Environment

Seven Years After the Shutdown of the San Onofre Nuke Plant, the Scandals Continue

July 6, 2020 by Michael Steinberg

Nuclear Shutdown News chronicles the decline and fall of the nuclear power industry in the US and beyond, and highlights the efforts of those working for a nuclear free world.

By Michael Steinberg / Black Rain Press

On June 30 the San Diego Union-Tribune reported, “Worker At San Onofre Nuclear Plant Tests Positive For Covid 19.” Plant owner Southern California Edison admitted the infected person was a contract worker at the plant until June 23, but refused to reveal the person’s name or position at the plant. There was no explanation of how the worker acquired the virus or what measures were being taken to protect others in the workplace or surrounding communities.

Seven years after San Onofre closed permanently on June 7, 2013, the same pattern of hiding incriminating evidence in pursuit of profit over people permeates Edison’ corporate culture.

San Onofre closed decades early because of gross mismanagement and a rush by the utility to restart its two reactors back into operation without proving it could do so safely.

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That Ocean Breeze May Be Full of Tiny Bits of Plastic

June 18, 2020 by Source

By Emily Pontecorvo / Grist and RSN

Want to know how much plastic is entering the ocean every year? I regret to inform you that nobody knows.

A commonly cited figure — 8 million metric tons — comes from a decade-old estimate based on population and waste data, and scientists now believe the number could be significantly higher. But there’s an even more puzzling question for researchers who study plastic in the ocean: Where has it all gone?

Field studies of marine plastic have accounted for only a small fraction of the material that scientists believe has been dumped into the seas, leading researchers to wonder where the rest of it is. A peer-reviewed study published in PLOS ONE this month backs up one theory for what could be happening to at least some of the missing plastic: Tiny particles are getting spat back out of the ocean and up into the atmosphere.

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Join the 18th Annual Creek to Bay Cleanup – Going Virtual – Saturday, June 20

June 18, 2020 by Source

18th Annual Creek to Bay Cleanup

Goes Virtual with Facebook Live Kick-off!

Celebrate the first day of summer with San Diego County’s first major cleanup run by you, in your neighborhood along with thousands of other small cleanup efforts across the region – all hosted on social media! Many small efforts make a lasting environmental impact!

Saturday, June 20 2020 Starting at 9 AM

Join an army of socially-distanced Volunteer Environmental Champions by cleaning up litter and pollution in your neighborhood. Thousands of small efforts across the county will help prevent TONS of litter from entering our creeks, bays and the ocean!

How to Participate- COME INSIDE

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Court of Appeal Strikes Down San Diego County’s Climate Plan – Calls Off-Set Program ‘Unlawful’

June 17, 2020 by Source

Environmental groups again defeat the county’s approach to climate change in a nearly decade-long legal battle.

By Joshua Emerson Smith / San Diego Union-Tribune / June 17, 2020

A state court has struck down a San Diego County plan to allow housing developers to buy their way around restrictions on greenhouse-gas emissions from new vehicle traffic using so-called carbon offsets.

The 4th District Court of Appeal in San Diego issued its ruling on Friday in response to a lawsuit brought by the Sierra Club, Center for Biological Diversity, Climate Action Campaign and other environmental groups. Specifically, the three-judge panel’s decision tossed out the county’s latest adopted Climate Action Plan — the sixth such ruling in nearly a decade.

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Port to Begin ‘Replenishing’ Sand at Kellogg Beach in Point Loma June 8 – Where’s the Sand Coming From?

June 4, 2020 by Frank Gormlie

UPDATE: Tracy Spahr – Public & Media Relations Principal, Marketing & Communications for the Port, responded: “The Port reviewed a variety of sands and selected a sand of a quality, color and texture that closely matches the current sand at Kellogg Beach. The sand will be coming from East County Sand, LLC based in Lakeside, CA. The Port also received a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and a water quality certification from the Regional Water Quality Control Board for this project.

We just received a press statement from the Port of San Diego announcing the Port will begin to replenish the sand at Kellogg Beach beginning on or near June 8. They expect the project to be completed by July.

Okay. Well, the main question residents and environmentalists should be asking is “where is the sand coming from?”

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The Virus and the Nukes

May 6, 2020 by Michael Steinberg

Nuclear Shutdown News May 2020

By Michael Steinberg / Black Rain Press

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

The Virus and the Nukes

As reported in last month’s Nuclear Shutdown News, the pandemic has been affecting workers at US nuclear plants.

The April 10 Philadelphia Inquirer reported that some workers at the Limerick nuke plant in Pennsylvania had tested positive for the virus and 44 others had been quarantined “because they may have come in contact with infected workers.”

Limerick shut down one of its reactors in early March to switch out old nuclear fuel and replace it with new, a process known as refueling. At that time safety measures to discourage the spread of the coronavirus were not yet in place. While this work is going on, up to 1000 extra workers are added. They all need places to stay and eat locally.

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How Did We Get From Earth Day To Trump?

April 22, 2020 by Source

Fifty years after the first Earth Day, the connection between the environment and human health has never been more obvious.

By David Helvarg / HuffPost / April 22, 2020

Twenty million people rallied, marched and staged clean-ups across the country on April 22, 1970, the first Earth Day. Many carried signs that read “Mother Nature Bats Last.”
But who knew there would be actual bats involved?

Fifty years later, the COVID-19 pandemic is the starkest example of natural disasters foretold but not prepared for.

The destruction of unique habitats, logging of rainforests and consumption of displaced wildlife such as bats, chimps and endangered pangolins has led to most of our recent viral outbreaks, from AIDS and Ebola to the coronavirus. This only confirms the scientific consensus that human health and prosperity depend on a healthy environment.

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San Diegans to Unite in Virtual Climate Uprising on 50th Anniversary of Earth Day – Wed., April 22

April 20, 2020 by Jim Miller

Wednesday, April 22nd from 12 noon to 7 pm

By Jim Miller

This week is the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. The first Earth Day in 1970 was born after United States Senator Gaylord Nelson witnessed the horrible damage caused by a massive oil spill in Santa Barbara and was moved to try to harness the energy of the student movements of the sixties by creating what he called “a national teach-in” on the environment.

Consequently, on April 22nd of 1970, 20 million Americans took part in the first Earth Day with groups that had been separately fighting for clean air and water, wildlife protections, and a host of other environmental causes coming together to make a national statement.

In the wake of the first Earth Day, the United States saw the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean Air and Water Acts as well as the Endangered Species Act.

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New England Survives Without Nuclear Power

April 17, 2020 by Michael Steinberg

Nuclear Shutdown News April 2020

By Michael Steinberg

Nuclear Shutdown News chronicles the decline and fall of the US nuclear industry, in the US and beyond, and highlights the efforts of those working for a nuclear free world.

New England Survives Without Nuclear Power

On April 3 the Connecticut Mirror reported “Most New England nuclear power offline due to timing fluke problem.” There are only two nuke plants still (sometimes) operating in the region, Seabrook in New Hampshire with one reactor and Millstone in Connecticut with two.

On March 31 the 1245 Megawatt shut down for refueling. The next day the 1230 Unit 3 reactor at Millstone had a mishap that forced it to shut down as well.

As a result, by April 3, the Mirror reported, the grid showed nuclear at 8%

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Garden Blogging: Bucking Conventional (Organic) Wisdom

April 14, 2020 by Source
Thumbnail image for Garden Blogging: Bucking Conventional (Organic) Wisdom

Originally posted here on October 24, 2012

by Jill Richardson / La Vida Locavore / Oct.24, 2012

In my old home and my old garden, I was the boss. 100%. Not to mention that my ex (who was the only other adult in the house) and I saw eye to eye on gardening – and we were both totally broke. Here, it’s a different story. I moved into a new place with three other adults, and two of them know something about gardening. Both have opinions – sometimes strong opinions.

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The Joys and Pleasures of Composting

April 14, 2020 by Source
Thumbnail image for The Joys and Pleasures of Composting

Why Are People So Squeamish About Composting?
Originally posted here on April 22, 3013

By Jill Richardson /La Vida Locavore / April 19, 2013

I wrote this week’s column on composting, and I’ve been really pleased to see how various newspapers have picked it up. Honestly, I’ve been really surprised in the past several years about how squeamish people are about composting.

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San Diego Green New Deal Alliance Calls for More Relief and a Just Recovery

April 13, 2020 by Jim Miller

By Jim Miller

For the last several months, a coalition of labor, community, and environmental groups have been meeting to help forge an alliance in support of a local version of the Green New Deal.

In the midst of this process, we have all been hit with the COVID-19 crisis, and, as we watched the disaster capitalists seeking to turn this dire moment into an opportunity to profit, we were moved to suggest a better way forward.

It is clear to many of us doing this work that the lack of preparedness by the federal government, the science denial, the inadequate response to the health and economic needs of everyday Americans, and the deep inequities that this crisis exposed foreshadow what will be an even more catastrophic failure if we are unable to marshal the will and resources necessary to address the coming climate crisis. We must do much better.

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Could San Onofre Nuke Demolition Cause Catastrophe?

March 12, 2020 by Michael Steinberg

Nuclear Shutdown News March 2020

By Michael Steinberg / Black Rain Press

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

As San Onofre nuke demolition begins Watchdogs assert it could cause a nuclear catastrophe.

On February 6, Coastal News, from Solana Beach in San Diego County, reported, “Public Watchdog, a nonprofit (San Diego-based) advocacy group filed a petition with the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission” to put the kibosh on that action.

Coastal News continued “The advocacy group claims that if the facility if flooded with rain or ocean water, the proposed method of disposing of nuclear waste could lead to an explosion of a radioactive steam geyser.”

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The Green Calendar for March 2020

March 6, 2020 by Staff

Provided by the Ocean Beach Green Center

Events at the Ocean Beach Green Center

Every Tuesday at 10 am – noon (or longer) March 10th, 17th, 24th, 31st. Ma’heonehoo estas, Northern Cheyenne oil painter + musician.
Every Saturday at 10:30 a.m. Climate Mobilization Coalition Meeting.

March 8th Sunday 7 pm Open mic at the Ocean Beach Green Center.

March 12th Thursday 7 pm. Film Night. “Edible City”

March 28th Saturday noon to ? Come visit Ocean Beach Green Center to ignite our collaboration with Eden art garden.

Events not at the Ocean Beach Green Center

March 7th Saturday 9 am – 11 am March’s Ocean Beach Cleanup at OB Pier Ocean

March 7th Saturday 4 pm – 6:30 pm Protest Safari Club International

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County Supervisors Take Step to Ban Toxic Weedkiller

February 28, 2020 by Frank Gormlie

The San Diego County Board of Supervisors looks like it is feeling the pressure from the public about government’s continued use of Roundup and other pesticides that contain glyphosate, which is a noted carcinogen.

On Wednesday, Feb. 26, the Board directed the chief administrative officer to come up with a plan that has organic alternatives to herbicides and report back to them in 120 days.

This is definitely a good step. Supervisor Nathan Fletcher, who – along with Dianne Jacob – have proposed a ban of the weedkiller of Roundup. Fletcher called for killing weeds “in the most responsible way,” without using toxic chemicals.

Jacob hopes San Diego County will join the cities of Encinitas, Carlsbad, Napa and Sonoma, along with Los Angeles County, which have banned using glyphosate, because “this is the right thing to do.”

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Facts We Hate

February 24, 2020 by Jim Miller

In Our Moment of Profound Ecological Crisis and Historic Economic Inequality, Sanders is Our Best Hope for a Just and Sustainable Future

By Jim Miller

Last week in the midst of Trump’s revanchist frenzy and the “centrist” anxiety attack in progress that is the Democratic Presidential primary race, a small story in the Guardian noted the release of a statement by 23 former foreign ministers calling for urgent action on the climate crisis and the dramatic loss of biodiversity now in progress.

In advance of a meeting in Rome to begin negotiations on a Paris-style agreement on preserving the natural world, these international leaders starkly observed that, “Humanity sits on the precipice of irreversible loss of biodiversity and a climate crisis that imperils the future for our grandchildren and generations to come. The world must act boldly, and it must act now.”

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Recent Court Ruling Shows Need for Measure A in San Diego County

February 18, 2020 by Source

By Jerry Harmon and Stephen Houlahan / Times of San Diego / Feb. 16, 2020

A recent court ruling has brought into sharp relief the failure of our Board of Supervisors to act in the best interest of San Diego County residents over the interests of deep-pocketed developers.

Three nonprofit and community groups brought a lawsuit a year ago against the County of San Diego, arguing it had violated the General Plan in approving the Valiano and Harmony Grove Village South housing development projects. Petitioners argued the projects’ environmental analyses failed to show how the developments would prevent significant harm

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Birch Aquarium Hatches Baby Weedy Seadragons – Cousin of the Sea Horse

February 14, 2020 by Source

Editordude: Birch Aquarium has successfully bred the rare weedy sea dragon, the lesser known cousin of the sea horse that resembles seaweed when floating.

By Caitlin Scully / Birch Aquarium Blog / February 13, 2020

For the first time ever, Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego has bred and successfully hatched two rare Weedy Seadragons.

This is a first for Birch Aquarium, now one of the few aquariums in the world to hatch this unusual fish. The inch-long babies display the characteristic camouflaging appendages of the elaborate adult Weedy Seadragons in miniature, and have already had their first meals of tiny shrimp.

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‘No on A’ Campaign Funded by Developers and Out-of-Town Interests

February 10, 2020 by Source

In Contrast “YES ON A” Campaign Relies on Local Sources, Grassroots Support

As of February 7th, the Building Industry Association’s campaign organized to defeat the Measure A citizen’s initiative has brought in more than $1.3 million in contributions.

According to data provided by the San Diego County Registrar of Voters, the vast majority of these come from the real estate lobby, developers and building industry trade associations. About $400,000 came from out-of-state groups based in Chicago, Arizona, Texas and New York.

This chart demonstrates the heavy influence of industry groups in the effort to defeat Measure A:

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Europe Leads the Way in Nuclear Shutdowns

February 3, 2020 by Michael Steinberg

Nuclear Shutdown News February 2020

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

By Michael Steinberg

On December 30 Oil Price.com reported “Germany Aims To Close All Nuclear Plants By 2022.” It shut down its 40 year old Philipsburg nuke plant, which had started up in 1979, on the last day of 2019.

The report added that the country was “going forward with its plan to phase out its (two remaining) nuclear plants by 2022.”
In addition it announced it would be shutting down “all 84 of its coal-fired plants by 2038.”

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Bees Absolutely Love Cannabis and It Could Help Restore Their Populations

January 22, 2020 by Source

By Elias Marat / TheMindUnleashed.com / Jan. 17, 2020

Bees are major fans of hemp and a recent study has found that the taller the hemp plants are the larger the number of bees that will flock to it.

The new research, spearheaded by researchers at Cornell University and published last month in Environmental Entomology, shows that humans aren’t the only fans of weed. The findings also reinforce a study published last year at Colorado State University that discovered the same thing.

The study shows how bees are highly attracted to cannabis due to the plant’s plentiful stores of pollen, and it could pave the way for scientists to figure out new ways to support their struggling population as well as floral populations.

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Surfrider’s Beach Cleanup Report for San Diego County 2019

January 15, 2020 by Source

From Surfrider / Coastkeeper Report

The Surfrider Foundation San Diego County and San Diego Coastkeeper partner each year to host volunteer-powered beach cleanups across San Diego County in order to address the issue of trash on our beaches and in our oceans. In addition to hosting approximately six of these community events per month, both organizations host special cleanup events and empower individuals to host their own.

In 2019, our beach cleanups empowered 11,895 volunteers to remove 16,534 pounds of trash from our coastline. Additionally, they collected data on 237,452 separate pieces of trash.

This report, based on data from 196 separate cleanup events, provides a detailed picture of the waste we found on our beaches this year.

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Urge SeaWorld to Send Orcas to Sea Sanctuaries and End Its Use of Animals

January 7, 2020 by Source

From PETA:

It’s been years since the release of the documentary Blackfish—whose “star,” Tilikum, died after 33 years in a concrete tank — but orcas at SeaWorld are still swimming in endless circles and breaking their teeth by gnawing in frustration on the concrete corners and metal bars of their cramped tanks.

Other dolphins are still being impregnated, sometimes forcibly after being drugged, and 140 of them are packed into just seven tanks. Trainers use them as surfboards, riding on their backs and standing on their faces in cruel and demeaning circus-style shows. Facing mounting criticism, SeaWorld ended its sordid orca-breeding program — but this does nothing for the 20 orcas and hundreds of other dolphins, whales, and other animals who are suffering in the company’s tanks right now.

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Surfrider and Local Leaders Push for Plastic-Free California at Ocean Beach

January 6, 2020 by Frank Gormlie

The Surfrider Foundation and local San Diego political leaders held a press conference in Ocean Beach on Saturday, Jan. 4, and pushed for a plastics-free California. A beach cleanup followed the presser.

Assemblymembers Lorena Gonzalez and Todd Gloria – who is running for mayor – and County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher joined San Diego’s Surfrider is this renewed battle against single-use plastics. And they pushed for support of a new law that, if passed, would require plastic manufacturers in California to drastically reduce production over the next decade. The new bill, Senate Bill 54

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Join Surfrider at Ocean Beach Rally, Press Conference and Clean-Up for a Zero Waste Calif. – Sat., Jan.4

January 3, 2020 by Source

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The State of the Amazon Puts Planet at ‘Tipping Point’

December 26, 2019 by Source

By Chris Mooney and Brady Dennis / Washington Post / Dec. 20, 2019

Deforestation and other fast-moving changes in the Amazon threaten to turn parts of the rainforest into savanna, devastate wildlife and release billions of tons carbon into the atmosphere, two renowned experts warned Friday.

“The precious Amazon is teetering on the edge of functional destruction and, with it, so are we,” Thomas Lovejoy of George Mason University and Carlos Nobre of the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil,

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Responding to Greta in a Different Way

December 24, 2019 by Ernie McCray

By Ernie McCray

Greta Thunberg, a 16 year old Swedish girl, travels across the Atlantic Ocean to Lower Manhattan, in a sailboat, to save our world from the deadly forces of climate change.

For such a risk-taking endeavor she was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize and named Time Magazine’s “Person of the Year.”

And our president, instead of offering her a High-Five, gets up at five and tweets that this wonderful girl is ridiculous and angry and needs to go to a good old-fashioned movie with a friend and “Chill.”

Say what?

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California Waters Are Acidifying Twice as Fast as Global Oceans

December 17, 2019 by Source

By Rosanna Xia / LA Times / Dec. 16, 2019

Waters off the California coast are acidifying twice as fast as the global average, scientists found, threatening major fisheries and sounding the alarm that the ocean can absorb only so much more of the world’s carbon emissions.

A new study led by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration also made an unexpected connection between acidification and a climate cycle known as the Pacific Decadal Oscillation — the same shifting forces that other scientists say have a played a big role in the higher and faster rates of sea level rise hitting California in recent years.

El Niño and La Niña cycles, researchers found, also add stress to these extreme changes in the ocean’s chemistry.

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County Supervisor Abandons Effort to Make Developer-Friendly Updates to Official Description of Anti-Sprawl ‘SOS’ Ballot Measure

December 10, 2019 by Source

From SOS:

In a striking reversal, San Diego Supervisor Jim Desmond withdrew his last-minute proposal to change the ballot question for the Safeguard Our San Diego Countryside Initiative that will appear in the March 2020 election voter guide.

The decision to withdraw the proposed changes was announced at this morning’s Board of Supervisors meeting. Supervisor Desmond’s proposed amendments closely reflected the misleading messaging of the “No on SOS” campaign, which is funded primarily by the Building Industry Association, an advocacy organization for the building industry.

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Nuke Plant Millstone and Me – 2020

December 4, 2019 by Michael Steinberg

Nuclear Shutdown News chronicles the decline and fall of the nuclear power industry in the US and beyond and highlights the efforts of those working to create a nuclear free world.

By Michael Steinberg / Black Rain Press

As a new decade approaches, I find myself reflecting on the 21st anniversary of my 1998 book, Millstone and Me: Sex, Lies and Radiation in Southeastern Connecticut.

Perhaps the story of this book began with my mother. Midge, as everyone called her, was a nurse, and long before feminism, cell phones and networking, spent significant amounts of time talking with her women friends on the phone.

In our home in the small town of Niantic in shoreline Southeastern Connecticut on Long Island Sound, there wasn’t a whole lot of privacy, and Midge’s conversations were broadcast around the house with little regard for who overheard her.

As time went on and my ears got larger and more curious, I couldn’t help but notice that the topic of cancer was becoming increasingly prominent.

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