Serving Sonoma, Nap Napa a & Marin CountiesJune Counties June 2-8, 2-8, 2 2010Yf_\d`Xe%ZfdVOL. 010 Yf_\d`Xe%Zfd VOL. 32. 32.03 03
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Whale of a Problem p9 | Accidental Savior p25
A SUMMER STREET PARTY OUTDOOR DINING CRAFTERS j ART MUSIC j WINE TASTING
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;Tbb^]b;TPa]TS. Looking at the Gulf disaster from a West Coast point of view
By Dennis Takahashi-Kelso
ometime after midnight on March 24, 1989, I was awakened by a phone call. Within hours, I was climbing a rope ladder to the deck of the Exxon Valdez. The grounded tanker would drain 11 million gallons of crude into Alaskaâ€™s Prince William Sound. The oil would eventually reach parts of some 1,200 miles of coastline, enough to span Californiaâ€™s coast and Oregonâ€™s, too. Twenty-one years later, oil remains in the beaches of Prince William Sound. Back in 1989, I was Alaska Commissioner of Environmental Conservation. It was my job to oversee the response for the state and enforce cleanup standards. I worked on the spill and its aftermath for two years. Today, Iâ€™m executive vice president of Ocean Conservancy. Over the past few weeks, Iâ€™ve been in the Gulf of Mexico witnessing a new disaster. The BP Deepwater Horizon catastrophe, like Exxon Valdez before it, was a breakdown of an industrial system that we had been assured would not fail. In fact, the federal agency that approves drilling leases and plans considers the odds of such a blowout to be so â€œinsignificantâ€? as to be irrelevant to its environmental risk analyses. A generation after the Exxon Valdez, we still do not take those risks properly into account, and our addiction to oil still threatens our coastal communities, wildlife, economy and oceanâ€” the life-support system for our planet. What are the risks for California? New leases are prohibited in state waters, and new leases for federal waters off California were not included in the Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Strategy released by President Obama in March. But California still has 27 active drilling platforms, and 36 leases sold before 1984 have yet to be tapped. The risk remains. Letâ€™s heed the lessons from the Gulf of Mexico and Prince William Sound. Consider what is at stake: Our state ranks first in both employment and gross state product from ocean-related activities. Our coastal economy is driven not by petroleum, but by hotel
rooms and surf shops, by fish tacos and kayak rentals. Tourism and coastal-dependent businesses generate about $43 billion annually for our state. Imagine the impact of an Exxon Valdez or BP Deepwater Horizon off the California coast. Imagine people without jobs, businesses without customers, otters matted in oil, tide pools filled with tar balls and whales breaching through iridescent slicks of crude oil. The president must demand accountability for Deepwater Horizon. BP, Halliburton and other corporations must be held fully responsible for the cleanup. Communities and businesses must be compensated. The Gulf ecosystem must be restored. A failure of this magnitude also demands an independent commission to investigate and to ensure it never happens again anywhere in the United States. California and the entire West Coast should be declared off-limits to new drilling. On a positive note, we have seen proposals in the U.S. House and Senate to do just that. In the final analysis, as BP Deepwater Horizon has made clear, we need a new national energy policy. New drilling only feeds our addiction to oil and will do little to end our dependence on foreign supplies. Instead, America must move toward greater energy efficiency and conservation. We must also pursue faster, cheaper, safer options. Lastly, we must heed the lessons of the Exxon Valdez, as a new catastrophe calls us to action. If we do, no American will ever again have to witness the disasters or the harm to coastal residents that I have seen.
We must heed the lessons of the Exxon Valdez, as a new catastrophe calls us to action.
Dennis Takahashi-Kelso serves as executive vice president of Ocean Conservancy. As Alaska Commissioner of Environmental Conservation at the time of the Exxon Valdez oil spill, he worked for two years on response and restoration, as well as on reforms to federal spill response and liability laws. Open Mic is a weekly feature in the Bohemian. We welcome your contribution. To have your topical essay of 700 words considered for publication, write email@example.com.
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=>CC7414BC?;0=. The Best Family Investors LLC Winery proposed for the corner of Highway 116 and Occidental Road in Sebastopol is on Board of Supervisorâ€™s agenda for June 8. New information and reports have been submitted that should give pause to the board and at the very least require that an Environmental Impact Review be performed. The California Regional Water Quality Control Board, North Coast Regionâ€”a division of the California EPAâ€”prepared an eight-page report dated March 1 and submitted it to the Sonoma County Permit and Resource Management Department. It includes copies of correspondence dating back to December 2006. Here is a direct quote from the report: â€œThe Regional Water Board does not believe that the Mitigated Negative Declaration provides adequate analysis and mitigation of potential impacts to water quality. Without further analysis and mitigation,
we do not consider the MND to be sufficient as an environmental analysis.â€? This report discusses serious concerns and lack of mitigation regarding the existing wetlands on the project site and the proposal to â€œtakeâ€? the wetland for a winery facility. This report has never been mentioned in a public hearing. The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors took a straw vote on March 2 to approve this project. Is this how the county protects the people? Is this how the county protects our environment? Will the county ignore the EPA? The Board of Supervisors must put the brakes on this project! An EIR is required if this project is to continue. Attend the meeting on June 8 at 2:10pm. Sonoma County Board of Supervisors 575 Administration Drive, Room 100-A, Santa Rosa.
F8==4AC0:4B0;; Iâ€™m sorry to see Alastair Bland perpetuate the myth that the Golan Heights is located in Israel. (â€œWine? In Israel?â€? May 19). Itâ€™s true that the Israelis occupy the Golan Heights, but thatâ€™s a very different situation, as theyâ€™re occupying it illegally. Although the Golan Heights is part of Syria, Israel passed a law in 1981 claiming the Golan Heights for Israel; the United Nations has condemned the Israeli claim. Syria has never stopped demanding that the land be returned, and in 2006, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution calling on Israel to end its occupation of the Golan, while declaring all the legislative and administrative measures taken by Israel in the Golan null and void. In 2008, the U.N. reiterated its condemnation of Israelâ€™s actions 161-to-1. I hope that the otherwise wonderful Bohemian will not continue to perpetuate the myth.
0=4F1>CC><;8=4 Observing the incompetent reaction by BP in response to its oil spill, it is obvious we cannot allow corporations to rule the world. This accident is like the military accidentally dropping a payload of bombs on a city and then apologizing. I saw the movie Oceans last night, and it really helped me grasp the size of this problem on the Gulf Coast.
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Have you seen the billboard on Old Redwood Highway between Penngrove and Cotati with a cat and pig almost nose to nose? Not your usual ad for beer, bonds or fast food. The caption reads, â€œWhich do you pet . . . which do you eat? Why?â€? Something to think about.
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#1 again, thanks for the continuous support Sonoma County, see you in the water, or come by the shop!
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