prohibited from recreational fishing for the duration of his three year probation. A second suspect, Hai Trung Luong, 41, of Salinas failed to appear in court. A $10,000 warrant has been issued for his arrest.
In April, Warden Brian Meyer was on routine patrol in the area of Big Sur when he noticed two men returning from the tidal area during a very low tide with wet clothes, wet hands and scratches. With assistance from a California Highway Patrol officer, Warden Meyer conducted a vehicle stop as the suspects were driving away. He found a backpack with 22 abalone in it, along with a 2-foot long screwdriver. He cited and released both men, photographed the evidence, then returned the abalone to the inter-tidal area in hopes that they would survive.
Monterey County Deputy District Attorney Kellin Dunne was instrumental during the prosecution phase of the case.
Abalone fishing is prohibited from San Francisco Bay south. Black abalone has gone locally extinct in most locations south of Point Conception. Black abalone is one of seven sub-species of abalone in California and was listed as endangered in 2009. Historical overfishing, withering syndrome disease and poaching are the primary causes of population decline.
This is a guest commentary about this very important issue. And the photos of the whales in Avila Beach, by Maryanne Avila, are used with express permission of the photographer. The commentary is used with permission of the author.
by joey racano
In a long ago, far away world, three judges -all of whom would later become infamous for other reasons- sat together on a Washington DC appeals court. That court ignored science, evidence and safety, and made the fateful decision to allow the construction of Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant right on top of known, live, active earthquake faults.
For the record, those judges were Antonin Scalia, now a member of the United States Supreme Court and well known right wing ideologue who never met an oil refinery or nuclear power plant he didn’t like; Kenneth Starr, who overlooked nukes on faults but as special prosecutor found enough fault with then President Bill Clinton to prosecute him for the Monica Lewinsky affair, and Judge Robert Bork. Bork rose to infamy when Ronald Reagan appointed him to the Supreme Court. That appointment failed because Bork had protected Nixon by firing the special prosecutor, which the Attorney General resigned rather than do.
Suffice it to say that the Nuclear Power Plant built in Devil’s Canyon started out bad, grew worse, and is now quickly becoming a melodrama.
“What’s all this got to do with whales,” you ask? The answer is, plenty. As the years went by, not only did the hidden and ignored earthquake faults become public knowledge, but new faults were being found on an almost regular basis! The Diablo Cove fault apparently runs directly beneath Unit 1 reactor, the Shoreline Fault runs right out in front of the plant, and the San Simeon, Hosgri and San Gorgonio faults all line up together to form one enormous 250 mile fault line capable of generating an earthquake bigger than Diablo Nuclear Plant can ever be retrofitted to withstand.
When the new head of Chernobyl was asked recently his estimate on when people could again populate the area, he was quoted as saying, “About twenty thousand years.” Then, there is the black spectre of Fukushima, whose molten reactor cores now drench the coast of California with radiation. Tuna caught off San Diego have tested positive 14 out of 14 times. Radioactivity from Fukushima has been found concentrated in the kelp of Santa Cruz. In San Onofre, the Nuclear Plant there has been shut indefinitely because of worn out pipes! With this perfect storm, it is no wonder people are backing away from nukes.
But don’t expect Nukes to go gently into that good night, no sir.
Rather than do the obvious, which is shut all nuclear plants forever and start figuring out what to do with waste (accumulating at 500 pounds a day at Diablo alone) and stays deadly for a million years, instead the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is out playing Public Relations Man for Pacific Gas & Electric (see photo of them at Farmers Market booth in San Luis Obispo).
In a misguided attempt to make inroads against Diablo Nuclear Power Plant, environmental groups sought to have seismic testing done offshore, to get a better look at the faults and the threat they pose to public safety. Then Assemblyman now State Senator Sam Blakeslee, a rare republican with an environmental ethic, wrote the bill (AB1730) in 2006 that moved the California Legislature to order seismic tests.
Unfortunately, the extreme destructive nature of such tests are only now becoming clearly understood, and it appears that much sea life -including Great Blue Whales- will be destroyed in the process. These tests involve carpet bombing the sea floor with 260db soundblasts every 13 seconds around the clock for about a month, and may have to be repeated again next year. The tests are scheduled from Nov – December, 2012, just a few short weeks away. This is further problematic because Humpback whales are in Avila and Port San Luis in numbers never before seen. The whales are here feeding on Krill, who are feeding themselves on nutrient-rich upwellings from cold waters below. Some say the whales, who are more intelligent than humans, somehow know of their impending doom.
When a member of the NRC public relations staff asked me if I thought it was really possible, I retorted with, “Well, my dog knows 15 minutes before I get home.”
Thus far, the seismic project has passed the State Lands Commission, and must still clear the California Coastal Commission, and the Fish and Game Commission. But when the State Lands Commission voted, it was a vote not by the Commissioners themselves that moved the project ahead, but rather, the vote was taken only after they were all replaced temporarily with alternates, making for a shady decision that may not stand. Indeed, the press is now carrying the story of a man who drove from Redding to Sacramento to speak, only to be shut down when he questioned the validity of such a switcheroo. The Commission was forced to publicly apologize for muzzling the man, who was invited back up to finish his speech, which he did- but the damage was done.
Finally, when this gets to the Fish and Game Commission, the question before them will be, how to put a price on a whale? An entire species of Harbor Porpoise? Otters? Fish? Lost economy? And how to put a dollar value on the loss of 9 years of hard work and science, having created the new series of Marine Protected Areas designated off our coast, including the Point Buchon State Marine Reserve, which is expected to be cleansed of all living things -including whales- by the sonic blasting?
Better to just remove the Power Plant.
Remember- seismic testing puts us all in danger, by allowing Pacific Gas and Electric to delay removal of the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant which sits atop an earthquake fault.