Baykeeper's E-Newsletter for June 2016

Welcome to San Francisco Baykeeper's June E-News.
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San Francisco Baykeeper E-News
Monthly Update for June 2016
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San Francisco Bay

Oil train derails in Oregon, highlights danger of oil transport by rail

On June 3, a train with 96 tank cars full of crude oil derailed in Oregon along the Columbia River Gorge. A crude oil fire burned for 13 hours. Four cars ruptured, spilling oil that reached the river. An oil sheen on the water was visible from the air two days later.

Baykeeper's sister organization, Columbia Riverkeeper, has been actively engaged at the accident scene, calling for a complete cleanup of spilled oil and derailed train cars; a thorough investigation of what went wrong; and a federal ban on high-risk oil train shipments through the Columbia Gorge and other U.S. communities.

This accident is a result of the oil industry's push to move more crude oil across the US to West Coast ports for export. It highlights the need to prevent an increase in the amount of crude oil transported by train on tracks that run near waterways and communities—including along the San Francisco Bay shoreline and through Bay Area neighborhoods.

To prevent a similar tragic oil spill in San Francisco Bay, Baykeeper has been working to oppose the oil industry's plans to turn the Bay Area into a hub for the export of dirty crude oil.

Learn more about the oil spill into the Columbia River and Baykeeper's work to stop the expansion of oil transport by train along San Francisco Bay.

Photo courtesy of Columbia Riverkeeper

Victory for the Bay! Measure AA passes

In a major victory for San Francisco Bay, Measure AA was approved by Bay Area voters last week. The initiative to fund Bay restoration and protection received 69% of the vote in the nine counties around the Bay, putting AA over the 2/3 majority it needed to pass.

The overwhelming approval of the measure demonstrates the Bay Area’s support for a healthy, more resilient San Francisco Bay. Baykeeper is proud to be part of the coalition of Bay Area groups that supported this initiative. And we’re honored to work on behalf of Bay Area residents who believe in our mission of a creating a sustainable San Francisco Bay for future generations.

Measure AA is a $12 per year parcel tax—a tax on each piece of property in the nine counties surrounding San Francisco Bay. The passage of the tax will be used to obtain additional matching funds from state and federal governments. Funds will be administered to projects that will restore Bay wetlands, reduce trash and other pollution in the Bay, protect shoreline communities from future flooding, and increase shoreline trails and parks.

Learn more about Measure AA and how it will help to protect and restore San Francisco Bay.

Photo by Tracy Corbin

What's better for the Bay: wetlands or a private resort?

After the owner of 39-acre Point Buckler Island, located in Suisun Bay, filled the island's wetlands and tidal marshes without proper permits, authorities levied a fine of $4.6 million and ordered him to restore the island's important wetland ecosystem.

In recent media coverage, the landowner attempted to downplay the harm his actions have caused, painting the penalties as an example of government regulators run amok.

Baykeeper supports the efforts of the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board to enforce the law to preserve critical wetlands.

This photo shows what was done to Pt. Buckler's former wetlands, which the owner plans to use as a high-end resort. Wetlands provide habitat for birds and other species, filter pollutants, and buffer our communities from sea level rise and storm surges. Filling and draining them can harm or ruin these fragile ecosystems.

Bay Area residents just voted overwhelmingly in favor of a tax to restore Bay wetlands. This investment shouldn't be undermined by unauthorized actions by property owners.

Learn more about unpermitted filling of wetlands on Point Buckler Island and Baykeeper's support for preserving Bay-Delta wetlands.

Photo from San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board inspection report

Berkeley trash & recycling center agrees to protect the Bay from toxic runoff

The City of Berkeley Transfer Station and Recycling Center recently agreed to keep contaminated rainwater from running off its site and into storm drains that empty into San Francisco Bay. This is the 34th victory in Baykeeper's Bay-Safe Industry Campaign.

The facility processes trash for transfer to a landfill; compostable materials; and recyclable materials including paper, metal, glass, construction debris, and electronics. Its work is critical to reducing waste in landfills, and this agreement with Baykeeper will ensure that the facility can fulfill its valuable role without contaminating the Bay.

Baykeeper sued the facility under the Clean Water Act because for five years, rainwater running off the property was contaminated with a long list of pollutants harmful to Bay wildlife.

The facility operators cooperated with Baykeeper to find solutions to the site's pollution problems, and will implement pollution controls to keep contaminated water out of the Bay.

Learn more about Baykeeper's pollution cleanup agreement with the City of Berkeley Transfer Station and Recycling Center.

2016 Bay Parade—a great day for our beloved Bay

On May 22, 200 swimmers, kayakers, stand up paddleboarders, and boaters paraded on the water in Baykeeper's 3rd annual Bay Parade.

It was a wonderful show of support for San Francisco Bay—and for Baykeeper's work to keep the Bay safe and healthy for recreation.

The winners of the Golden Rivet competitive swim from the Golden Gate Bridge to McCovey Cove were Suzanne Heim-Bowen (fastest solo swimmer) and the Olympic Club team (fastest relay swimmers): Rob Newell, Jason Dunford, Quinn Fitzgerald, and Mikkel-Ane Stipe.

The Golden Rivet Awards for biggest Bay Parade fundraisers went to Baykeeper Advisory Board member Palmer Hill and Bay Parade swimmer and support boat captain, Tyler Meade.

A big thank you to everyone who helped make the Bay Parade a big success, including:

— Bay Parade participants, volunteers, and everyone who donated in support of a healthy San Francisco Bay.

— The Bay Parade Host Committee: Larry Baer, CEO, San Francisco Giants; Matt Davenport, President, Anchor Brewing Company; and Michael Kobori, Vice President of Sustainability, Levi Strauss & Co.

Anchor Brewing for hosting the Bay Parade Party and creating a special Baykeeper IPA in honor of a safe San Francisco Bay.

Levi Strauss & Co., the San Francisco Giants and all of our other generous Bay Parade sponsors.

Thank you for supporting Baykeeper's work to protect the Bay from pollution!

Learn more and see photos of the Bay Parade.

Photo by Clay Schmitz

Photo at top by Roberto Soncin Gerometta