The San Francisco Board of Supervisors approved legislation Tuesday prohibiting the city "from entering into or extending leases for the extraction of fossil fuel from city-owned land" in an effort to combat climate change.
The San Francisco Board of Supervisors approved legislation prohibiting new fossil fuel leases on city-owned property in an effort to combat climate change.iStock
The legislation by Supervisor John Avalos originated with 350 Bay Area analyst Jed Holtzman, who discovered the city was leasing to Chevron an 800-acre property that it inherited in Kern County. City finance officials say converting the property to a solar array could generate more revenue than current oil operations, which net the city about $320,000 annually.
"We're headed for catastrophic changes to our climate if we don't reduce our use of fossil fuels now. With the pending Trump presidency, local leadership on climate change is more urgent and important than ever," Avalos said.
"San Francisco and other cities can help lead this country into the clean energy future we need and resist the catastrophic policies our president-elect has proposed. The fact that we can make as much revenue from solar as we do from oil just reinforces that it's time to keep dirty fossil fuels in ground and transition to a renewable-powered economy."
Trump Plans to Quit Paris Deal, Hires Climate Denier for EPA Transition Team https://t.co/VmIFodrnka @CeresNews @UCSUSA— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1479171909.0
The legislation was unanimously approved by the board's Budget and Finance Committee on Oct. 26 and its Land Use Committee on Nov. 14, following supportive testimony by members of 350 Bay Area, the Center for Biological Diversity and other San Francisco residents. The Board of Supervisors will follow Tuesday's vote with a second vote Nov. 29, after which it will go to Mayor Ed Lee for his signature, which is widely expected given the board's veto-proof unanimous vote.
"New data makes clear that burning even the coal, oil and gas that is currently being extracted will push us past our international climate requirements," Holtzman said.
"We simply must start leaving fossil fuels in the ground—and San Francisco is putting our money where our mouth is. Renewable energy is the future and the city will make more money from it as well. Other cities around California and the nation would do well to follow San Francisco's example."
As requested by Alfred Fuhrman's estate, which bequeathed the property to the city in 1941, revenues from the Kern County property are evenly split between the San Francisco Public Library and Golden Gate Park. City officials will soon begin the process of converting the property from an oilfield to a solar array as the city's lease to Chevron ends in 2020. The plan includes "just transition" language, which will minimize any potential job losses or impacts to employees in the region.
"We must keep fossil fuels in the ground to avoid catastrophe," said Hollin Kretzmann, an attorney with the Center's Climate Law Institute. "Oil industry practices in Kern County have been linked to groundwater contamination, earthquakes and health problems for nearby residents. This action is a victory for environmental justice today and climate action in the long run."
Kern County oil producers have made extensive use of hydraulic fracturing or fracking, an environmentally damaging process that has helped make California the country's third-biggest oil-producing state. They also operate wastewater injection wells that have been linked to earthquakes and aquifer contamination.
Deadliest Earthquake in Southern California History Linked to Oil Drilling https://t.co/JaAmNWWdyV @foeeurope @globalactplan— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1478078115.0
"San Francisco takes an essential step to protect the health of Kern County residents and our climate with this ordinance," said Madeline Stano, an attorney with Center for Race, Poverty and the Environment.
"Oil production produces tremendous air pollution and water pollution that severely threatens the health and well-being of residents living, working and attending school nearby. This ordinance moves California's transition away from fossil fuels to safer energy production forward."
With Tuesday's vote San Francisco becomes a leader of the growing national "Keep It in the Ground" movement, which has been calling for an end to new fossil fuel leasing on public land and waters to help keep global temperatures from rising by more than 1.5 to 2 degrees Celsius, as nations agreed to in Paris last year. A study released last year by the Center for Biological Diversity and EcoShift Consulting found current federal oil leases will last through 2055 and that halting new fossil fuel leases on federal land and waters would prevent the release of up to 450 billion tons of carbon pollution, the equivalent of running 118,000 coal-fired power plants for a year.
"The Sierra Club applauds San Francisco for once again leading the country in the fight to protect our clean air and water from fossil fuel operations," said Lena Moffitt, director of Sierra Club's Beyond Dirty Fuels campaign. "It is especially heartening to see the city set a transition plan to ensure our workers are looked out for—we cannot complete the transition to 100 percent clean, renewable energy without them."
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Bringing your own reusable grocery bags when you go shopping is one of the easiest ways to cut down on your plastic consumption — according to the UN Environment Program, up to 5 trillion single-use plastic bags are used globally each year.The most sustainable option is to use a bag you already have, whether it's an old tote or a laundry basket (thank TikTok for that idea). You can also make your own reusable grocery bags out of T-shirts. But if you'd rather purchase designated reusable grocery bags, here are our recommendations.
ChicoBag<p>Standard reusable grocery bags — foldable cloth "green bags" that typically have company logos on them — are bulky, can't be machine washed, and tend to break down after a number of uses. <a href="https://www.amazon.com/ChicoBag-Original-Reusable-Shopping-Grocery/dp/B006WA9LRA" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">ChicoBag reusable grocery bags</a> solve these problems and more. They hold up to 25 pounds each, can be tossed in the wash, and stuff down into a tiny attached pouch that you can easily keep in your purse or the center console of your car until you need them.</p><p><strong>Customer rating:</strong> 4.8 out of 5 stars with over 1,000 Amazon reviews</p><strong>Why buy: </strong>Machine washable; Certified B Corp; Climate Neutral Certified; Supports 1% For the Planet; Fair Labor Association member
Lotus Sustainables<p>If you prefer bigger reusable grocery bags that add convenience to your shopping experience, <a href="https://www.amazon.com/Trolley-COOLER-Reusable-Grocery-Eco-friendly/dp/B07WTLWF4Z?th=1" target="_blank">Lotus Trolley Bags</a> may be perfect for you. These bags fold flat and nestle in your cart so that you can sort items while you shop. There's a large insulated cooler bag, as well as two standard reusable shopping bags and a bag with pockets for wine bottles and <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/brown-eggs-healthier-than-white-eggs-2314254330.html" target="_self">egg cartons</a>. Each can hold up to 50 pounds and has double-stitched seams for added durability.</p><p><strong>Customer rating: </strong>4.6 out of 5 stars with over 3,000 Amazon reviews</p><strong>Why buy:</strong> Machine washable; Removable rod for non-cart use; Supports 1% for the Planet
BAGGU<p>For another versatile option, try the <a href="https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07N4D829J?tag=ecowatch-20&linkCode=ogi&th=1&psc=1" target="_blank">Baggu Standard Reusable Shopping Bag</a>. This product is modeled after a conventional <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/thailand-plastic-bag-ban-2643538829.html" target="_self">plastic grocery bag</a> but is made with 40% recycled ripstop fabric. Baggu reusable bags can carry up to 50 pounds but stuff down into a five-inch internal pocket for carrying.</p><p><strong>Customer rating:</strong> 4.7 out of 5 stars with over 50 Amazon reviews</p><strong>Why buy:</strong> Machine washable; Made with 40% recycled materials; Ethically manufactured; Packaging made from Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified material
Ecodunia<p><a href="https://www.amazon.com/Ecodunia-Canvas-Tote-Women-Eco-Conscious/dp/B08LY82NYW/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=Ecodunia&qid=1613051665&sr=8-1" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Ecodunia's reusable bags</a> have a sturdier feel than most products on this list. The canvas used to make each bag is produced from 100% renewable resources and natural cotton, plus they have long handles for comfortable carrying over your shoulder. Ecodunia's fun prints will likely make you want to use these bags for more than carting groceries, but they're great for a weekend trip to the <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/farmers-markets-coronavirus-safety-2645581711.html" target="_self">farmers market</a>.</p><p><strong>Customer rating:</strong> 5 out of 5 stars with under 5 Amazon reviews</p><p><strong>Why buy: </strong>Made from natural cotton; Machine washable; Handmade; Provides dignified work for communities in Kenya </p>
Simple Ecology<p>Another canvas bag option comes from <a href="https://www.amazon.com/Simple-Ecology-Reusable-Shopping-Certified/dp/B086Z7XQ79?ref_=ast_sto_dp" target="_blank">Simple Ecology</a>. This brand's eco-friendly grocery bags are made with Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) certified cotton and feature pop-out sleeves for more fragile goods and double-stitched seams for extra reinforcement. The large size has about the same capacity as a grocer's paper bag. Simple Ecology also has a reusable bag <a href="https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N6AUMBG/ref=sspa_dk_detail_2?psc=1&pd_rd_i=B01N6AUMBG&pd_rd_w=MA3ZS&pf_rd_p=cbc856ed-1371-4f23-b89d-d3fb30edf66d&pd_rd_wg=hVunQ&pf_rd_r=G6RTQ1Z5DKEY325MAJZ9&pd_rd_r=5d298b3a-1be7-4ebd-a9e1-d5d672a40497&spLa=ZW5jcnlwdGVkUXVhbGlmaWVyPUExMzc4RVAxWjNLOTdCJmVuY3J5cHRlZElkPUEwNTc0NTAwMzBDMjFYOVJPTUpWSCZlbmNyeXB0ZWRBZElkPUEwNjYyOTM4M0s4Vk81SVBPS1NFSyZ3aWRnZXROYW1lPXNwX2RldGFpbF90aGVtYXRpYyZhY3Rpb249Y2xpY2tSZWRpcmVjdCZkb05vdExvZ0NsaWNrPXRydWU=" target="_blank">starter kit</a> that comes with a tote and several reusable produce bags.</p> <p><strong>Customer Rating: </strong>4.6 out of 5 stars with over 900 Amazon reviews</p><strong>Why Buy:</strong> GOTS certified; Machine washable; Biodegradable; Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) certified packaging when purchased from manufacturer
BagPodz<p><a href="https://www.amazon.com/BagPodz-Reusable-Bag-Storage-System/dp/B00QJ9PBBY" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">BagPodz Reusable Shopping Bags</a> are all about convenience. You can get a pack of five or 10 bags, all of which fit in a low-profile "pod" that can be stored for use on the go. When at the <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/vancouvers-grocery-store-plastic-bags-2638807121.html" target="_self">grocery store</a>, the pod clips to your cart and has an easy-dispense pocket for when it's time to check out. After use, just stuff them back into the pod. BagPodz reusable bags are made with Bluesign® certified materials, which means they're manufactured sustainably.</p> <p><strong>Customer Rating:</strong> 4.8 out of 5 stars with over 2,000 Amazon reviews</p><strong>Why Buy: </strong>Machine washable; Made with Bluesign certified material