Legislature Kills Bill, Risking Harm from Toxic Spills in the Bay

State legislation sponsored by Baykeeper, a bill that would have protected wildlife and San Francisco Bay waters from the impacts of toxic chemical spills, was recently killed by budget-cutting legislators.

Senate Bill 718 was inspired by the January release of a mysterious sticky gray substance into the Bay. Dubbed in press reports as “mystery goo,” the unknown toxic chemical killed more than 200 birds and harmed many more.


Most Bay Area Beaches Are Safe in Dry Weather

It’s safe to go in the water at most Bay Area beaches when the weather’s dry, according to the Annual Beach Report Card released today. A few Bay Area beaches have clean water even during wet weather. But at several local beaches, the water is too polluted to go in, in both wet weather and dry.

The report card, issued by Baykeeper’s partner, Santa Monica-based Heal the Bay, assigns a grade of A to F to beaches along the West Coast for water quality. Better grades indicate a lower risk of illness for people who go in the water.

Marin Sanitary Service Agrees to Protect Bay from Polluted Runoff

In the 27th victory for Baykeeper’s Bay-Safe Industry Campaign, Marin Sanitary Service in San Rafael recently agreed to improve its site to protect San Francisco Bay from contaminated runoff. Baykeeper brought suit under the Clean Water Act based on the company’s reports of pollution in storm water running off its site. In addition, Baykeeper volunteers went to the site perimeter and collected samples of runoff that revealed additional pollutants.

Advocating for Dredging Changes to Protect the Bay and Ocean Beach

On June 4, Baykeeper advocated before the Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC) for changes in San Francisco Bay dredging to reduce erosion of Bay and coastal shorelines and better protect endangered species. However, BCDC voted to issue permits for the continuation of maintenance dredging by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers without changes until 2017. BCDC’s decision may represent the last step in the regulatory approval of dredging practices that have accelerated the pace of coastal erosion and harmed imperiled fish.


Second Annual Bay Parade a Big Success for the Bay

More than 100 swimmers, sailors, stand-up paddle boarders, surfers, kayakers, and rowers—along with Bay enthusiasts on the Hornblower hybrid ferry, the classic sailing schooner Freda B, and the Baykeeper pollution patrol boat—paraded on the water in the second annual Bay Parade on Sunday May 31. It was a terrific show of support for a clean and healthy San Francisco Bay.

The parade started near Pier 14, where swimmers and surfers jumped into the Bay from the Hornblower Ferry. They were joined by sailboats, paddlers, and rowers, with some in costume!

Baykeeper Supports New Local Laws Requiring Manufacturers to Fund Drug Disposal

Bay Area communities are passing laws to require pharmaceutical companies to fund safe disposal of leftover medications, which will help keep drug pollution out of San Francisco Bay.  The U.S. Supreme Court recently turned down the drug industry’s challenge to the first of these laws in the nation, enacted by Alameda County.


Army Corps Dredging Permit Approved Despite Concerns over Erosion and Wildlife

Baykeeper recently advocated for changes in San Francisco Bay dredging that would have reduced erosion of Bay and coastal shorelines and better protected endangered Bay species. However, despite growing concerns within the scientific community that dredging the Bay is accelerating the pace of coastal erosion and harming fish—the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board approved the continuation of dredging by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.


California Assembly Votes to Ban Plastic Microbeads in Consumer Products

The California Assembly voted today to ban the sale of consumer products containing plastic microbeads. Microbeads are tiny particles of plastic used in facial scrubs, shampoo, soap, toothpaste, eyeliner, lip gloss, deodorant, and sunblock. When these products are washed down a sink or shower drain, they aren’t removed by treatment at a wastewater plant—so they enter San Francisco Bay.


City Council Votes to Oppose Coal Shipment through Richmond

The city council of Richmond this week passed a resolution opposing the transport of coal and petroleum coke (a toxic byproduct of oil refining) in open rail cars through the city. Shipping coal and pet coke in open cars can spread highly toxic dust into surrounding areas, contaminating neighborhoods near railroad tracks. The dust can also be washed and blown into San Francisco Bay.


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