Indexed News on:

--the California "Mega-Park" Project

Tracking measurable success on efforts across California to preserve and connect our Parks & Wildlife Corridors



WE POST NEWS THREE WAYS:
1. long detailed stories on blogspot (here!)
2. short messages on Twitter
3. automated news feeds from CA enviro websites in the right-hand column which change frequently and are not archived by our website (that's why we now have a twitter account to permanently capture the memorable feeds)

Thursday, November 29, 2007

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Water Crisis Approaching: Do we accept endless population growth as a "given" and just let developers and water agencies continue to build with no limits?
Is there really more water out there that all we need to do is capture it somehow?
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Dry winter underlines water need

By Dan Walters - dwalters@sacbee.com
Published 12:00 am PST Wednesday, November 28, 2007
http://www.sacbee.com/walters/story/525991.html

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE – It's almost December, but anyone driving in the bone-dry Lake Tahoe basin is more likely to encounter blowing dust than drifting snow.

Northern California, it's becoming more evident every day, faces the scary prospect of a second dry winter that will not refill its badly depleted reservoirs. How depleted? Shasta Lake, at the head of the Sacramento River system near Redding, can hold 4.6 million acre-feet of water but contains just 1.8 million. Lake Oroville, with a capacity of 3.5 million acre-feet, has just 1.3 million. Folsom Lake is scarcely one-quarter full.

On Monday, the state Department of Water Resources told the water agencies that serve two-thirds of Californians that they can expect just 25 percent of their normal allocations next year, down from 60 percent this year. Several cities in Southern California have declared water emergencies. The fire danger remains high, as this week's Malibu fire underscores. Within a few days, a judge's order that curtails water deliveries to the San Joaquin Valley and Southern California from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to save endangered fish will take effect.
This is the immediate crisis, and there's very little that politicians can do to avert it. But it's part of a longer-range crisis that's been developing for decades in a political vacuum. It may worsen if the warnings about global warming prove true, because winter snows will lessen, and more of the state's precipitation will come in the form of rain.

Against that background of immediate water shortages and long-range peril, are the Capitol's politicians rising to the occasion? Not noticeably.

Yes, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and legislative leaders are talking about making a multibillion-dollar investment in water conservation and storage. And talking. And talking. But the philosophical and partisan conflicts that have stalled water policy for decades are as strong as ever. Tellingly, on the day that state water officials delivered the bad news to Californians, Schwarzenegger and legislative leaders met again to discuss the long-stalled water plan and failed again to reach agreement.

The pivotal point is whether the state should build new reservoirs as part of its water plan or rely on conservation and other forms of non-storage water management to meet its needs, such as shifting more water from farmers to residential, commercial and industrial users.
Schwarzenegger proposes reservoirs, but Democrats, under intense pressure from anti-reservoir environmental groups, have been reluctant. The lead Democrat on the issue, Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata, finally agreed to place $3 billion in the proposed water bond for reservoirs. Republicans, however, are insisting that the money be appropriated permanently, fearing that environmentalists would block its use if it remains subject to legislative appropriation.

Their fear is well-founded. Environmental groups see water supply as the key element in land use and other development issues and believe that restricting supply will somehow slow growth – disregarding the simple demographic fact that California's population growth stems almost entirely from immigration and babies. Thus, the never-ending debate over water really isn't about water so much as it is about how and if California will continue to grow.

There is no small irony in that conflict. Those on the political left who oppose new reservoirs generally oppose immigration restrictions and universally believe in global warming scenarios that imply the state needs more storage to capture winter rains and offset the loss of snowpack.
Storage could be in some form other than traditional reservoirs, perhaps, such as replenishing underground aquifers – but anyone who thinks we don't need it in some form is intellectually dishonest.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

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Initiative to reverse ban on nuclear plants statwide is withdrawn

Insufficient public support for new nuclear plants in California prompts sponsor to shelve the plan

11/27/2007 By David Sneed


http://www.sanluisobispo.com/news/local/story/203714.html

An initiative to lift the state’s ban on new nuclear power plants will not appear on the June 2008 ballot.

State Assemblyman Chuck DeVore, R-Irvine, has withdrawn the ballot initiative he submitted to state elections officials, after public opinion polls found lukewarm support for new nuclear power plants in the state.

His initiative would have overturned a 1976 state law prohibiting construction of new nuclear reactors until a permanent solution for the storage of highly radioactive spent nuclear fuel is found.

About 14 percent of California’s power comes from nuclear plants. The state has two nuclear power plants in operation: the San Onofre plant near San Diego and the Diablo Canyon plant near Avila Beach.

“This was certainly a controversial initiative,” DeVore said. “If we pushed this thing to the ballot, we were likely to lose.”

Lifting the state’s nuclear moratorium is relevant to San Luis Obispo County because most proposals for new nuclear plants call for adding reactors to existing plants.

Officials with Pacific Gas and Electric Co., which owns and operates the Diablo Canyon plant, say they are interested in more nuclear power but are not proposing adding new reactors to Diablo.

PG&E spokesman Pete Resler said Monday the utility had no comment on the De- Vore initiative.

There is renewed interest nationally in nuclear power and federal regulators expect to process applications for about 30 new reactors along the East Coast and in the Southeast in coming years.

A group of entrepreneurs has proposed building a new nuclear plant in Fresno.

Unless it is overturned, the state’s nuclear moratorium will prevent new nuclear plants for the foreseeable future. Completion of a planned nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, is at least a decade away—maybe longer if Nevada legislators succeed in their pledge to keep the repository out of their state.

Lacking support

In addition to lifting the nuclear moratorium, DeVore’s ballot initiative would have prevented nuclear plants from being built in earthquake-prone areas and along ecologically sensitive parts of the coastline.

In October, DeVore got permission to begin gathering signatures to place the initiative on the ballot. No signature gathering was done, however, because several opinion polls showed that 52 percent of the public supports more nuclear power while 42 percent is opposed.

That was not enough support to justify moving ahead given the fact that environmental and some consumer groups were gearing up to fight the initiative.

“That’s very modest support,” he said. “You want to be in the mid-60 percent range before you start on something that controversial.”

Rochelle Becker, who heads the San Luis Obispo-based Alliance for Nuclear Responsibility, said she was delighted by DeVore’s decision to stop the campaign. The state Energy Commission is doing a cost-benefit analysis of nuclear power and it would be premature and irresponsible, she said, to change the law before that analysis is finished.

Becker was working with other groups, including the Sierra Club, to fight the initiative. They want the state to pursue renewable energy sources rather than nuclear power.

“When Mr. DeVore introduced this initiative,” she said, “he brought many more people together on our side than he anticipated.”

DeVore said he hasn’t given up on the idea of new nuclear power plants in California as a way of meeting ambitious state goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. He plans to submit a bill next year that would lift the nuclear moratorium legislatively and said it may take several years to generate enough public support to change the law.

DeVore submitted such a bill to the state Legislature last year, but it was voted down in committee. The new bill has not been written yet, so De- Vore is not sure how it will differ from the previous one.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

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Fate of Last Chunk of Orange County's Bolsa Chica Wetlands is Decided by Coastal Commission



(above) Tract Map Approved by the Commission


Staff-Recommended Tract Map (Rejected by Commission)

FROM http://www.bixby.org/parkside/
Shea got some of what they wanted, we got some of
what we wanted; and it looks like maybe this was
a true split decision:

http://www.ocregister.com/news/land-shea-wetlands-1923938-commission-homes

Shea is now estimating they have 25 acres to build on,
once you factor in the NTS out of a buffer and the VFPF.
That would leave 25 acres open, though not all of it
conserved (the NTS & VFPF aren't leaving
the land fallow).

Is that enough to make the project "viable" in
Shea's eyes? Will be interesting to see...
--Julie Bixby


To read more:
http://www.ocregister.com/ocregister/news/local/huntingtonbeach/bolsachica/article_1923102.php


More details emerge on HB Parkside decision

Bolsa Chica Land Trust representatives said they still won a good chunk of wetlands but are now seriously considering legal recourse.

The Orange County Register

HUNTINGTON BEACH Now that the dust has started to settle, it appears that the California Coastal Commission will allow Shea Homes to build on about half the land they own, the developer's representatives reported Thursday.

The decision made late Wednesday leaves both the developer and environmental activists opposed to the project disappointed and pondering their next move.

Shea officials said the Coastal Commission essentially granted them 25 acres to build on.

The developer had planned to build a 170-home community called Parkside Estates on a 50-acre parcel of land near one of the county's last wetlands.

After Wednesday's decision, it's now unclear how many homes Shea will construct, said Shea Homes spokesman Laer Pearce.

"It was a big mistake," he said of the commission designating some of the land wetlands.

After a more than six-hour hearing in San Diego, both sides were left wondering how much they truly lost or gained for their cause because commissioners voted separately on certain sections of the land and designated some areas wetlands and environmentally sensitive areas while determining others were not.

What is clear is that some of the commissioners disagreed with a November report prepared by their staff. The staff recommended slashing a proposal to 19 acres, stating that a good portion of the Shea Homes land is wetlands or environmentally sensitive areas for habitat that is protected.

Probably the two most contentious areas were two sections – a 0.95-acre patch and another 4-acre swath of land. Environmentalist and the commission's staff said the areas were wetlands. The developer vehemently disagreed.

Commissioners voted that the 0.95-acre portion was not a wetland and open to development.

"I went out there today to kind of say goodbye," said environmental activist Julie Bixby, who visited the area Thursday morning. "It was a bit sad."

Commissioner Dan Secord wanted the rest of his colleagues to vote against calling a separate 4-acre parcel a wetland, opening it up for development. None of the commissioners, however, agreed to take it up for a vote, killing the motion.

The 4-acre swath, protected by a 100-foot buffer is a major win for environmental activists -- most members of the Bolsa Chica Land Trust.

"We're happy that the … wetland was able to survive the slash-and-burn approach that the coastal commission took to staff recommendations. That's a major benefit," said Flossie Horgan, the land trust's executive director.

One of the biggest losses for Shea opponents, however, was when the Coastal Commission voted to reduce a 100-meter buffer to a 160-foot minimum variable buffer to protect what staff called an environmentally sensitive area for birds of prey.

The major source of debate at the hearing was whether Shea Homes moved large portions of dirt around the land to intentionally cover up wetlands under the guise of farming.

Those allegations were also raised by an environmental watchdog group in a lawsuit filed against Shea in Orange County Superior Court. A judge delayed the case until December, hoping the commission would decide the matter first.

Shea Homes Vice President Ron Metzler told commissioners that the farmer who rented the land was following normal farming practices.

Horgan said the land trust will meet soon and consider legal action against Wednesday's decision.

"Absolutely, because you can't destroy wetlands and you can't make them disappear under the guise of farming," Horgan said. "You cannot use farming to destroy wetlands."



BACKGROUND ON THE BATTLE TO SAVE ALL OF BOLSA CHICA:

from http://bolsachicalandtrust.org/challenges.html

While over 1,200 acres of the wetlands have been saved from development, the adjacent upland areas are quickly vanishing due to residential development. The view is admittedly stunning. However, the devastation of the fragile ecosystem - as a result of urban runoff, household pets, and house and garden chemicals - will be permanent. The assault on Native American burials and gathering spots will be horrifying. The loss of habitat for native and migrating wildlife is irreplaceable. This treasured "Little Pocket" of old California culture and history will be lost forever.

While a broad-based community effort has held off this invasion, a final resolution is needed. The only way to permanently safeguard this last vestige of old California is to purchase the property for preservation. While the purchase of the Lower Bench of the Bolsa Chica Mesa was accomplished in 2005, acquisition efforts continue on the 50-acre Upper Bolsa Chica Wetlands, proposed for development by Shea Homes; and on the 6-acre Sacred Cogged Stone site, proposed for condominiums by its owner.


from http://amigosdebolsachica.org/history.htm
In 1973, as part of a controversial land swap, the State of California acquired approximately 300 acres of wetlands adjacent to Pacific Coast Highway. A portion of this was restored by the state in 1979 to become the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve. The remaining acreage was retained in private hands. Planning for the construction of a massive marina, commercial and residential development was quickly underway. The plan was drastically reduced in 1989 through the settlement of a lawsuit filed by the Amigos.

May 1997, SAN DIEGO JUDGE RULES IN FAVOR OF LAWSUIT PROTECTING BOLSA CHICA. Filed by the Bolsa Chica Land Trust, the Sierra Club, the Surfrider Foundation, Huntington Beach Tomorrow and the Shoshone Gabrieleño Nation, the suit claimed the Coastal Commission erred in approving development in the Bolsa Chica Wetlands, allowing Warner Pond to be filled, and approving the moving of the eucalyptus ESHA to the Huntington Mesa, and the court agreed.

(editor's note: The now-famous Bolsa Chica decision changed the way the Coastal Commission dealt with wetlands along the entire California Coast. Where previously wetlands could be filled-in and built upon as long as other wetlands were restored, the law was clarified to prohibit virtually any destruction of coastal wetlands. This has shifted the battle for wetland advocates to disputes over what is a wetland, as the battle over the remaining 50 acres at Parkside Bolsa Chica has shown. A similar battle occurred at the Ballona Wetlands in 2002 at the Marina Freeway)

In 1997 the state acquired 880 acres of Bolsa Chica wetlands and another 41 acres was acquired in 2005, bringing public ownership of the Bolsa Chica to over 1200 acres. Wetland restoration of nearly 600 acres of Bolsa Chica was begun in 2004.

In the summer of 2006 seawater flowed into the restored wetland for the first time in over 100 years. The Bolsa Chica wetland restoration was the largest coastal wetland restorations ever undertaken in Southern California.


Monday, November 19, 2007

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L.A. City Council votes 13-0 for New EIR for Development Project on East L.A.'s Elephant Hill


Sunday, November 4, 2007
http://saveelephanthills.blogspot.com/

COUNCILMEMBER HUIZAR SECURES MAJOR VICTORY ON El SERENO DEVELOPMENT

Councilmember Huizar won a unanimous City Council vote to stop the issuance of development permits for the proposed Elephant Hill new home project until a Supplemental Environmental Impact Report has been completed. The vote is a major community and environmental victory for El Sereno residents. Councilmember Huizar has led the charge to halt work on the development until new concerns, including water runoff and potential sinkholes, have been fully addressed. The Council voted to require a Supplemental Environmental Impact Report in June.
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Gaviota Coastline Threatened with Westward Expansion of Santa Barbara/L.A. Sprawl





Taken from the Santa Barbara County Planning department's webpage on this project:

http://sbcountyplanning.org/projects/03DVP-00041/index.cfm

also see the 11/14/2007 summary of the project:
http://sbcountyplanning.org/PDF/projects/03DVP-00041/SBRanchProject-Detailed%20Summary(9-12-07).pdf

The Santa Barbara Ranch Project consists of amendments to the County’s Comprehensive Plan, Coastal Land Use Plan and Zoning Ordinance along with a variety of subdivision and entitlement applications that would collectively permit a residential estate development on the Gaviota coast, two miles west of the City of Goleta. Several different development scenarios are under consideration involving between 54 and 72 new residential dwellings, an equestrian center, agricultural support facilities, a worker duplex, public amenities (including access road, parking and restroom, hiking, biking, equestrian trails near the coastal bluff, an educational kiosk and a coastal access stair structure), and creation of conservation easements for permanent protection of open space and agriculture.


UPCOMING MEETINGS/DEADLINES:

November 13, 2007 – Recirculation of Revised Draft EIR

December 10, 2007 – Public Meeting on Revised Draft EIR

January 2, 2008 – End of Public Comment Period on Revised Draft EIR


GROUPS FIGHTING THE DEVELOPMENT:

http://www.savenaples.org/

http://www.gaviotacoastconservancy.org/

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

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$874 Million is in California Parkland and Habitat Budget for 2007-2008


In the State Legislature and Governor Schwarzenegger’s Budget signed August 24th for July 2007-June 2008 there is a total of $874 Million for Parkland and Wildlife Habitat.

http://www.calandtrusts.org/trustnews.cfm?resID=124779&alt=1

FROM PROPOSITIONS 12/40/50--- $153.6 MILLION

Resources Agency---$20.5 million River Parkways

Department of Conservation--$14.9 million CA Farmland Conservancy Program

Department of Forestry--$4.5 million

Department of Water Resources--$99.6 million-- Integrated Regional Watershed Management Plans

State Coastal Conservancy--$3 million
Capital Outlay--$2,000,000
SF Bay Conservancy Program--$1,000,000

Tahoe Conservancy--$11.1 million Conservancy Grants -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
FROM PROPOSITION 84---$650.6 MILLION

Wildlife Conservation Board--$383.2 million total
Capital Outlay--$135,000,000
Forest Conservation--$180,000,000
Natural Community Conservation Plans--$25,000,000
Oak Woodlands Program--$14,300,000
Rangeland, Grazing Land, Grasslands Program--$14,300,000
Ecosystem Restoration on Ag Properties--$4,600,000
San Joaquin River Conservancy--$10,000,000

State Coastal Conservancy--$114.7 million total
Capital Outlay--$37,000,000
Ocean Protection Council--$28,000,000
SF Bay Conservancy Program--$23,700,000
Monterey Bay--$9,700,000
San Diego Bay--$6,700,000
Santa Ana River—$9,600,000

Department of Parks and Recreation--$15 million
Opportunity Acquisitions

Department of Water Resources--$34 million total
Flood Corridors Program---$25,000,000
Urban Streams Program--$9,000,000

Department of Forestry--$2.8 million Urban Forestry

Tahoe Conservancy--$27.4 million Capital Outlay

Rivers and Mountains Conservancy--$25 million Capital Outlay

Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy--$17 million Capital Outlay

Sierra Nevada Conservancy--$17 million Capital Outlay

Coachella Valley Mountains Conservancy--$11.5 million Capital Outlay

Baldwin Hills Conservancy--$3 million Capital Outlay

--------------------------------------

ADDITIONAL FUNDING--$69.8 MILLION
Wildlife Conservation Board--$30 million Habitat Conservation Fund

Department of Transportation--$10 million Environmental Enhancement and Mitigation Program

Department of Parks and Recreation--$29.8 million total
Recreational Grants-$11,800,000
OHV Trust Fund-$18,000,000

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Chula Vista Wetland Restoration Hinges on 1500 Condos and Shopping Center


http://www.signonsandiego.com/uniontrib/20071009/news_1m9pacifica.html

Developer is working on bayfront land swap
By Tanya Mannes
STAFF WRITER, San Diego Union-Tribune


October 9, 2007

CHULA VISTA – San Diego-based Pacifica Cos., which has been working since 2000 on a plan to build condos and at least one hotel on the Chula Vista bayfront, has agreed to scale down the project and move it to a new site – across from the Chula Vista Marina – to protect wetlands.

Permits are still years away, but company President Ash Israni said he is encouraged by the progress made in discussions with the Port of San Diego, environmental groups and labor unions.

Israni holds an option to develop 97 acres near a wildlife preserve. He hopes to swap that for 32 acres owned by the port and build a “walkable neighborhood” of 1,500 condos, a 250-room hotel and 450,000 square feet of commercial and office space.

“What we want to do is a 24-7 type of community that is active, vibrant and environmentally sensitive,” Israni said. “You have to make sure that everything is agreeable and everybody likes what I'm doing.”

Public attention has focused on Gaylord Entertainment's plan for a hotel and convention center on the Chula Vista bayfront. Fewer people have heard of Pacifica, which is the other big private-sector player in the 550-acre Chula Vista Bayfront Master Plan. Both companies intend to invest more than $700 million each in their projects.

The Port of San Diego is working on an environmental impact report for the master plan area. Permits are at least two years away for Tennessee-based Gaylord and three years away for Pacifica.

Israni got involved in the bayfront master planning process years before Gaylord arrived on the scene.

“But we've been very low-key about it,” Israni said. “A lot of people don't know who Pacifica is.”

Pacifica is a $2 billion asset company with a portfolio of condos and apartments throughout the United States and India. One project is in Imperial Beach, where Israni is seeking permission to build a resort on the Seacoast Inn site.

Chula Vista Mayor Cheryl Cox said she's aware of “very general” information about Pacifica's plans but has not seen any design renderings. She noted that the Citizens Advisory Committee for the bayfront envisioned housing as an important component of the master plan.

In 2002, before she was elected mayor, Cox worked as a consultant for Pacifica on an issue involving National City's hotel tax. In 1996, she worked with Pacifica to help it get a more visible sign for its Holiday Inn Express in Chula Vista.

If the land swap is approved, Pacifica would begin a one-year process of seeking coastal development permits. The Chula Vista Redevelopment Corp. will have the authority to approve them.

Chris Lewis, chairman of the Chula Vista Redevelopment Corp., remembers Pacifica from his work on the Citizens Advisory Committee but said he hasn't heard much since.

“I know very little about it,” Lewis said. “They kind of took a back seat when we started working on Gaylord.”

Gaylord got involved in the Chula Vista bayfront planning process in 2004. The national company hopes to build a hotel with up to 2,000 rooms and a 400,000-square-foot convention center. In July, the company reached an impasse with labor unions and for a time said it would drop the project.

So far, Israni has managed to avoid a combative relationship with labor unions. Pacifica has begun preliminary talks with the San Diego County Building & Construction Trades Council, the union that butted heads with Gaylord. Israni said the talks have been “very cordial, very friendly.”

Israni has also taken steps to appease environmentalists who objected to his 2002 plan for 3,400 condos and three hotels for the site bound by wetlands. He has scaled back the project and accepted the idea of a complicated land swap.

To help build alliances, Israni hired former Mayor Steve Padilla's coastal/environmental coordinator, Allison Rolfe, as the project coordinator. Rolfe served on the Citizens Advisory Committee for about two years before joining Padilla's staff in September 2005.

This year, Rolfe helped Pacifica reach a tentative pact with local environmental groups, including the Environmental Health Coalition and the San Diego Audubon Society, to not oppose the project. Israni agreed to build a “green” project that would meet national standards for nature-friendly design. He also agreed to contribute an estimated $7.5 million into a new community benefit foundation for affordable housing, natural resources protection, environmental education and other projects. The agreement is not yet signed.

The land swap will require approval from the port and then from the State Lands Commission. The bayfront master plan will also go to the Chula Vista City Council and the California Coastal Commission. The earliest the plan could clear all hurdles is mid-2009, according to the port's timeline.

Israni said he never anticipated that the project would take this long.

“It has been a real trying project for me. I would never take on a project like this again,” he said. “But we are so far into it that it has become a challenge I need to pursue.”

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Environmental group seeks to limit mining near protected lands

http://www.pe.com/localnews/inland/stories/PE_News_Local_C_mines16.3d1cede.html

Monday, October 15, 2007

By JENNIFER BOWLES
The Riverside Press-Enterprise

An environmental group is pushing for federal legislation that would restrict mining within 10 miles of a national park, wilderness or other protected lands, a change that could affect thousands of California mining claims.

Congress is considering updates to the nation's 135-year-old mining law.

In San Bernardino and Riverside counties, 525 mining claims lie within 10 miles of Joshua Tree National Park, which straddles both counties, according to the Environmental Working Group. Of those, 207 claims have been filed since 2003. At Mojave National Preserve in eastern San Bernardino County, 2,486 claims are within 10 miles; 670 have been filed since 2003.

Statewide, 21,365 claims are within 10 miles of federal public lands, the group said.

Bill Walker, vice president of the environmental group's West Coast office in Oakland, said Monday that the group analyzed data from the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, which oversees mining activity.

Legislation has been introduced to update the Hardrock Mining Law of 1872, and the group wants the buffer zone to be included and land managers given power to weigh whether the mines would be harmful to the environment. The buffer zone is needed, Walker said, to protect the landscape and reduce the chance of damage to wildlife habitat and water sources from toxic waste.

The House Resources Committee is scheduled on Thursday to mark up the legislation, introduced by the committee chairman, U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W. Va.

Joe Zarki, chief of interpretation at Joshua Tree National Park, said park officials aren't aware of any current claims that are a threat. He said the Bureau of Land Management typically allows the National Park Service to comment on anything nearby.

"We're always concerned about issues along our borders that might possibly impact resources, whether it's the air, wildlife or vegetation," he said.

Robert Waiwood, geologist with the bureau for the California desert district, said most claims are for gold and that most don't become active mines. The district's only large, open-pit operation, he said, is in Imperial County.

Walker said he's concerned about the few claims that do become active.

"If just a few did," he said, "they would have quite an impact."

Last month, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency added the Formosa Mine in Oregon to the nation's Superfund list. Mining activities released copper, zinc and other metals into the headwaters of two creeks and severely degraded 18 miles of stream habitat, the EPA said.

Saturday, November 10, 2007


Palm Springs Voters Reject Project at Base of Mt. San Jacinto Aerial Tramway

11/10/2007 SAVE OUR MOUNTAINS SUPPORTERS

We did it!!

Tuesday, the voters of Palm Springs went to the polls and put an
absolute whammy on the Yes on C folks. We received more than a 60% NO
vote in a full landslide over the opposition that put $650,000 into a
campaign that got them just 3846 votes. That’s almost $200 per yes vote.

I will not single out any individuals for special thanks, as each
contributed in his or her own way. We had volunteers who made calls,
contributed money, showed up at events, placed signs, handled our
website, walked door-to-door and all of the other tasks that make for a
successful campaign. Collectively, we demonstrated that not only can you
fight City Hall, you can win!

TO ALL OF YOU, I GIVE YOU MY HEARTFELT THANKS!!

We will soon have a new City Council who we believe will be more
responsive to our concerns. You can be assured that Save Our Mountains
will not rest on our laurels from this victory, but will continue to
press for the responsible stewardship of our awesome natural resources.

Thanks again for supporting those of us who were in the thick of this
campaign. We hope that we can count on your support continuing into the
future.

GREAT JOB!!

Jono Hildner, Chair
Save Our Mountains
http://noshadowrock.org/

http://www.saveourmountains.com/

November 6, 2007 marks a critical turning point in the fate of Chino Canyon, our magnificent alluvial fan located at the historic entrance to Palm Springs and the gateway to the Aerial Tram and San Jacinto/Santa Rosa National Monument. In 2006, the City Council voted 3-1 to rubber-stamp a 10-year extension to the 1993 Shadowrock Development Agreement for building a massive development in the heart of Chino Canyon. In doing so, they ignored the Planning Commission’s unanimous vote to deny the extension, and betrayed the public trust. A NO vote on Measure C rejects the 10-year extension to this flawed and outdated development agreement.

What’s at stake?

A NO! vote on Measure C
rejects a development agreement that... --Fails to require an assessment to pay for necessary additional police and fire services. --Permits mass grading and over two million cubic yards of cut and fill. --Fails to require a hotel and its promised revenues. --Violates current Chino Cone Ordinance. --Allows above ground utility lines, sewer and water pipes. --Permits ripping out part of the Chino Canyon Oasis.

What’s it going to take? Like the Measures B and C campaign in 2005, the Shadowrock Referendum promises to be a difficult fight. We anticipate that there will be many attempts to confuse and deceive voters and a lot of money spent by the developer and his allies. Two things we know for certain: We need you to vote NO on Measure C We need your personal involvement to win this fight.








Money is always welcome and critical to getting our message out. Volunteering your time or opening up your home to host a coffee for neighbors and friends will also be of immeasurable help to this campaign. Please join in by contributing what you can.





Photos are by Tom Brewster and Greg Day

Friday, November 9, 2007

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Solar Power Plant Proposed for Carrizo Plain in Eastern San Luis Obispo County


by Cal French/Sierra Club
November 2, 2007


Silicon Valley's solar boom continues with Ausra, a Palo Alto startup backed by venture capitalist heavyweights Vinod Khosla and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, filing an application to build a 177-megawatt solar power plant on California's Central Coast.

Ausra's lodging of its 1,000+ page "application for certification" with the California Energy Commission last week is another sign the company, which relocated to Silicon Valley from Sydney last year, is about to sign a major deal with a California utility. Khosla has previously said Ausra is negotiating with PG&E. In its application, the company stated that the San Luis Obispo County project, called the Carrizo Energy Solar Farm, would begin providing greenhouse gas-free electricity to "a major California utility" by June 2010 under a 20-year power purchase agreement. If the Commission licenses the project—at least a year-long process—construction would begin in 2009. In September, Florida utility FPL announced it would use Ausra's technology for a planned 300-megawatt solar power plant.

While there's no shortage of solar startups with big plans for Big Solar, only three companies have actually taken the expensive and time-consuming step of filing a construction application with the California Energy Commission. (On Wednesday, Oakland, Calif.-based solar company BrightSource Energy cleared a major regulatory hurdle when the Commission signed off on its application for a 400-megawatt Mojave Desert power plant and began the licensing process.)

The Carrizo solar thermal power plant will deploy 195 long rows of flat mirrors to focus the sun' s rays on tubes of water suspended over the arrays. The superheated water creates saturated steam that will drive two electricity-generating turbines, to be supplied by either GE or Siemens. While the efficiency of Ausra's compact linear fresnel reflector system is lower than competing technologies, company executives claim they will able to drive down the costing of producing solar electricity to make it competitive with natural gas.Unlike most solar power plants in the works for California, Ausra has chosen not to locate its facility in the Mojave Desert, where solar sites are sun-drenched but are often on government land and far from transmission lines. Instead, the Carrizo project will be built on 640 acres of old ranch land on the Carrizo Plain, where Ausra will just need to construct a 850-foot transmission line to connect to the power grid.

"Ausra Inc.'s proved, proprietary technology significantly reduces the cost of a solar thermal power plant and is thus capable of significantly reducing global carbon emissions by generating low-carbon electricity on a commercial scale at competitive prices," the company stated in its application.

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Sierra Club and Others Fight Developer Attack on State's Environmental Laws


Son of Prop 90

by Bill Allayaud/Sierra Club California Legislative Office

November 6, 2007

California's environment is under attack again from the "property rights" crowd. Last year, we successfully fought off a statewide ballot initiative, Proposition 90, that used the rhetoric of eminent domain abuse to attempt to undermine a swath of laws protecting our health and environment. Now, the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association along with the California Farm Bureau is trying to qualify the "Son of Prop 90" for the June 2008 ballot. Provisions hidden in the text of the Jarvis measure would effectively prohibit laws and regulations that protect our air, land, water, and coasts from pollution, as well as laws that prevent sprawl. The measure would even weaken California's ability to stop global warming. And, they have thrown in a provision that would ban rent control in California, a matter that should be decided by each affected local government. A broad-based coalition of environmentalists, local governments, seniors, business, and labor that defeated Prop 90 last year has formed again to defeat this measure. This coalition is promoting a strong, honest eminent domain reform proposal, which would prevent the government from using eminent domain to take a home to transfer to a developer. In order to qualify this alternative to the Jarvis measure, we need 1.1 million signatures by November 20. We're more than halfway to our goal, but we need your help immediately!

You can sign a petition, or better yet, sign yourself and get nine more people to sign the petition and mail it in. Go to http://www.eminentdomainreform.com/petitionRequest/ and you will be taken to the webpage where you can order a petition and get the return address for sending it in. I know you care about California's environmental and planning laws, so this is an urgent matter. For more information about the coalition and the two initiatives, please visit http://www.EminentDomainReform.com.

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Gov. Schwarzenegger Targets Toxic Ammunition, Endorses New Law to Protect Endangered California Condor from Lead Poisoning


http://www.defenders.org/newsroom/press_releases_folder/2007/10_13_2007_calif._gov._signs_condor_bill.php

10-13-2007 SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Today Governor Schwarzenegger signed an historic bill requiring the use of non-lead ammunition within California condor habitat. Assemblyman Pedro Nava (D-Santa Barbara) introduced A.B. 821 to aid condor recovery by reducing the exposure to lead found in the food of this critically endangered bird.

“We applaud Gov. Schwarzenegger for taking this important action to protect California’s iconic condor from lead poisoning—the species’ most substantial obstacle to recovery,” said Pamela Flick, California program coordinator for Defenders of Wildlife. “With a stroke of his pen, the Governor has taken a significant step toward protecting our endangered wildlife and people from this toxic substance,” said Flick.

Lead is a potent poison that is the leading cause of death among free-flying condors. Ammunition has been found to be the principle source of lead in condors, North America’s largest bird. Condors and other scavengers suffer lead poisoning when they ingest lead bullets or bullet fragments from animal carcasses shot with the toxic ammunition and left in the field.
“Lead has been removed from gasoline, paint, water pipes, and cookware. Now, we can add ammunition in condor country to this growing list,” Flick continued.

Although extremely tough, condors are not immune to the effects of lead poisoning. There have been 276 documented cases of lead poisoning in California condors just since 2000. At least four condors deaths in the state have been confirmed as lead poisonings and dozens more deaths are likely linked to lethal lead exposure.

“Assemblymember Nava has been extremely dedicated to getting the lead out of California condor territory for years,” said Flick. “We thank Mr. Nava and Gov. Schwarzenegger for ensuring that condors will continue to soar over California for future generations to enjoy.”

Federal Agencies Publish Draft Environmental Impact Statement on Energy Transport Corridor Designations in 11 Western States

11-8-2007

From Federal Government's press release: The Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and the U.S. Departments of Energy, Agriculture, Commerce and Defense today released for public review and comment a draft programmatic environmental impact statement (draft PEIS) proposing designation of energy transport corridors on federal lands in 11 western states in accordance with Section 368 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005. The proposed energy corridors would facilitate future siting of oil, gas, and hydrogen pipelines and electricity transmission and distribution on federal lands in the West to help address growing energy demand while protecting the environment....

(Editors's note: we'll see about that!)

Eighty-four percent of the corridors proposed and analyzed in the draft PEIS are located on BLM-managed lands, while 14 percent are on USDA Forest Service lands. The remaining fractional percentages are on lands managed by the Department of the Interior’s Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Reclamation and National Park Service, or by the Department of Defense. The proposed corridors are agency-preferred locations for siting of future pipelines and transmission lines.

Interested members of the public, government agencies, American Indian tribes, states, and non-governmental organizations are invited to submit comments on the draft PEIS.

The draft PEIS evaluated factors that constrain where a network of energy transport corridors could be located – including topographical, environmental and regulatory constraints – as well as the overall suitability of particular lands to support development and operation of energy transport infrastructure. As a result of an inclusive public scoping effort over the past two years, including regional meetings and public review of preliminary corridor location maps, the draft PEIS proposal avoids major known and designated sensitive resource areas including wilderness areas and national parks, tribal lands, national monuments and national recreation areas, wherever possible. The few locations where the proposed corridors could not avoid sensitive areas are located along existing transmission lines, highways, pipelines or other rights-of-way.

The agencies will solicit comments during a 90-day public comment period on the draft PEIS. Public meetings will be held in each of the 11 states and in Washington, D.C. During this period, briefings and consultation will continue to occur with each governor’s office, tribes, Congress, and historic preservation officials.

Public meetings in California to take oral comments on the draft PEIS will be held:

January 8, 2008 – Sacramento, Calif.
January 10 – Ontario, Calif.

For more information:

http://www.blm.gov/ca/st/en/info/newsroom/2007/november/WONews0805_368_deis.html

http://corridoreis.anl.gov/eis/dmap/rowsbm/index.cfm

To submit comments and to review the draft PEIS and related documents, including detailed maps, visit the project website at http://corridoreis.anl.gov. Review copies are also available at libraries and agency regional and field offices. The draft PEIS will also be published in the Federal Register on Friday, November 16, 2007, which initiates the 90-day public comment period.

Friday, November 2, 2007

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L.A.'s Mount Cahuenga Could Soon Be Added to the Santa Monica Mountains Park System


138 acre purchase will be considered at Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority Board Meeting on November 7th


Wednesday, November 7, 2007 at 2:00 p.m. at the Conejo Recreation and Park District,

403 West Hillcrest Drive, Thousand Oaks, California.

http://mrca.ca.gov/attachment.asp?agendaid=140


-Consideration of resolution authorizing the use of Santa Monica Mountains Open Space Preservation Assessment District No. 1 funds to acquire 138 acres and authorizing the granting of said funds to a public or not-for-profit entity, Cahuenga Peak, Hollywood.

-Consideration of resolution authorizing acceptance of a donation of APN 4438-034-012, 10-acres, Saddle Peak, Topanga Canyon.

-Consideration of resolution authorizing acceptance of a 29-acre conservation easement (APN 2052-009-012) donation adjacent to Liberty Canyon, Agoura Hills.

-Consideration of resolution authorizing the use of Santa Monica Mountains Open Space Preservation Assessment District No. 1 Area B funds to acquire up to 125 properties owned by the City of Los Angeles in Beverly Glen Canyon and authorizing adding those properties as necessary to the Final Engineer’s Report, Los Angeles.

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State Water Supply Watchdogs say the State proposes to give away water resources


Monterey Amendments Draft EIR Released
10/25/2007

http://www.pcl.org/newsroom/102507montereyeir.html

Sacramento- Despite the recent crisis in the Delta and the Governor’s push for new dams, last week the Department of Water Resources (DWR) proposed to give away the largest water storage facility in the state and to eliminate drought safeguards for urban areas in California.

DWR’s draft decision, revealed in the Monterey Plus Environmental Impact Report (EIR) (http://www.des.water.ca.gov/mitigation_restoration_branch/rpmi_section/projects/index.cfm), would require the State to permanently adopt State Water Project contract amendments, called the “the Monterey Amendments,” negotiated in secret by DWR in 1994. The original behind closed doors deal was successfully challenged in a lawsuit by the Planning and Conservation League, the Citizens Planning Association of Santa Barbara, and Plumas County Flood Control and Water Conservation District (Planning and Conservation League v. Department of Water Resources (2000) 83 Cal.App.3d). While DWR has been allowed to operate under the Monterey Amendments provisionally since 1995, the PCL lawsuit forced DWR to analyze the impact of the amendments and to decide whether or not permanently to adopt the Monterey Amendments or to modify the proposed contract changes based on that analysis.

If permanently adopted, the Monterey Amendments would fundamentally change how the State Water Project (SWP) operates.

Specifically, the Monterey Amendments would:

--Eliminate contract provisions that provide drought safeguards for urban areas. DWR’s own analysis shows that in dry years like 2001, water supplies for homes and businesses in urban areas will be reduced by over 400,000 acre-feet, (a reduction of 26% of total urban water deliveries from the SWP), if the Monterey Amendments are adopted.

--Give away the State owned Kern Water Bank, the largest water storage facility in the State.

--Eliminate the common-sense provision in the original contract which required DWR to determine the realistic yield of the SWP. Without a knowing the actual capacity of the SWP, DWR will continue to promise to deliver “paper water,” water which actually does not exist in the real world. Already, the promise of paper water has lead to over-reliance on the water from the fragile Bay-Delta, over-pumping, inevitable cutbacks in water supplies, and ultimately decreased water supply reliability.

--Transfer millions of dollars in costs to the taxpayers, while rebating millions to individual water agencies.

--Encourage the over-pumping of Delta water in the winter and spring months, which has already, under the provisional use of the Monterey Amendments, contributed to the massive decline of the Delta smelt and other Bay Delta fish populations.

PCL has long held that DWR’s provisional operations under the Monterey Amendments are directly related to the declines in the health of the Delta, and decreases in water supply reliability across the State. If permanently adopted, the Monterey Amendments would strip urban areas, including homes and businesses of their drought safeguards, forcing those areas to depend on delivery of “surplus” water from the Delta in wetter years. The recent fish declines in the Delta and the resulting ruling from Judge Oliver W. Wanger of the U.S. District Court in Fresno, demonstrate that the “surplus” water urban areas now dependent on is actually just “paper water” that cannot be delivered in the future. “PCL is outraged that despite the obvious impacts on California, DWR is proposing to adopt the Monterey Amendments on a permanent basis, stripping urban areas of their drought safeguards and giving away the State’s largest storage facility,” said Mindy McIntyre, Water Program Director at the Planning and Conservation League. “This is a terrible decision for California that will exacerbate the water problems we are already facing today.”

Thursday, November 1, 2007

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Pacific Lumber Creditors Put Lower Value on Assets than Company Claims
John Driscoll The Eureka Times-Standard
10/11/2007

http://www.times-standard.com//ci_7146687

A document that had been under seal in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court case of the Pacific Lumber Co. holds that its timberlands are worth only a fraction of what the company has estimated.

The declaration of Christopher Di Mauro of Houlihan Lokey, Howard and Zukin Capital -- consultants for the group that holds $714 million in notes secured by 210,000 acres of timber -- estimates the land is worth between $290 and $500 million. Some 6,660 acres of land off limits to protect the threatened marbled murrelet are worth between $10 and $20 million.
The estimate shows just how far apart Palco and its main creditors are. In a reorganization plan filed at the end of September, Palco claims its properties -- split into 181,000 acres for working timberland and 29,000 acres for a high-end rural development and reserve lands -- are worth $1.4 billion.

That exceeds any reasonable estimates of value, Di Mauro wrote in the declaration that were among those Palco subsidiary Scotia Pacific had asked to be kept sealed. Judge Richard Schmidt approved an agreement between the parties to release much of the information this week.
Di Mauro said that Houlihan Lokey has yet to have productive talks about the restructuring plan with Scotia Pacific, and remain far apart on the value of the assets.
”Scotia Pacific and its advisors have not provided a single document or analysis to support the unreasonable valuations to which they continue to cite in their restructuring proposal,” Di Mauro said.

The value of Palco's assets will be at the center of the bankruptcy court's consideration. If its debts are worth more than its assets, in rough terms, Palco parent company Maxxam Inc. could lose control of the company to the noteholders.

The court on Oct. 23 will consider whether to allow Palco's restructuring plan to continue as the only plan, or to allow creditors to submit another reorganization plan.
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Berkeley going solar - city pays up front, recoups over 20 years

Carolyn Jones, San Francisco Chronicle Staff Writer
Friday, October 26, 2007

Berkeley is set to become the first city in the nation to help thousands of its residents generate solar power without having to put money up front - attempting to surmount one of the biggest hurdles for people who don't have enough cash to go green.

The City Council will vote Nov. 6 on a plan for the city to finance the cost of solar panels for property owners who agree to pay it back with a 20-year assessment on their property. Over two decades, the taxes would be the same or less than what property owners would save on their electric bills, officials say.

"This plan could be our most important contribution to fighting global warming," Mayor Tom Bates said Thursday. "We've already seen interest from all over the U.S. People really think this plan can go."

The idea is sparking interest from city and state leaders who are mindful of California's goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent by 2020. Officials in San Francisco, Santa Cruz, Santa Monica and several state agencies have contacted Berkeley about the details of its plan.
"If this works, we'd want to look at this for other cities statewide," said Ken Alex, California deputy attorney general. "We think it's a very creative way to eliminate the barriers to getting solar panels, and it's fantastic that Berkeley's going ahead with this."

for rest of story, click here: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2007/10/26/MNAIT0DQO.DTL


Plans by Cargill to build homes on salt-flat acreage alarms some

Jonathan Curiel, San Francisco Chronicle Staff Writer
Thursday, November 1, 2007


The owner of one of the largest undeveloped swaths of bay shoreline says it is considering building houses on the land - a controversial idea opposed by environmentalists who say the property should be restored to its natural state and protected.
Cargill Inc. uses the 1,433-acre site on the edge of San Francisco Bay in Redwood City to produce commercial salt, but John Bruno, a spokesman for a joint venture between Cargill and a real estate development firm, told The Chronicle that the corporation is studying the possibility of building housing there.


The land is just southeast of Bair Island, a marshy, 2,600-acre restoration project that is part of the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge. On that former salt pond, where Redwood City voters in 1982 forbade development, harbor seals have found a place to sunbathe and rare species like the salt harvest mouse thrive.


Although Cargill has not actually produced any plans for the nearby 1,433-acre site, environmentalists say they would fight to prevent Cargill from getting permits to build residences there. Instead, they say the land should be used to further the state's goal of restoring the thousands of acres of bay wetlands destroyed over the past 200 years.
The idea of building housing on the land is supported by at least one local official, a key member of the Redwood City Planning Commission who says the city has an immense need for housing and amenities like playing fields and trails. And the executive director of the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission, which has jurisdiction over land within 100 feet of the bay's shoreline, said Cargill could pursue a development plan if it first restored at least half of the site to a natural setting.


Cargill is phasing out its salt production on the land and wants to convert it into some type of mixed development, including some housing. For the past year, Redwood City Industrial Saltworks - a joint venture between Cargill and a real estate development firm called DMB Associates - has solicited comments from Redwood City residents on what they want Cargill to do with the property.


More than 6,000 people have responded through mailings and comments during the company's forums, "and the vast majority of what we've heard is that people are looking for a mixture of uses, and that runs the gamut from housing to parks to bay trails," said Bruno, general manager of Redwood City Industrial Saltworks.


Bruno wouldn't specify the type of housing Cargill envisions nor what percentage of land the housing would occupy, but any development is opposed by groups such as Save the Bay. That group recently started a campaign to protect the last remaining undeveloped properties that ring the bay.


"It's not the place to put housing," said the group's executive director, David Lewis. "If Cargill thinks this can be approved, they're living in the past."


Cargill's Redwood City property is zoned "tidal plain," meaning the corporation would have to get an exemption from the Redwood City Planning Commission to pursue any development.
Before it does, Cargill would have to restore at least 50 percent of the area to natural habitat under state laws governing bay salt ponds, said Will Travis, head of the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission.


"Our position is that when you take a salt pond and use it for something other than salt making, a substantial portion of it should be restored to the bay or wetlands. The issue of what the (rest of the) property can be used for is the call of local government," Travis said.
And Lewis said the company would face additional development hurdles under the federal Clean Water Act, which he said prohibits former waterways from being filled with development if there are alternatives to put the development in another area. And, Lewis said, state water quality regulations would also severely limit what Cargill could build on the site, which has been used for salt production since 1901.



for rest of story, click here: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2007/11/01/MNAET3ET0.DTL
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Coastline Around San Luis Obispo's Diablo Canyon Nuke Plant is Opened to the Public

10/18/2007 L.A. Citybeat

Excerpts...for full story go to http://www.lacitybeat.com/article.php?id=6345&IssueNum=228

The gateway to PG&E’s land, though, had been wide open – and for a reason. We were actually invited. We were invited because, for the first time in well over 35 years, PG&E has agreed to grant public access to the stunning coastline it has claimed as its own ever since the Diablo Canyon project was approved in the 1960s.

The story, which has hardly been well publicized, is relatively straightforward. A few months ago, PG&E applied for permission to build a new above-ground storage unit for its spent fuel from Diablo Canyon’s twin pressurized water reactors. The Coastal Commission, which scandalously signed off on the nuclear plant when it was first proposed 40 years ago, decided this was an opportunity to right a long-festering wrong, and told the power company it could make the modifications it wanted on condition that it open up a stretch of its coastal lands.
As of a few weeks ago, that is exactly what PG&E has done. On Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, hikers are invited to come through the chain-link gate, just as we did, and follow a carefully marked 1.5-mile circuit heading down to the PG&E side of Coon Creek Beach, across to a headland called Point Buchon, and back to the gatehouse.

The gatekeeper made sure he cautioned us not to step even a few feet away from the designated path, mentioned several lines of electrified fencing we might want to avoid, and insisted we check back in with him before leaving.
It may not have been the warmest of welcomes, but the pay-off was amazing. From the PG&E side, we could appreciate the dramatic stone archways framing Coon Creek Beach and explore its kelp-strewn caves, which are accessible at low tide. Back up on the fragile sandstone cliffs, we peered down into a dramatic sinkhole just a few yards from the shoreline and, best of all, enjoyed unobstructed views of the drop-dead coastline heading south, including clusters of tall, table-like rocks where hordes of pelicans and seagulls sat tamely just out of reach of the pounding Pacific surf.

By next year, we later discovered, the entire path to the lighthouse should be open to the public seven days a week – PG&E successfully negotiated with the Coastal Commission to get to that point in stages. It’s hard to know whether to cheer at this development – the 13 miles of PG&E land from Point Buchon to Point San Luis, just around the corner from Avila Beach, constitute some of the most beautiful coastal scenery anywhere in California – or to continue to be appalled, as many people have been for decades, that such a jewel of California’s natural landscape should be closed off at all and exploited for financial gain by a large power company.
It wasn’t just the Coastal Commission that gave PG&E the green light to build Diablo Canyon – the Sierra Club was also complicit, making the insane argument that this stretch of coastline was somehow preferable to the Nipomo Dunes between Santa Maria and Pismo Beach (since converted into an ATV beach and thus ruined for an entirely different set of reasons). PG&E essentially bought off the Sierra Club, promising the wife of the club president a seat on the company board and offering the entire club leadership free flights to the area in Frank Sinatra’s Lear Jet, with Danny Kaye providing in-flight entertainment.

It didn’t take long, after the plant opened in 1973, to appreciate the magnitude of what had been conceded. When the reactor’s plumbing had its first hot flush in 1974, it killed tens of thousands of wild California red abalone in Diablo Cove – an outrage that prompted the formation of an energetic opposition group, the Abalone Alliance, and an ever larger series of protests culminating in a 10-day occupation of the entire site in 1981 leading to the arrest of close to 2,000 people.

Around the same time, an enterprising young engineer discovered an error in PG&E’s earthquake protection calculations, triggering a three-year closure while the company rushed to protect the site from the Hosgri Fault, which runs just two miles off the coast. That might have been the end of Diablo Canyon altogether, but for the intervention of Ronald Reagan who encouraged the Environmental Protection Agency to grant PG&E a $2.5 billion loan to complete its construction work.
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Indian group may oppose Feb. 5th, 2008 Clover Valley referendum

Tribal Group is Seeking to Buy Some of Clover Valley from the Developer

By: Toby Lewis, The Placer Herald
October 31, 2007

http://www.placerherald.com/articles/2007/10/31/news/top_stories/02clover.txt?pg=1

The United Auburn Indian Community is considering weighing in on the campaign to defeat the referendum against the Clover Valley development, the group announced this week. "What I would want the public to know is the referendum is short sighted," said Tribe spokesperson Doug Elmets. "That referendum will do more harm than good." The referendum that challenges the development agreement between developer Clover Valley Partners and the city of Rocklin for the construction of 558 homes in Clover Valley will be placed on the Feb. 5 ballot next year. Although plans are not yet finalized, Elmets said the group is currently working with Clover Valley Partners to foster an agreement which would allow the Tribe to purchase the valley floor and convert it into open space with a cultural center.


"The Tribe is absolutely intent on saving the valley and the agreement has been achieved whereby the Tribe, the developer and the city of Rocklin will all be able to achieve some element of success," Elmets said. United Auburn Indian Community, a group that once made a sizeable donation to the Save Clover Valley Coalition back in 2004, is now considering working with the developer to help defeat the referendum drafted by the Coalition. "What we are talking about right now is the Tribe is negotiating with us to purchase 151 of the bottom lots," said Rick Massie of Clover Valley Partners. Those 151 lots equate to the whole of the valley floor, Massie said, which would essentially save the valley floor along with Native American sacred sites.


Proponents of the referendum say it should be left up to the voters of Rocklin to decide the fate of Clover Valley, one of the last remaining open spaces in Rocklin located between Park Drive and Sierra College Boulevard. Elaine O'Deegan, a spokesperson for the Save Clover Valley Coalition, said the proposal for Auburn Indians to purchase the valley floor is nothing new. "They indicated that they had intentions to buy the entire valley floor, but it has all been rumors for the last few years," O'Deegan said. "Until there's a deed of trust or memorandum of understanding between the Tribe and Massie, there's nothing there as far as we're concerned." O'Deegan said there are 249 lots on the valley floor, not 151, and the Native American sacred sites are dispersed throughout Clover Valley's entire 622-acres.


Opponents of the referendum say that if it passes, the current development plan of 558 homes, 366 acres of preserved open space and a two-lane connector road will become null and void, thereby leaving the door open for the original zoning of the valley. The original zoning allows for more than 950 homes with 60 acres of open space and a four-lane connector road, Massie said. Elmets said it would become "incredibly difficult" for the Tribe to purchase the valley floor should the referendum pass. O'Deegan said the claim that the referendum would do more harm than good is merely a scare tactic by Clover Valley Partners and that if Massie was going to build more than 900 homes if it passes, he should be trying to support the referendum. "The truth is you can't stop the project," Massie said. "If you're going to stop it and you do it via the referendum, get ready. The city attorney and the city council are most aware of the alternative and the alternative is not good for the city." The Rocklin City Council unanimously approved the 558-home development plan in August. Since then, the Save Clover Valley Coalition drafted the resolution and collected nearly 5,000 signatures to have the issue placed on the Feb. 5 ballot.

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Argument against referendum does not add up to 900
Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Letter to the Editor: At the recent City Council meeting several council members stated that if the proposed referendum regarding Clover Valley passes, the previous plan would be in effect, giving the developer the right to build more than 900 houses on the property.
This may be true, and will no doubt be used as an argument for why people should vote against the referendum. However, I would like to point out that at the same meeting the developer spoke quite vehemently in opposition to the referendum. If the referendum passing means that he is entitled to build nearly twice as many houses, and therefore make more profit, why is he so strongly against it?
Douglas Frink, Rocklin