SB 350 Legislative Counsel’s Digest

By Marcy Berry : nine-county-coalition – excerpt

Regional Power Grid to Keep an Eye On

…“This bill would require that the amount of electricity generated and sold to retail customers per year from eligible renewable energy resources be increased to 50% by December 31, 2030, as provided. The bill would make other revisions to the RPS [Renewable Portfolio Standards] Program and to certain other requirements on public utilities and publicly owned electric utilities.”

“Because certain of the above provisions are codified in the Public Utilities Act, this bill would impose a state-mandated local program by expanding the definition of a crime or establishing a new crime.”

“This bill would provide for the transformation of the ISO [Independent System Operator] into a regional organization, with the approval of the Legislature, pursuant to a specified process.”…

The Multi-State Power Grid

The mandates of SB 350 are ambitious and extensive. However, the game changer appears to be the transformation of the ISO into a regional organization…

The Morning After – Things Get Difficult

PacifiCorp, owned by Warren Buffett, is a major player in the regional plan, and operates coal-fired power plants in Idaho, Oregon, Utah, Washington State, and Wyoming.  Therefore, concerns have been raised about “dirty” energy.

SB 350 and CA ISO view grid integration with neighboring states as expanding California’s grid, which would mean other states accepting California’s numerous environmental and other rules.  Whether neighboring states would also embrace such view is now questionable.  California might face the necessity of losing some of its autonomy and beloved rules in order to implement a regional grid…

On December 15, 2016, the Imperial Irrigation System filed in the Superior Court of Alameda a petition for writ of mandate to obtain records from the University of California at Berkeley on studies UC supplied to the California Legislature.  The point of the lawsuit is that the studies may not have been all that objective, and that the CA ISO was supposed to operate as a non-profit (Warren Buffet’s PacifiCorp hardly qualifies)….(more)

Scientific Reports Confirm Catastrophic Climate Change

By Jonathan Turley : Jonathanturley – excerpt

There are new reports confirming not only climate change but escalating losses of arctic ice. US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)’s annual Arctic report card has found that this is the hottest year on record in the Arctic and it is now twice as fast as any other place on Earth. Another international study found that the rapid loss of glaciers is caused by climate change to a certainty of 99 percent

The impact could well be catastrophic for the planet. The permafrost holds a huge amount of carbon which is released with the melting — releasing more CO2 and methane into atmosphere. That will further speed up climate change . . . which will result in more ice melting in an accelerating downward spiral. .. (more)

One wonders why any trees are being cut to release more carbon into the air if scientists are concerned by carbon release.

SF plan for natural areas likely to draw fire

By Lizzie Johnson : sfgate – excerpt

A comprehensive new plan for San Francisco’s natural areas could anger dog lovers, golfers and nature lovers in one swoop, while protecting delicate habitats and endangered species.

The plan — originally proposed in 2006 — will review the biology and geology of the Recreation and Park Department’s 32 natural areas and trails, including Twin Peaks, Bernal Heights and Mount Davidson. It will also outline maintenance and capital improvements within those areas for the next 20 years. The Recreation and Park Commission and the Planning Commission will vote on the document Thursday.

The biggest impacts that could come are changes in urban forestry management, the removal of off-leash dog areas in sensitive environmental areas and the rejiggering of Sharp Park’s golf course — changes with which the various groups will probably be unhappy… (more)

The public comments for on this EIR lasted for over 6 hours. This is  major project that is highly controversial. Thousands or trees are planned for removal, that will release tons of carbon into the air. People anticipate a lot of herbicides will be used and that this will go into the ground water that is now being mixed into the drinking water. More details can come later. Comments welcome.

There is no money for any of this according to the proponents of the Natural Resources Plan. This is a big messy project that will get approved and then swept under the rug until someone comes up with money and the contract will be approved and then the public will hear about it. That is what happens with these large broad plans.

Building over a shaky PG&E gas main

By Tim Redmond : 48hills – excerpt

And on to another Bernal Heights issue: the supes will hear the appeal of a Planning Commission decision denying environmental review for a project on the south side of the hill that would be built on top of the only PG&E gas main that isn’t protected under a street.

Folsom Street has a 26-inch main, the same sort that exploded in San Bruno, and it’s from the same era and has the same sort of potential maintenance problems, according to a couple of engineers who have weighed in on the issue…

The politics are tricky: Sup. David Campos owns a home within 150 yards of the construction site, so by law he can’t vote on the project. Which means D9, where this is happening, is without representation.

If the appeal were delayed just one meeting, then Hillary Ronen, the new D9 supe, would be able to vote. But no: It comes up this week.

And with Campos recused, it may be hard to get six votes to overturn the Planning Department decision. Which is a bit crazy: The neighbors who are appealing aren’t against building housing on the site (although it means the loss of a community garden). They just worry about the pipeline. And they seem to have a point…(more)

You would think that after all the other “disasters” we have had lately, the Board of Supervisors would support the neighbors request to fix the pipe. How hard is that?

Wiener’s first bill could set off housing war

By Tim Redmond : 48hills – excerpt

Should the state force cities to build more market-rate housing? Who decides how much?

State Senator Scott Wiener has wasted no time in wading into the statewide housing wars – just as affordable housing advocates have released a detailed policy platform for addressing the state’s affordability crisis.

A few hours after being sworn in to office, Wiener introduced SB 35, which states the intent of the Legislature to “incentivize the creation of affordable housing [and] remove local barriers to creating affordable housing in all communities.” That sounds perfectly reasonable (except that “incentivize” isn’t really a word): If some cities and counties go out of their way to refuse to accept low-income housing (and some have, and do), maybe the state should say: Hey, you can’t just preserve your rich enclave and keep poor people out.

But it also calls for the state to “streamline, incentivize [not a word], and remove local barriers to housing construction in jurisdictions failing to meet their regional housing needs contained in their housing element.”

Again: If that means Cupertino and Mountainview can’t approve massive tech offices and refuse to build any housing at all, good.

But if it turns out to mean that San Francisco, which is among the top three cities in the state in housing development right now, can’t block market-rate projects that lead to displacement, then Wiener is going to see serious opposition… (more)


The Native Species Arguments

It is our belief that those supporting Native Species over existing plants have bought into the FAKE NEWS being fed by Monsanto and other industries who benefit from widespread slaughter of plants.

Here are a couple of documents that support on my side of the argument. You can find plenty to support the other side elsewhere:

WEED WHACKERS: Monsanto, glyphosate, and the war on invasive species By Andrew Cockburn : harpers – excerpt (harpersmagazine-2015-weedwhackers)

Arguments against certification of snramp-eir By Tom Borden : of the SF Forest Alliance Leadership Group  (70 page document)

We are bringing this up because of the planned slaughter Van Ness Trees.

Van Ness Trees on Death Row  by Chris Parkes
Not all the threatened trees in San Francisco are in our parks. San Franciscans have been dismayed to find that many of the SFMTA road improvements seem to have been designed with no thought for the mature trees that are so important in reducing pollution, sequestering carbon, and providing habitat. We’ve written about these before HERE. Now the Van Ness Project is imminent, and the neighbors are fighting to save these trees. Here’s an article by Chris Parkes:

How driverless cars are set to reinvent and humanise our streets

by: : ft – excerpt

This is a must read for anyone who appreciates contradictions. The future is UNKNOWN, and if we are lucky the tech industry manipulators will dance on each others toes long enough to allow the public to decide what we want.

Private vehicles could soon be replaced by autonomous ride-hailing services and even ‘helicopter’ cars.

When the muddy streets of San Francisco were laid out during the heady days of the gold rush, riding a horse was the fastest way to get around. Today a new type of vehicle can be seen cruising the city: the driverless car.

With their spinning radar sensors and bulky camera arrays, these vehicles have the awkward look of a technology that is not quite mature. Yet just as the automobile gave rise to paved streets and suburban sprawl, the driverless car is set to radically reshape the cities we live in…

Anti-car, pro-cyclists, pro-public transit industry people are fighting a losing battle and they know it. They are trying desperately to hang onto their piece of the pie so they can flip it for top dollar, nervously watching all the hot new options that are popping up. Those options are not all in sync with the current urban future plans.

Let’s face it, bike lanes and sidewalk treatments are old news and investors are always looking for THE NEXT BIG THING. If taxpayers are lucky, the self-propelling helicars will overtake High Speed Rail before that projects digs us into a huge debt. So far, they are in the land-grabbing stage. The assets can always be sold.

“We are looking at the decaying infrastructure of the last century and beyond,” says Shervin Pishevar, an early investor in Uber and a co-founder of Hyperloop One, which aims to create 700mph tubes that will move people faster than aircraft. “Cities are effectively taken hostage by the automobile designs of the 20th century.” His solution is to design and build new cities, in conjunction with hyperloop networks, which will feature lush, green urban centres and underground tunnels for transportation. He refers to this as “re-terraforming the earth.”…

Great idea. Build completely new cities from scratch that you want to live in and see who else wants to live in them.

“It is really important that we don’t allow autonomous vehicles to undo the gains that cities have made in the last 20 years in terms of rebuilding the city centre and creating vibrant downtowns,” says Merker…

The economics of driverless cars

When Uber was founded, one of co-founder Travis Kalanick’s goals was not just to create a transportation app but to make car ownership obsolete. Achieving that would mean driving down the cost of Uber’s rides so that they are eventually cheaper than owning your own car…

This looks like a huge environmental impact. Where are the calls for an Environmental Impact Reviews and studies?

… (more)

German Coal Company Allowed To Clear Cut 12,000 Year Old Forest

by jonathanturley

Germany has pledged to cut carbon emissions by up to 95 percent by 2050 by virtually ending the use of coal for energy. However, that will not come in time to save the spectacular Hambach Forest, an ancient woodlands in Germany that lies between the cities of Cologne and Aachen. The forest is 12,000-years-old and is irreplaceable. However, the government has given the go ahead to Germany’s second-largest electricity producer RWE to clear cut the ancient trees to extract the coal underneath…(more)

There isn’t much we can do about Hambach Forest, but we should try to protect our own forest in San Francisco from clear-cutting. The SF Forest Alliance is requesting that you help by sending letters opposing the slaughter of our trees in support of a little known or understood program that would replant the forest with “native plants”, primarily shrubs and grasses. Please send the prepared statement to the SF Planning Commissioners by clicking on the link below. A copy will also go to local and state politicians.   DO THIS NOW, before Dec 12th at 5 pm.

We need to make sure our voices for the forests and against pesticides are heard. The meeting date for the San Francisco Planning Department to certify the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) on the Significant Natural Areas Management Plan for NAP is December 15th .

Please send this prepared statement: Click Here – to open letter to the SF Planning Department Commissioners, a copy will also go to local and state politicians.
Powered by EMF Contact Form

There is room for you to add your own words, which is even more powerful!
Here are a few of the shortcomings of the EIR:

  • EIR claims implementing the SNRAMP will result in an increase in stored carbon.
  • EIR claims there will be no increase in herbicide use when the plan is implemented.
  • EIR fails to address the fact the Plan would close 95% of our Natural Areas to public access.
  • EIR claims the SNRAMP is not being implemented ahead of the EIR certification, which would be a violation of CEQA.
  • We have all seen the trail closures, access control fences and signs threatening us with $100 fines if we walk off designated trails.  These are all CEQA violations the writers of the EIR deny.

    Send this as soon as possible and before Dec 12th at 5 pm.

    Thanks for your support!

    San Francisco Forest Alliance

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