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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
The May 19 spill of 21,000 gallons of oil into the Santa Barbara Channel shows how vulnerable California waters are, and how much San Francisco Bay needs strong protection from oil spills.
San Francisco Baykeeper is pleased to announce that our new Executive Director is Sejal Choksi-Chugh. Sejal has been an organizational leader on staff for 13 years, most recently serving as Program Director, and for the last several months, also as Interim Executive Director.
Local oil refineries plan to bring more crude oil from the Canadian tar sands into the Bay Area by ship, raising the risk of spills of this heavy, dirty oil into San Francisco Bay.
“This is heavy oil. It sinks. If it’s spilled from a ship, it’s going to instantaneously cover the bottom of the Bay which will almost automatically kill everything that is on the Bay floor,” said Sejal Choksi-Chugh, Baykeeper Interim Executive Director. “We shouldn’t even be contemplating having those vessels come in to the Bay until we are ready to deal with a spill.”