Weekly Roundup | May 10, 2013

SF Examiner 5/5/13
Warriors unveil new S.F. arena plans
The Warriors unveiled new detailed designs for their proposed San Francisco waterfront arena and nearby development ahead of a bevy of public hearings in the coming weeks. The Warriors presented their first plans in October for the piers. Since then, many state and local agencies, along with the public, have given feedback.newspaper
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Climate Connections 5/1/13
Assembly committee OKs moratorium on fracking in California
Three bills seeking to impose moratoriums on fracking in California won approval at the California Assembly Natural Resources Committee in Sacramento on April 29, an important milestone for environmentalists who ultimately plan to push for a permanent ban on the practice. Assembly Bill 1301, introduced by Assembly Member Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica), is backed by a host of statewide environmental organizations including the Center for Biological Diversity, Food & Water Watch, and Clean Water Action.
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PR Web 5/8/13
Aquarium of the Bay announces new North American river otter exhibit
Aquarium of the Bay, San Francisco Bay’s only waterfront aquarium, plans to open a new North American river otter exhibit this summer. The exhibit will be an education and conservation resource and will provide an opportunity for guests to understand environmental changes. Scheduled to open in late June, the new permanent exhibit will feature river otters playing, swimming, eating and more.
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Marin Independent Journal 5/3/13
Bay Area can’t afford to lose Delta water fight
Forget, for the moment, the question of whether Gov. Jerry Brown’s water guru Jerry Meral made a colossal political blunder last week or was just telling it like it is. Either way, it’s clear that the governor’s $23 billion Delta water plan deserves to go down the drain. The state Natural Resources Agency deputy director allegedly told a water advocate that Brown’s plan “is not about, and has never been about, saving the Delta. The Delta cannot be saved.”
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Bay Nature 5/8/13
Enjoying a moment with photographer Rick Lewis
Rick Lewis evokes the phrase, “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”  Where other people see industry and ugliness, he finds the bright and the beautiful. Where other people see steel yards, he spots great blue herons.  A self-taught photographer whose work has appeared in at least half of the 50 issues of Bay Nature  (including twice on the cover), Lewis’ passion for photographing birds and wildlife took root at the edges of the farmland where he grew up, listening to the songs of mockingbirds and chancing upon coyotes.
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Guest Post | Get Down With the Global Frackdown This Saturday

Ban Fracking Rally
Californians protest outside of a California Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) hearing on fracking in Culver City in June.

Our iconic San Francisco Bay is an undisputed natural treasure that, in many ways, defines this place we call home. This may not have been the case if Save the Bay hadn’t started its fight to preserve the Bay from over development 51 years ago.

Today, our Bay faces another threat that not only looms over the Bay, but the entire state. That threat is hydraulic fracturing, more widely known as fracking – the oil and gas drilling method that thrusts millions of gallons of water, sand and undisclosed chemicals into the ground with extreme force. Since disclosure is not required, we don’t know a lot, but we do know that fracking uses carcinogens and other toxic chemicals including naphthalene, benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and acrylamide.

The oil and gas industry claims that fracking has been safely done in California for 40 years. Since there has been no regulatory oversight to keep track of when fracking has occurred or whether or not any accidents or spills have taken place, we’re expected to take the industry’s word for it. What we do know is that the fracking done today is a radical departure from the process used to rework wells 40 years ago. This new generation of fracking uses much more fluid and chemicals injected at much higher pressure, and creating much more waste, pollution and risk.

Californians all over the state living near fracked wells face the daily threat of local groundwater contamination from leaks, spills, or improper disposal of wastewater; property damage and plummeting property values; and air pollution from truck traffic and drilling. But since our water system is deeply interconnected, even if you don’t have a fracking rig next to your house, your health, safety and environment are at risk. The Sacramento San-Joaquin Delta provides 80 percent of the fresh water flow into San Francisco Bay, drinking water for 25 million people, and irrigation water for our $27 billion agricultural sector.

This Saturday, Sept. 22, Food & Water Watch and its allies are calling on everyone who cares about the health of California’s people and environment to join people from around the world in calling for an end to the reckless practice of fracking at a rally at Crissy Field in San Francisco. Events are planned throughout California including a rally in the Los Angeles County community of Culver City, which shares part of the largest urban oil field in the country.

The Global Frackdown will unite activists on five continents through over 150 events to call for a ban on fracking in their communities, and to advocate for the development of clean, sustainable energy solutions. But in California, these rallies are particularly timely because the California Department of Oil, Gas & Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) is expected to release state fracking guidelines this month that could heavily favor oil and gas companies. Already, more than 80,000 Californians have called on Governor Brown to ban the increasingly controversial energy extraction method and California’s Global Frackdown events will continue to send the message that’ll be hard for the Governor to ignore.

Saturday, Sept. 22, 10a.m.to noon: Food & Water Watch, in partnership with Credo Action, 350.org, Democracy for America, Friends of the Earth, Center for Biological Diversity, Global Exchange and Earthworks, is hosting activists for breakfast at Crissy Field followed by a march to the Golden Gate Bridge for a group photo. Meet at the Warming Hut Café at Crissy Field at the base of the Golden Gate Bridge [983 Marine Drive – map] at 10:00 a.m. RSVP: Adam Scow (ascow(at)fwwatch(dot)org. 

— Anna Ghosh, Food & Water Watch

Anna Ghosh coordinates media and communications for the consumer advocacy nonprofit Food & Water Watch in the Pacific Region. www.foodandwaterwatch.org