Alameda Becomes 5th County in California to Ban Fracking
Five counties in California have now banned fracking. Alameda County is the latest to join the list after county leaders voted unanimously in favor of banning fracking Tuesday evening.
Alameda County is the first county in the San Francisco Bay area to ban hydraulic fracturing, CBS San Francisco reported. A coalition of environmental groups worked for more than two years to persuade county officials to ban the practice.
"We've taken a step that will protect everyone in Alameda County, especially our children and grandchildren, from toxic chemicals," said Karen White of the Alameda County Against Fracking coalition.
No companies frack in the county, but environmental groups wanted to prevent the practice from ever happening, The Mercury News reported.
Twenty people sat through the county's board of supervisors meeting to voice their support for the ban.
"It's the only way to protect our environment from the destructive effects of fracking" Kiana Tsao of the Sierra Club said. "Alameda County is a community, not just a commodity for the oil industry."
BREAKING: WE WON! Alameda County becomes the 1st #BayArea county to ban #fracking. I'm so proud! #BanAlamedaFracking https://t.co/eNa52z8khd— Ella Teevan (@Ella Teevan)1468979720.0
Environmentalists have been working to ban fracking one county at a time after Gov. Jerry Brown voiced his opposition to a statewide fracking ban.
Santa Cruz, San Benito, Mendocino and Butte counties are the four other counties that have already banned fracking. Environmentalists are now setting their sights on Santa Clara and Monterey counties. Monterey is set to vote in November on the issue.
Colorado will also see anti-fracking initiatives on the November ballot. Measure 75 would amend Colorado's constitution to enable local governments to enact regulations more protective of health and safety than those put in place by the state. This ballot initiative is in reaction to the Colorado's Supreme Court ruling in May that said oil and gas development is pre-empted by the state and that local communities could not pass fracking bans themselves.
The second measure, 78, would create 2,500-foot buffer zones between homes, schools and sensitive areas, such as playgrounds or water sources, and new oil and gas development.
The drilling industry is spending millions of dollars to stop the two statewide initiatives. Companies such as Anadarko Petroleum Corp, Noble Energy and Whiting Petroleum have funneled more than $6.7 million as of July 15 into Protect Colorado, an industry group that hopes to defeat the two initiatives.
Fracking Fight Continues in Colorado - EcoWatch https://t.co/92OZSgtmUQ @greenwatchdogNY @PriceofOil— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1468792506.0
Protect Colorado argues the initiatives threaten oil and natural gas development and would "devastate" the state's economy.
But Tricia Olson, executive director of Yes for Health and Safety Over Fracking, told EcoWatch, "We've seen that this industry will say or do anything to mislead the public and protect their bottom line, but the scientific evidence speaks for itself: Fracking is a leading driver of climate change and destroys our most basic resources."
A tornado tore through a city north of Birmingham, Alabama, Monday night, killing one person and injuring at least 30.
- Tornadoes and Climate Change: What Does the Science Say ... ›
- Tornadoes Hit Unusually Wide Swaths of U.S., Alarming Climate ... ›
- 23 Dead as Tornado Pummels Lee County, AL in Further Sign ... ›
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By David Konisky
On his first day in office President Joe Biden started signing executive orders to reverse Trump administration policies. One sweeping directive calls for stronger action to protect public health and the environment and hold polluters accountable, including those who "disproportionately harm communities of color and low-income communities."
Michael S. Regan, President Biden's nominee to lead the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, grew up near a coal-burning power plant in North Carolina and has pledged to "enact an environmental justice framework that empowers people in all communities." NCDEQ
- Report Urges Biden to Reverse Trump's Environmental Rollbacks ›
- US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ›
- Biden's EPA Pick Michael Regan Urged to Address Environmental ... ›
- Biden Faces Pressure to Tackle 'Unfunded' Toxic Waste Sites ... ›
By Katherine Kornei
Clear-cutting a forest is relatively easy—just pick a tree and start chopping. But there are benefits to more sophisticated forest management. One technique—which involves repeatedly harvesting smaller trees every 30 or so years but leaving an upper story of larger trees for longer periods (60, 90, or 120 years)—ensures a steady supply of both firewood and construction timber.
A Pattern in the Rings<p>The <a href="https://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/coppice-standards-0" target="_blank">coppice-with-standards</a> management practice produces a two-story forest, said <a href="https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Bernhard_Muigg" target="_blank">Bernhard Muigg</a>, a dendrochronologist at the University of Freiburg in Germany. "You have an upper story of single trees that are allowed to grow for several understory generations."</p><p>That arrangement imprints a characteristic tree ring pattern in a forest's upper story trees (the "standards"): thick rings indicative of heavy growth, which show up at regular intervals as the surrounding smaller trees are cut down. "The trees are growing faster," said Muigg. "You can really see it with your naked eye."</p><p>Muigg and his collaborators characterized that <a href="https://ltrr.arizona.edu/about/treerings" target="_blank">dendrochronological pattern</a> in 161 oak trees growing in central Germany, one of the few remaining sites in Europe with actively managed coppice-with-standards forests. They found up to nine cycles of heavy growth in the trees, the oldest of which was planted in 1761. The researchers then turned to a historical data set — more than 2,000 oak <a href="https://eos.org/articles/podcast-discovering-europes-history-through-its-timbers" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">timbers from buildings and archaeological sites</a> in Germany and France dating from between 300 and 2015 — to look for a similar pattern.</p>
A Gap of 500 Years<p>The team found wood with the characteristic coppice-with-standards tree ring pattern dating to as early as the 6th century. That was a surprise, Muigg and his colleagues concluded, because the first mention of this forest management practice in historical documents occurred only roughly 500 years later, in the 13th century.</p><p>It's probable that forest management practices were not well documented prior to the High Middle Ages (1000–1250), the researchers suggested. "Forests are mainly mentioned in the context of royal hunting interests or donations," said Muigg. Dendrochronological studies are particularly important because they can reveal information not captured by a sparse historical record, he added.</p><p>These results were <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-78933-8" target="_blank">published in December in <em>Scientific Reports</em></a>.</p><p>"It's nice to see the longevity and the history of coppice-with-standards," said <a href="https://www.teagasc.ie/contact/staff-directory/s/ian-short/" target="_blank">Ian Short</a>, a forestry researcher at Teagasc, the Agriculture and Food Development Authority in Ireland, not involved in the research. This technique is valuable because it promotes conservation and habitat biodiversity, Short said. "In the next 10 or 20 years, I think we'll see more coppice-with-standards coming back into production."</p><p>In the future, Muigg and his collaborators hope to analyze a larger sample of historic timbers to trace how the coppice-with-standards practice spread throughout Europe. It will be interesting to understand where this technique originated and how it propagated, said Muigg, and there are plenty of old pieces of wood waiting to be analyzed. "There [are] tons of dendrochronological data."</p><p><em><a href="mailto:email@example.com" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Katherine Kornei</a> is a freelance science journalist covering Earth and space science. Her bylines frequently appear in Eos, Science, and The New York Times. Katherine holds a Ph.D. in astronomy from the University of California, Los Angeles.</em></p><p><em>This story originally appeared in <a href="https://eos.org/articles/tree-rings-reveal-how-ancient-forests-were-managed" target="_blank">Eos</a></em> <em>and is republished here as part of Covering Climate Now, a global journalism collaboration strengthening coverage of the climate story.</em></p>
Earth's ice is melting 57 percent faster than in the 1990s and the world has lost more than 28 trillion tons of ice since 1994, research published Monday in The Cryosphere shows.
By Jewel Fraser
Noreen Nunez lives in a middle-class neighborhood that rises up a hillside in Trinidad's Tunapuna-Piarco region.