Baykeeper's E-Newsletter for April 2016

San Francisco Baykeeper E-News
Monthly Update for April 2016
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San Francisco Bay

Baykeeper refutes developer's claim that coal export won't harm the Bay

Can 10 million tons of Utah coal per year be brought by train through the Bay Area and shipped from Oakland to Asia—without polluting neighborhoods and San Francisco Bay?

The developers of a bulk shipping terminal in Oakland claim it can be done, in an opinion piece on the pages of the April issue of the Bay Crossings newspaper.

On the same pages, Baykeeper refutes the claims, explaining how much harm coal exported from Oakland would create for San Francisco Bay, the Bay Area, and the global climate.

For example, the developers claim they can prevent pollution by using covered train cars when they bring coal to Oakland by rail. But when coal gets overheated, it can explode. That's why it must be shipped in open cars. And if the covered cars have enough ventilation to prevent explosions, coal dust and small pieces of coal will leak out into neighborhoods near railroad tracks and along the Bay shoreline.

Learn more about how Baykeeper refutes the developer's claims about coal export.

Photo by Paul K. Anderson

Standing up against tank cars filled with crude oil near the Bay's shore

Baykeeper is keeping up the pressure to block Valero Energy Corporation's plan to enlarge the train yard at its Benicia refinery. Valero wants to enlarge the rail yard to bring more crude oil to the Bay Area for refining.

If the Valero expansion project moves forward, two 50-car trains per day would carry dirty and explosive crude oil on tracks beside Suisun Bay, a San Francisco Bay inlet and important wildlife habitat area. Oil spilled along Suisun Bay's shore could quickly spread throughout San Francisco Bay.

In February, the Benicia Planning Commission unanimously voted against Valero's crude oil train project. Valero appealed to the Benicia City Council, which is holding heavily-attended hearings this month. Baykeeper recently joined with other environmental and community groups to advocate against the project before Benicia leaders. We're making a strong legal case for why the city council must reject Valero's plan for tank cars full of crude oil in the city of Benicia and near the Bay shore.

Learn more about Baykeeper standing up against tank cars filled with crude oil near the Bay's shore.

Photo by Robb Most

Register now for the Bay Parade on May 22

Calling all swimmers, SUPers, kayakers, and boaters! Sign up now to be part of the Bay Parade on Sunday, May 22.

The Bay Parade is an annual celebration of Baykeeper's successes in making San Francisco Bay safe and enjoyable for recreation.

Join us for a fun and active day in San Francisco Bay, and support Baykeeper's work to protect the Bay. You'll make it to the big screen when the parade's finale is broadcast on the Jumbotron at the start of the Giants home game! The celebration will continue on land at the Bay Parade after party, hosted by Anchor Brewing. Thanks to Bay Parade sponsor Levi Strauss & Co. for the company's premiere support of the Bay Parade!

Registration is open now for three courses: 6.5 mile swim, 1 mile SUP, and 1 mile kayak. We also need sailboats and powerboats as volunteer escorts for the swimmers.

Learn more and register for the 3rd Annual Bay Parade on Sunday, May 22.

Santa Clara plating company agrees to protect the Bay from toxic runoff

CSL, a metal plating and coating company in Santa Clara, recently agreed to keep contaminated rainwater from running off of its site and into storm drains that eventually flow to San Francisco Bay.

Baykeeper sued the company under the federal Clean Water Act because its storm water runoff contained high levels of aluminum, zinc, iron, nitrate, nitrite, and acid. These pollutants are toxic to fish and other aquatic life.

Most of the pollution has been washing off the facility's roof. Under the company's legally-binding agreement with Baykeeper, CSL is required to wash the roof regularly, send the wash water to the sewer system, and filter storm water running off the roof.

This is the 33rd victory in Baykeeper's Bay-Safe Industry Campaign targeting the widespread problem of illegal toxic runoff into the Bay from Bay Area industrial facilities.

Learn more about Baykeeper's legally-binding pollution cleanup agreement with CSL.

Baykeeper supports legislation to restrict coal export from California

Four bills introduced in the California Legislature by State Senator Loni Hancock would reduce the threat of pollution from coal in San Francisco Bay and local communities. Baykeeper supports all four.

The proposed legislation will help prevent coal from being exported from the terminal proposed at the former Oakland Army Base, and may also keep dirty fossil fuels out of Vallejo. Baykeeper has been fighting to prevent coal and other fossil fuel exports from both cities because of the pollution that would be caused.

The four bills—SB 1277, 1278, 1279, and 1280—tighten regulations on coal statewide and specifically prohibit shipping coal through Oakland. Baykeeper staff members testified in favor of the bills this week at legislative committee hearings in Sacramento.

Learn more about bills that would reduce the threat of coal pollution in the Bay and local communities.

Photo by Robb Most

Vote Yes on Measure AA June 7

Baykeeper recommends a Yes vote on Measure AA in the California primary election on June 7. This ballot measure will provide critical funding to improve the health and resiliency of San Francisco Bay.

Measure AA provides funds to:

  • Restore Bay wetlands
  • Reduce trash and other pollution in the Bay
  • Protect shoreline communities from future flooding
  • Increase trails and parks along the Bay shoreline

The ballot measure is a $12 per year parcel tax—a tax on each piece of property in the nine counties surrounding San Francisco Bay. It needs a 2/3 yes vote to pass. Remember to vote on June 7, and vote yes on AA!

Learn more about Measure AA for a clean and healthy San Francisco Bay.

Photo at top by Roberto Soncin Gerometta