Indexed News on:

--the California "Mega-Park" Project

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

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)

Friday, January 2, 2009

A New Year's 2009 Message from Rare Earth News

Dear Friends,

Rare Earth News is an on-line journal tracking the measurable progress of ongoing projects to make California the greenest state in the nation. We also cover the politics and lawsuits that are part of this massive undertaking. While large groups often grab the spotlight, a lot of great work is being done by grassroots environmental groups across the state. We aim to point that out; they need your support.

The projects we cover include:

--acquisition and preservation of the California "Mega-Park", an interconnected 1000-mile California park system, that preserves our farmland, working forests and wildlife habitats from expanded urban sprawl;

--creation of a rail transit system that will directly compete with cars to significantly cut air pollution;

--construction of clean power projects using solar and wind energy to attain independence from not only hostile foreign nations but also from greedy oil companies and their monopoly on fossil fuels, and

--removing the concrete from our urban creeks and rivers and implementing zero-waste technologies to stop the pollution of our natural areas and ocean with chemicals and trash.

By tracking our successes, we can make certain we continue moving forward, not falling backward, as sometimes happened under the Bush administration. With the election of Barack Obama as President, I am hopeful that we finally have a president and congress that care about domestic issues, the environment and global warming; people we can work with, rather than fight against.


In 2008, we saw some of the biggest enviro-wreckers go broke.

At Least 90,000 acres were Preserved statewide in 2008. See Our 2008 Update to the California Conservation Lands Inventory:

On the North Coast, we have new management at Pacific Lumber that promises to end clear-cutting and bring back sustainable, long-term logging practices. In Mendocino County, land trusts have acquired huge tracts of forest company lands formerly held by Georgia-Pacific.

In the Bay area, strong urban growth boundaries in each county are keeping urban sprawl in tight control, while voters and land trusts are making sure that threatened properties and "development rights" are being bought up to expand the Bay Ridge trail system and keep farmlands green.

On the Central Coast, both San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties have newly progressive majorities on their boards of supervisors. (Environmentalists have vowed to fight two large projects pushed through by the lame duck supervisors.) In Ventura County, we have one of the toughest systems of urban growth boundaries, which has preserved a farmland greenbelt between nearly every city.

In largely built-out L.A. County, construction of the 55 mile Backbone trail in the Santa Monica Mountains is complete. Two of the biggest developments on natural lands are stopped in their tracks. The Newhall Land Company is bankrupt, its parent having defaulted on a billion dollar loan. Newhall controls over 100,000 acres northwest of the L.A. sprawl. In early 2008 the state supreme court rejected an appeal from Playa Vista; their 110 acre project in West L.A. near the Ballona Wetlands is stopped cold. Several key wildlife corridor parcels were also saved this year, completing the Los Cerritos and Palos Verdes preserves. Meanwhile, baby steps were made to unpave and restore rivers in order to clean up urban storm water pollution and voters approved a sales tax hike to fund more rail transit.

In the Central Valley, lawsuits flared against the biggest timber owner Sierra Pacific Industries; Stanislaus County voters decided to take control of sprawl, and the biggest sprawl project there went bankrupt. The state launched an ambitious plan to create 13 new parks in the Central Valley. Finally, the state killed the Auburn dam project on the American River.

In the desert and South Coast, proposed wind and solar farms created both the opportunity for clean energy and controversy over threats to wildlife and huge power lines through existing parks. The feds, also, however, proposed to convert even more of the desert to military base land, a much-more destructive possibility. And finally, both the state and federal governments put the nail in the coffin to a tollroad through a coastline state park.

It's been a very exciting and interesting year at Rare Earth News and the California Mega-Park Project.

---Rex Frankel, the editor


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