Archive for the ‘Delta & Environment’ Category

Antioch council moves forward moratorium on oil, gas drilling in city

Wednesday, May 12th, 2021

Three oil well pumps operate at the site owned by Sunset Explorations just south of Antioch city limits on Deer Valley Road. Photo by Allen Payton

Would affect two potential wells in the city; no one from city reached out to owner for his input or to offer comments during meeting before council “consensus vote”; majority also supports county-wide moratorium

By Allen Payton

During their meeting on Tuesday night, May 11, 2021, a majority of Antioch City Council members expressed their support for a moratorium on oil and gas drilling inside the city limits. While the agenda item was only a discussion, Mayor Pro Tem Monica Wilson who proposed the matter, Council Members Tamisha Torres-Walker, Mike Barbanic and Lori Ogorchock supported directing the city attorney to return with a proposal for the council to vote on at a future meeting.

Wilson, Barbanica and Torres-Walker also expressed support for a countywide moratorium. Ogorchock was opposed. Mayor Lamar Thorpe didn’t express an opinion on either proposal.

The moratorium in Antioch would currently only affect one company, Sunset Explorations, owned by East County businessman Bob Nunn, who was not aware of Tuesday night’s agenda item until this reporter reached out to him for comment prior to the start of the meeting.

“I brought this item back up,” Wilson said. “It has two parts, first as a resolution as a city to call a moratorium and then a moratorium for the county. After hearing from many advocates in the community, I believe this is the time for it.”

In response to questions from the Herald, Nunn said he has “drilled a well in city limits a number of years ago”, but that “was a dry hole.” His company has also “filed a permit in the southeast corner of town that we have stalled,” and owns “mineral rights on FUA2 (Future Urban Area 2)” which is located north of Lone Tree Way and southwest of Highway 4, near the future extension of Laurel Road.

Nunn’s company also has a permitted site on the east side of Deer Valley Road just outside Antioch city limits, which started drilling three wells, three years ago.

Public Comments

Charles Davidson, who said he lives in Hercules, spoke about the oil drilling on Deer Valley Road. “The well’s owner denied the Air District’s inspector access to the site,” he claimed.

Antioch resident, Harry Thurston spoke in support of a county moratorium. “There has been limited oversight of this site by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District. Antioch citizens are at unacceptable risk,” he said. “It will lead to unrestricted oil drilling in East County. We should be stopping all oil extraction” and then spoke about “environmental justice”.

Another speaker, an Antioch resident who said she purchased her home in 2008, spoke against oil drilling. “I’m in an area I can breathe clean air and drink clean water,” she said. “I want to live in a place where no environmental injustices take place. We have everything in Antioch. You just need to promote the right businesses. I have seen firsthand the destruction of many places in the U.S. and around the world due to oil. It’s time to embrace wind and solar.”

Shoshana Wechsler spoke next saying, “I’m a coordinator of Sunflower Alliance…and a resident of unincorporated west county. The toxic emissions in unincorporated Contra Costa don’t stay there. They go wherever the wind blows them. The greenhouse gas emissions threaten everyone and everything on this planet. The permit application slipped through the cracks. Phase out the existing drilling on Deer Valley Road. Other cities have done that. They got it done. It’s Antioch’s chance to put the climate resiliency plans to work. Your forward momentum on this, lifts everyone up.”

Barbara Collins, a resident of East Contra Costa County wrote in favor of the moratorium.

Another public comment submitted read, “Does the city have any power to limit the mineral rights of owners in Antioch? Please stop all this posturing about oil wells.”

Council Discussion and Consensus Votes

The council then took up the matter.

“About a year ago this month, three of us voted and approved a Climate Action Resiliency Plan. This would go along with that,” Wilson stated. “We are committed to making sure we have a healthy city and are free from health risks. The action that we did a year ago moves us away from fossil fuel. We also discussed the climate in our Strategic Plan. This needs to be more than just an item we discuss. We need to call for a moratorium in our city and ask for our county to do the same.”

Asked to offer her input, the city’s Environmental Resources Coordinator, Julie Haas-Wajdowicz said, “I would definitely echo what Mayor Pro Tem Wilson says. So, I think we should support a moratorium. Additionally, I would look forward to working on a declaration of climate emergency.”

“I don’t have a whole lot of background in oil drilling,” she added.

“I would like to bring this back for council to discuss a ban on oil drilling,” Wilson said.

Thorpe then asked for a “consensus vote” of council members.

Torres-Walker, Barbanica and Ogorchock all said, “yes”.

“This is something we have to research and come back,” said City Attorney Thomas Smith. “To me it sounds like something that can go through the zoning process.”

Torres-Walker and Barbanica also added their support to Wilson’s efforts for a county-wide moratorium. When asked, Ogorchock said “no”.

Asked if they were prepared to pay Nunn for his mineral rights, Barbanica, Ogorchock and Wilson did not respond. Asked if she had reached out to Nunn or had asked city staff to, prior to the meeting, Wilson did not respond.

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Delta Conveyance aka tunnel Project Community Benefits Program Workshop 1 of 3 April 14

Monday, April 12th, 2021

Opportunity for neighboring community members to offer input of what they want from the impacts of the project

If you live or work in the Delta, we’d like to invite you to join an online workshop to provide feedback to the Department of Water Resources about the Community Benefits Program of the Delta Conveyance (tunnel) Project. On April 14, between 6:00 and 8:00 pm, Ag Innovations will facilitate a large online workshop to gather feedback from Delta residents on the Department of Water Resources (DWR), Community Benefits program.

To Register for the April 14 Workshop email DeltaConveyanceCBP@water.ca.gov
Click Here for more information.

However, as of Monday, April 12, the day the Herald received the notification of the meeting on the 14th, registrations are closed. If you would still like to participate, please email us at DeltaConveyanceCBP@water.ca.gov. If you cannot participate in the workshop, but would like to provide input, please email us at DeltaConveyanceCBP@water.ca.gov. A recording of each workshop will be posted, along with the background material, at https://water.ca.gov/Programs/State-Water-Project/Delta-Conveyance/Community-Benefits-Program

About the workshop: DWR is developing a community benefits program to acknowledge that if the Delta Conveyance project is approved it could have potential adverse effects on communities through construction of major capital projects. The Community Benefits program could create economic, social, and other benefits in the local community. A Community Benefits Program could go beyond what traditional “environmental mitigation” typically affords.

Why participate: While people oppose the Delta Conveyance Project, DWR has no expectation that participating in the workshops signals any support for the Delta Conveyance Project. The community benefits program would only proceed if the project were approved. But participating now provides community members a chance to shape the program to best suit the needs of the local community.

Ag Innovations is a 501c3 nonprofit and is committed to reaching out to underrepresented voices and creating meaningful opportunities to provide input, including at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic makes this challenging.  Please let us know if you have ideas for how we might work with you to bring your input into this process.

Stay tuned for additional workshops on the Community Benefits Program future workshops will be on:

Thursday, May 6, 2021 | 6:00pm – 8:00pm.

CLICK HERE to REGISTER

Tuesday, May 25, 2021 | 6:00pm – 8:00pm.

CLICK HERE to REGISTER

From Scoping Summary Report.

What is the Delta Conveyance Project?

The state is studying the potential impacts and benefits of two possible routes for a tunnel in the Delta, labeled the Delta Conveyance Project. The proposal aims to protect the reliability of the State Water Project to deliver clean water to homes, farms, and businesses in the Bay Area, Central Coast, and Southern California.

The project would catch fresh water in the northern Delta – especially during storms – through two new intakes near the town of Hood. A deep underground tunnel would carry that water 40 miles to the southern Delta where it would be pumped into the State Water Project. The project would be constructed over approximately 16 years.

DWR is currently studying potential impacts on traffic, noise, air quality, and historical, cultural, recreational, and other resources.

They have launched the Environmental Justice Community Survey to better understand how the project may affect the resources, values, and priorities that are most important you.

(See related articles here and here)

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Dredging up the past at Antioch Dunes National Wildlife Refuge

Thursday, December 31st, 2020

Sand and water dredged from the San Joaquin River are pumped onto Antioch Dunes National Wildlife Refuge in October. The water will return to the river through outfall pipes, leaving the sand behind. Credit: Mark Hayes/USFWS

Sand from the Port of Stockton is restoring a unique refuge

By Brandon Honig, External Affairs Specialist, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Over thousands of years, the shifting sands of time built dunes that reached 120 feet high and stretched for two miles along the San Joaquin River, about 35 miles east of San Francisco. Isolated from similar habitats, the Antioch Dunes slowly developed species found nowhere else in the world.

The gradual shifting of sand, however, was replaced by a rapid effort to turn it into bricks in 1906, after a devastating earthquake and fires demolished buildings in San Francisco. As industry depleted the sand over the next 70 years, the dunes’ unique species struggled to survive on dunes that eventually topped out at 50 feet.

Now the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFW) and Port of Stockton are trying to turn back the clock, one load of sand at a time. Since 2013, the Port has pumped nearly 92,000 cubic yards of sand — enough to fill more than 6,500 dump trucks — onto the dunes to support three endangered species: the Lange’s metalmark butterfly, Antioch Dunes evening primrose and Contra Costa wallflower.

There may be fewer than 50 Lange’s metalmark butterflies remaining today, down from an estimated 25,000 between 50 and 100 years ago. The butterfly is only found at Antioch Dunes National Wildlife Refuge. Credit: Steve Martarano/USFWS

“The population of Lange’s has been trending downward for a couple of decades now,” said Mark Hayes, a biologist with the Service’s San Francisco Bay-Delta Office. “We counted about 10 butterflies in 2020, and the total population is very likely less than 50 currently. This is precariously low.”

The orange, black and white butterfly with a wingspan of 1 to 1.5 inches, whose population likely numbered 25,000 less than a century ago, was listed as endangered in 1976. The white-petaled primrose and yellow-petaled wallflower followed with listings in 1978.

The Service established Antioch Dunes National Wildlife Refuge for the three species in 1980, making it the first national refuge for insects and plants. At the time, the 55-acre urban refuge with two non-adjacent units was also the nation’s smallest.

Wildlife resource specialist Louis Terrazas inspects sand placed on Antioch Dunes National Wildlife Refuge through a partnership with the Port of Stockton. The landscape to the right shows refuge land that has not yet been restored with sand. Credit: Brandon Honig/USFWS

“This is a very industrial neighborhood we’re tucked into,” Louis Terrazas, a wildlife resource specialist for the refuge, said of Antioch Dunes. “There’s a shipyard on one side, a gypsum-processing plant, an old water-treatment facility over there and two strips of land owned by Pacific Gas and Electric.”

As sand disappeared in the 20th century, non-native grasses and plants took hold, crowding out the primrose, the wallflower and the Antioch Dunes buckwheat, which is the only plant where the Lange’s butterfly will lay its eggs. In the early 2000s, a series of wildfires further cut the butterfly population, leaving only about 100 alive in 2010 — all on the refuge’s 14-acre eastern unit.

With no butterflies to protect on the western unit, the Service decided to overhaul that site and try to restore the conditions that had once enabled the dunes’ endangered species to thrive. Refuge staff began looking for sources of sand in 2012 and were soon contacted by the Port of Stockton.

Beachgoers lounge on an Antioch, California, sand dune in the early 1900s, before much of the sand was mined for building materials. Credit: Contra Costa County Historical Society

The Army Corps of Engineers dredges sand from the San Joaquin River each year to clear passage for cargo ships, and the Port is responsible for finding sites to place the sand. The Port typically sent sand to nearby Sherman Island, but saw an opportunity to make a real impact at Antioch Dunes.

“Our board has been pushing us to reach out and find projects like this — ways we can go above and beyond the normal regulations to try to have a beneficial impact on the [Sacramento-San Joaquin River] Delta,” said Jeff Wingfield, the Port of Stockton’s director of environmental and public affairs. “It costs us a little extra in time and prepping the site and some other little work, but for us it’s important to beneficially reuse the material.”

Since the Port’s first delivery in 2013, the evening primrose has experienced a huge jump in numbers, Terrazas said, and the wallflower and buckwheat are also reappearing. Eventually the refuge hopes to re-establish the Lange’s butterfly on the western unit as well.

The Contra Costa Wallflower, right, and Antioch Dunes evening primrose live side by side at Antioch Dunes National Wildlife Refuge, the only national refuge established to protect plants and insects. Credit: Susan Euing/USFWS

To fully restore the refuge’s dune system, the Service could continue taking sand deposits for a couple of decades, Terrazas said, which might not be possible without the Port partnership.

“We bought some sand from another site in 2009, but it was really expensive, and the sand material had some non-native species in it,” he said. “We decided it was not the best method of restoring the site.”

The endangered Antioch Dunes evening primrose has shown a huge jump in numbers since dune-restoration began in 2013. Credit: Steve Martarano/USFWS

Under the current method, the Port provides and delivers clean sand, and it doesn’t cost the Service a dollar. USFW staff devotes a great deal of time to this project, but the sand itself and the labor to place it at the Antioch Dunes are donated.

“Restoring the dunes is vitally important to the refuge’s ecosystem and could be the key to long-term preservation of its endangered species,” Hayes said. “We value our partnership with the Port and hope this continues as we implement our restoration plan.”

 

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Antioch City Council approves contract for Brackish Water Desalination Plant, rejects bid protest

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2020

Map of current and proposed pipelines for the Brackish Water Desalination Project in Antioch. Source: City of Antioch

By Anthony Dorado

The Antioch City Council convened for a special meeting on Friday, Dec. 18, 2020 to vote on whether or not to approve the agreement with Shimmick Construction Co. and reject the bid protest from Overaa Construction Co. The council unanimously voted to approve the contract and resulting budget changes.

The city council voted to increase the total budget for the Brackish Water Desalination Plant to $110,000,000. The contract with Shimmick would amount to $91,023,450, which includes $86,689,000 for the base, plus a five percent contingency of $4,334,450. The 29-year-old company has experience in building 49 water resource projects ranging in budget from $2.7 million to $1.2 billion, ranking as one of the top companies in the U.S. for water and wastewater treatment, and dam construction.

Councilmember Lori Ogorchock expressed her own concerns and those of residents that the plant will result in tangible rate hikes. City Manager Ron Bernal ensured the council that this would not result in any rate hikes. He also stated that this would not cause any unforeseen costs in the future.

Funding for the project includes a Cal Department of Water Resources Desalination Grant of $10 million, a State Water Resources Control Board Drinking Water Revolving Loan Fund award of $56 million, California Department of Water Resources Settlement Agreement funds in the amount of $27 million, and City of Antioch Water Enterprise Funds of $17 million. Bernal expressed pride in the project explaining how it will stabilize water rates and allow the city a greater consistency of water intake year-round, regardless of rising salinity levels.

Mayor Thorpe expressed hope that this project would prepare the City of Antioch to meet the coming challenges of climate change. However, the main problem is the saltwater intrusion into the Delta due to the movement of fresh water south, since Antioch’s intake is at the lowest elevation in the Delta. That will worsen with the construction of the Delta bypass tunnel, known as the Delta conveyance. (See related articles, here and here.)

Allen Payton contributed to this report.

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Antioch residents asked to take Delta tunnel Environmental Justice Community Survey by Friday, Dec. 11

Tuesday, December 8th, 2020

The Environmental Justice Community Survey launched by the Department of Water Resources (DWR) closes this Friday, December 11th. The survey takes just a few minutes and is intended to gather perspectives from community members who live or work in the Stockton, Sacramento, and Antioch region and the small towns in between. Your input is crucial to identifying the potential impacts and benefits of the proposed Delta tunnel known as the Conveyance Project.

Don’t wait – if you haven’t already, take the survey today – and share with others in the Delta region!

Click here to TAKE THE SURVEY TODAY!

About the Survey

Through the “Your Delta, Your Voice” survey, DWR is specifically aiming to engage those who live or work in the Delta region and are often not adequately represented in public processes by seeking direct input from low income residents and workers, people of color, limited English speakers, Tribal members and other underrepresented communities.

They survey has two primary goals. One is to accurately reflect how the members of a variety of Delta communities value the region’s cultural, recreational and natural resources, through a series of questions and a map that allows people to identify places that are special to them. The other is to seek input about ways the project may cause impacts to these resources or potentially bring benefits to Delta communities.

Spread the Word

Please help spread the word about the survey by forwarding this email to those in your network so the voices of the Delta’s diverse communities can be heard.

You can also share the survey on social media using the following links:

   Share on Facebook:  English  |  Español  |  中文
   Share on Twitter:  English  |  Español  |  中文

 

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Supervisors declare climate emergency on 5-0 vote, county’s COVID-19 status improving

Thursday, September 24th, 2020

County COVID-19 Ranking Expected to Improve to Red Next Week

County to Mail More than 700,000 Ballots for Nov. 3 Election

By Daniel Borsuk

For a county with five major petroleum refineries, the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors took a major step in addressing climate change by adopting a three-page climate emergency declaration. 43116_BO_ADOPT Climate Emergency Resolution

About 30 people supported the resolution’s nine items dealing with the global environmental issue during the supervisors’ tele-conferenced Board meeting on Tuesday.  Supervisors also received a positive COVID-19 report from Contra Costa County Public Health Department officials and a report on the Nov. 3 California General and National Election from Contra Costa County Clerk-Recorder Deborah Cooper.

Upon adopting the climate change resolution, supervisors positioned the county in support of the State of California’s goals to cut greenhouse gases by 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030, achieve net carbon neutrality by 2045, and provide 100 percent of the State’s electricity from clean energy sources by 2045.

The Board’s action also forms an interdepartmental task force of all county department heads or senior deputies that will focus on “urgently implementing the County’s Climate Action Plan – as currently adopted ….and identifying additional actions, policies, and programs the county will undertakes to reduce and adapt to the impacts of a changing climate.  This task force should report to the Board of Supervisors through the County Sustainability Commission and the Board’s Sustainability Committee on a semi-annual basis starting in March 2021.  Reports to the Board of Supervisors shall be discussion items for the Board.”

The resolution states that “Contra Costa County should develop policies to require all new construction to be fully electric through the adoption of Reach Building Codes.”

“Contra Costa County will prioritize the implementation of its Climate Action Plan in order to achieve greenhouse gas reductions as soon as possible and will consider equity and social justice issues in the implementation of the plan,” the Board’s resolution states.

In addition, the resolution states: “that health, socio-economic, and racial equity considerations should be included in policymaking and climate solutions at all levels and across all sectors as the consequences of climate change have significant impacts on all County residents, especially the young, the elderly, low-income, or communities of color and other vulnerable populations.”

Initially it appeared Board Chair Candace Andersen, who says she drives a hybrid car, was leaning to cast a “no” vote on the resolution, but after listening to about 30 speakers mostly in support of the resolution, the  Danville-based Supervisor voted in support of the resolution.  The Supervisor said she had an issue about the urgency of the state shifting from a fossil fueled based economy to an electric powered based economy that would potentially be more energy efficient and less environmentally harmful.

Jackie Garcia, a Lafayette-based builder, asked Supervisors to pass the resolution because “People want energy-efficient houses. People don’t use gas stoves anymore.  They use energy efficient electric stoves.”

“This resolution requires immediate action,” said Supervisor Karen Mitchoff of Pleasant Hill who also serves on the commission of the Bay Area Air Quality Management District. “I will support this resolution.”

Incoming Board Chair for 2021 Supervisor Diane Burgis of Brentwood, who said she has worked on environmental issues, especially related to water, said “I will support this resolution because it will directly affect our future way of life in Contra Costa County.”

Supervisor Federal Glover of Pittsburg, who was elected to serve as Vice Chair for 2021 by his colleagues provided he is reelected in November’s election against County Assessor Gus Kramer, said “This is a good first step. It gives people notice.”

In passing the resolution that more than 1,000 other California cities, counties and regional governmental agencies have done before Tuesday’s supervisors’ meeting, the Contra Costa resolution “declares a climate emergency that threatens the long-term economic and social well-being, health, safety,  and security of the County, and that urgent action by all levels of government is needed to immediately address this climate emergency.”

“Real Good News” on the COVID-19 Front

Contra Costa County Public Health Department Director Anna Roth informed supervisors there is “real good news” concerning COVID-19.  She expects the state to announce perhaps on Sept. 29 that the county’s COVID-19 status will be upgraded from purple to red.

The color change will mean the county will probably be allowed to open more businesses that have been shuttered since the public health shutdown order went into effect in March.

Roth expects some K-12 schools, as many as 35, could reopen for students with proper health protocols in place.  Roth said Contra Costa County Superintendent of Schools Lynn Mackey will oversee the reopening of the schools.

Roth reported there have been 15,156 COVID-19 patients in the County since the outbreak of the flu in March.  There have been 202 deaths in the county since March.  In the past 24 hours there were 52 COVID-19 patients reported in the county hospital and no deaths have been reported, she said. “Our County death rate is less than the national average,” she said.

In a push to increase the number of people who are tested for COVID-19, Contra Costa County Public Health Officer Dr. Chris Farnitano said about 330,000 residents have been tested.  “That’s still not enough,” said Dr. Farnitano, who said the County will open a drive-up test site at the Bay Point Health Center in October.

Dr. Farnitano said the county will start to give free flu shots at the County’s Antioch, Concord, Richmond and San Ramon drive up sites. “Vaccination is important because it is difficult to tell the difference between the flu and COVID,” he said.

More Than 700,000 Ballots Expected for Nov. 2 Election

The Contra Costa County Office of Elections expects to mail more than 700,000 ballots to registered voters for the Nov. 3 election, up from 687,000 ballots mailed last November to registered voters, said Contra Costa County Clerk-Recorder and Registrar of Voters Deborah Cooper.

“We encourage people to stay safe and vote by mail,” said Cooper.  There will also be 37 ballot drop boxes around the County so voters can drop off ballots 24/7 from Oct. 5 through Nov. 3.  Official ballots will be mailed to voters on Oct. 5, but if a registered voter has not received a ballot by Oct.  19 they should contact the Elections Office, (925) 335-7800.

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Gov. Newsom signs exec order phasing out gas-powered cars, passenger trucks sold in state by 2035

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2020

To “drastically reduce demand for fossil fuel in California’s fight against climate change”

Transportation currently accounts for more than 50 percent of California’s greenhouse gas emissions   

Zero-emission vehicles are a key part of California’s clean, innovation economy – already California’s second largest global export market  

Order also directs state to take more actions to tackle the dirtiest oil extraction and support workers and job retention and creation as we make a just transition away from fossil fuels  

SACRAMENTO – Governor Gavin Newsom today announced that he will aggressively move the state further away from its reliance on climate change-causing fossil fuels while retaining and creating jobs and spurring economic growth – he issued an executive order requiring sales of all new passenger vehicles to be zero-emission by 2035 and additional measures to eliminate harmful emissions from the transportation sector. (The text of today’s executive order can be found here and a copy can be found here.)

The transportation sector is responsible for more than half of all of California’s carbon pollution, 80 percent of smog-forming pollution and 95 percent of toxic diesel emissions – all while communities in the Los Angeles Basin and Central Valley see some of the dirtiest and most toxic air in the country.

“This is the most impactful step our state can take to fight climate change,” said Governor Newsom. “For too many decades, we have allowed cars to pollute the air that our children and families breathe. Californians shouldn’t have to worry if our cars are giving our kids asthma. Our cars shouldn’t make wildfires worse – and create more days filled with smoky air. Cars shouldn’t melt glaciers or raise sea levels threatening our cherished beaches and coastlines.”

Following the order, the California Air Resources Board will develop regulations to mandate that 100 percent of in-state sales of new passenger cars and trucks are zero-emission by 2035 – a target which would achieve more than a 35 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and an 80 percent improvement in oxides of nitrogen emissions from cars statewide. In addition, the Air Resources Board will develop regulations to mandate that all operations of medium- and heavy-duty vehicles shall be 100 percent zero emission by 2045 where feasible, with the mandate going into effect by 2035 for drayage trucks. To ensure needed infrastructure to support zero-emission vehicles, the order requires state agencies, in partnership with the private sector, to accelerate deployment of affordable fueling and charging options. It also requires support of new and used zero-emission vehicle markets to provide broad accessibility to zero-emission vehicles for all Californians. The executive order will not prevent Californians from owning gasoline-powered cars or selling them on the used car market.

California will be leading the nation in this effort – joining 15 countries that have already committed to phase out gasoline-powered cars and using our market power to push zero-emission vehicle innovation and drive down costs for everyone.

By the time the new rule goes into effect, zero-emission vehicles will almost certainly be cheaper and better than the traditional fossil fuel powered cars. The upfront cost of electric vehicles are projected to reach parity with conventional vehicles in just a matter of years, and the cost of owning the car – both in maintenance and how much it costs to power the car mile for mile – is far less than a fossil fuel burning vehicle.

The executive order sets clear deliverables for new health and safety regulations that protect workers and communities from the impacts of oil extraction. It supports companies who transition their upstream and downstream oil production operations to cleaner alternatives. It also directs the state to make sure taxpayers are not stuck with the bill to safely close and remediate former oil fields. To protect the health and safety of our communities and workers, the Governor is also asking the Legislature to end the issuance of new hydraulic fracturing permits by 2024.

The executive order directs state agencies to develop strategies for an integrated, statewide rail and transit network, and incorporate safe and accessible infrastructure into projects to support bicycle and pedestrian options, particularly in low-income and disadvantaged communities.

This action continues the Governor’s commitment to strengthening California’s resilience while lowering carbon emissions – essential to meeting California’s air quality and climate goals. In the last six months alone, the California Air Resources Board has approved new regulations requiring truck manufacturers to transition to electric zero-emission trucks beginning in 2024 and the Governor signed an MOU with 14 other states to advance and accelerate the market for electric medium- and heavy-duty vehicles. Last fall, California led a multi-state coalition in filing a lawsuit challenging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s attempt to revoke portions of a 2013 waiver that allows the state to implement its Advanced Clean Car Standards.

Last September, Governor Newsom took action to leverage the state’s transportation systems and purchasing power to strengthen climate mitigation and resiliency and to measure and manage climate risks across the state’s $700 billion pension investments. To mitigate climate threats to our communities and increase carbon sequestration, the Governor invested in forest health and fuel reduction and held utilities accountable for building resiliency. The Governor also directed state agencies to develop a comprehensive strategy to build a climate-resilient water system and made a historic investment to develop the workforce for California’s future carbon-neutral economy.

 

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Frazier to introduce bill to combat major cause of greenhouse gas emissions in California – wildfires

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2020

Challenges CA Air Resources Board to “pause and think” about effectiveness of Cap and Trade program

Jim Frazier

SACRAMENTO – Assemblymember Jim Frazier (D-Fairfield) announced today that he plans to introduce legislation in the upcoming session to fundamentally change the way California reduces greenhouse gas emissions.

  “While I believe the work the California Air Resources Board (CARB) has been doing is laudable, we need to shift gears and address the main cause of carbon emissions in California, and right now, that is unquestionably wildfires,” said Frazier. “The data is undeniable and staggering.”

  According the U.S. Geological Survey, in 2018 alone, the wildfires in California were estimated to have released emissions equivalent to roughly 68 million metric tons of carbon dioxide. By contrast, after seven years of reduction efforts from Cap and Trade funded projects to date, is estimated to be 45 million metric tons – at the cost of billions of dollars.

  Frazier went on to say that he believes CARB needs to “pause and think” carefully about their programs and overall efficacy of the resources devoted to them, and reprioritize Cap and Trade dollars to address the immediate threat and environmental devastation that wildfires are causing. In addition to the further advancement of global warming, these fires result in property damage, loss of life, economic peril, and long-term health issues.

  “The science and statistics of the devastation that wildfires are causing are not just limited to the land. These fires are pumping more pollution – far more toxic – than the burning of fossil fuels, and we must take a critical look at how we dedicate our precious financial resources to their reduction.  As we know, wildfires are a major contributor to the advancement of global warming.”

  Frazier will introduce a bill this December.

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