Baykeeper's E-Newsletter for December 2016

Welcome to San Francisco Baykeeper's December E-News.

San Francisco Baykeeper E-News
Monthly Update for December 2016
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Baykeeper opposes EPA pick, a climate change denier and fossil fuel proponent

Aerial of refinery

Baykeeper is deeply concerned about president-elect Trump's selection of Scott Pruitt, a climate change denier and vocal proponent of fossil fuel extraction, to head the Environmental Protection Agency–the federal body that exists to ensure clean air and clean water nationwide.

Pruitt's actions as Attorney General of Oklahoma over the last six years have been largely anti-science, anti-environment, and anti-clean energy. Pruitt's LinkedIn profile declares that he is "a leading advocate against EPA's activist agenda."

Other cabinet picks are also troubling. Ryan Zinke, Secretary of Interior nominee, says he doesn't believe climate change is proven, opposes increasing Clean Water Act protections for wetlands, and supports fossil fuels extraction on federal lands. Former Texas Governor Rick Perry, tapped to become the next Secretary of Energy, has said climate change is a "contrived, phony mess." And Rex Tillerson, chief executive of ExxonMobil, will have the power to undo U.S. commitments under global climate change agreements as the next Secretary of State.

Pruitt and these other fossil-fuel-friendly appointments could roll back critical environmental protections and reverse the progress the U.S. has made in recent years towards a greener economy.

Here in the Bay Area, the inevitable shift at EPA and in federal policy will likely result in additional efforts to expand local oil refinery capacity, transport more oil by train, significantly increase coal exports, and weaken regulations for industrial polluters. These are all major threats to the health of San Francisco Bay and our local communities.

In light of these nominations, San Francisco Baykeeper's attorneys, scientists, and advocates are preparing to fight even harder on your behalf. We'll work to uphold essential clean water protections, hold industrial polluters accountable, and organize locally with our partners to keep fossil fuels out of the Bay.

Photo by Robb Most

Coal developer challenges Oakland's coal ban

Coal trains

The developer of a new bulk-shipping terminal has sued to challenge the Oakland City Council's momentous ordinance, adopted earlier this year, that banned coal from being handled and stored in Oakland. The city acted in response to the developer's proposal to bring more than nine million tons of coal annually to the new shoreline terminal.

This drastic increase in coal shipments would lead to long trains of coal cars shedding toxic dust into the Bay and Bay Area neighborhoods. Now the developer is claiming the city’s ban is an abuse of power and violates federal laws that regulate commerce and shipping.

Baykeeper and our partner environmental groups will continue to support the ban and oppose all efforts to expand coal shipments through the Bay Area. It's vital to stop this threat to the health of San Francisco Bay and local residents.

"Oakland has the right and duty to protect its residents and the Bay from pollution, which is what the city has done with this ban," said Erica Maharg, Baykeeper Managing Attorney. "Toxic coal doesn't belong along the Bay shoreline or passing through our communities."

Learn more about the challenge to Oakland's coal ban.

Photo by Robb Most

Getting the Baykeeper boat back on the Bay

Baykeeper patrol boat

The Baykeeper boat is currently out of the water due to failed engines. We're working on replacing them with new ones–but that's a big unexpected expense outside of our budget.

Thanks to everyone who recently contributed to keeping Baykeeper on the water and working for a healthy San Francisco Bay! We're already halfway to our goal of raising $25,000 to cover the cost of our new boat engines.

Our boat patrols have been monitoring San Francisco Bay for more than 25 years, finding pollution, taking samples, and making sure polluting activity gets cleaned up.

If you can make a gift today, you'll help keep Baykeeper's scientists and advocates on the Bay, where we need to be. Please make a gift online or send your contribution to the address at the bottom of this email.

With your support, Baykeeper will soon be back on San Francisco Bay, stopping pollution.

Make your gift to get Baykeeper back on the Bay.

Photo by Bart Quigley

More water for healthy fish and a healthy estuary

San Joaquin River Map

Baykeeper is advocating for increased freshwater flows to the San Francisco Bay-Delta Estuary, to help restore the struggling ecosystem. Currently, most of the water in the Delta is diverted for use by agriculture and human consumption, leaving too little to support healthy habitat in the Bay and Delta.

The water diversions have caused alarming levels of decline in native species in the Delta and northern parts of San Francisco Bay, including California's salmon fishery.

The California Water Board recently opened a public process to consider providing more flows to the San Joaquin River and its tributaries. Baykeeper is advocating to increase water flows to sustain the vibrant Bay-Delta ecosystem. We support flows being restored to the scientifically-recommended 50 to 60 percent, rather than just the bare minimum under consideration.

Now a last-minute addition to a sweeping federal water infrastructure bill that passed Congress last week poses new risks to Delta salmon and smelt. The addition fast-tracks Endangered Species Act requirements for federal water diversions, which could lead to even less water for the habitat these fish need.

It's more important than ever for Baykeeper and our partner conservation groups to advocate for better watershed management, water conservation, and water reuse and recycling to balance the needs of California's people, farms, and wildlife.

Learn more about Baykeeper's position on restoring Bay-Delta flows.

Victory! Oakland recycler to keep pollution out of the Bay

Victory BoatBaykeeper is celebrating a new victory to stop pollution in San Francisco Bay. We recently reached an agreement with a polluting industrial facility, Asphalt Shingle Recyclers, to keep contaminated rainy-season runoff from flowing off its Oakland property into the Bay.

Baykeeper's investigation revealed the company's own reports showed high levels of total suspended solids (a measure of small particles, including industrial waste) in the storm water runoff leaving the facility. The reports also indicated that the company had failed to test for heavy metals, as required by law.

When our team met with the owner, the company was very cooperative in coming up with a plan to keep these toxics out of the Bay. Asphalt Shingle Recyclers will improve pollution controls and filter rain water flowing off the site.

This settlement marks the 38th victory so far in Baykeeper's Bay-Safe Industry campaign, which is reducing polluted industrial runoff to protect San Francisco Bay.

Learn more about Baykeeper's legally binding agreement with Asphalt Shingle Recyclers.

Make your holiday kitchen Bay-friendly!

Bay friendly kitchen cleanup

Rich holiday meals often result in extra fats, oils, and grease getting washed down the drain. These fats solidify and clog sewer lines and drainpipes, which can lead to sewage backups that flow into San Francisco Bay. That's bad for fish, birds, and seals that depend on a clean Bay. And it can cause swimmers, paddlers, sailors, and beachgoers who come into contact with contaminated water to become sick.

Here's what you can do to prevent your home cooking from causing pollution in the Bay:

  • Pour cooled fats and oils into a can with a lid, or mix with an absorbent material such as cat litter, and dispose of in the garbage.
  • Wipe down greasy pots, pans, and dishes with a paper towel before washing them, and then put the paper towel in the trash or compost bin.
  • Don't use hot water or the garbage disposal to wash fats down the drain.
  • Drop off large amounts of cooking oil at cooking oil recycling locations.


Learn more about Bay-friendly kitchen cleanup.

Photo by Joan Robins

Save the date: Alameda Point cleanup on January 14

Alameda cleanupMark your calendars for a morning of service to pick up trash and debris from the San Francisco Bay shoreline on MLK Day weekend.

Volunteers are needed on Saturday, January 14, for the annual Alameda Point beach cleanup. San Francisco Baykeeper will be there. Plan to join us to help make wildlife safe and keep trash out of our beautiful Bay!

More details announced soon on our events page.

Photo by Robert McKinney

Sports Basement offers 20% off for Baykeeper supporters

Sports BasementSports Basement is inviting all Basementeers who support San Francisco Baykeeper to special in-store shopping days this weekend, Saturday and Sunday, December 17-18. You'll receive 20% off your entire purchase, and Baykeeper will receive 10% of profits! Here's to making holidays bright while supporting a healthy San Francisco Bay.

Not yet a Basementeer? Sign up as a Sports Basement member and select San Francisco Baykeeper as your nonprofit beneficiary! You'll receive a 10% discount throughout the year, and Sports Basement will donate a portion of proceeds to Baykeeper.

Sports Basement is a Bay Area-based outdoor store with seven nearby locations. They offer gear and clothing for running, biking, hiking, camping, winter sports, and more, plus an extensive rental department that includes bikes, tents, and wetsuits.

Learn more about the Basementeers program.

Photo at top by Roberto Soncin Gerometta

New fossil fuel threats, and progress for the Bay