Oregon Organic Farm Threatened With Forced Herbicide Use Reaches Settlement With County

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by Darren Smith : jonthanturley – excerpt

Last weekend we featured two articles (HERE and HERE) describing a controversy involving the forced use of chemical herbicides on an organic farm that according to County officials was out of compliance in controlling noxious weeds that were threatening neighboring farms and crops.

The 2,000 acre organic farm in North Central Oregon is facing what could be a be an existential threat to its operations after county weed control authorities sent notice mandating that the farm use chemical herbicides to eradicate weed growth.

I attended the public hearing held at the Sherman County seat located in Moro, Oregon. Due to a very high volume of interest expressed by residents and those outside the community, the venue was changed from the County Courthouse to a gymnasium at the Sherman County High School. There was a great deal of uncertainty manifest in this hearing with strongly held opinions on many sides and one can say with near certainty that the publicity generated caused turmoil in this small community. In fact, the concern was so great, that a number of law enforcement officials were dispatched to the area to provide security to address a worry that things might get out of hand. But in the end the two sides reached an agreement that precludes the forced use of herbicides–and offered both a carrot and stick for both parties to strongly consider…(more)

How much damage can the government do before the public reacts? It appears we had two good outcomes in two states this week that prove when the public protests buildings casting shadows on parks and forced use of poisons on organic farms the government sometimes still listens.

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Warriors win second court decision in S.F. arena battle

By Roland Li : bizjournals – excerpt

The California Courts of Appeal upheld on Tuesday the environmental review of the Golden State Warriors’ San Francisco stadium plan, allowing construction to begin on the $1 billion arena and office development unless another appeal is filed.

The decision stated that the legal challenge by the Mission Bay Alliance, which has been fighting to block the project, didn’t have merit. The Mission Bay Alliance, which includes University of California, San Francisco staff and donors, alleged that the city didn’t properly study the 18,000-seat stadium’s impact on traffic and the environment. The project also includes two 11-story office buildings…

“The Mission Bay Alliance, Jennifer Wade, and SaveMuni are deeply disappointed with today’s court ruling. Our legal team is reviewing the ruling and considering options. We believe that the proposed Warriors’ arena is incompatible with the Mission Bay South neighborhood and would result in blocked access to UCSF hospitals, dangerous air pollution, and traffic gridlock throughout the community,” said the Mission Bay Alliance in a statement…

The group has said it intends to use all avenues to fight the project.

“We are fully committed to ‘Never at 16th and Third,’” Bruce Spaulding, a retired UCSF vice chancellor who is part of the Mission Bay Alliance, told the Business Times in August. “(The Warriors) must relocate to a different site.”…(more)

CEQA and Land Use Bills — An Update

SB 731 (Steinberg)  CEQA Modernization Act of 2013.  (Last amended May 24, 2013.  Passed to Assembly May 30, 2013)

  • Aesthetic Impacts in Transit Priority Areas Not Significant. Bill would provide that aesthetic impacts of a residential, mixed-use residential, or employment center project, as defined, within a “transit priority area,” shall not be considered significant impacts on the environment.
  • Significance Thresholds in Transit Priority Areas.  Bill would require revisions to CEQA guidelines establishing significance thresholds for noise, and transportation and parking impacts of residential, mixed-use residential, or employment center projects within transit priority areas.  Agencies could, however, adopt more stringent thresholds.
  • Lead Agencies Required to Make Draft Findings Available to Public.  The bill would require the lead agency to make findings available to the public at least 15 days prior to approval of the proposed project and to provide specified notice of the availability of the findings for public review…

SB 633 (Pavley)  New Categorical Exemption and Revision to “New Information” Standard.  (Last amended May 3, 2013.  Passed to Assembly May 30, 2013)…

AB 37 (Perea)  Requiring Lead Agencies to Prepare Record of Proceedings Concurrently with Preparation of Environmental Documents for Certain Projects.  (Last amended March 18, 2013.  Passed to Senate May 28, 2013. Referred to Com. on E.Q. June 6, 2013)…

AB 543 (Campos)  Requiring Translation of CEQA Documents.  (Last amended May 24, 2013. Passed to Senate May 31, 2013. To Com. on RLS for assignment June 3, 2013)…

SB 436 (Jackson)  Requiring Public Scoping Meeting and More Extensive Public Notice for Certain Projects.  (Last amended April 3, 2013. Passed to  Assembly May 25, 2013. Held at Desk May 29, 2013)

AB 380 (Dickinson)  CEQA: notice requirements.  Increasing Public Noticing and Posting Requirements for Agencies, County Clerks and OPR.  (Last amended May 24, 2013. Passed to Senate May 29, 2013; to Com. on RLS)

The bill would require notices to be filed solely by the lead agency….

AB 667 (Hernández)  Requiring Adoption of Economic Impact Report for Projects Permitting Construction of a Superstore Retailer.   (Last amended May 20, 2013. Passed to Senate May 28, 2013. Referred to Com. on Gov. & F. June 6, 2013)…

AB 1267 (Hall)   Exempting Certain Tribal Gaming Projects from CEQA.  (Chaptered by Secretary of State May 30, 2013)… (more)

Update CEQA to make it stronger

examiner.com : California Environmental Quality Act – excerpt

There has been much ado about the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and recently there have been articles about the need for significant changes to this 42 year old statute put into law by President Ronald Reagan. What is CEQA? It is a law that offers protection for the quality of life in California: natural resources including open space and clean air, water, and land, and gives the public the opportunity to participate in local land-use decisions.
Before legislative session ended, late August, there was a failed attempt to remove many key provisions, in other words to gut the bill. Environmental groups, democratic leadership and some unions said, let’s not do this and the pressure worked. It was stopped but with the promise that the issue would be readdressed in the new legislative session. http://www.examiner.com/article/california-environmental-quality-act-ceqa-fight-postponed-communities-on-alert.. (more)