Tuesday, April 9, 2013
2013 First Quarter Update.
This first part of 2013 has been exceptionally eventful for California Chapters. It would be impossible to capture everything happening at the statewide level, or within all 20 California Chapters in a simple blog post, however, below is our “top pick” of important issues.
“Look, You Gotta Follow the Law”
That’s what the California Coastal Commission (CCC) told the Navy when they unanimously rejected a proposal to conduct explosives and sonar training program off Southern California. The CCC concluded the Navy has refused to mitigate harmful impacts in the past, and currently they lacked enough information to back up their argument that testing would be "negligible" to marine life. Surfrider specifically opposed the Navy sonar testing because we were also concerned the testing would impact newly established Marine Protected Areas. Here is some news coverage on the issue.
California’s Landmark Law Under Attack
The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) is one of California’s most important laws. CEQA protects our environment and allows citizens to participate in local decision-making. Unfortunately developers and polluting industries have been attempting to weaken CEQA through legislation. Surfrider is concerned that a “weakened CEQA” would negatively impact coastal resources, and at the same time, shift the balance of power away from local communities to developers. Read more about what Surfrider is doing to protect CEQA.
Save Trestles FOREVER.
We know, we know...everyone thought the road was dead. And it IS. However, toll road developers will not give up their plan to build this zombie-road. We recently wrote a blog about their attempts to obtain a permit for building the first 5 miles of the road. Surfrider and our Save San Onofre Coalition presented formal arguments at the hearing and we are awaiting the Board to vote in May. While we wait, we are calling upon all of our supporters to help us continue fighting this road. We stopped them in 2008 (when thousands of surfers and activists generated the largest and most organized turnout to public hearings in state history). Here is an Editorial that will inspire you to continue the fight.
Strategic Planning for Ocean, Waves and Beaches
When people think about California they often think about our beautiful beaches. When Surfrider thinks about our coastline we often think about State agencies that are tasked with keeping beaches healthy and accessible. That’s why we were eager to provide recommendations for the California Coastal Commission’s (CCC) 5-year Strategic Plan. Surfrider submitted this comment letter detailing ways the CCC could continue to ensure public access, plan for climate change, and protect our coastal resources in an integrated fashion. Many of our recommendations were mentioned in the their final plan. Surfrider Chapters are engaging in local campaigns that focus on these important issues. Plug into your local chapter to see how you can help.
Wednesday, January 2, 2013
Nov and Dec Updates
Surfrider finished 2012 with a bang! We had one of the most successful years EVER—exceeding many of our personal goals. Typically within a year, we secure roughly 28 victories that protect our oceans, waves and beaches; in 2012 we obtained over 40 coastal victories. Spare 10 minutes to watch this video featuring our CEO going over Surfrider victories (many of them occurring in California).
Wild Blue Yonder
Surfrider Foundation Chapters in northern California are celebrating the Obama Administration's plans to expand the Gulf of Farollones and Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuaries to protect the coast from offshore drilling. Under the proposal, the sanctuaries would be enlarged by nearly 2,800 square miles, more than doubling their size. The new boundaries would extend 50 miles north up the coast to include Sonoma County and much of Mendocino County. Read more here.
California became the first state in the nation to establish a network of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). On Dec 19th, the final set of MPAs went into effect—completing a 10 years process under state legislation called the Marine Life Protection Act. Surfrider was proud to be involved with the MLPA process and we share our account of this historical milestone here.
State Treasure Launches Investigation of Toll Road Agency.
Die-hard Surfrider supporters probably remember when we became involved with the Save Trestles campaign (over 10 years ago) to stop a toll road from ruining San Onofre State Beach. We won the battle, but unfortunately, the toll road agency is still making missteps—this time, with their finances. Here is a recent blog about the investigation. Be sure to regularly visit our Save Trestles website. As you may recall, the toll road agency is proposing to build their road in “segments”. Surfrider and our Save San Onofre coalition partners are monitoring the agencey to ensure they do not build the road in small, chunks.
Seismic Testing Blasted Down
On November 14, 2012, Surfrider witnessed and participated in one of the biggest coastal victories of the year. On this monumental day, the Coastal Commission unanimously voted down a proposal to conduct seismic testing off the coast near Diablo Canyon Power Plant to map fault lines. Surfrider Foundation rigorously fought the proposal because we questioned the overall value of the project given that the testing will have devastating effects on marine life, threatens the health of ocean users (fishers, surfers, swimmers and divers) and the testing would not answer key questions regarding seismic risk. All of the Coastal Commissioners expressed concerns that the risks were too great. Read more about it in the LA Times.
Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Sept and Oct Updates
This California edition includes a statewide wrap-up, a snapshot of local Surfrider work, and a “take action section”—we are working on a few campaigns/issues that would benefit from the click of your mouse.
Nearly 200 devoutly dedicated Surfrider Chapter Leaders descended upon Ventura, CA for the Surfrider Foundation West Coast Summit the last weekend of Sept. These people are the real-deal! They work regular jobs and then spend countless hours of their personal time managing local issues for their Surfrider Chapter. People from California, Oregon, Washington, Hawaii, Texas, and Canada attended. The weekend was spent strategizing ways to protect our ocean, beaches and waves. We covered everything from plastic pollution, sea level rise, beach nourishment, ocean planning, how to run an effective chapter, and many more topics. If you are not already plugged into a local Chapter, be sure to check out what the cool people of your neighborhood are doing—and get more involved.
Capitol WatchThe legislative season ended with a thud for environmentalists. While Surfrider did chalk up a victory by helping stop a piece of legislation that would have gut the Coastal Act (the law that single handedly protects our coastline), we were disappointed with the overall trend of bills that sought to undermine environmental laws and we were disheartened to see bills die that currently have public support. Here is a great article summarizing the season.
Looking Local: The San Diego Chapter launched Ocean Friendly Garden classes to help educate people about how their yards/garden contribute pollution to the ocean—and on the flip side, how a newly designed yard can help reduce pollution from entering the ocean. The Chapter garnered great media attention, check it out here: And watch a recent PSA that talks about Surfrider’s Ocean Friendly Garden program.
Take Action Center:
Stop Devastating Seismic Testing
Last month, we mentioned PG&E is proposing to conduct seismic testing off the central coast in order to map fault lines near the Diablo Canyon Power Plant. This project is being questioned by expert geologists and would have devastating impacts on marine life and ocean users. Please send a message to the Coastal Commission asking them to deny the project. Recently, Surfrider Staff had 3-quick-minutes to testify before the Commission summarizing our concerns. Watch the video here. If you do not speak out now we will likely be unable to stop this project from taking place, and it virtually guarantees a similar project take place off San Onofre in the next few months. Please take action and help us spread the word.
Help Curb Industrial Pollution in Our Ocean
Too many California beaches, coastal areas, and rivers are plagued by pollution from landfills, oil refineries, and other industrial facilities. Our State Water Board is currently revising regulations on industrial polluted runoff through the update of a statewide Industrial Stormwater Permit. The Industrial Permit is 15 years old and is in desperate need of an update. But mounting political and economic pressures threaten to derail progress on a new permit and delay improvements to water quality. Surfrider is working with our friends at CA Coastkeeper Alliance to improve stormwater pollution. Please tell the State Water Board to develop a strong Industrial Stormwater Permit and require everyone to do their part to protect California’s waters.
Where to Place Sewage Treatment Plants?—Not By the Coast PLEASE
The city of Morro Bay has 2 years to build a new sewage treatment plant, and local authorities are very close to making the WRONG decision -- against the will of local citizens! They want to build their new sewage plant NEAR MORRO ROCK (again!) – one of California’s natural wonders and a popular beach and surfing spot. Building on the proposed site will degrade invaluable coastal lands and limit future opportunities to draw more tourism or recreation to the area. Many sewage treatment facilities in California, if not the world, are outdated and do not conform to standards for discharging partially treated pollutants to our coast and ocean. Tell the Coastal Commission to place the treatment plant away from the ocean!
Keep Informed and Help!
We’re committed to keeping you up to date on California's coastal issues. Pleasevisit our blog to stay informed on more issues affecting the California coast. We’re also dedicated to protecting and preserving the oceans, waves and beaches you love through our ongoing campaigns. But, we need YOU to help turn our campaigns into victories for California's coastline. Please consider actively supporting Surfrider’s work by becoming a member or making a donation today.
Friday, August 31, 2012
August was a very busy month for us! Here is just a snapshot of the work Surfrider is doing throughout California.
Lobbying the Coast at the Capital
Surfrider Foundation participated in the annual “Green California Lobby Day” that brings together advocates from 85 organizations to meet with elected officials about pressing environmental issues. Each lobby team was comprised of different organizations representing different issues. Surfrider focused on issues that would impact our oceans, beaches waves, by lobbying for two pieces of legislation (a statewide ban on plastic bags (AB298) and a phase-out of polystyrene (SB 568) foam food containers). Despite having strong public support, both SB 568 and AB 298 did not garner enough votes and will not become law. Read more here. While Surfrider is disappointed the legislature failed to act, we are still encouraged by the many local cities and municipalities that have already enacted local ordinances to curb plastic pollution. There are over 100 plastic bag and plastic foam ordinances throughout California alone. Surfrider Foundation Chapters will continue to work for local plastic reduction ordinances along with a sustained focus on plastic pollution community outreach and education.
Congress’s Poor Coastal Voting Record Revealed
Those of us working on coastal and ocean issues have seen a trend to undermine laws and policies that protect our coastline. However, we had no idea how bad it was until a recent report highlighted Congress’s poor voting record. Congressman Waxman helped launch the report and invited Surfrider and other environmental leaders to participate in a press conference. The report finds that since January 2011, the House has voted 297 times to weaken basic environmental protections. The main focus of the report was to expose how coastal laws and policies are often targeted. Of the 297 anti-environment votes, 117—39%—were for policies that would undermine protection of America’s coastal areas. Go here to see a write up of the press conference Surfrider held with the Congressman.
Slip Sliding Away…You Know the Nearer the Garbage….
In Daly City (San Francisco Bay area) there is a landfill that sits near the ocean. Although the landfill was closed and covered to create a park, the garbage is still there. Unfortunately, the area suffers from unstable geology (it's right where the San Andreas Fault enters the Pacific Ocean) which means the landfill’s location constantly poses a threat of garbage sliding into the ocean. Our San Francisco Chapter is arguing the landfill ultimately be “moved back” to ensure a long-term solution. At a recent Coastal Commission hearing, our Chapter submitted comments urging the Commission to explore managed retreat (i.e. relocating the landfill away from the coast). Our comments spurred a great discussion and movement by the commissioners to direct the city to fully evaluate retreat options. Managed retreat would not only help keep garbage from sliding into the ocean, but would also encourage natural coastal processes that would open the beach back up for public access. View our comment letter here, : and see the landfill's proximity to the ocean in this photo.