Energy

100 Year Old Tree at OB Elementary Falls Victim to El Nino Winds

February 2, 2016 by Staff

OB Damage 2-2-16 ElemSchool 2

A one-hundred year old tree in the courtyard of OB Elementary School was a victim of the strong El Nino winds that hit Ocean Beach and San Diego on Sunday and Monday, Jan. 31st and Feb. 1st.

Fox5 covered the tragedy and this is part of their report:

“It’s so sad. The kids are just so sad to see it go….It’s part of our school, a part of our tradition,” said 2nd grade teacher Angela Wunder, who has been teaching at the school for decades.

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The Lessons of Porter Ranch

January 29, 2016 by Source

Porter Ranch image

By Nicola Peill-Moelter, Ph.D. / SanDiego 350.org

The massive leak at the Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas) Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility is a stark example of why natural gas is a significant health and safety risk and not a bridge fuel to our clean energy future. The facility, the second largest in the U.S., stores vast amounts of natural gas at high pressure in underground wells once used for oil extraction more than fifty years ago.

On or about October 23rd a rupture in a 60-year old injection well pipe a thousand feet underground initiated the leak. At its peak the leak had an estimated rate of one-hundred twenty-five thousand pounds of methane per hour. To date, the cumulative emissions from this single source is equivalent to 25% of the state’s annual methane emissions from major sources like agriculture and landfills, equivalent to the annual climate pollution of almost half a million cars.

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Get Ready for the Market Crash and Recession of 2016

January 27, 2016 by John Lawrence

oil pumpBy John Lawrence

Oil is less than $30. a barrel. This is over three times less than what it costs just to buy the barrel itself! Iran has been accepted back into the world community and is revving up to sell its oil on the world market which will bring down the price of oil even more.

Frackers and oil producers in the US have taken on a huge amount of debt under the assumption that it would pay off down the road. They hadn’t counted on the price of oil plummeting. What will they do when we convert 100% to renewables?

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Nuclear Shutdown News – January 2016

January 25, 2016 by Michael Steinberg

san onofreBy Michael Steinberg / Black Rain Press

Nuclear Shutdown News chronicles the decline and fall of the US nuclear power industry, and beyond, and highlights the efforts of those who are working to create a nuclear free future.

San Onofre May Be Contaminated

On the last day of last year San Diego’s NBC 7 TV ran a story “Portions of San Onofre May Be Contaminated.”

The San Onofre nuclear plant unexpectedly and permanently shut down in 2013. Southern California Edison is the major owner, with San Diego Gas and Electric its minority partner.

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Did Anyone Notice? Southern California Just Went Through Two of the Hottest Summers on Record – Without … Nukes!

December 21, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
Thumbnail image for Did Anyone Notice? Southern California Just Went Through Two of the Hottest Summers on Record – Without … Nukes!

Now that we’re in a wet, cold Southern California winter, it’s instructive to look back to that long, hot summer and the very warm fall that this region experienced in order to understand that the summer of 2015 – it turns out – was the hottest summer on record. On earth.

This fact made headlines – summer of 2015 was Earth’s hottest on record (Washington Post / September 17, 2015):

Temperatures soared about 1.5 degrees warmer than the long-term average, passing 1998 and 2014, which were the previous hottest summers on record depending on the dataset. These records date back to the late 1800s.

And as noted above – until this year – the summer of 2014 was the hottest summer on record (USA Today) .

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“Relax into Now” Workshop

December 16, 2015 by Judi Curry
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“Relax into Now” Workshop – December 17

Two Brighton Avenue neighbors named “Mary” are teaming up to bring a new kind of event to OB.

They came up with – “Relax Into Now” – an interactive evening of “playful paths to the present” through movement, rhythm and sound. Sounds like fun, doesn’t it.

The concept was born on the massage table as therapist Mary Owen and client Mary Tolena played with workshop ideas. Mary O teaches yoga, and Mary T’s passion is creating group experiences with rhythm and drumming. They have envisioned a fun, uplifting program that will create easy access to the benefits from both.

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Environmental Activists in Paris and San Diego: We Want More

December 15, 2015 by Doug Porter

climate greetingsBy Doug Porter

One hundred ninety nations reached an agreement in Paris this past weekend, theoretically setting the world on a path towards reducing carbon emissions. The San Diego City Council is poised to bless the long awaited Climate Action Plan. People took to the streets of Paris and the byways of Balboa Park over the weekend to affirm their commitment to seeing the challenges of climate change acted upon.

At last!–or so we’re told–there are processes in place to help save the planet, or at least, humanity’s position at the top of the food chain. The truth, however, is much different that the hype. Consider these deals “hope” without the “change.”

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Why Surfrider Is Against the Carlsbad Desalination Plant

December 11, 2015 by Source
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Editor: The following is a press statement from the San Diego Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation on the opening of the Carlsbad desalination plant.

Carlsbad Desalination Plant Opening: The Wrong Solution at the Wrong Time

San Clemente, CA, December 10, 2015 – Since 2009, the Surfrider Foundation, a nonprofit environmental organization dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of the world’s ocean, waves and beaches, along with its San Diego Chapter, objected to the rationale for, and ultimately the process to establish the Carlsbad desalination plant, in California, by the developer, Poseidon Resources, Inc.

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Nuclear Shutdown News, November 2015

December 3, 2015 by Michael Steinberg
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By Michael Steinberg / Black Rain Press

Nuclear Shutdown News chronicles the decline and fall of the US and global nuclear industry. In addition, it highlights the efforts of those who are working to create a nuclear free world.

Two more US nuclear plants slated for shutdown.

November brought news that two more US nuke plants will be permanently shutting down in the future.

On November 3 Bloomberg.com reported that the Fitzpatrick nuke on Lake Ontario in uppermost New York state would close down for good in “late 2016 or early 2017.”

Then on November 7 the Cape Cod Times reported that the Pilgrim nuclear plant on Cape Cod in Massachusetts will have its permanent closure “sometime before June 19” next year.

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Power Outage Hits OB and Midway District Monday Morning

September 14, 2015 by Staff

A power outage hit parts of OB, the Midway District and other areas close by, Monday morning, September 14. 2 2,643 utility customers had their electrical service knocked out after 4:30 a.m.  1,500 of them had their power restored by around 6:15 a.m. SDG&E did not at the time know the reasons for the outage. […]

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Extreme Weather Watch: August 2015 – The Western US Burns Up

September 8, 2015 by John Lawrence
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Wildfires swept through the states of Washington, Idaho, Oregon and northern California in a record setting conflagration. Thousands of firefighters from all over the world tried to protect houses, but, nevertheless, hundreds burned. A call went out for volunteers and thousands have responded.

Thousands have been evacuated. The cost is soaring past what state and Federal budgets can afford. The choice is to let the West burn up or bankrupt state and national budgets.

The Forest Service is spending $10 million a day to fight wildfires.

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Big Oil Spent $6.2 Million Lobbying CA Officials So Far in 2015

August 21, 2015 by Source
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By Dan Bacher / Daily Kos

The oil industry spent $6.2 million to lobby legislators and other state officials in California in the first six months of 2015, according to a report just released by the California Secretary of State’s Office.

The Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA), the largest and most powerful corporate lobbying group in Sacramento, alone spent a total of $1,388,203 in the first quarter of the 2015-2016 session and $1,141,037 in the second quarter of the session. That’s a total of $2,529,240 spent on lobbying in six months.

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Anti-Fracking Demonstration Held in Ocean Beach

August 3, 2015 by Staff
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Trying to awaken San Diegans and other Californians to the dangers of fracking – the controversial oil-extraction process, a dozen protesters gathered in Saratoga Park on Saturday, August 1st. They joined protests in more than a dozen cities around California – all aimed at protesting the governor’s support for the hydraulic process.

Sponsored by the California based Courage Campaign, Californians Against Fracking and Rootskeeper, organizers also gathered signatures on a petition to be sent to Gov. Brown.

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Nuclear Shutdown News – July 2015

July 29, 2015 by Michael Steinberg
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Nuclear Shutdown News chronicles the decline and all of the US nuclear industry, and spotlights those who are working for a nuke free future.

By Michael Steinberg / Black Rain Press

In this issue of Nuclear Shutdown News we continue our summer travels in pursuit of no nukes stories… Of course we’d love to be in Greece, checking out the unfolding “Brother can you spare a few billion drachmas” melodrama. But Greece doesn’t have any nuclear reactors to shut down, or nuclear weapons to dismantle.

1. Germany

Not so in Germany, one of Greece’s major predators, uh, creditors, that is.

The Associated Press reported on June 28, “Germany’s oldest remaining nuclear reactor to shut down.”

The AP stated that the Grafenrheinfel nuclear plant in Bavaria “would be taken offline as scheduled authorities and operator E.ON said.”

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Jerry Brown Gushes About “fighting climate change” at Vatican As He Fracks California

July 22, 2015 by Source
Thumbnail image for Jerry Brown Gushes About “fighting climate change” at Vatican As He Fracks California

by Dan Bacher

In yet another carefully choreographed photo opportunity to tout his “green” image while he promotes the expansion of fracking, Governor Jerry Brown on July 21 urged the world’s mayors to “light a fire” and “join California in the fight against climate change.”

Brown was speaking on the first day of the Vatican’s symposium on climate change and modern slavery hosted by the Pontifical Academies of Sciences and Social Sciences.

“We have fierce opposition and blind inertia,” Brown claimed. “And that opposition is well-financed, hundreds of millions of dollars going into propaganda, into falsifying the scientific record, bamboozling people of every country. We have to fight that propaganda and overcome the inertia and the tremendous opposition.”

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ALEC and Sempra Energy: the Attack on Rooftop Solar in San Diego

July 16, 2015 by Source

Solar Panels, Navy, Old Town

By Jay Powell / San Diego Free Press

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is lead on attacking rooftop solar by working to end “net energy metering” (NEM), where homeowners and businesses are paid for (net) energy they generate above their own use. Their role in states like Arizona is outlined in The New Yorker Article “Power to the People” (Why the rise of green energy makes utility companies nervous) by Bill McKibben, founder of 350.org.

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OB Town Council: Drought Remedies, Mallow-Out Campaign, Caves, Grants, Vendors and Park Rangers

June 25, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
Thumbnail image for OB Town Council: Drought Remedies, Mallow-Out Campaign, Caves, Grants, Vendors and Park Rangers

The Ocean Beach Town Council juggled a lot of issues last night at its monthly public meeting – drought solutions, its “Mallow-Out” Campaign, the day after July 4th clean-up, the funding of grants …

It was well over half-way through the meeting when the keynote presentations on the drought and solutions were finally made to the crowd of about forty audience members and a dozen Council members.

Drought Remedies: Native Plants, Rainbarrels, Greywater and Diet

One-by-one several presenters laid out remedies that included learning about native plant gardens, which native plants are good to plant, about installing grey-water systems in your home, and how our diets also contribute to the waste of water.

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Former Congressman Jim Bates Re-enacts Mid-Night Ride of Paul Revere – Sat., June 13

June 12, 2015 by Staff

It’s true. Former Congressman Jim Bates is making his comeback as the ghost of Paul Revere. Bates is actually re-enacting Revere’s midnight ride this Saturday night, June 13th at – of all times – midnight.

He’ll be on a horse calling for a need for the country to mobilize a large scale effort to get the nation off fossil fuels, a type activists call “a U.S. government World War II-scale Mobilization to transition the U.S. from fossil fuels to conservation and safe, clean wind, water and solar renewable energy.”

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Nuclear Shutdown News – May 2015: Fire at Indian Point Plant in NY – and Is It ‘the End’ for Diablo Canyon?

June 5, 2015 by Michael Steinberg
Thumbnail image for Nuclear Shutdown News – May 2015: Fire at Indian Point Plant in NY – and Is It ‘the End’ for Diablo Canyon?

By Michael Steinberg / Black Rain Press

Nuclear Shutdown News chronicles the continuing decline of the US nuclear industry.

Here’s our May 2015 report:

Indian Point Nuke Plant Fire

A May 8 fire in a transformer at the Indian Point Nuclear Plant caused a fire and explosion, shutting down reactor #3 for 16 days. The Environmental News Service reported on May 9th:

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Santa Barbara oil spill now stretches for 9 miles

May 21, 2015 by Source
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by Dan Bacher

The spill from a ruptured pipeline owned by Plains All American Pipeline expanded overnight from 4 miles long to two slicks stretching 9 miles along the coast, according to the U.S. Coast Guard. The pipeline carries crude oil from to Flores to Gaviota.

Preliminary reports indicated that the ruptured 24 inch pipeline in Goleta leaked an estimated 21,000 gallons of crude oil Tuesday. However, the pipeline company may have actually released as much as 105,000 gallons, with tens of thousands of gallons going into the ocean, according to the latest data from Plains All American.

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Drink Outside the Box

May 14, 2015 by Source
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By Jill Richardson / Other Words

I recently checked out an upscale yoga studio here in Madison, Wisconsin and discovered a new and disturbing trend: boxed water.

Boxed water?

OK, I’ve heard of boxed wine — and maybe even drunk a little. But water?

The yoga studio in question appeals to a young, wealthy, presumably eco-conscious demographic. As the skinny, beautiful clients file into the heated room with their yoga mats, they pass a refrigerator case of boxed water and a sign proclaiming its environmental benefits.

These supposed benefits come from packaging water in a box instead of a plastic bottle.

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Gov. Brown on Climate Change: “We’re dealing with it and it’s damn serious.”

May 13, 2015 by John Lawrence
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Then Why Haven’t You Put Any Restrictions on Big Oil and Big Ag?

By John Lawrence

Governor Jerry Brown is leading the nation and perhaps even the world in his efforts to do something about climate change and global warming which is causing epic drought conditions in California.

He has mandated that greenhouse gas emissions must be reduced to 40 percent below 1990 levels over the next 15 years. Brown called this the most aggressive benchmark enacted by a government in North America. All well and good.

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Nuclear Shutdown News – April 2015

May 12, 2015 by Michael Steinberg
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Nuclear Shutdown News chronicles the continuing decline of the US nuclear power industry, and highlights the efforts of those who are creating a better energy future.

Here’s the April edition:

By Michael Steinberg /Black Rain Press

Oyster Creek – oldest US nuke keeps shutting itself down

On April 28 patch.com ran “NRC Oyster Creek Nuclear Has Substantial Safety Problems.” Located in New Jersey, the Oyster Creek nuclear plant is the nation’s oldest (sometimes) operating nuke. It started up in late 1969, and is now 45 years old. US nuclear plants were designed to last only 40 years.

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World Carbon Dioxide Levels Pass 400 ppm For First Time Ever

May 7, 2015 by Source
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Global Carbon Dioxide Levels Topped 400 PPM Throughout March In Unprecedented Milestone

By Nick Visser /Huffington Post / May 6, 2015

Average global levels of carbon dioxide stayed above 400 parts per million, or ppm, through all of March 2015 — the first time that has happened for an entire month since record keeping first began, according to data released this week by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Scientists with NOAA’s Earth System Research Laboratory have called the news a “significant milestone” in the growing scourge of man-made climate change.

“This marks the fact that humans burning fossil fuels have caused global carbon dioxide concentrations to rise more than 120ppm since pre-industrial times,” Pieter Tans, lead scientist of NOAA’s greenhouse gas network, told The Guardian on Wednesday. “Half of that rise has occurred since 1980.”

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Extreme Weather Watch: April Showers Turn Violent

May 6, 2015 by John Lawrence

weather5April Showers Turn Violent

By John Lawrence

As April drew to a close, drenching rain expanded across the Southeast states, bringing the threat of flooding and travel delays. Strong thunderstorms were also a concern for Florida.

April has been a particularly wet month across the Southeast due to several slow-moving storms that soaked the region over the past several weeks. Mobile, Alabama, has been one of the last month from a series of storms – recording over 13 inches of rain.

This is nearly three times higher than their normal rainfall for the month.

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Green Capitalism: A Contradiction in Terms?

April 22, 2015 by John Lawrence

Part 6 – Conversion to Renewable Energy is Going Too Slow to Avoid Catastrophe

naomi quoteBy John Lawrence

This is the sixth and final part of this series. Part 5 can be found here.

Naomi Klein, author of This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs The Climate, debunks the idea that all we have to do is to cooperate with the extractive industries and urge them to get greener. We do not have to go to extremes, but can phase in renewable sources of energy gradually. The gradualist approach is the essence of green capitalism. This will not work Klein says:

[The] bottom line is … our economic system and our planetary system are now at war.

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Nuclear Shutdown News – March Edition

March 31, 2015 by Michael Steinberg
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By Michael Steinberg / Black Rain Press

Nuclear Shutdown News chronicles the continuing decline of the US nuclear industry, and highlights efforts of those who are democratically working to bring about a renewable energy future. As nuclear plants in the US are approaching or surpassing their 40 year operating life, their ability to operate properly and safely lessens, creating more and more problems across the nation.

Here’s our March report:

Diablo Canyon – Last Nuke Plant in California

On February 20 a Federal Court of Appeals in Washington DC rejected an attempt by Pacific Gas & Electric and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to quash a lawsuit filed by environmental group Friends Of the Earth (FOE). According to FOE, the suit alleges that the “NRC illegally allowed PG&E to alter Diablo Canyon’s nuclear plant license.” …

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California Drought Legislation Must Target Agribusiness and Big Oil

March 23, 2015 by Source

By Dan Bacher

Photo of person drinking glass of water that has been contaminated by Big Oil's toxic wasteGovernor Jerry Brown and lawmakers touted the introduction of drought legislation in the Legislature on March 19, while leaders of environmental and corporate watchdog groups urged Brown to put real limits on the “most egregious” water users – corporate agribusiness and big oil companies – to really address the drought.

Brown joined Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins, Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León, and Republican Leaders Senator Bob Huff and Assemblymember Kristin to unveil legislation that they claimed will “help local communities cope with the ongoing, devastating drought.”

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Oil Trains: Death and Destruction on the Rails

March 4, 2015 by John Lawrence

Department of Transportation Predicts Oil Train Derailments Will Become Increasingly Common

train derailmentBy John Lawrence

On Monday Feb 16, 2015 an oil train carrying millions of pounds of crude oil derailed in Boomer, West Virginia. The accident was the latest in a spate of fiery derailments in Canada and the U.S. as vast quantities of oil are being moved across these nations through sensitive environments and large population centers.

A couple days earlier on Feb. 14, there was a crude oil train derailment south of Timmins, Ontario. It took almost a week in subzero temperatures for the fires to burn out. Both the West Virginia accident and the oil train derailment and fire in Ontario involved recently built tank cars that were supposed to be an improvement over a decades-old model in wide use that has proven susceptible to spills, fires and explosions – the Dot-111.

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Nuclear Shutdown News for February 2015

February 25, 2015 by Michael Steinberg

No nukesBy Michael Steinberg / Black Rain Press

Nuclear Shutdown News chronicles the continuing decline of the US nuclear industry, and the people working for better energy alternatives.

As I was gathering information for this issue, one word kept popping up: Entergy.

Entergy is a gigantic energy corporation whose highrise headquarters renders the skyline of downtown New Orleans. Among its holdings are 11 nuclear power reactors, making it the nation’s second largest nuclear power company, after Chicago’s Exelon.

At the turn pf the century Entergy went on a nuke plant spending spree, buying up a half dozen aging reactors at bargain basement prices, as nuke plants go.

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