Thursday, August 2, 2012
Bill to Ban Plastic Bags Moves Forward:
Surfrider Foundation California Chapters have been working on a statewide plastic bag ban for years and we are ecstatic the State Legislature is now considering a bill that would ban plastic bags (starting in 2014). The bill, AB 298, would also require retailers to provide reusable bags for sale and charge a fee for recycled paper bags as an incentive for customers to remember their reusable bags. Please take 2 seconds to send a message to your elected official urging them to vote yes! Please circulate far and wide! To read more about the bill go here.
Seismic Testing Challenged By Surfrider:
Seismic testing harms marine life.
Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) is planning to conduct seismic testing off the Central Coast in order to map fault zones near Diablo Canyon nuclear plant (supposedly to predict power plant “safety” during an earthquake). Seismic testing can have devastating impacts on ocean ecosystems--go here to read more about the dangers of seismic testing. Surfrider Foundation San Luis Obispo Chapter has been actively opposing PG&E’s efforts and questions the overall value of the project—especially considering that the testing will not conclusively prove that the power plant will be safe during an earthquake. Surfrider believes PG&E should be using data they are collecting on land in order to analyze fault lines and ensure that ocean ecosystems and eco-tourism are protected. As Brad Snook, Chair of Surfrider Foundation San Luis Obispo said in a comment letter: “Why risk our fragile ecosystem and bring our citizens financial hardship without confirmed, measurable proof that this study will save human lives? Even for the earthquake faults that have been extensively profiled, earthquakes cannot be accurately predicted”. Read more about the proposal here.
The Good and Bad News for CA State Parks.
We know, we know….the past several weeks have been an emotional roller coaster for CA State Parks. Just when we thought nearly 25% of State Parks would shut down because the State didn’t have enough money to “operate parks”, a reprieve came when the Governor’s budget allocated millions of dollars to the state park system, and when local nonprofits and other entities entered into agreements to maintain/operate State parks. Just as Park advocates were celebrating the news that Parks would not close, the Sacramento Bee published an investigation that found the Department of Parks and Recreation concealed approximately $54 million in surplus funds. Surfrider Foundation was shocked and extremely disappointed to hear about the news; and we were dismayed that the funds were not used to help keep parks open. Despite the realization there are extra funds in the Department of Parks and Recreation, our state park system is not out of the woods. The economic situation that led to potential closures does not go away, even with the newly discovered funds. Surfrider Foundation will continue to work with the Save our State Parks coalition to ensure that the newly discovered funds will be directed to keeping parks open, functioning, and ensuring long term financial plans.