May 15, 2013
PNP comment: Gee wiz, the Greenies fear everything!!!! — Editor Liz Bowen
By Richard Halstead Marin Independent Journal
Posted: 05/15/2013 06:11:40 PM PDT
The Marin County Civil Grand Jury issued a report this week championing a landfill gas-to-energy project at Redwood Landfill and urging local officials to foster it and other projects at the landfill.
But Peter Anderson, executive director of the Center for a Competitive Waste Industry, in Madison, Wis., said Wednesday that the grand jury’s enthusiasm for a methane gas-to-energy plant is misguided.
“They don’t know what they’re talking about,” Anderson said. “But they have given a good solid recitation of what the waste industry’s position is.”
Anderson said such plants result in additional methane production and result in a significant amount of methane escaping into the atmosphere. And that is a calamity, Anderson said, because methane is 100 times more powerful as a global warming accelerator than carbon dioxide.
“Methane is not just a greenhouse gas,” Anderson said. “It’s a greenhouse gas on steroids.”
Ed Mainland, co-chairman of Sierra Club California’s Energy-Climate Committee, said, “The grand jury apparently has blundered badly in ignoring scientific realities about landfill gas to energy.”
Last year, Marin Superior Court Judge Lynn Duryee invalidated an environmental impact report that had paved the way for a major expansion of Redwood Landfill and an extension of its operating life. Waste Management, which operates the landfill, is appealing the decision.
In its report, the grand jury writes that it “is not in
a position to argue for or against the ruling. However, we do believe that Marin County citizens should be responsible for their own waste and not haul it to a landfill outside of Marin, thereby making it another county’s problem.”
The grand jury expresses its concern that if Waste Management’s appeal fails, it might close the landfill as soon as 2020 and choose not to implement several projects contained in the environmental impact report. These include:
• A landfill gas-to-energy project, which can provide renewable energy to at least 6,000 Marin County homes.
• A system to sort debris from construction and demolition projects.
• A reuse center to salvage reusable items for charitable donations.
• And a new, covered composting operation that reduces methane production and volatile organic compound emissions.
The grand jury urges Marin County’s Division of Environmental Health Services, the agency charged with overseeing the environmental impact report, and the Marin County Hazardous and Solid Waste Management Joint Powers Authority to seek assurances from Waste Management that these projects will be implemented.
It also recommends the agencies encourage Waste Management to consider two other projects not mentioned in the environmental report. One of these projects is an anaerobic digester for food waste — the energy from which, the grand jury says, could be added to the methane gas-to-energy plant. The grand jury also would like Waste Management to explore all options for minimizing future disposal through some form of waste gasification. Gasification is a process that converts organic materials into synthetic gas without combustion.
Dan North, Redwood Landfill’s manager, said the grand jury’s concern regarding the mitigations contained in the environmental impact report is misplaced.
“Regardless of the outcome in the appellate court, we’re moving forward with these projects,” North said.
He said both the system to sort debris from construction and demolition projects and the covered composting operation could be finished by the end of the year. He hopes to obtain a permit from the Bay Area Air Quality Management District for the landfill gas-to-energy project this year and to begin construction in 2014.
As for the two projects not mentioned in the impact report — the anaerobic digester and waste gasification — North said Waste Management has no plans to implement either at Redwood Landfill. North said Waste Management is investigating gasification at other sites, although it is currently prohibitively expensive.
May 15, 2013
By SEAN SCULLY
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Published: Wednesday, May 15, 2013 at 4:50 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, May 15, 2013 at 4:50 p.m.
A Marin County judge has dismissed a pair of lawsuits by environmental groups demanding a more rigorous study of resuming freight rail service along the North Coast.
In a decision disclosed this week, Judge Roy O. Chernus upheld his earlier tentative ruling saying that federal law trumps state laws. That means Friends of the Eel River and Californians for Alternatives to Toxics could not sue to force the North Coast Railroad Authority to perform more detailed environmental analysis of its plan to restore freight service from Napa to Willits.
“A huge dark cloud has been lifted,” NCRA Executive Director Mitch Stogner said. “Now it’s time to get to the business of running freight trains.”
Trains run about twice a week between Napa and Windsor, but the NCRA said the 2-year-old lawsuit had held back its effort to recruit new clients for the existing service and to raise the estimated $5 million to rehabilitate the tracks in the next section of line it hopes to open, between Windsor and Cloverdale.
The two environmental groups had argued the agency’s 2011 environmental impact report, prepared under provisions of state law and paid for by $3 million in state funds, should have considered additional factors, including toxic substances that might be stirred up by construction and rail operations. They also said the agency should have examined all 316 miles of rails it uses, all the way to Humboldt Bay, not just the southern 142 miles up to Willits, the only portion NCRA says it intends to open in the forseeable future.
May 11, 2013
PNP comment: Interesting ruling. — Editor Liz Bowen
By SEAN SCULLY
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Published: Tuesday, May 7, 2013 at 5:37 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, May 7, 2013 at 5:37 p.m.
Environmental groups cannot use state law to block the resumption of freight rail service on the North Coast, a Marin County judge tentatively ruled Tuesday.
Judge Roy O. Chernus said that federal law preempts state law in matters relating to railroads, so environmental groups could not sue the North Coast Railroad Authority over deficiencies in an environmental impact report that it prepared under state law using state money.
The state law “mandates a time-consuming review which may result in indefinite delays and unduly interfere with exclusive federal jurisdiction over rail transportation” by giving local officials power to block operations on environmental grounds, the judge wrote.
NCRA is trying to restore North Coast freight rail service from Napa to Humboldt County. In 2011, it released an environmental impact report on the first phase, from Napa to Willits, a study funded by nearly $3 million from the state.
Two groups, the Friends of the Eel River and Californians for Alternatives to Toxics, sued, arguing that the EIR was insufficient, failing to consider issues such as hazardous materials that might be stirred up by construction and train operations. They also said the report should have covered the whole 316 miles of track, not just the 142 miles in the southern end up to Willits.
The judge, however, agreed with NCRA when it argued that federal law preempts state law and that it had never intended to subject itself to state environmental review by preparing an EIR.
Spokesmen for the environmental groups did not return calls for comment Tuesday afternoon.
Mar 7, 2013
PNP comment: I posted a larger article about this last week, but when I saw this headline it hit me: I wonder how many of these Greenie-preservationists drink wine? Hum, I think most of them are hypocrites. — Editor Liz Bowen
Posted: Thursday, March 07, 2013 12:00 PM
ANNAPOLIS, Calif. (AP) — Conservation groups are hailing an agreement to buy and protect nearly 20,000 acres of timberland from expanding vineyards near the Sonoma County coast.
The Santa Rosa newspaper reports the $24.5 million purchase of Preservation Ranch would shield the land from a controversial vineyard project pushed by the California Public Employees’ Retirement System.
The land is being bought by The Conservation Fund, California Coastal Conservancy, Sonoma Land Trust and the county’s Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District. The purchase is scheduled to be completed by late May.
The property is near Annapolis in northwestern Sonoma County. It’s home to second- and third-growth redwood and Douglas fir, oak woodlands and salmon and steelhead streams.
The newspaper says the deal would be the county’s largest conservation purchase by acreage.