Entries categorized "Environment"

Request for Reconsideration of Solar Lease Option Agreement and Term Sheet with BrightNight

Bright-night

The following letter was sent to members of the Davis City Council today.

We respectfully request that the Mayor and Council place an item on tonight’s or a future council meeting agenda to reconsider its approval of Item 9 of the March 24, 2020 Solar Lease decision. In its reconsideration we believe Council should (1) direct staff to research the fiscal, legal and business issues identified in this letter, and (2) pending the results of that research, rescind Council’s approval of the Item 9 resolution to allow the City Manager to execute the Lease Option Agreement and Term Sheet (collectively, the “Agreement”) with BrightNight that will “give the solar energy company an Option to Lease up to 235 acres of city-owned land near the City’s Wastewater Treatment Plant on County Road 28H for a Commercial Solar Farm and Solar Energy Testing Facility.”

Our review of the Agreement to date has uncovered serious concerns which we believe have not been fully considered by the City, and that the resolution and lease, as written, establish a legal arrangement that is harmful and disadvantageous to the City and residents in several respects. We, individually and collectively, stand ready to work with staff to facilitate their research of these issues. We are preparing a detailed document fleshing out each issue, which will be available shortly on request.

In summary, the issues are as follows:

Continue reading "Request for Reconsideration of Solar Lease Option Agreement and Term Sheet with BrightNight" »


Rate discounts for VCE customers through PG&E

VCE(From press release) No one expected to see days quite like this. And for some of us, it’s beginning to feel as though we’ll have a tough time keeping our heads above water as our economies and paychecks adjust to this pandemic.

That’s why Valley Clean Energy representatives want to be sure that local residents are aware of the discounted electricity programs PG&E offers to income-qualified customers, even those who are Valley Clean Energy customers.

For example, the Family Electric Rate Assistance (FERA) discount from PG&E is open to all eligible customers of VCE. Those who qualify to enroll in the FERA program could end up paying much less to stay warm through a chilly spring and cool this summer.

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Valley Clean Energy Offers Covid-19 Update

VCE(From press release) As Yolo County residents join others throughout California in sheltering in place, Valley Clean Energy (VCE) is working to assure that customers receive a safe, reliable electricity supply throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Electricity has truly become the lifeblood of our lives as we self-isolate in our homes,” said Don Saylor, a Yolo County supervisor who chairs the VCE board of directors. “The cleaner electricity we buy for you will remain unchanged during this time.

“We want to assure our customers that the Valley Clean Energy team is working to ensure that lights will stay on; computers, phones and data centers will be powered; food and medicine will be refrigerated; and homes and water will be heated.”

Continue reading "Valley Clean Energy Offers Covid-19 Update" »


Valley Clean Energy now enrolling solar customers

VCEBy Don Saylor

(From press release) Valley Clean Energy (VCE) is our local community choice energy program serving electricity customers in the communities of Woodland, Davis and unincorporated Yolo County. The purpose of VCE is to provide customers with higher levels of renewable electricity, encourage energy efficiency and local generation, and offer rates that are competitive with PG&E, the region’s investor-owned electricity provider.

Decisions on rates, energy resources, programs and finances are made locally, in public, by a local board composed of people elected by the residents of our communities.

Most electricity customers in our area have been receiving their electricity from VCE since June 2018. Their monthly bills display VCE’s electric generation charges and PG&E’s electricity delivery charges.

Based on changes to state regulations, the VCE board decided to delay until 2020 the enrollment of solar customers who had installed solar panels on their homes or businesses before we launched in June 2018. In 2020, these energy-conservation pioneers will begin receiving their electric power from our local agency.

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What’s wrong with City staff’s new burrowing owl policy

A response to Ash Feeney

Feeney-with-owlsBy Roberta Millstein

A few days ago I learned of a new policy from City staff concerning the 25 acres outside of Mace curve, aka Mace 25, prime farmland that was purchased with citizen tax dollars from the open space fund.  According to this new policy, the City will not be mowing areas in which burrowing owls are already nesting, instead allowing the owls to be “naturally displaced from the site… by allowing tall dense vegetation to grow along the western edge.”  By not mowing, the City will be “doing what it can to prevent the owls from using the site.” Burrowing owls prefer short grasses (e.g., native short prairie grass or grass that is kept short through mowing) so that they can see their predators coming, and they will leave an area if the grasses aren’t short.

At Tuesday’s City Council meeting, I along with a number of other citizens attended to protest this new policy and to ask the City Council to direct staff to promote burrowing owl habitat at that site.  Burrowing owls, it should be noted, have been designated as a Species of Special Concern by the State of California, and their numbers have been declining dramatically over the past 10 years in the Davis area.  No action was taken at the meeting, although I have since learned that at least one Councilmember is in favor of taking up this issue at a future meeting.

What did happen at the meeting was that Assistant City Manager Ash Feeney defended the new policy.  He has apparently issued a statement summarizing his views, published on the Davis Vanguard (staff could not confirm this by the end of yesterday’s business day).  Unfortunately, this response contains false and problematic statements.

Continue reading "What’s wrong with City staff’s new burrowing owl policy" »


Green challenger for Dodd in State Senate District 3 race

NyhusWrite-in campaign is on the rise

(From press release) Karen Nyhus, a Green from Sonoma County, is challenging Bill Dodd (D-Napa) as a write-in to the California State Senate’s Top 2 spot on next week’s primary ballot.

Nyhus, a Stanford grad with a work history in government, education and nonprofits, is challenging Dodd’s status as a self-described “fiscal conservative” for a district that spans her native Sonoma County through Napa, Solano, and Contra Costa, to here in Davis. Nyhus calls Dodd a “blue dog” (conservative Democrat) and points out that he was a registered Republican as recently as 2013.

Running as a Green, she accepts no corporate donations, and think that’s a weak spot for Dodd. “He has taken money from the wine industry and PG&E, and it shows in his actions,” she wrote.

Continue reading "Green challenger for Dodd in State Senate District 3 race" »


Valley Clean Energy Makes Major Solar-Power Purchase

VCE(From press release) The Valley Clean Energy Alliance has announced that its board of directors voted Thursday, Feb. 13, to purchase 50 megawatts of renewable power from a new solar park in Kings County.

The power from the park will replace current short-term power contracts allowing VCE to deliver higher levels of renewable power at competitive prices.

VCE’s 15-year contract with Aquamarine Westside, LLC, CIM Group’s solar project, will begin when the project enters commercial operation, anticipated in 2021. The Aquamarine project is in Westlands Solar Park, a 21,000-acre, master-planned clean energy park with more than 2 gigawatts of solar production potential.

Continue reading "Valley Clean Energy Makes Major Solar-Power Purchase" »


Valley Clean Energy Makes Key New Hire

VCE(From press release) Valley Clean Energy is pleased to announce the hiring of Gordon A. Samuel Jr. as its new assistant general manager and power services director. In this position, he will be responsible for acquiring a diverse supply of clean renewable resources.

Samuel brings more than 27 years of experience in the electric utility industry to his new position, having served most recently as power procurement manager for Marin Clean Energy, California’s first community choice aggregation (CCA) program.

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Affordable Housing & Community Space: A Renter Forum

For-renter-forumYolo County Supervisor candidate David Abramson will be hosting a ‘Renters Forum’ on Saturday, February 15 from 5:00-7:00PM. It will be held at Davis Coworking’s new downstairs event space, right next to Fluffly's Donuts and Subway.

It will be an opportunity for renters to share their stories and to get together to develop a vision for affordable, healthful, and climate-positive housing in Davis and Yolo County.

We will also envision how we can move forward in creating affordable and accessible cultural spaces to facilitate arts, music, and healthy activities in Yolo County.

All who are interested (renters and homeowners alike) are welcome to join. Light refreshments provided.

Max capacity 40. Please register in advance to ensure your seat! https://www.facebook.com/events/122783449070392/


Article 4 of 4: Sierra Club Yolano Group Questionnaire for Yolo County District 4 Supervisor

Three-for-supervisor
by Alan Pryor, Chair – Sierra Club Yolano Group

Introduction

This article is the 4th and final in a 4-part series on questions presented by the Sierra Club Yolano Group to candidates in the Yolo County District 4 Supervisor race on the March 2020 ballot and the candidates' responses. This article covers questions and responses in the areas of Transportation Management, Environmental-Social Justice, Other Environmental-Related Issues, and Community Support. The order of the candidate responses are changed with each article. 

See article 1 of 4 here, which gives a "Table of Contents" for all four articles, an introduction explaining the article series, announces that the Yolano Group is not making an endorsement in this race, and covers questions and responses in the areas of Reductions in Carbon-Based Energy Use and Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions

See article 2 of 4 here, which covers questions and responses in the areas of Solid Waste Management, Water Management and Conservation, and Toxics in the Environment.

See article 3 of 4 here, which covers questions and responses in the areas of Land Use and Development.

Part 6 – Questions Related to Transportation Management

Issue 6-1 - Transportation-Related GHG Emissions

Continue reading "Article 4 of 4: Sierra Club Yolano Group Questionnaire for Yolo County District 4 Supervisor" »


Article 3 of 4: Sierra Club Yolano Group Questionnaire for Yolo County District 4 Supervisor

Three-for-supervisor
by Alan Pryor, Chair – Sierra Club Yolano Group

Introduction

This article is the 3rd in a 4-part series on questions presented by the Sierra Club Yolano Group to candidates in the Yolo County District 4 Supervisor race on the March 2020 ballot and the candidates' responses. This article covers questions and responses in the areas of Land Use and Development. The order of the candidate responses are changed with each article. 

See article 1 of 4 here, which gives a "Table of Contents" for all four articles, an introduction explaining the article series, announces that the Yolano Group is not making an endorsement in this race, and covers questions and responses in the areas of Reductions in Carbon-Based Energy Use and Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions

See article 2 of 4 here, which covers questions and responses in the areas of Solid Waste Management, Water Management and Conservation, and Toxics in the Environment.

 ____________________________________________________________________

Issue 5-1 - Agricultural Land Preservation

Continue reading " Article 3 of 4: Sierra Club Yolano Group Questionnaire for Yolo County District 4 Supervisor " »


Aritcle 2 of 4: Sierra Club Yolano Group Questionnaire for Yolo County District 4 Supervisor

Solid waste management, water management and conservation, and toxics in the environment

See article 1 of 4 here, which gives a "table of contents" for all four articles, announces that the Yolano Group is not making an endorsement in this race, and covers Reductions in Carbon-Based Energy Use and Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions.  The order of the candidate responses are changed with each article. 

Three-for-supervisor
By Alan Pryor, Chair – Sierra Club Yolano Group

Part 2 – Questions Relating to Solid Waste Management

Issue 2-1 - Reusable, Recyclable, &  Compostable In-Restaurant and Take-Out Food & Drink Containers & Tableware

Continue reading "Aritcle 2 of 4: Sierra Club Yolano Group Questionnaire for Yolo County District 4 Supervisor " »


Sierra Club Yolano Group Questionnaire for Yolo County District 4 Supervisor

November 2020 Election– 1st of 4 Articles

Three-for-supervisor
by Alan Pryor, Chair – Sierra Club Yolano Group

Introduction

In the ballot for March 2020, three candidates are vying for the office of Yolo County District 4 Supervisor - Jim Provenza, Linda Deos, and David Abramson. This District represents the southern and more eastern portions of the City of Davis and rural residents of Yolo County in the area extending south of Davis to the Solano County line and east of Davis to the Yolo Bypass. 

The Sierra Club Yolano Group prepares questionnaires for candidates in local races we deem to be seriously contested and/or where there are clear differences between the candidates. We ask questions on a wide range of environmentally-related issues of importance to the electorate and/or our local Sierra Club members and the candidates provide written responses to allow them to directly express their views and opinions in their own words. All candidates provided responses to all of of our questions in this questionnaire.

The Sierra Club Yolano Group Takes “No Endorsement Position” in the 2020 Yolo County District 4 Supervisor Race

Continue reading "Sierra Club Yolano Group Questionnaire for Yolo County District 4 Supervisor " »


A Case for Bernie Sanders

The times have finally caught up with his vision

IMG_2372
Picture taken by R. Millstein at Bernie's rally at UC Davis in 2016

By Roberta Millstein

With the California primaries upon us in less than two months, it’s time to turn our attention to the presidential primaries, which will be held on March 3, 2020.  Since we have an earlier primary than in past years, California can make a big difference in who will stand for election in November.  Check your voter registration status here and make sure that you are registered for the party whose primary you want to vote in.  (Yes, you can register “No Party Preference”[1] and that will let you vote in some parties’ primaries, but most agree that it is more trouble than it is worth.  You can always change your party to something else later).

As important, of course, is the decision about who to vote for.  Here is how I came to support Bernie Sanders. Perhaps you will find my reasoning persuasive.

Continue reading "A Case for Bernie Sanders" »


Imagine A More Beautiful World

82076180_162915525116337_572473841536729088_o
Jessica Perlstein Art, https://jessicaperlstein.com/

Davis residents are invited to help imagine "A More Beautiful World" at an art happening on Saturday, January 11 between 1 and 3:30 pm at the Dos Pinos Community Room, 2550 Sycamore Lane. Through music, art, and conversation, attendees will play together to develop the vision for a community-driven Local Green New Deal.

The event will hosted by artist Danielle Fodor and David Abramson for Yolo County Supervisor.

Organizers ask, "Imagine that we are in the year 2040. We have achieved a vision of climate-positive and equitable society in Yolo County. What will we see? What will we hear? What will we smell, taste, and feel as we walk around our neighborhoods and as we visit other parts of Yolo County?"

Help envision a county transformed, as artists turn words into drawings, a visual representation of a vision for a More Beautiful World.

For more information, please contact Danielle Fodor at daniellefodor@gmail.com.


Bats Ignored in Environmental Review for Mace Business Park

2019-12-23_17-43-09Will new ARC SEIR do better?

This letter was sent to Assistant City Manager Ash Feeney on December 23, 2019.


Dear Mr. Feeney,

I am writing to draw your attention to a significant omission in the Mace Ranch Innovation Center Project Final Environmental Impact Report dated January 2016. At no place in the FEIR is there any consideration for Mexican free-tailed bats (Tadarida brasiliensis), or for Hoary bats (Lasiurus cinereus).

Just over 2 miles from the MRIC/ARC site is “One of the largest seasonal Mexican free-tailed bat (Tadarida brasiliensis) colonies in California. An estimated 250,000 individuals strong.” (https://baynature.org/2013/07/25/yolo-bats/). This colony roosts under the Yolo Causeway bridge and has been well documented in the Davis Enterprise and the Sacramento Bee (https://www.davisenterprise.com/community/see-bats-at-the-causeway/, https://www.sacbee.com/news/local/environment/article31141712.html).

I have personally observed bats flying over the MRIC/ARC site during summer months, but there is no mention of bats in the FEIR, or any of the underlying documentation.

Continue reading "Bats Ignored in Environmental Review for Mace Business Park " »


Reflecting back on VCE's year

What a year it's been!

VCEBy Tom Stallard

The end of each calendar year offers an opportunity to sit back and reflect on the goals reached over the past 12 months and to look forward to a new year of possibilities and challenges.

At Valley Clean Energy — your local not-for-profit electricity provider— we’re working hard to fulfill our mission to deliver clean electricity, energy product choice and greenhouse gas emission reductions, all with local control at competitive prices.

Since June 2018, we’ve been serving 55,000 customers in the cities of Woodland and Davis plus the unincorporated area of Yolo County. That number will grow when customers in Winters are enrolled after the city became an official member of VCE this month.

Thanks to the creativity and dedication of our professional staff, and the visionary leadership of my colleagues on the board, the past year has been jam-packed with accomplishments. Here’s a brief review:

Continue reading "Reflecting back on VCE's year" »


Valley Clean Energy Welcomes Legacy Solar Customers

VCEThe Valley Clean Energy board of directors has adopted a policy governing how legacy solar customers — those who installed solar systems prior to VCE’s launch in June 2018 — are enrolled with the local electricity service provider.

“We’re thrilled to begin enrolling solar customers, also known as Net Energy Metered customers, beginning in January,” said Tom Stallard, VCE board chair and a member of the Woodland City Council.

“Solar customers have already demonstrated a financial commitment to renewable energy, and it will be great to have them in the fold, helping all of us take a big leap toward a more sustainable future for our communities.”

Beginning in January and continuing through December 2020, PG&E solar customers will be automatically enrolled in VCE service during their existing PG&E true-up month. As with all VCE customers, these solar customers will have the choice to opt out and stay with PG&E.

Continue reading "Valley Clean Energy Welcomes Legacy Solar Customers" »


ARC Project Recommended Sustainability Features

Recommended Project Alternatives for the Supplemental Environmental Impact Report

Rough-ARCmap-corrected-sustainabilityThe following comments were submitted to the City by The Aggie Research Center Working Group, an ad hoc committee of interested Davis environmentalists with experience in evaluating land use and planning issues in Davis, on December 7. The Group has collaboratively developed this set of recommended sustainability features for the project and submitted them to the developer in November, 2019. With his knowledge, these recommendations are now formally submitted as scoping comments to the supplemental EIR for the purposes of evaluating desirable sustainability alternatives for the project

Others who wish to submit their own written scoping comments can do so via the City of Davis Community Development and Sustainability Department, 23 Russell Boulevard, Suite 2 Davis, CA 95616 Attn: Sherri Metzker, Principal Planner or via electronic mail to smetzker@cityofdavis.org up until Monday, December 9, 2019 at 5:00 PM.

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I. SUSTAINABILITY PLAN

Functional Goal: Develop and implement a comprehensive Sustainability Plan and ensure sustainability commitments made in the Plan are embodied in the subsequent Development Agreement and implemented and maintained for life of project.

  1. Mandatory, measurable and enforceable.

  2. Equivalent in scope and detail to Nishi.

Continue reading "ARC Project Recommended Sustainability Features" »


Business park outside of Mace curve: More environmental review

Questions about traffic, area impacts, climate change

Rough-ARCmap-corrected-traffic-climateThe following comments were submitted by Roberta Millstein to the City of Davis. This is part 2 of 2; other comments submitted by Millstein and posted earlier addressed land use, parks/greenways and open space.  These comments serve as recommendations as to the scope and content of the supplemental environmental impact report (EIR) for the "Aggie Research Campus," a proposed massive ~200 acre business park on prime farmland outside the Mace curve, focusing on the changes in project and conditions from the previous Mace Ranch Innovation Center (MRIC) proposal.

Others who wish to submit their own written scoping comments can do so via the City of Davis Community Development and Sustainability Department, 23 Russell Boulevard, Suite 2 Davis, CA 95616 Attn: Sherri Metzker, Principal Planner or via electronic mail to smetzker@cityofdavis.org up until Monday, December 9, 2019 at 5:00 PM.

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The following questions need to be addressed by the Supplemental EIR for the “Aggie Research Campus” (please note that wherever I say “impacts” I mean “environmental impacts”):

Continue reading "Business park outside of Mace curve: More environmental review " »