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September 2006 California Today, PLanning and Conservation League Newsletter

September 2006 California Today, PLanning and Conservation League Newsletter

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September 2006 California Today, PLanning and Conservation League Newsletter
September 2006 California Today, PLanning and Conservation League Newsletter

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September 2006

Volume 36, Number 3

Newsletter of the Planning & Conservation League

CALIFORNIA TODAY

Read about how to save the Sierra, page 3
Joan Clayburgh

No on Prop 90. It ’s a Taxpayer Trap!
By: Gary A. Patton

Legislative Update
PCL is optimistic about AB 32, the “Global Warming Solutions Act.” This bill mandates significant reductions of global warming pollution and provides the kind of leadership the federal government ought to be providing, but isn’t. By the time you read this, you should know whether AB 32 has passed – and I hope you’ll be letting the Governor know that he needs to put his signature on this bill! I hope AB 1899 will also have gone to the Governor. This “show me the flood protection” bill is critically important. The developers want to keep on building in the floodplains, and because they have such a powerful presence in the legislature, and such close ties to the Governor, we are not so optimistic about AB 1899. To get the latest on all of PCL’s work in the legislature, check the PCL website, and sign up for our action alert program!

The Planning and Conservation League is strongly urging a “NO” vote on Proposition 90. This initiative, largely funded by a “property rights” advocate from New York State, is presented as an effort to “protect our homes.” In fact, Proposition 90 is a “taxpayer trap” that would make taxpayers pay for basic public safety and environmental protection. The impact of Proposition 90 would be devastating. If Proposition 90 passes, every time a government attempts to limit overdevelopment, protect air and water quality, restrict undesirable businesses, or enact new consumer protections laws, the government will have to “pay” for that decision. The result will be billions of dollars in new costs to taxpayers; or, and this is the hidden agenda of the sponsors of Proposition 90, state government and local governments will simply have to abandon their efforts to enact laws that protect the environment and public health and safety. There is more detail about Proposition 90 on the PCL website. PCL is proud to be part of a broad coalition of environmentalists, taxpayers, educators, business owners, and local government and pubic safety officials who all urge your “NO” vote on Proposition 90. Visit our website! There is almost always more information about the stories we cover at www.PCL.org. Don’t have internet access? Call us for more information at 916-444-8726.

CALIFORNIA TODAY • Planning and Conservation League & PCL Foundation

Dear Friends,
CALIFORNIA TODAY
quarterly newsletter of the (ISSN 0739-8042) is the

Land use reform is a necessity! Virtually all of our environmental and environmental justice problems are related to the sprawling and dysfunctional land use patterns that typify California-style development. This dysfunctional development pattern has proven to be unhealthy for us as individuals, and is not only destroying wildlife habitat and natural resources, but is undermining the stability of our local communities, and the long term health of our economy. Throughout California, there are literally hundreds if not thousands of local groups working to protect wildlife and natural resource areas, to preserve agricultural land, to provide community parks, or good transportation solutions, to increase affordable housing opportunities, and to eliminate toxic pollution, or air quality or water quality problems, and to defend the rights of local residents to participate in governmental decisions affecting their environment. Each of these locally-focused groups has a big stake in better statewide land use policy. What’s missing, at least many times, is a way for such smaller groups to organize effectively to make a difference on the state level. During the upcoming year, and continuing through the next legislative session, PCL is going to be on a campaign to help develop the kind of organization that can increase the local and statewide effectiveness of community based groups working on environmental and environmental justice issues. PCL has always been a “League” of organizations united to protect, defend and restore the California environment, and to respond to the needs of the residents of California in the communities in which they live. Now, PCL wants to take on fundamental land use reform. Please join with us. If you would like more information, you can find it on the PCL website. If you don’t come seek us out, we’ll be seeking to talk to you!

PLANNING AND CONSERVATION LEAGUE AND THE PCL FOUNDATION
1107 Ninth Street, Suite 360, Sacramento, CA 95814 PHONE: 916-444-8726 FAX: 916-448-1789

E-MAIL ADDRESS: pclmail@pcl.org WEB ADDRESS: http://www.pcl.org Membership in PCL is $35 a year and includes a subscription to CALIFORNIA TODAY. Periodicals postage paid at Sacramento, CA. POSTMASTER: Send address changes for CALIFORNIA TODAY to the PCL Office: 1107 Ninth Street, Suite 360, Sacramento, CA 95814

PCLF BOARD OF TRUSTEES
DAVID HIRSCH, Chairman RALPH B. PERRY III, Vice Chairman DANIEL S. FROST, Secretary-Treasurer COKE HALLOWELL, Trustee GERALD H. MERAL, Trustee ARMANDO RODRIGUEZ, Trustee ANDREA SUMITS, Trustee

PCL EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
JOHN VAN DE KAMP, President KEVIN JOHNSON, Senior Vice President BILL CENTER, Secretary-Treasurer SAGE SWEETWOOD, President Emeritus

REGIONAL VICE PRESIDENTS
ELISABETH BROWN JAN CHATTEN-BROWN PHYLLIS FABER DOROTHY GREEN RICK HAWLEY DOUG LINNEY DAVID MOGAVERO LYNN SADLER TERESA VILLEGAS

ORGANIZATIONAL BOARD MEMBERS
Big Sur Land Trust Breathe California, Sacramento-Emigrant Trails California Association of Local Conservation Corps California Oaks Foundation California Trout Greenspace - The Cambria Land Trust Golden Gate Audubon Society The Laguna Greenbelt, Inc. Marin Agricultural Land Trust Marin Conservation League Mountain Lion Foundation Sierra Nevada Alliance Southern California Agricultural Land Foundation Train Riders Association of California The Trust for Public Land

Planning and Conservation League

PCL/PCL FOUNDATION STAFF
GARY A. PATTON, Executive Director RENE GUERRERO, Program Manager DR. MONICA HUNTER, Project Manager MEG JOHNSON, Administrative Director MINDY McINTYRE, Water Project Specialist JONAS MINTON, Senior Project Manager GERALD PEREZ, Administrative Assistant MATT VANDER SLUIS, Project Coordinator CHRIS WARD, Database Coordinator STUART BAIMEL, Research Assistant BECKY LUNDBERG, Research Assistant MELANIE SCHLOTTERBECK, Grants & Outreach Consultant

Gary A. Patton Executive Director

California Affiliate National Wildlife Federation

2

CALIFORNIA TODAY • Planning and Conservation League & PCL Foundation

Planning and Conservation League

Sierra Nevada Alliance
By: Joan Clayburgh, Executive Director

Founded in 1993, the Sierra Nevada Alliance unites hundreds of individuals and groups to protect Sierra resources. Our organization represents a unified regional voice on the state and national level and strengthens local conservation efforts throughout the 400-mile long range. Currently, there are 81 group members of the Sierra Nevada Alliance. The Alliance has three programs tackling the biggest challenges facing the Sierra. First, the “Planning for the Future Campaign” ensures county land use plans in the Sierra adequately protect the area’s last wildlands, natural resources and rural communities in the face of burgeoning population growth. The Alliance consults with local groups to maintain historic development patterns of compact town centers, preserve permanent open space to protect critical natural areas, use the development process to restore habitat, and sustain economic productivity of the region’s farm and ranchlands. The second initiative is the “Sierra Water and Climate Change Campaign.” This campaign plans for a future with 25-40% less snow by mid-century due to global warming (even under the best emission reduction scenarios). The Alliance educates the public and resource planners on how to protect natural resources in the face of climate changes, integrates water management and ensures that water conservation is a front-line strategy for the future. Our third enterprise is the “Sierra Watersheds Program,” which makes certain that all 24 major river systems of the region, which supply 60% of the state’s water, have active, informed and effective watershed stewardship efforts. This program trained over 150 water monitors, started seven new water monitoring programs, educated groups on effective restoration, and re-granted over $200,000 to local Sierra watershed efforts.

Joan Clayburgh

In addition to these programs, the Alliance provides information, networking, training, and resources to organizations in the Sierra through its “Community Group Support Program.” For example, we send an e-mailed bulletin, the Sierra Nevada Alliance Weekly, with Sierra conservation articles, events and resources. To learn more about the Alliance, get copies of its resource reports or toolkits and see links to the conservation member groups, visit: ww.SierraNevadaAlliance.org. The Alliance is pleased to report that it recently joined the Planning and Conservation League. We felt we needed to stay abreast of how statewide efforts could impact the Sierra Nevada. No other organization keeps abreast of conservation issues in the capitol like PCL. In addition, we wanted to join with other conservation leaders from around the state to shape the future of California. The Alliance long ago formed to unite groups to protect the Sierra Nevada. However it is impossible to protect our region alone. We must form alliances with other regions of the state. All regions are connected and PCL is a forum to direct where those connections take us. We would encourage your nonprofit to be come an organizational affiliate of PCL today. (See the last page of this publication to learn more about affiliate memberships).

Joan Clayburgh

Coke Hallowell

“Research by the PCL Foundation helps PCL in its efforts to protect the Sierra -and the Central Valley, where I live!” -- Coke Hallowell, PCLF Board Trustee

CALIFORNIA TODAY • Planning and Conservation League & PCL Foundation

3

Proposition 84: It ’s a Good Investment...
By: Gary A. Patton

Melanie Schlotterbeck

This November, California voters will be able to invest in clean water, parks and coastal protection. All that’s needed is a “YES” vote on Proposition 84! PCL is proud to be part of a broad, statewide coalition supporting Proposition 84, which was placed on the ballot by a citizen initiative. Other bond measures on the ballot this November were placed there by the Legislature, but Proposition 84 comes directly from the people! It’s part of that tradition of citizen-based democratic efforts that has done so much, in the past, to preserve and protect the California environment. PCL has a long history with citizen initiatives that provide necessary funding to protect our most sensitive and threatened natural resources. Here’s what Proposition 84 will do: • Provide $240 million for safe drinking water projects; • Provide almost $1.3 billion for water quality clean up; • Provide $800 million for flood control; • Provide $65 million for statewide water planning and design; • Provide $928 million for protection of rivers, lakes and streams; • Provide $450 million for wildlife and forest conservation; • Provide $540 million for bay, beaches and coastal protection; • Provide $500 million for parks and nature education centers; and • Provide $580 million for sustainable communities. As California grows, it’s vital to invest in natural resource protection, and Proposition 84 gives us the opportunity to make a truly good investment for our future.

and so is Proposition 1C
The PCL Board of Directors has announced its strong support for Proposition 1C, the “Housing and Emergency Shelter Trust Fund Act of 2006.” PCL knows that we need to reform our dysfunctional system of land use regulations, and that providing housing opportunities for the working families of California is a key part of the kind of land use and growth management system we need. Proposition 1C includes $850 million to stimulate housing that meets “smart growth” criteria, including affordable housing, parks, urban infill, and good transportation choices. PCL is already working with a broad array of nonprofit and community groups to make sure that these funds help set a new pattern for the future growth of California.

Stay informed at:

www.PCL.org

Tips on How to Get Active...
To get involved in the “Yes on Proposition 84” campaign: • Contact Matt Vander Sluis at mvander@pcl.org • Visit the “Yes on Proposition 84” website at www.CleanWater2006.com • Post information on your website about the clean water initiative • Remember to vote and help get out the vote on November 7th CALIFORNIA TODAY • Planning and Conservation League & PCL Foundation
istockphoto.com

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By: Mindy McIntyre and Stuart Baimel

PCL Enters the Climate Change Debate

As the debate over climate change heats up around the world, PCL and PCLF are helping to develop California’s approach to global warming and proposed solutions. PCL, PCLF and the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) are jointly funding a new paid position to research and advocate global warming solutions for the state. As Governor Schwarzenegger has demonstrated his interest in having California take the lead in global warming mitigation, it is a perfect time for PCL and PCLF to contribute their expertise. The first important policy issue with which PCL has become involved is AB 32 - the “Global Warming Solutions Act.” Working in concert with other distinguished environmental groups, such as Environmental Defense and the Natural Resources Defense Council, PCLF is rallying grassroots support among local organizations around the state. PCL staff is also working with legislators to ensure an effective bill is passed before the legislative session ends. In 2005, the Governor signed an Executive Order mandating phased emissions reductions until 2050, and the Global Warming Solutions Act sets a firm cap onstate emissions. With both the Legislature and the Governor taking a strong stance against the specter of global warming, and the release of

Planning and Conservation League

several reports foreshadowing a drastic loss of natural resources in the next century, PCL is poised to contribute to a series of effective, efficient and fair climate change regulations that will preserve and enhance our current environmental quality.

By: Monica Hunter, Ph.D.

A Watershed Action Plan to Restore the Carmel River
fish. The removal of the dam will resolve the safety issues and will also eliminate the need for a fish ladder and seasonal truck transport of migrating steelhead. The San Clemente Dam poses both a seismic and a flood risk to the residents of Carmel Valley. The seismic risk is due to poor dam design and its proximity to an active earthquake fault. The flood risk is due to an accumulation of sediment above the dam, the possibility of dam failure and existing dam instability. The state ordered the dam’s owner to remedy the safety problems in the 1990s, but several projects proposed in past years failed to gain approval from either the community or from the public agencies entrusted to protect key species, including steelhead trout and California red-legged frog. PCLF will be releasing its report on the benefits of removing the dam in late September. This report, entitled the Supplemental Carmel River Watershed Action Plan, is being produced by Phil Williams & Associates and Ecosystems Management International. The Action Plan presents a sound analysis of key issues, including both dam removal and ensuring adequate flows in the Carmel River. It will be available on the PCLF website in late October.

The San Clemente Dam, located on the Carmel River in Monterey County, has significant safety problems. This fall, the Department of Water Resources will select a project to remedy the situation. PCLF is working with local groups to develop a watershed restoration strategy that focuses on removing the dam structure as an essential component of restoring the Carmel River, benefiting both people and

Mike Liquori

CALIFORNIA TODAY • Planning and Conservation League & PCL Foundation

5

Stage Set for Future Desalination Debates
By: Mindy McIntyre
Planning and Conservation League

In July, coastal advocates celebrated a victory for California’s coast as the San Diego County Water Authority was convinced to abandoned plans for a massive, environmentally damaging ocean water desalination plant. The plant would have used an energy-intensive process to remove salt from 50 million gallons of water per day. The San Diego Water Authority had planned to connect the desalination plant to the aging Encina Power Station in Carlsbad, forcing the power plant to continue an outdated practice of sucking in billions of gallons of water from the ocean every day in a process called “once through cooling.” This cooling method, popular in older coastal power plants, destroys a tremendous amount of marine life as ocean water is pulled through the facility. Fortunately, technologies such as air cooling make it feasible to continue generating energy without killing marine life. However, if desalination plants like the San

Diego proposal move forward, damaging cooling practices will continue for decades into the future. Along with Conner Everts of the Statewide Desalination Response Group, Joe Geever of Surfrider Foundation and others, PCL’s Matt Vander Sluis has been working tirelessly to convince San Diego to drop its plans for desalination. Each group has submitted extensive written comments, testified at public hearings and advocated for the termination of once-through cooling statewide. Earlier this year, that coalition helped to pass resolutions by the State Lands Commission and the Ocean Protection Commission

recommending the phase-out of once through cooling facilities. Last month, the San Diego Water Authority decided not to proceed with the desalination plant after the power plant owner NRG Energy, Inc. announced earlier in the week that it would be replacing its once through cooling system with a new, more efficient facility. “We’re pleased to see that NRG is abandoning its antiquated ‘once through cooling’ process, and hope communities across California will learn from this experience. Tying water supplies to outdated technology is not a wise investment,” explains Vander Sluis. There are currently twenty-five proposals for co-located desalination facilities on the coast. PCL will continue to work with Surfrider Foundation, the Statewide Desalination Response Group and others to ensure that projects harmful to the environment do not proceed.

6

Heal the Bay

CALIFORNIA TODAY • Planning and Conservation League & PCL Foundation

A Rail Future for California
By: Gerald Cauthen

Rail advocates and conservationists virtually always see eye to eye on transportation issues because both groups recognize the need to counter destructive highway-based development. It should come as no surprise then that the Train Riders Association of California (TRAC) and PCL have been working together since 1984. In 1989, the two organizations developed and successfully promoted State Proposition 116, the Rail Bond Measure, which California voters passed on June 5, 1990. In 1998, when a statewide high-speed rail system (HSR) was proposed, a powerful coalition of environmental groups from within the state formed under the auspices of PCL. The coalition, called the

High Speed Rail Environmental Coalition of California (HSREC), lead by PCL, and formed to ensure that the state’s high-speed rail plans encouraged smart growth and protected parks and open space. The HSREC in turn helped bring about the Bay Regional Rail Study (BRRS), to further the creation of a passenger rail network for the Greater Bay Area, including a high-speed link to the San Joaquin Valley. Elements of that same statewide high-speed rail system are currently being analyzed as part of the BRRS. MTC, assisted by co-sponsors Caltrain, BART and the State High Speed Rail Authority, is managing the Study. Jerry Cauthen, TRAC’s President, is representing PCL and HSREC on the Study Advisory Committee.

Orange County’s Measure M
By: Melanie Schlotterbeck

In November, Orange County voters will decide at the ballot box to renew (or not) a one-half cent sales tax that funds local transportation projects, and PCL is supporting the effort. The Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) wants to extend its existing measure, known as Measure M, which is set to expire in 2011. The new Measure M will run for 30 years and generate $11.8 billion for transportation projects. Why the excitement? A negotiating team appointed by 36 environmental nonprofits successfully called out mitigation money that was already included under the Measure’s freeway component. This money includes $243.5 million for programmatic mitigation. Normally freeway project mitigation is done on a small scale, piecemeal basis, but programmatic mitigation allows for acquisition, restoration and management of habitat on a large-scale and biologically meaningful basis. It isn’t everyday you see 29 environmental groups, including PCL, supporting a transportation measure.
Melanie Schlotterbeck

Richard Tolmach

TRAC will continue to work closely with PCL to further the state’s network of trains and bus feeders, needed to reduce California’s dependence on highways and protect its open spaces.

In addition to the mitigation funds, OCTA will work closely with the resource agencies for streamlined permitting of its projects and to ensure its mitigation requirements are met as well. The environmental community, OCTA and the resource agencies will work cooperatively to create a Conservation Map for the County in the coming months and participate in an Oversight Committee established specifically for the mitigation program. The funds will also be front loaded, allowing for the purchase of threatened properties, which concurrently mitigate the freeway projects.

CALIFORNIA TODAY • Planning and Conservation League & PCL Foundation

7

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VISIT US ON THE WEB: www.PCL.org or www.PCLFoundation.org

For the past 41 years, the Planning and Conservation League has been at the forefront of virtually every major legislative and administrative effort to protect and enhance California’s environment. Today, PCL is fighting in the capitol and around the state for clean air, clean water, natural resource conservation, environmental justice, and livable communities for all of us, and we’d like your local group to become an organizational affiliate. Here are some of the benefits you’ll receive: • Special alerts and mailings • Notice of legislative actions on your issues • Invitations to workshops, trainings & events • E-mail newsletters • Our quarterly publication, California Today • Much, much more! For a minimum contribution of $100, your organization joins organizations from around the state to support our dynamic advocacy efforts to protect California’s natural resources and quality of life. Visit our website today to learn more (www.PCL.org) or send in your contribution using the publication’s remit envelope.

Membership Benefits

PCL is pleased to announce that it will be hosting meetings this fall, that focus on the environment, with a handful of the state’s newest elected officials. These meetings are intended to introduce local environmental grassroots organizations to our new legislators. As a leader in the local environmental movement, you can become active at a statewide level and educate freshman legislators about problems specific to your community. In addition, this forum will also provide the legislator a chance to outline his/her concerns and solutions or legislation they plan on introducing that may ameliorate some of these environmental concerns. Stay tuned to our website (www.PCL.org) to learn about an event in your community. These events will begin in September and will be held throughout the state.

Upcoming Events

Jan Chatten-Brown

“Without PCL, which has its finger on the pulse of the state’s environmental legislation, we would not have protections like CEQA. Any group battling land use decisions in the state should be an organizational affiliate to PCL.” -- Jan Chatten-Brown, PCL Board member

Planning and Conservation League

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