Baykeeper's E-newsletter for September 2018

San Francisco Baykeeper E-News
Monthly Update for September 2018
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San Francisco Bay

Green light for more tar sands oil threatens the Bay

Phillips 66

In a ruling that poses risks for San Francisco Bay, regional regulators recently approved an increase in the refining of heavy tar sands oil at the Phillips 66 oil refinery in Rodeo.

The change amounts to nine more oil tankers on the Bay every year. Any increase in the transport of this heavy crude oil across the Bay raises the risk of a disastrous oil spill.

And there's a greater danger in allowing Phillips 66 to gradually refine more tar sands oil. It moves the oil company closer to its goal of more than doubling the number of tanker ships permitted to transport crude oil across the Bay to its refinery—from 59 to 135 tankers per year.

Unlike lighter oils, which float on the water's surface, and can be at least partially skimmed and removed, tar sands oil sinks. If spilled in the Bay, it would likely sink to the bottom, smother plants and wildlife, and irreparably harm the ecosystem.

Baykeeper worked in coalition with community and environmental groups to successfully defeat two previous Bay Area oil industry expansion proposals, in Pittsburg and Benicia. Using the same coalition strategy, we'll keep fighting to prevent any increase in oil tankers carrying dangerous tar sands crude oil across San Francisco Bay.

Learn more about Baykeeper's work to keep tar sands crude oil from harming San Francisco Bay.

Photo by rulenumberone2, Flickr/CC

Global Climate Action Summit comes to San Francisco

Refinery Aerial

Politicians, journalists, and international dignitaries are gathering this week in San Francisco for the Global Climate Action Summit to plan for the "decarbonization" of the world economy.

Baykeeper Staff Attorney Nicole Sasaki is participating several events, including the summit's Water Pavilion, which focuses on water's role in stabilizing the climate and building resilience to the impacts of climate change. Baykeeper staff also attended the Rise for Climate March in the run-up to the summit last weekend.

Amid these important discussions, the fossil fuel industry continues to push for expansions in the Bay Area.

As described above, Phillips 66 recently secured approval to process more crude oil at its Rodeo refinery. And a massive coal export facility in Oakland is in the works despite strong local opposition. These fossil fuel expansions will contribute to increased greenhouse gas emissions and raise the risk of pollution in San Francisco Bay.

"While cities, environmental groups, and residents are grappling with global climate change, right here in the Bay Area the fossil fuel industry is attempting to expand its dirty operations," says Baykeeper Executive Director Sejal Choksi-Chugh. "This is a huge risk for the Bay and counterproductive for climate change mitigation efforts."

Working with community and environmental partners, San Francisco Baykeeper is fighting to stop additional refinery expansions and ban coal exports out of Oakland.

Photo by Robb Most & LightHawk Conservation Flying

California says no to Trump's offshore oil drilling plan

Oil rig

In a victory for the Bay—and the entire state—Governor Brown has signed two bills that will help prevent new offshore oil drilling along California's shoreline.

Senate Bill 834 and Assembly Bill 1775 were created in response to the Trump administration's reckless plan to allow expanded ocean drilling around the country, including along the Northern California coast. To prevent this, the bills prohibit the construction in state waters of pipelines and other infrastructure essential for transporting oil from offshore rigs to local refineries for processing.

There is no such thing as a spill-resistant oil rig. Any drilling near San Francisco Bay or the northern coast of California would significantly increase the risk of an oil spill in the Bay. Baykeeper advocated in support of this legislation, and we applaud the California legislature and Governor Brown for taking action to prevent offshore oil drilling. We'll continue to support proactive measures to prevent an ecological disaster in San Francisco Bay.

Read more about California's new offshore drilling legislation.

Photo, above, of an oil rig off of the Southern California coast, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Baykeeper fights for healthy river flows to the Bay

Flows ProtestFresh water flowing through the Delta to San Francisco Bay is essential for the health of habitat and wildlife, particularly fish. But massive volumes of water are being diverted for cities and farms. Some rivers have up to 95% of their natural flow removed before reaching the Bay-Delta estuary, with a devastating impact on native fish and the entire ecosystem.

With increased efficiency, conservation, and water-saving technologies like water recycling and rainwater harvesting, these excessive water diversions wouldn't be necessary. Baykeeper is advocating for using water resources more efficiently, rather than sucking the San Francisco Bay ecosystem dry.

The State Water Board is creating a new plan to control how much fresh water should flow through the rivers feeding the Delta and Bay. Unfortunately, the Board's plan leaves less water in the rivers than what's needed.

During a recent hearing in Sacramento, Baykeeper Staff Attorney Ben Eichenberg joined a coalition of partner environmental organizations, Indian tribes, and fishing organizations to advocate for the Board to adopt healthier flows.

Read more about our coalition work to fight for fresh water flowing into the Bay-Delta estuary.

Pictured above, left to right: Noah Oppenheim of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations; Ben Eichenberg of San Francisco Baykeeper; and Darcie Luce of the SF Estuary Partnership/Friends of the SF Estuary

Drone patrol of the South Bay salt ponds

Salt pond

Last week, Baykeeper's aerial patrol captured dramatic drone footage of industrial salt ponds in the South Bay (pictured).

The bright colors of the ponds–which you may have spotted when traveling by plane in the Bay Area–are caused by microorganisms' reactions to salt. The higher the salinity, the redder the ponds become.

Salt pondThe area used to be marshland, but it was converted into evaporation ponds for industrial-scale salt harvesting in the 19th century. Salt is still produced in the ponds by the company Cargill, mostly for industrial purposes.

But the salt ponds are currently undergoing an important transformation, with more than 15,000 acres slated for restoration. The restored areas will be reconnected to San Francisco Bay and returned to marshland, providing vital habitat for wildlife and a natural buffer against sea level rise.

Photos by Autonomous Imagery, our partner in patrolling San Francisco Bay from the air

This weekend: Support Baykeeper at Eat Real Fest in Oakland

Going to the Eat Real Fest this weekend? Your bar tips will go directly to supporting a healthy San Francisco Bay.

The Eat Real Festival takes place Friday to Sunday along the Jack London Square waterfront in Oakland. It features artisan street food, craft beers, local wines, and mixed drinks, using regionally sourced and sustainably produced ingredients. There is no entrance fee.

Eat Real Fest

If you're enjoying beer or wine, drop a donation in the Baykeeper tip jar to help protect the Bay from pollution. Eat, drink, and tip generously to support a healthy Bay!

Eat Real Festival - September 14-16
Jack London Square, Oakland
Friday: 3:00PM - 10:00PM
Saturday: 11:00AM - 10:00PM
Sunday: 11:00AM - 6:00PM

For more information, visit the Eat Real website.

This Saturday: volunteer for the Bay during Coastal Cleanup Day

Coastal Cleanup Day

Coastal Cleanup Day is the world's biggest volunteer day protecting the environment, with thousands of beach and shoreline cleanups around the globe.

Every year, Baykeeper hosts a Coastal Cleanup Day cleanup to keep trash out of San Francisco Bay. In 2017, our volunteers cleared more than 300 pounds of trash—over 7,000 items—in just three hours! We're hoping to get the shoreline even cleaner this year.

The Baykeeper cleanup at India Basin is currently full, but there are lots of Coastal Cleanup Day volunteer opportunities around the Bay. Click here to find cleanups along the Bay shoreline, plus dozens more along creeks that flow to the Bay.

For details about the Baykeeper cleanup click here.

Photo by Robb Most

Bay Day fun run, shoreline cleanup & pancake breakfast in Berkeley

Sports BasementIn celebration of Bay Day on October 6, Baykeeper is holding a combo shoreline cleanup and fun run in South Berkeley with our friends at Sports Basement.

The event will start with an optional 5k run from the Sports Basement store in South Berkeley to the Berkeley Marina. Volunteers will gather at the Shorebird Park Nature Center and clear away the trash and debris polluting the Bay shoreline.

After the cleanup, volunteers will have the option of running (or taking more conventional transport) back to the Sports Basement store for a free pancake breakfast celebrating the Bay.

Click here for more information and to register.

Bay Day fun run & shoreline cleanup - Saturday, October 6
Sports Basement at 2727 Milvia Street, Berkeley, and Berkeley Marina
8:30AM – 12:00PM

Berkeley Marina

Photo of the Berkeley Marina by Melinda Stuart, Flickr/CC

Binocs  Baykeeper on patrol

Baykeeper Field Investigator Sienna Courter headed to the Hamilton Wetlands in Novato last week with representatives from the California Office of Spill Prevention and Response (OSPR). We're working closely with OSPR to analyze how oil spills affect sensitive sites around the Bay, and the best ways to protect those areas when a spill does occur.

Former San Francisco Giants pitcher and current Community Ambassador Jeremy Affeldt (pictured, below center) joined Baykeeper Executive Director Sejal Choksi-Chugh on the Baykeeper boat earlier this month. Sejal and Jeremy navigated around the Central Bay, and discussed how local community leaders can get involved to help stop the greatest pollution threats to the Bay.

Jeffry Affeldt

Pictured above: San Francisco Giants Community Ambassador and former pitcher Jeremy Affeldt

Photo at top by Roberto Soncin Gerometta

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