What have we done for you lately? Plenty!
If you wonder what the Angeles Chapter has been working on to help the planet, we have much to tell. In 2013, conservation activities focused on preventing a restart of the failed San Onofre nuclear power plant; promoting sustainable and reliable local water supplies and oppose expensive environmentally-damaging water sources, including desalination and the Bay Delta tunnels proposal in Northern California; and addressing waste issues to promote sustainability and address the impacts of landfills on global climate change.
Here's a roundup of what we accomplished last year. Whew, and we're already working hard this year too.
The San Onofre Task Force successfully worked to prevent the restart of the failed San Onofre nuclear power plant. The campaign successfully educated the public about the issues with the nuclear plant after a steam generator malfunction forced the plant offline. Through an ongoing effort, the Sierra Club worked to influence the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and California's Public Utilities Commission with testimony and thousands of petitions. Public power agency Edison International finally announced their plan to close the facility permanently on June 7, 2013. The Task Force assisted in hosting a forum of experts to discuss advocate for responsible decommissioning and safe removal of the radioactive waste, and will continue to work on these efforts.
The Chapter worked to promote a reliable local water supply, encourage water conservation efforts and oppose environmentally-damaging proposals including the Poseidon desalination plant planned for Huntington Beach and Bay Delta Conservation Plan in Northern California. Sierra Club was actively opposed to the damaging Poseidon desalination plant by publishing a series of articles to educate our members and supporters about the issue. Through our outreach efforts, over 3,500 people signed petitions opposing the project to send to the California Coastal Commission, Orange County Water District and Gov. Brown. The Club successfully turned out our supporters to a packed Coastal Commission, with enough speakers’ cards to fill 12 hours of testimony. The Coastal Commission voted to send the permit request back to Poseidon for more information, and the company decided to pull their permit application until further notice.
The Organics Project released its Phase 1 Report, surveying the organic waste management trends for cities within Los Angeles County and Orange County. It prepared educational materials, issued a press release to engage the community and received media coverage in the local press. Volunteers successfully expanded outreach during International Compost Awareness Week in May through social media.
To help educate the community about the issues of the impacts of organic waste on global climate change, the Organics Project held several outings, including touring a local compost facility, and a hike and educational event to commemorate the closure of the Puente Hills Landfill in Los Angeles County, the largest landfill in the nation. A series of educational materials were developed to encourage residents to use worms bins/vermiculture to reduce the amount of food waste that is landfilled.
The group also helped prevent a proposed landfill near Joshua Tree National Monument and successfully advocated for a plastic bag ban in the city of Los Angeles. The ban went into effect in January 2014.
The Chapter’s efforts also included:
• establishing the Fracking, Oil and Gas Committee in December 2013 to address local impact of the dangerous drilling practice;
• successfully warding off another bid to build a toll road that would damage a Native American sacred site, impact a state park and harm native species and a popular surfing destination in Orange County;
• winning a key Public Records Act court victory in the California Supreme Court to provide access to computerized geographic information (GIS ) mapping data;
• being an endorsing organization for the Women in Green Forum on August 28, aimed at promoting women’s leadership across the environmental industry;
• co-hosting “A Legal Toolkit” seminar to train activists about CEQA, NEPA, Brown Act, Public Records requests and FOIA;
• joining Trails Safe Trails Coalition in Orange County and planning the first Trails Workshop, which brought together trail user groups to brainstorm and collaborate safe trails for hikers, walkers, mountain bikers and equestrians.
• participating in various outreach events including the GreenFest at the LA Mart;
• joining 350.org for the Climate Rally in downtown LA;
• meeting with national and state public officials and with the Army Corps of Engineers which bulldozed wildlife refuge area at the base of the Sepulveda Dam in the San Fernando Valley. Chapter outreach included conservation hikes for the public and media on the weekends through the impacted area.
• fighting to preserve plans to restore the Ballona Wetlands Ecological Reserve. They discovered undocumented drainage of fresh water from the site and met with officials to remedy the loss of water needed to restore a marsh on the reserve
• showing up in force to remove invasive plants from the newly restored Malibu Lagoon as service option to give back on Giving Tuesday in December.