Lagoon or lot?
The Santa Cruz Group Sierra Club Executive Committee has communicated its concern to the Santa Cruz City Council about the Councils hesitancy in taking legal action to recover the San Lorenzo River lagoon (aka the 3rd Street parking lot).
Since the river is a critical habitat for endangered and threatened salmonid species, the Club encourages the Council to reclaim and restore this lost habitat. The citys legal consultant believes Santa Cruz has an excellent chance to prevail in court.
Mark Massara reports that a research poll produced by the Public Policy Institute and released in June shows that Californias population is growing by 600,000 people annually. Thats a new city the size of San Jose every 18 months. Over 80% of the population lives within an hour of the coast. People are alarmed about a severe lack of environmental protection and want government to do more. 76% of those polled refuse to drink tap water at home. 78% think there has been only some or hardly any progress addressing smog, water pollution and environmental protections since the 1980s. Only 35% approve of Governor Davis when it comes to environmental protection. Read the entire study at www.ppic.org.
A poor investment
If you think our region is alone in its traffic problems, think again. The Milwaukee region is planning to widen a highway, but the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel thinks the project is a poor business investment. To shave mere minutes off commute time will waste billions of taxpayers dollars. Check out their editorial at www.jsonline.com/news/editori als/jul02/56187.asp.
Studies show that new and expanded roads cause an increase in traffic. Shortly after new roads open, traffic increases by 10% to 50%. Added lanes also bring increases in noise and air pollution and decreases in green space, without easing traffic congestion. A cheaper and greener solution is to build travel alternatives such as commuter rail, buses, bike paths and sidewalks.
Fuel economy campaign
Since Congress wont improve the mpg standards for vehicles, the Club is taking its case to the auto makers through the public. Research shows that consumers want better fuel economy. The technology is available. Increased fuel economy will reduce Americas dependence on foreign oil, save money at the gas pump and cut pollution. Heres an example of one of the TV ads aired in Detroit and other eastern markets:
Vice Admiral Jack Shanahan, U.S. Navy Second Fleet, Retired: When I commanded the U.S. Second Fleet, I worried about threats that would put my sailors in harms way, including the consequences of our dependence on foreign oil. We dont have to be vulnerable to oil-producing nations if we use technology to reduce our need for oil, by making vehicles that go farther on a gallon of gas.
The automakers have the know-how. They also have the responsibility to help save oil and the lives of our Armed Forces.
Contact the Sierra Club: www.sierraclub.org Help us convince Detroit to make vehicles that go farther on a gallon of gas.
San Diego at top of the list
The Orange County Sanitation District has finally agreed to clean up its act and install secondary treatment to its sewage treatment system. The 240 million gallons/day of almost raw sewage it sends four and a half miles offshore has been coming back to haunt bathers, resulting in numerous beach closures.
Orange Countys decision leaves San Diego alone at the top of the list as the worst large city in the United States for sewage treatment. San Diego is seeking to have the federal government overrule the Coastal Commissions recent determination requiring that San Diego begin to utilize modern treatment for their sewage. Keep this in mind if you plan a vacation there.
How close are you?
How can you tell if you live near a major rail line or highway that could be used to transport radioactive waste to Yucca Mountain in Nevada? Theres an easy way to find out. Visit www.mapscience.org. The Environmental Working Group has developed this website which lets users type in their address to see if they or someone they love is on the way to Yucca Mountain from a facility that uses radioactive materials. Maps used on this website are based on preliminary routes prepared by the Department of Energy.