It’s going to be harder to stop trash pollution—a major source of contamination in San Francisco Bay—under new rules recently adopted by the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Board. The Board weakened requirements on Bay Area city governments to keep trash from washing into local creeks and the Bay.
In October, Baykeeper filed a lawsuit aimed at stopping the export of coal from a new shipping terminal proposed for Oakland. Baykeeper and our partners recently dismissed the suit, after Oakland city leaders announced they would decide the fate of the proposed coal export project after an ongoing review process. Coal export would involve coal shipment by rail along the Bay shoreline.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(San Francisco, CA) State agencies and private companies no longer have a green light to extract excessive amounts of sand from the floor of San Francisco Bay—which harms access, enjoyment, and use of public resources—the California Court of Appeal ruled today.
“This ruling could help keep sand in San Francisco Bay to prevent erosion of Ocean Beach, and safeguard important species in the Bay,” said Sejal Choksi-Chugh, Baykeeper Executive Director. “It will also help better protect resources nationwide.”
A bulk shipping port and cement plant proposed along the shores of Mare Island Strait in Vallejo could contaminate San Francisco Bay and nearby communities, Baykeeper recently told Vallejo city leaders. Baykeeper is particularly concerned that the terminal would be used to ship dirty fossil fuels such as coal and petroleum coke, a toxic byproduct of oil refining. It’s likely that toxic dust would be blown and washed into the Bay.
The project would also fill several acres of Bay wetlands, reduce public access to the shoreline, and disrupt the San Francisco Bay Trail.
Baykeeper recently urged Benicia city leaders to block Valero Energy Corporation’s plan to enlarge the train yard at its Benicia refinery. If Valero gets its way, 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.
Yet the project planners greatly underestimate the risk of fires, explosions, and oil spills as a result in the increase in shipping crude oil to the facility by rail.
Across the nation, more trains are hauling tank cars full of crude oil over rail bridges that are deteriorating and unsafe. That’s the finding of a first-of-its-kind investigative report by the Waterkeeper Alliance, San Francisco Baykeeper’s international alliance of Waterkeeper organizations, and Forest Ethics.
Baykeeper recently took action in a long-running fight to prevent development on 1,365 acres of former south San Francisco Bay wetlands. The area, used for decades to manufacture salt, is known as the Cargill salt ponds.
The 35-mile tunnels proposed to route freshwater from the northern end of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to pumps on the southern end have a new name, the California Water Fix. But that doesn’t change the harm that this project, estimated to cost $25 billion, would cause to San Francisco Bay. The tunnels would starve the Bay of freshwater, increase pollution, and endanger fish.
Governor Jerry Brown recently signed three bills that will help protect San Francisco Bay and all California coastal waters from oil spills.
In a win for a safer San Francisco Bay, Governor Jerry Brown recently signed AB 888, a statewide ban on the sale of consumer products containing plastic microbeads. The nation’s strongest ban so far, the law does not include an exception included in bans passed in other states that allow so-called “biodegradable” plastic microbeads. The ban goes into effect in 2020.
San Francisco Baykeeper advocated in support of this legislation, along with our environmental partners, including Clean Water Action and 5 Gyres. We also provided legal advice in the drafting of the legislation.