Fire Safety, not Clear-Cutting! Stop the Logging! Stick to Defensible Space! Save the Trees - Napa, Sonoma and Mendocino
The state is about to do excessive logging as part of post-fire "emergency tree removal". The state is about to clear 300 FEET of trees around any permitted building! This is far in excess of what science recommends: the research shows 100 FEET of clearing is sufficient. PLEASE email or fax the Office of Administrative Law (OAL) to stop this excessive and unnecessary clear-cutting throughout Sonoma, Napa and Mendocino. Haven't Sonoma, Napa and Mendocino been through enough??
*** Deadline extended to at least Monday 1/22 ***
They finally say the comment period is now open but ONLY for the next five days. If they mean business days, then I suppose it means by Monday, Jan. 22. But I'm just guessing. So it would be good to get your comments in as soon as possible.
email@example.com and Eric.Hedge@bof.ca.gov (Cal Fire)
OAL Reference Attorney
300 Capitol Mall, Suite 1250
Sacramento, California 95814
RE: Public comment on the “Emergency Rulemaking to Facilitate Post-Fire Recovery Efforts within Counties of Napa, Sonoma, and Mendocino”
Dear OAL Staff Members:
We are concerned about the level of clear-cutting (“harvesting”) being proposed by the Board of Forestry and Fire Protection, dated January 5 2018. Removals proposed in the Emergency Tree Removal Documents are well beyond the level required for public safety, and would result in the removal of stored carbon, trees that could have survived, and valuable wildlife habitat, including habitat that supports wildlife protected under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). We urge you to reduce the area to be cleared around permitted structures from 300 feet to 100 feet of defensible space, as 100 feet is the current standard recommended by CalFire and many fire scientists who have studied the subject in depth.
We understand that your stated intent is to protect the post-fire environment. However, the proposed removal footprint appears to be more economical that ecologically relevant to a system that is currently in the process of regenerating after the fires. Therefore, the proposed actions do not represent good intent.
There are several fundamental issues related to the proposed removal of “all dead or dying trees” within 300 feet of any permitted structure, and there is inherent lack of balance between safety measures and environmental damage resulting from the proposed post-fire salvage logging. Proposed removal of “all dead or dying trees” could also include dead or dying trees being “chipped or piled and burned within forty-five (45) days from the start of Timber Operations.”
Our major concerns include (a) the excessive removal of trees around each structure, (b) the preliminary evaluations that are likely to underestimate the number of live and recovering trees, (c) massive amounts of carbon lost due to burning (e.g., for biomass) and other harvesting products, (d) the elimination of great swaths of wildlife habitat due to excessive removal of snags as well as trees that could be still alive, and (e) the elimination of natural regeneration and carbon sequestration processes that are already vigorous, and (f) massive erosion impacts resulting from mechanical operations.
Your document includes an appreciation of the wildlife habitat created by stating the intended plan to “retain an average for the Harvest Area of not less than one (1) Decadent and Deformed Tree of Value to Wildlife, Snag, or Dying Tree per acre that is greater than sixteen (16) inches DBH and twenty (20) feet tall.” Many wildlife species, including species protected by the ESA, use the “snags” and one per acre is insufficient to provide adequate wildlife habitat that has been created by the October 2017 fires.
In a recent document, Dr. Richard Hutto stated that it is “abundantly clear that salvage logging has uniformly negative ecological consequences for the very species that are most restricted in their distribution to burned forest conditions (Hutto 1995, 2006, Hutto and Gallo 2006, Hutto 2008, Lindenmayer et al. 2008, DellaSala et al. 2014, DellaSala et al. 2015, Hutto et al. 2015, Lindenmayer et al. 2017, Thorn et al. 2017).”
Please note: there is a nine-fold difference (almost an order of magnitude difference) between tree removal operations conducted within with 100 feet around a permitted structure (approximately 31,400 square feet) to retain acceptable defensible space, and the proposed removal of 300 feet around a permitted structure (approximately 282,600 square feet). Our concern is that these operations are going to result in a massive loss of stored carbon and complex wildlife habitat created after the fires – habitat that is currently being documented by scientists. As summarized in your documents, 185,000 acres burned around approximately 9,200 homes, and damaged approximately 790 additional structures in Sonoma, Napa, and Mendocino Counties.
You also state the removal of dead and dying tree can “reduce the risk of fire to timberlands” and also “increase forest vigor and vitality of surviving stands of trees…” These notions have recently been disproved in the scientific literature by many empirical studies (e.g. 12-year study by Sarah Hart and others, 2015), and the Governor’s Scientific Advisor was informed about the results of those empirical studies.
In summary, we have well-founded concerns about the level of clear-cutting (“harvesting”) being proposed in your Emergency Tree Removal Documents, which is well beyond the level required for public safety, and will result in the removal of valuable stored carbon that also serves as excellent wildlife habitat, and natural carbon sequestration processes that are currently in progress. In addition, clear-cutting operations are very likely to result in the removal of trees that could have survived the fires.
Please consider clearing within the acceptable 100 feet to maintain defensible space.
Christy Sherr, John Muir Project of Earth Island Institute
Denise Boggs, Exec. Director, Conservation Congress
Heating Up: California Spotted Owls and Wildfire
Can large wildfire benefit spotted owls and other imperiled wildlife? An emerging science brings all manner of surprises, and a few tough questions.
We had a great night at the city council meeting. During the public comments section, 11 of around 20 speakers spoke in favor of public banking!
Next week, on Thursday 1/18 and Friday 1/19, city council will be deciding priorities for the upcoming year (time & location TBD). Public banking is the biggest possible pot of money that the city council can possibly go after: for the rebuild, for the homeless, for clean-up after the fires, etc. Please endorse our proposal, and come to the city council meetings on the 18th & 19th. We cannot afford to put this off another year.
One of our members spoke about how starting a public bank will help fund the rebuild of the City of Santa Rosa:
I am a climate activist working with the divestment team at Sonoma Solidarity with Standing Rock. We have joined with Public Bank Santa Rosa to urge the City of Santa Rosa to start a public bank as it is the ONLY way for the city to divest from Wall Street banks.
Now this proposal takes on a new urgency - as the city attempts to fund the rebuilding of infrastructure destroyed in the fires. A public bank offers huge financial gains:
It will help cut the cost of rebuilding Santa Rosa infrastructure after the fires IN HALF. This can be achieved by financing through the city's own bank, eliminating interest paid on bonds and returning the earned interest to the city's own operating budgets.
It will save millions in banking fees to Wall Street banks.
It can offer lower interest loans to homeowners wishing to rebuild after the fires.
It will help keep money in our city and county.
It's the only way the City of Santa Rosa and other cities and institutions can truly divest from Wall Street banks which invest in fossil fuels.
Profits can be used to finance clean energy projects and green, sustainable, more resilient rebuilding.
The public bank can profit from providing much needed financial services to the cannabis industry, and the profits can be applied to budgetary needs. If our county's cannabis dollars go to another public bank in the area, this financial opportunity may diminish at a time when we need it most. We must strike while the iron is hot.
We urge city council and the city manager to fund a feasibility study
right away, so we can reap these considerable benefits as soon as possible, so desperately needed by fire survivors. This is crucial to institutional divestment and to the rebuild of Santa Rosa. To everyone in the audience, please endorse our proposal at www.publicbanksantarosa.org/endorse.html.
P.S. Just how does public banking support Standing Rock? What is the connection?
As you may know, Native American leaders continue to call for divestment. However even if cities such as Seattle and San Francisco divest from fossil fuels, there is no bank big enough to handle their accounts. Unfortunately local banks and credit unions are only able to insure accounts up to $250,000. After the City of Albuquerque declared they were divesting from Wells Fargo, they received requests for proposals from 5 banks. Only Wells Fargo was able to fill all of the city's requirements, and the city has to return to Wells Fargo for now.
A public bank (a bank run by the government that serves the public interest) is the only option for cities which choose to divest their money from fossil fuel investments. This is why we at Sonoma Solidarity with Standing Rock have joined forces with the Public Bank Santa Rosa work group, and why Lakota People's Law Project actively promotes public banking. Note that in addition to the above local benefits, a public bank does not compete with local banks: it is a wholesale bank which can partner with local banks to offer lower interest loans.
Click here for more information about public banking.
See also the Mazaska Talks ("Money Talks") web site and Facebook page.
Happy New Year! As you are probably aware, even though the camps at Standing Rock are gone, Native American leadership continues to urge divestment from fossil fuels. Our divestment team at Sonoma Solidarity with Standing Rock has joined with Public Bank Santa Rosa to urge the City of Santa Rosa to start a public bank as it is the ONLY way for the city to divest from Wall Street banks.
Now this proposal takes on a new urgency - as the city attempts to fund the rebuilding of infrastructure destroyed in the fires. A public bank offers many financial gains:
We urge all community organizations to endorse our proposal. Also, please attend this Tuesday if you can. This is crucial to institutional divestment and to the rebuild of Santa Rosa. The link to the endorsement form is below.
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Shelly <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sun, Jan 7, 2018 at 7:36 PM
Subject: [Climate Activists-SC] Urgent: Endorsements Needed for Proposed Resolution to Create a Public Bank of Santa Rosa
Dear Friends of Public Banking,
A very warm and Happy New Year’s greeting to you all. The Friends of Public Banking working group has been diligently working away and we have created a Proposed Resolution to Create a Public Bank of Santa Rosa. We ask for your immediate support in endorsing this Proposal. We are asking that the city fund a feasibility study for a Public Bank of Santa Rosa. You may read the Proposal in full and endorse it on our website at the following link:
If link does not work, try: http://publicbanksantarosa.weebly.com/endorse.html
You may further show your support by signing our online petition, which also asks the city to support our recommendation to fund a feasibility study for a Public Bank of Santa Rosa.
http://www.publicbanksantarosa.org/petition.html or: http://publicbanksantarosa.weebly.com/petition.html
These requests are urgent due to the fact that the Santa Rosa City Council will be conducting their annual Public Hearing for 2018/2019 Budget Priorities at their regularly scheduled city council meeting this Tuesday, January 9th at 5:00pm at City Hall on 100 Santa Rosa Ave.
We would like to present a long list of supporters of both individuals and organizations for the Proposal at this meeting. It would be excellent if you could attend this meeting in solidarity to show resounding support in the request to fund the feasibility study this year. The more people who attend and speak to this request, the more likely it is that the council will approve the feasibility study. If you can attend, wear green and speak to the items in the Proposal that resonate most strongly with you. You can find the full city council meeting agenda at the following link for the January 9th meeting item #16.1 https://santa-rosa.legistar.com/Calendar.aspx
May 2018 be the year that the City of Santa Rosa takes strong and direct action to establish a Bank of Santa Rosa.
To our collective best always,
Friends of Public Banking Santa Rosa
"The tallest oak in the forest was once just a little nut that held its ground." ~ Unknown
What does it mean to be a good ally of Native Americans? This is a question we sometimes ask ourselves.
From theconversation.com web site:
"Climate justice – the idea that it is ethically wrong for some groups of people to suffer the detrimental effects of climate change more than others – is among the most significant moral issues today, referenced specifically in the landmark Paris Agreement of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
"...Indigenous peoples are among the populations who will suffer more, on average, than other communities from changing environmental conditions. Some are suffering right now.
"So as the protests and legal battles over the construction of the pipeline continue, we need to realize that protection of sacred sites and worries over contaminated water supplies are simultaneously concerns about climate justice and its relation to U.S. colonialism. Nonindigenous environmentalists are only allies if they work broadly toward decolonization, instead of aligning with indigenous peoples only when a particular issue, such as opposition to one pipeline, seems to match their interests."
Click to read the whole article.
Grist Magazine: 5 Native American tribes are gearing up for a legal battle with Trump on national monuments.
“More than 150 years ago, the federal government removed our ancestors from Bears Ears at gunpoint and sent them on the Long Walk,” Navajo Nation Council Delegate Davis Filfred said in statement. “But we came back.”
The five tribes have said they will bring a legal case against the administration — the outcome could redefine the president’s powers to use the Antiquities Act. “We know how to fight and we will fight to defend Bears Ears,” Filfred said.
To support the five tribes, click here.
Click here to read the article.
Women's Earth & Climate Action Network (WECAN) issued a press release on Nov. 21, 2017: "Norwegian Oil Fund Recommends Divesting $37 Billion from Oil and Gas Industry After Meeting Standing Rock Activists in Ongoing Global Divestment Push."
The press release contains quotes from many Native American women leaders including LaDonna Brave Bull Allard, Tara Houska, Osprey Orielle Lake and more:
SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA, Calif. (November 21, 2017) – "In the same week the Keystone Pipeline spilled 210,000 gallons of oil in South Dakota, the trillion-dollar Norwegian Oil Fund urged the government of Norway to divest from oil and gas companies - affecting $37 billion worth of investments. This news alone drove energy stocks lower, as the Fund owns on average 1.3% of every publicly traded company in the world. The announcement comes after two delegations of Indigenous women met with the Oil Fund in Oslo to give direct testimony of human and Indigenous rights abuses at Standing Rock. This advocacy work followed other Indigenous frontline communities directly affected by and engaging with the Oil Fund on its fossil fuel investments, including the Indigenous Sami people."
Click here for press release.
WECAN's Facebook page
sponsored by the state of California and gleefully assisted by its newest citizens.
"Today, despite all odds, California has the United States’ largest Native American population and is home to 109 federally recognized tribes. But the state’s treatment of native peoples during its founding days—and the role the slaughter of Native Americans played in establishing California’s prosperity—is little known today."
From the statement about Indigenous Peoples Community Day by the International Indigenous Youth Council (IIYC):
Chief Arvol Looking Horse of the Lakota, Dakota, and Nakota Nations recently stated:
“Each of us is put here in this time and this place to personally decide the future of humankind. Did you think the Creator would create unnecessary people in a time of such terrible danger? Know that you yourself are essential to this world. Understand both the blessing and the burden of that. You yourself are desperately needed to save the soul of this world. Did you think you were put here for something less? In a Sacred Hoop of Life, there is no beginning and no ending.”
To read more about the International Indigenous Youth Council (IIYC), see IIYC Facebook page.
By Phil McKenna
Nov 13, 2017
From InsideClimate News: In his first interview since losing re-election, Dave Archambault II speaks candidly about the Dakota Access Pipeline protests and threats to tribal sovereignty. Quote from the article:
ICN: What was the significance of the DAPL fight in terms of native sovereignty and environmental justice?
Archambault: It was of huge significance, especially for environmental justice, because when you look at these infrastructure projects, you have to take a look at the route, and when you look at the route, it follows the highest areas of poverty, and in this nation, the highest areas of poverty are Indian Country. The 10 poorest counties of this nation, over half of them are tribal nations. What tribes are doing is saying, we have value, we have worth, we're still here, and that is exercising your sovereignty.
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Chase Iron Eyes <email@example.com>
Date: Thu, Nov 9, 2017 at 6:30 PM
Subject: A legal breakthrough at Standing Rock! Please share call to action.
Standing Rock raised the stakes for the global environmental and indigenous rights movements. Now, another victory. A North Dakota judge has ruled that my legal team is entitled to substantially more evidence from the North Dakota State Prosecutor’s office than has been forthcoming in other water protector cases. We will be able to take sworn testimony and demand documents from Energy Transfer Partners and their private, militarized security firm, TigerSwan.
The timing on this ruling is important for all environmental protectors. 84 members of Congress—nearly all Republicans—recently sent a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions encouraging him to invoke the domestic terrorism statute to prosecute fossil fuel protesters. These attacks on our fundamental constitutional rights, spearheaded by Donald Trump and parroted by congressional shills of Big Oil, should deeply concern all citizens who value our right to speak freely and demonstrate.
Our team has produced a new video that explains how I was singled out and targeted—and the justification for our bold legal strategy to expose the illegal and immoral wedding of the fossil fuel industry, law enforcement, and militarized private security forces. You’ll see why I took action on behalf of my people, millions of others downstream, and Unci Maka—Grandmother Earth. Please watch it, and share it widely.
Don’t lose sight of what Standing Rock means. My tribe—one of the poorest communities in the nation—won’t stop leading the struggles to protect the earth and freedom of expression. Continue to stand with me, my courageous fellow defendant HolyElk Lafferty, and hundreds of others being represented by our ally organization, the Water Protector Legal Collective. Our fight is your fight—and it is nothing less than the movement to protect freedom and the earth for future generations.
Wopila—I thank you.
Chase Iron Eyes
Lakota People’s Law Project Lead Counsel
P.S. Help us reach 60,000 petition signatures. Please share our video with your network and together we will pressure North Dakota’s legal authorities to do the right thing and #DropDAPLCharges. In the coming weeks, we will hand-deliver petitions to the state’s attorney. More than 45,000 have already signed. Help us free the water protectors!
Lakota People's Law Project
547 South 7th Street #149
Bismarck, ND 58504-5859