With news of pending plans to reopen businesses around the state, I’ve started daydreaming about the little things I’m looking forward to once the pandemic is over. While dining out and happy hours with friends top my wish list, I’m also looking forward to getting out on the Bay again. There’s nothing like the feeling of cool, salty spray on my face, and the wind whipping around us as we zoom across the water.
Aside from craving that feeling of freedom after being cooped up at home for so long, I’m curious to get back on the boat to see firsthand what’s been happening around the Bay. Baykeeper’s volunteer skippers have been patrolling the shoreline solo (safely and socially distanced), and they’re reporting the usual business.
A shipping terminal on the Richmond shoreline has towering piles of toxic black coal stored at the edge of the water. Full oil tankers are lining up at the five refineries around the Bay to process dirty fuel. And dredgers are still sucking up mud from the Bay floor—but now under the guise of social distancing rules, no biologists are allowed onboard to monitor how many fish they’re killing.
It’s no surprise that these operations haven’t paused. The federal government has allowed companies to stop reporting how much they’re polluting our air and water. And this week's newest round of executive orders is slashing environmental protections even more. The very government that’s supposed to protect us is using the current public health crisis to excuse environmental wrongdoing and put us and the Bay at risk.
Sadly, the government’s willful lack of oversight gives a free pass for some local operators to act out of short-sighted greed, rather than concern for the long-term well-being of our communities and our planet.
But there’s a bright spot. Inspiring business owners around the Bay Area are working hard to stay afloat. And unlike some, these companies are helping their communities and the Bay. I'm thankful for these shining stars in neighborhoods all around the Bay Area. And I’m doing my best to seek out and support them.
If you want to join me in thanking the businesses that are doing good, here are some companies that have unique offerings during pandemic times and are continuing to help us defend the Bay.
And don’t worry about those other bad actors out there. You and I both know that Baykeeper is keeping a close eye on them. Our team is working to hold polluters accountable and to stop the government rollback of environmental protections. We’ll stay on it, so you have one less thing to worry about.
Hope to see you soon—maybe at one of these local Bay-friendly spots!