Redoubling our efforts after Pruitt’s departure

Scott Pruitt may have left the building, but his legacy of attacks on the environment and climate denial will likely live on. So, Save The Bay’s work to protect the Bay Area and California remains vital and urgent this year.

Pruitt’s resignation as EPA Administrator comes after his many scandals prompted at least 13 federal investigations. Worse for the planet, Pruitt also initiated 31 EPA deregulation efforts to undo long-standing rules that protect public health from pollution. Expect Pruitt’s replacement, EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler, to continue or accelerate this agenda, and offer no relief to the nation’s air and water.

A former coal and uranium lobbyist, Wheeler lobbied for Murray Energy and other major polluters, working against strong protections for clean air, water and public lands. He also worked as an aide to James Inhofe of Oklahoma, the leading climate change denier in the U.S. Senate. Wheeler could actually be more effective than Pruitt was in rolling back environmental protections because he’s a veteran Washington, DC, insider with extensive political contacts.

So, what should we do? Resist and redouble our efforts to ensure state and regional environmental laws and funding compensate for federal disinvestment in San Francisco Bay and California’s resources. Save The Bay will:

  • Lead the fight to reduce pollution of the Bay and accelerate climate adaptation in the Bay Area. Whoever runs the EPA, we have the tools to reduce trash in the Bay, and insist that California regulators enforce the stormwater pollution rules Caltrans has violated for years.
  • Seize the opportunity to secure another $200 million in state matching funds for Bay marsh restoration this fall. We’ve already endorsed Proposition 3, the November state water bond that adds money for the San Francisco Bay Restoration Authority’s wetlands grants, beyond what the regional Measure AA parcel tax provides.
  • Encourage our federal elected officials to exercise vigorous oversight of EPA and block rollback of crucial water and air protections. We’ll urge Senators Feinstein and Harris, Nancy Pelosi and the entire Bay Area delegation to be tenacious watchdogs over the EPA’s budget, and the Clean Water Act that guards against pollution and destruction of wetlands.

You can help by supporting Save The Bay generously. And sign up for action alerts and volunteer programs.

The Bay Area and California have already shown we won’t let the Trump Administration take us backwards on environmental protection. Scott Pruitt’s resignation should only strengthen our resolve to make San Francisco Bay better for future generations, starting right here at home.

 

 

Proposition 3 would invest big in Bay wetlands and clean water

California voters this November have a tremendous opportunity to accelerate San Francisco Bay tidal marsh restoration and improve water quality statewide through Proposition 3.  This $8.8 billion bond measure funds projects that provide environmental benefits to people and wildlife, including habitat for endangered fish, safe drinking water for disadvantaged populations, improved resilience against drought, and adaptation to climate change.

Proposition 3 provides $200 million directly to the San Francisco Bay Restoration Authority for grants to restore Bay marshes, one of Save The Bay’s top priorities for the last decade. This would expand habitat restoration beyond what Bay Area voters are funding  through the Measure AA parcel tax approved in 2016.

While Measure AA will provide $500 million over 20 years for grants to fund wetlands restoration, that only covers about one-third of the estimated $1.4 billion cost to double the total tidal marsh in the Bay and keep it healthy [Greening the Bay]. Demand for Measure AA funds is higher than annual AA tax receipts can support – twice as much money was requested for restoration projects this spring as was available.

Proposition 3 will add crucial state funds to improve the Bay’s health and resilience to climate change, especially important at a time when the President and Congress are trying to reduce federal investments in the environment. It is vital to commit more funds to the San Francisco Bay Restoration Authority while California’s economy is still booming and voters are open to approving bonds.

Save The Bay has endorsed Proposition 3 because it contains important water investments that benefit the Bay and Delta watersheds, including ten times more funding for San Francisco Bay than Proposition 68, the state parks bond that voters approved in June. These bond funds could be spent in the next five years and start revegetating more marshes sooner to stay ahead of sea level rise.

We’ve written more about the statewide benefits of Proposition 3, which you can read here.

Stay tuned for updates about Proposition 3 and other opportunities to Vote for the Bay at www.SFBayActionFund.org.

 

Proposition 3 boosts clean water, wildlife and drought readiness

Photo by Dan Sullivan

The $8.8 billion bond measure before California voters in November provides a huge boost to San Francisco Bay restoration. Read more here.

And Proposition 3 funds projects throughout California that provide environmental benefits to people and wildlife, including habitat for endangered fish, safe drinking water for disadvantaged populations, improved resilience against drought, and adaptation to climate change. Beyond San Francisco Bay, Proposition 3:

  • benefits rivers, streams and fish, with more than $1 billion to improve urban creeks, create and improve river parkways, restore essential fish habitat, acquire water for salmon and steelhead facing extinction, and provide canoe and kayak access to rivers and streams.
  • protects and restores wildlife, with hundreds of millions of dollars to acquire water and improve habitat essential to millions of waterfowl and shorebirds that winter in California, and many other species of wildlife. It also preserves the Habitat Conservation Fund that would otherwise expire in 2020, dedicating it to environmental water purposes.
  • protects and restores watersheds, with more than $3 billion to state conservation agencies for watershed acquisition and restoration, through grants to local land and water conservation groups from the Sierras to the coast, and throughout the Central Valley.
  • promotes environmental justice, with more than half of its funding reserved or prioritized for disadvantaged communities, including $750 million dollars to build safe drinking water supply and sanitary wastewater disposal systems for public health. Hundreds of thousands of Californians live in disadvantaged communities that don’t have clean drinking water or a sanitary place to dispose of wastewater.
  • improves safe, sustainable water supplies, funding productive water technologies that improve supplies for people and wildlife instead of building new dams that cause environmental harm. The bond includes money for wastewater recycling, groundwater recharge, water conservation, groundwater pollution reductions, removal of water-intensive invasive plants, and repairs of existing dams and canals.
  • helps working families throughout California, boosting sustainable water use for cities and farms. Funds to repair existing water delivery facilities and conserve water in agricultural areas help working families who depend on these water supplies for jobs and food, without taking more water from rivers essential for fish and wildlife.

Just as important, Proposition 3 does not fund any new dams or canals that would take more water away from fresh water flows in rivers or further degrade the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Proposition 3 does not fund proposed Delta tunnels. Bond funds would be available for crucial repair and safety of existing facilities, including Oroville Dam and the badly subsided Friant-Kern Canal, on which many people depend for reliable delivery of water, productive agriculture, and recharge of groundwater reserves during wet years.

Proposition 3 is endorsed by conservation leaders statewide (full list at www.waterbond.org). In addition to Save The Bay, National Wildlife Federation,  California Waterfowl Association, Ducks Unlimited, American River Conservancy and more have already endorsed.

You can read the full text of Proposition 3 at www.waterbond.org .  And stay tuned for updates about Proposition 3 and other opportunities to Vote for the Bay at www.SFBayActionFund.org.

 

Our 2019 Calendar is Here!

  • Photograph by Kurt Schwabe, kurtschwabephotography.com

 

Save The Bay’s 2019 calendar is officially here! Thank you to everyone who participated in our photo contest and contributed to a truly inspiring and breathtaking collection of photos.  It was no easy task, but after hundreds of submissions and much deliberation, the 12 calendar winners have been selected. Jay Huang’s Blue Hour Fog received the most votes on Facebook, winning the People’s Choice Award to make the calendar cover.

The calendar offers a daily reminder of why we work so hard to protect the beautiful Bay we share. Each photo tells a different story of Bay appreciation, and we hope they inspire you as much as they inspire us. We reached out to some featured photographers to ask why they cherish the Bay and what inspired their incredible shots:

“Kayacking in Richardson’s Bay always changes my perspective, and sometimes it seems the birds and seals love the bay as much as I do.” – Jen Gennari: (jengennari.com)

“If it wasn’t for the Bay’s beauty, I never would have started out as a photographer.  There aren’t very many major metropolitan areas where you can photograph a dozen different bird species, including a bald eagle, in a single afternoon.  When I learned how close we came to losing this natural treasure in the ’60s, I wanted to do my part to support the Bay’s conservation today – so I’m thrilled to be a part of this year’s calendar!” – Colin Neikirk: (ccneikirk.myportfolio.com)

“The ever-changing San Francisco bay offers up a plethora of fascinating landscapes, from shoreline flora and fauna to grand vistas from atop its distant peaks. It is truly a nature lover’s dream.” – Mike Oria: (mikeoria.com)

“As the chilly morning fog hugs to the golden city, I click the photo integrating myself into the beautiful bay.” – Jay Huang: (Check out his Flickr)

“I’ve lived around the bay all my life. Whenever I seek stability I find myself along her shores. As stable as a crab against a wave.” – Sean Peck

“Without a doubt my favorite part of being a photographer in the SF Bay Area is chasing the magical and ethereal fog around and discovering new viewpoints from all the various mountaintops of this amazing place. There is a beautiful mixture of nature and urban life to behold here.” – Vincent James: (vincentjames.net)

Photographer Susie Kelly hopes her work inspires people to “preserve the Bay for the other species that live here,” and to “slow down and appreciate the beauty around us.”

Again, we extend a big thank you to every member of the community who submitted their Bay photos, and congratulations to our finalists! We hope the calendar reminds you why you love the Bay and inspires you to join our efforts to protect and restore our shorelines.

Claim your 2019 Calendar with a donation of $25 or more!

 

Big Wins for the Bay on Election Day

Dave Gordon

Voters across the state and region made their voices heard on Tuesday on a slate of measures that impact San Francisco Bay. From parks and water to transportation and land use, voters approved measures that will protect and enhance the Bay and rejected measures that posed a serious threat to the health of the Bay and Bay Area communities.

Save The Bay Action Fund endorsed these measures for the benefits they will provide for San Francisco Bay and Bay Area residents. Here is a brief summary of the results:

YES on Proposition 68 – WIN:

In a big win for the Bay, voters overwhelmingly approved Prop. 68, the statewide parks and water bond, which includes $20 million for Bay wetlands restoration, adding to Measure AA funds. This will accelerate important work to increase wildlife habitat, improve water quality, protect communities against flooding, and enhance public access to the Bay shoreline. In all, the bond includes more than $4 billion to ensure clean drinking water, provide more equitable access to our state’s parks, and protect California’s open spaces against wildfires, drought, and floods.

NO on Proposition 70 – WIN:

Voters soundly rejected this effort to hamstring the state’s ability to spend its cap-and-trade revenue. The Legislature currently spends these funds each year on programs that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help communities most affected by pollution adapt to climate change. Prop. 70 would have locked up this revenue after 2024 unless the Legislature voted by two-thirds to release it – an unnecessary and burdensome hurdle to funding critical climate programs.

YES on Proposition 72 – WIN:

Voters easily passed this measure to incentivize rainwater capture and reuse. Encouraging rainwater storage and reuse is smart policy that benefits the Bay and all of California.

YES on Regional Measure 3 – WIN:

In this important region-wide race, voters approved RM3 to relieve Bay Area traffic, helping to reduce roadway and air pollution that threatens the health of the Bay and the air we breathe. Through a $3 regional bridge toll increase that will be phased in over six years, RM3 will fund critical public transit and highway improvements like replacing aging BART cars, improving Caltrain and Muni service, and easing freeway bottlenecks in the East Bay. These projects will help keep vehicles off the road, ensuring cleaner air and water for us all.

NO on San José Measure B, YES on San José Measure C – WIN:

In a tremendous victory, San José voters rejected Measure B, which would have threatened the city’s open space, wildlife habitat, and creeks that feed the Bay. This was a deceptive attempt by developers to circumvent environmental and public review, skirt affordable housing requirements, and avoid paying millions in traffic and community impact fees. Voters also approved Measure C, which would have prevented the worst aspects of Measure B and now gives the San José City Council more power to reject future development proposals that promote sprawl and do not meet certain requirements on affordable housing, environmental review, and traffic impact fees. Save The Bay joined a grassroots effort that defeated Measure B, despite being massively outspent by developers.