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.