Newsletter # 43 Breaking News -News for all Seasons and Shame on them News

​Breaking news

SHELL PULLS OUT OF THE ARCTIC.   Thank you Greenpeace and Kyaktivists!!!! This 12 hours after the super lunar event. Hummmm.  Good things are coming, coming, coming. This is a lesson in, never give up and it ain’t over until we say it’s over.
http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/sep/28/shell-ceases-alaska-arctic-drilling-exploratory-well-oil-gas-disappoints​

And on the Home front.

 

We got oil trains barreling down our throat.  Fossil fuels courting our supervisors with the benefits of turning our backyard into a toxic waste dumping ground and Diablo making waves about expanding their operation into a desal plant.

This community is juggling a lot of issues and doing a super job of staying on top of things with the help and dedication of people and groups keeping focused on the prize.

One such group keeping a watch on the future with solutions right now is SLO Clean Energy and they have been working day and night behind the scenes to make it easy for us to do just one thing at a time that will make a difference.

This is one of those times.  Getting an alternative to fossil fuels with a Clean Energy alternative is going to take a lot of wind out of fossil fuel’s can’t-live-without-them rhetoric.

So lets do this and keep the ball rolling.

HERE’S THE PLAN.  CONTACT THE BOARD OF SUPERVISORS TODAY. EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW IS BELOW.  DROP DEAD DATE OCT 6. THE BOARD OF SUPERVISORS WILL YA OR NAY THE FUNDING. THE ISSUE IS ON THE AGENDA. TODAY IS A GOOD DAY TO GET THIS OFF OUR PLATES AND MAKE ROOM FOR THE NEXT THING. We can’t afford not to do this.

 

We need your help. San Luis Obispo County is missing a huge opportunity.

Please email your Supervisor now.

The deadline for SLO County to declare if we want to participate in a feasibility study with Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties passed on September 1. And there was no reply from our Board of Supervisors.

Fortunately, it’s not too late, and the County can still be a part of the cost-sharing feasibility study (if they act before October 15th).

Why? The first step to explore Community Choice Energy (also, Community Choice Aggregation) is to conduct a feasibility study. It’s possible to share the cost with neighboring counties and cities so that everyone benefits. The County of Santa Barbara voted to spend $400,000, and the City of Santa Barbara added $50,000, to conduct the study. The County of Ventura also voted to join them with $50,000.

The county and the cities within San Luis Obispo are invited participate in the technical study to find out if Community Choice Energy is feasible and will work for our residents and businesses. If SLO County joins this cost-sharing feasibility study, we can save money and start the exploration.

So, where is SLO County? As of today, there’s been no response to the invitation that Santa Barbara sent out in June. We alerted the Board of Supervisors at the July 14th meeting during public comment. The supervisors directed staff to look into this and come back to the Board.

As of today, we’ve haven’t heard anything and we passed the deadline to respond if we are interested. If SLO County wants to participate, it has to act quickly.

Please help us! Email your Supervisor right now:

Supervisor Frank Mecham (District 1)
fmecham@co.slo.ca.us

Supervisor Bruce Gibson (District 2)
bgibson@co.slo.ca.us

Supervisor Adam Hill (District 3)
ahill@co.slo.ca.us

Supervisor Lynn Compton (District 4)
lcompton@co.slo.ca.us

Supervisor Debbie Arnold (District 5)
darnold@co.slo.ca.us

Or, send a message to all the Supervisors:
http://www.slocounty.ca.gov/bos/BOSContactUs.htm

What should you write?

You can ask them to explore Community Choice Energy now. You can ask them why they’re waiting so long. You can ask them why they’re not interested in giving you a choice.

To paraphrase one of our supporters: The longer you wait to make a decision, the more money I’m paying on my electricity bill.

Is it worth it to you to have a choice?

You’re welcome to use the following…it can be this simple:

Quick Form Letter

Dear Supervisor:

Please explore Community Choice Energy. Please act now to join the cost-sharing feasibility study opportunity with the counties of Santa Barbara and Ventura.

[your name]
[your city or community]

 

Feel free to add more, such as any of the five benefits of a local clean energy program:

  • Choice & Competition
  • Long Term Electrical Rate Stability
  • Local Control & Accountability
  • Local Jobs and a Strong Economy
  • Clean Energy & Local Self-Reliance

Our neighbors to the north — Monterey, Santa Cruz and San Benito counties — will be completing their joint technical feasibility study by the end of this year. As Santa Barbara and Ventura counties have committed to this feasibility study opportunity, San Luis Obipo is currently the only Central Coast county not taking any action to explore Community Choice Energy.

The longer we wait, the more we miss out on cost savings, greenhouse gas reduction, and reinvesting in our local economy. Sonoma Clean Power saved their residents and businesses $13.6 million after their first year of operation.

We need to have the ability to make a choice if we want to create a better future.

If you want to do more, please support us by making a generous tax-benefited donation. SLO Clean Energy is a fund of the San Luis Obispo Community Foundation.

Thank you for all your support!

SLO Clean Energy Leadership Team
leadershipteam@slocleanenergy.org

​And lastly, ​

 

​SHAME SHAME ON MIA ELECTED OFFICIALS.

Recent events have brought to the forefront the utter disdain and disrespect of some elected officials for the people of this community that were promised and led to believe that the oath of office to serve, honor and respect was a code of honor.  Local officials should have the courage to comment on Phillips 66 rail project. Phillips 66 is just one example.  Many other documented cases of an abuse of power too numerous to mention in this newsletter. The message sums up a festering discontent.

It seems prudent to remind the elected that nowhere in their job description, duties and responsibilities is there an opt out clause. Ignoring us is not an option.  Putting us on the back burner is not an option. Rather listening and responding to the constituency in a timely manner is the top priority.

And lest a sledge hammer reminder is necessary, Phillips 66 and Freeport McMoran are NOT constituents. They did not elect you, they did not cast one single vote on your behalf because they can’t. Only real people can register to vote and that is who elected you and that is who you proclaimed your loyalty.

Patience is wearing very thin with berating silence and confidence in your ability to do your job is at an all time low. Silence is consent. It is also a breach of your oath of office and promise to serve the people who elected you.  Some examples of what we are talking about.  https://sierraclub.org/santa-lucia/blog/2015/08/cracks-cone-silence

If the job is more than you bargained for and we can all appreciate the fact that it is not easy, then please have the common decency to step aside and let us get on with our lives. There is just too much at stake right now for indecisiveness and disloyalty.

Elected officials are key to the success, prosperity, safety, health and well being of the community. We are also a very well informed, active, hands on community and we expect nothing less of our elected officials.

On that note, let’s get this fresh new cycle of good things coming our way, on its way.

Always,

Jean’ne

Jeanne Blackwell

SLO Clean Water. org

jeannewater@gmail.com

 

p.s. please forgive the annoying yellow highlights. I don’t know how to get rid of them. They are a spell check thing.   thank you.

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Newsletter #42 – Good Day in the Neighborhood

Aquifer Exemption Hearing.

About 40 people at the Rally.

freeport-pic-3-jpg 12002761_10153538758669845_4444712686132262879_n 12038387_10154184064333098_4154233043254278860_n

About 100 at the hearing. Press coverage.

oil-underground-JPG

Heidi spokesperson always good.

 

Comments inside just amazing. Covered the whole spectrum of concerns. Homeowners with horror stories and concern for their water. Facts and stats from Maya and Ash from the Center for Biological Diversity let DOGGR know exemptions don’t make it safe or legal. Sierra Club about the earthquake factor no one else seems to be addressing and just blows holes in the “it is safe” rhetoric. Andrew from Clean Water Action getting DOGGR to extend comment time. Our neighbors to the south, Becca and Janet troupe from Santa Barbara showed up for support. Thank you, thank you.

Supervisor Hill there letting DOGGR know the Board of Supervisors does not appreciate the lack of communications and information. Way to go Adam.

No one was buying DOGGR and Freeport’s take on the situation.

There was a stenographer there recording every word we said for the record. I didn’t know they still did stenography.

I think the rubber stamping of this project just got waylaid. Not going to be as easy as they thought. There were points made that need addressing and can’t be ignored.

Here are some news clips. http://www.ksby.com/…/public-meeting-on-proposed-arroyo-gra…

http://www.keyt.com/news/big-turnout-for-oil-field-aquifer-exemption-hearing/35407102

Grover Beach City Council packed the house too protesting the Oil Train spur. We are on this SLO!

If you didn’t get a chance to submit comments  on exemption still time.  Email:  comments@conservation.ca.gov  ATTN: San Luis Obispo HEARING 09-21-2015

Two things I noticed you might comment on. 1) The earthquake issue. What is faster than a speeding bullet? Can level tall buildings in a single bound? An earthquake. We know there are 3 faults on the  ARRoyo Grande property. We don’t need any seismic testing to prove this fact. One fault line is all it takes to compromise their ‘safe, impermeable bowl shaped aquifer theory”

We also know for a fact that there is no instrumentation and technology now that can accurately measure what is going on  sub surface to detect, track, record, nooks and crannies, fissures, lesions, holes, weaknesses that could occur and compromise the integrity of the aquifer and in particular when there is any kind of earth movement which can happen any time.

California  Council on Science and Technology testified that that technology is at least 3 years down the road. In the meantime there is over a 1.5 billion gallons of toxic waste gurgling underground just waiting to make a break at the first chance it gets. And where it goes no body knows. A 2.0 earthquake could do it. High Pressure steam injection could do it.

And, one more thing. What is the complaint process if this ‘can’t fail’ ‘fail safe’ plan fails? There is no formal, official, legally binding complaint process for the citizenry to file when an  accident, spill, noxious smells, dumping, explosion, noise, funny tasting water, blinding lights, whatever happens. NONE.

There never has been any clearly defined official, must-respond-and-investigate complaint mechanism in place for the oil drilling process.  Without it, ever complaint filed is immediately tossed into the find-the-regulation-and-agency-responsible, file.

No body knows who is in charge of complaints not even the agencies in charge  and there are over 3,000 of them for water issues alone in California.  To compound the PROBLEM, determining if it is a local, state or Federal issue can lead to years of searching and filing complaints that lead nowhere. Case in point. West Adams in LA has been 10 years playing this game trying to get someone, anyone to address water, air and soil contamination of their neighborhood by drilling rigs in their backyard.

We need to know, we have a right to know, how to file an formal, official complaint and a set time for the response and resolution. Otherwise the only solution is the individual takes a shot in the dark agency or company to court and that is cost prohibitive and can also take years.

So we need a mechanism built into the regulatory agency in charge of approving and permitting oil drilling operations that has a clear, concise, formal, official complaint form readily and easily accessible to every person.

Solution: Must insist this complaint process is in place and functional before they approve anything.

Next event, October. 22, Planning commission continuance meeting on extending 31 wells  conditional use permit for 3 years.   Can send emails to planning commission if you can’t make the meeting for public comment.  It made a difference last time.

We are winning.  We showed up and that is what it takes. And with a little help from our friends will put us over the top!!!

 

Newsletter #40 SORRY

I have been preaching for the last 3 years about keeping  it simple. About making it easy for everyone to do the right thing. Then I got an email last night from someone who asked a very simple question. Who is DOGGR and what is the meeting about.  WOW. Zing! Back to reality. Thank you Susan!!! And I mean that with all my heart.

That last  call to action was how simple got lost in the translation.  I got sucked up into the very quagmire I was so desperately trying to avoid for all these years and didn’t even realize it. So here is me trying to get back to keeping it simple for real.

Here is the simple version of what is going on with the DOGGR meeting on Monday.

First, what is DOGGR.

DOGGR. Department of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources. Division of the State Department of Conservation. oversees the drilling, operation, maintenance, and plugging and abandonment of oil, natural gas, and geothermal wells. The regulatory program emphasizes the wise development of oil, natural gas, and geothermal resources in the state through sound engineering practices that protect the environment, prevent pollution, and ensure public safety.  Conclusion.  They have admittedly failed miserably on all three counts.

What is the meeting about on Monday?

Simple.

Telling DOGGR why we love living in San Luis Obispo. We love the fresh air, the water, the vista, the views, open spaces,  the lifestyle, the castle, the zebras, the basking sea lions, the frolicking whales, bike and people friendly, small town ambiance with all the amenities and it is just far enough off the beaten track to keep it a destination spot where visitors come from around the world to  spend over a billion dollars a year to enjoy what we have 24/7.  A world renowned wine and agriculture business that brings in nearly another billion dollars a year.

Students come from all over the world to get a world class education and the bonus is the weather, the water, the vistas, the views, the people and is ranked 8th safest College campus in California and 54th in the nation out of over 1,127 colleges.

Safe is a very important factor and SLO county works at providing that sense of well being for all that live, work and visit here. It’s not perfect but its not Detroit either.

What we have didn’t happen by accident or luck evidenced by over 1,000 non-profits organizations  and community residents ready, willing and able to take our governing boards and powers that be to task when anything from pooping pigeons on the pier, to nuclear power plants threatens our little jewel in the rough. Not one environmental group or non-profit is in favor of giving Freeport an exemption to dump toxic waste in our backyard.

Why are we telling DOGGR all this?

Because DOGGR wants to change all this.  DOGGR wants us to waive our rights  to a clean, healthy, safe,  thriving, prosperous, living environment for ourselves and future generations to make room for a noisy, ugly, stinky, smelly, dirty, dangerous, hazardous, chemical laden, highly industrialized, overly zealous profit motivated oil drilling operation.

Is that simply enough?
DOGGR has to ask us if this is o.k. because our rights are clearly, concisely written into the the Law of the Land in the CLEAN AIR ACT, THE CLEAN WATER ACT, THE SAFE DRINKING WATER ACT, THE NATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY ACT, THE RESOURCE CONSERVATION AND RECOVERY ACT, (cradle to grave hazardous waste management program) and COMMUNITY RIGHT TO KNOW ACT.

The problem?  The oil industry wants a piece of our action without having to abide with any of the laws, rules and regulations that come with living here. They are seeking permission from DOGGR to violate our rights by making it legal to ignore them. Called an exemption.

​The meeting on Monday is about DOGGR giving Freeport McMoRan the right to turn this area into a waste land and telling us to just learn to live with it.

That’s as simple as I can make and as close to the truth as told by New York, Maryland, Vermont, at least 16 other countries, 13 municipalities and 5 counties in California that all agreed and said,  enhanced oil drilling is a stinky, smelly, hazardous, ugly, dirty, dangerous, environmentally worthless operation and NO. NO we will not waive our rights. NO we will not grant you any immunities or exemptions. Just NO.

Monday you are going to hear a lot of fancy double speak from an industry that prides itself on being expert at using logical fallacies and leave you feeling dumbfounded, bewildered and scared to death you are going to be responsible for turning our community into a third world nation and driving to a job that doesn’t exist in a car that doesn’t run.  Industry is going to argue it is safe but that doesn’t make it true.

The truth is there is mounds and reams of scientific evidence provided by renowned scientist, health organizations, labor unions, ordinary everyday people and a world community that have inoculated themselves with the truth that supports and backs up the fact that a clean, safe and healthy environment is safer and healthier than an environment with exemptions and immunities from clean, safe and healthy.   The truth is the safest place for oil is in the ground.  Oil is not providing us with one beneficial enhancement or improving on what we already have.

And one last simple fact is there is no way on gods green earth that you can safely inject billions of gallons of toxic waste water into an abyss of geological fault zones with cracks and crevices, fractures and lesions and expect it to stay put or track its whereabouts. Scientist have said it will be at least three years before there is any technology that will even come close to measuring and tracking what is going on sub surface. Once it is in the ground it is anybodies guess where it will end up.

Will going to the meeting and speaking our piece make a difference?  Yes it will.  Just how much of a difference remains to be seen.

Thank you and The End.

 

 

MAP

ALWAYS,

Newsletter # 39 Planning hearing results – Call to Action- This is a Biggie.

Word on the street was the Planning Dept.hearing was prepared to approve a three year extension on the expired 31 wells. That was Before they got the word from concerned residents and our local Sierra Club.       Letters written, emails sent and public comments made  expressing our concerns. They heard us. The word Now is the Planning Board is revisiting the EIR and have continued the hearing until Oct. 22nd when all the members will be in attendance and they can address our concerns.  Way to go people!!!!!  We did it. Give yourselves a hand. 👏   We will be back on Oct. 22.

Next, the Sept. 21st Department of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources, DOGGR,  hearing- This is a biggie. kicking off the whole DOGGR aquifer exemption process across the State.  Here goes. 
The proposal to expand the current aquifer exemption designation for the Dollie sands of the Pismo formation in the Arroyo Grande oil field (in unincorporated San Luis Obispo county near the intersection of Ormonde Road and Price Canyon Road).  Subject to approval by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (“US EPA”), the proposed aquifer exemption would allow the State, in compliance with the federal Safe Drinking Water Act, to approve Class II injection into the identified area, either for enhanced oil recovery or for injection disposal of fluids associated with oil and gas production.Need I say this is a very very bad idea for a number of very very good reasons.  All of which we will be discussing and preparing for in one of two ways.First, I received this email from Natalie Beller.

Aquifer exemption hearing

Natalie Beller <natalie.beller@gmail.com>

Hi All!

You are receiving this email because you gave it to Maria, Trish, or I, or I found your email address on the documents from last Thursday’s planning commission hearing regarding the Price Canyon oil fields.
The purpose of this email is to connect people that are interested in this issue. When people work together they are often more powerful that when they act alone.
Please use this email chain to communicate to the group
1) what you would like to talk about on the hearing date
2) what resources you can offer  – i.e. articles, expert opinions, spreading info (passing flyers, writing to government representatives, contacting newspapers).
This email chain is expected to last for one week. At which point, we can decide if we want to continue to use it to plan for the October 22 SLO county planning commission hearing.
Trish Wilson has offered her home as a meeting place next Sunday, Sept 20, at 4 p.m. She would like to know if anybody would like to meet then. If you would like to meet in person sooner, please offer a meeting place. Trish’s  address is 1606 Old Oak Park Road, Arroyo Grande, CA.
Thanks and have a great week,

Natalie

Contact Natalie if you plan to attend the Sunday strategy meeting. I’ll be there and hope the Arroyo Grande Water Group will be too.

Also just got word Center for Biological Diversity has put out an APB to all to attend THE rally at the Monday meeting scheduled for 3 pm. Yes there is going to be a Rally. The hearing starts at 4.  CBD is sending experts to address  DOGGR and who can go toe to toe with their legal eagles. This is the kick off in a series of meetings DOGGR is holding to get wells across the state exempted. The buck stops here.

We need to send a strong strong united message not just for us here in SLO but set the tone for the whole State. This is a Biggie. Students. Environmental Groups. Surfers. Farmers. Business owners.  WE are all in this together to protect our life style and quality of life.

The email chain will give you ideas for comments written or use during the public comment section. CBD will be sending bullet points and talking points I will forward on to you all.

Attend the Sunday meeting. And lets rally the troops and pack the room on Monday.  There will be lots of media there and once again all eyes will  be on SLO. The world will be watching. This is a big deal.    Lets give them something to remember and a whole new impression of what SLO stands for.  We have been preparing for this for over 3 years. Go Team SLO!!!!! And lets keep it cheery and upbeat. We are so glad to be the first and have been waiting for this moment. Yea Team.


                       

So, There you have it folks. A ready made plan for success.

 

Get in touch with Natalie and post your comments and suggestions per her email chain. Reply all.  I will do the same.

We don’t have much time, less than a week so let me start the ball rolling

by suggesting a talking point.

The Underground Injection Control UIC program mandated to the States by the EPA is in the draft stage.

The federal regulations for the UIC Program are found in Title 40 of the Code of Federal Regulations. The Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) establishes requirements and provisions for the UIC Program. DOGGR had failed to implement the UIC program critical to insuring the safety, health, and well being of our groundwater and aquifers. DOGGR is working on a draft.

Congress passed the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) in 1974. In part, the SDWA requires EPA to develop minimum federal requirements for UIC programs and other safeguards to protect public health by preventing injection wells from contaminating underground sources of drinking water (USDWs).

Freeport McMoRan is applying for an exemption to the UIC program that is not even implemented yet.

It is requesting permission to continue to re inject toxic waste water containing possible benzene, hydrogen sulfide, radioactive isotopes, and who knows what else because they are also exempt from the Resources Conservation and Recovery Act and the Toxic Release Inventory under the Community Right to Know Act, into an unspecified underground aquifer on the property. I say unspecified because the boundaries are unclear and source unidentified.

The exemptions just means there are no records of what is in the waste water or where it is going. No reporting or monitoring system by DOGGR has been in effect.  Further, Freeport is basing their exemption request on an undocumented 1983 agreement with the EPA.

Freeport recently commissioned a study on the condition of the groundwater per the Conditional Use Permit.  The study was based in part on Freeport’s records and data of the water sources and conditions they were not required to keep. Recommend exemption denied until UIC is fully implemented and Freeport is in total compliance verified by a independent certified water testing contractor.

 

Second,
 
We are going to make it real easy for everyone to get involved one way or another because in essence we are all going to be adversely impacted one way or another if the exemptions are approved.  Water mainly is what connects us all.  It’s o.k. to feel a little uncomfortable with activism but believe me the more you do the more comfortable you get and then it starts to feel good. Every persons counts. WE need wall to wall bodies.

Get on Natalie’s email chain and if you can’t make the meeting on Sunday at Trish’s home or the DOGGR meeting on Monday you can write DOGGR a respectful, thoughtful,  letter giving them at least one very good reason why you don’t think the exemption is a good idea. Make it personal. It’s all good.  It only takes one. And yours could be the one in a million that will make the difference.  We don’t have to be expert writers or speakers, or know all the facts or data or laws. Leave all that to the experts (and they will be there. thank you CBD).

We do need to not be afraid to speak up and out on our right to be safe and secure in our surroundings and do whatever it takes to keep it that way.  Lets do this.

Here is DOGGR’s contact info if you can’t make the meeting in person.

Public comments on this project must be submitted no later than 8:00 P.M., on  September 21, 2015

Email:  comments@conservation.ca.gov  ATTN: Aquifer Exemption in the Subject box.

Natalie’s email

Natalie Beller <natalie.beller@gmail.com>

for Sunday meeting and email chain.

Mondays SEPT 21 DOGGR HEARING:  Rally at 3pm!!!  Save our Ground water. NO exemptions.

San Luis Obispo September 21, 2015 4pm-7pm
Courtyard Marriot
1605 Calle Joaquin Road
San Luis Obispo, CA 93405

MAP

ALWAYS,

Jeanne Blackwell
jeannewater@gmail.com
SLO Clean Water.org
“You can discover what your enemy fears most by observing the means he uses to frighten you.” Eric Hoffer