The Foggy View is looking for writers who are Black, Indigenous or other people of color to share your perceptions of environmental justice or experience of nature. Please contact judyherman@cox.net. We’re also in search of volunteers who can translate our articles into languages other than English.

 According to Angeles Chapter of Sierra Club:  All outings are cancelled through August 31. (City and county trail closures may affect our hikes even after the Chapter allows hiking.) Also, we are directed to not conduct any of the outings as private due to the public health emergency.  Outings after August in the online calendar, Campfire, are tentative.  Updates will be provided as they become available.  If you’re hiking on your own, please stay at least 6 feet from anyone else. For questions on outings, please contact your outings chairs, Frank or Kevin.

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Racism, Covid-19 and Oil Drilling Are Conected

By Melanie Cohen, Conservation Co-Chair

California has long produced some of the dirtiest, most carbon-intensive crude oil in the world, with operations taking place dangerously close to homes, schools, hospitals and other sensitive sites. Proximity to oil development is associated with adverse health effects including asthma and other respiratory illnesses, which increase the risk of severe consequences from COVID-19.

“The costs of living near oil and gas wells include higher risk of cancer, asthma, and preterm birth, and those consequences are only increasing. Meanwhile, oil production in California is in a long-term decline,” said Kobi Naseck of Voices In Solidarity Against Oil in Neighborhoods. “Right now, millions of Californians—overwhelmingly low income, Black, Indigenous, and people of color—are reckoning with the Covid-19 pandemic in addition to these chronic health issues caused by the oil industry in their backyards. VISION calls for a Just Recovery from Covid that includes necessary health and safety setbacks and a Just Transition for workers employed by the failing fossil fuel industry and impacted communities.

There’s hope: Assembly Bill 1057 requires the California Geologic Energy Management Division (“CalGEM”) to focus on protecting public health and the environment rather than just regulating the oil and gas industry in California. CalGEM is actively working on revising its regulations to better align its regulatory mandates with the new goals of the bill.

As part of its pre-rulemaking process, last November CalGEM released a series of initiatives targeting certain oil and gas extraction methods, intended to safeguard public health and the environment, including:

  1. A moratorium on new oil extraction wells that use high-pressure steam to break oil formations below the ground
  2. Updated and strengthened rules for public health and safety protections near oil and gas extraction facilities
  3. An independent audit of CalGEM’s permitting processes for well stimulation and underground injection control and a scientific review of pending well stimulation permits to ensure public health, safety and environmental protections are met prior to approving each permit.

These initiatives are in line with the State of California’s overall climate goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2045.  California intends to meet this goal by decreasing fossil fuel dependence and consumption. Earlier this year CalGEM solicited comments regarding its proposed regulatory changes. More than 40,000 Californians from across the state commented via email or in-person and online at town halls. In public comments, many Californians urged the Governor and CalGEM to address the crisis facing over five million people who live closest to oil extraction, which disproportionately impacts communities of color who already suffer from some of the highest concentrations of environmental pollution in the state. Commenters called on Gov. Newsom to mandate 2,500-foot health and safety buffer requirements between fossil-fuel infrastructure and homes, schools, and other sensitive sites statewide.

Sierra Club supports this new role for CalGEM and supports the 2,500-foot setback ruling. Sign the petition here. Want to do even more? Call your state senator and urge them to vote for AB345.

Local rulings being developed by Los Angeles County Department of Regional Planning and are calling for ONLY 500-foot setbacks!! Sign the Sierra Club petition here to CALL for the statewide regulation of 2500 feet:

https://addup.sierraclub.org/campaigns/protect-la-countys-residents-health-and-safety—-not-oil-industry-interests

Invisible Friends

Text and photographs by Emile Fiesler

Gardeners encounter numerous animals that enjoy feeding on the plants in their gardens.  These animals are typically labeled “pests.” There are other animals that prey on these pests, and these are typically labeled “beneficial.”  A number of beneficial insects are used as so-called biological control agents, as opposed to chemical control agents, which are often toxic to a broad range of organisms, including to us humans.  A large group of these gardeners’ friends are tiny parasitoid wasps. These photos from various Southern California locations show three species, depicted larger than life size.  Shown above on a stucco wall is a female Torymid Wasp (Megastigmus), which has an approximate mature length of 3.5 millimeter (0.14 inch).”

eulophid-wasp-by-emile-adj
Eulophid Wasp (Eulophidae), which measures about 2.5 millimeter (0.1 inch) in length, on California Bush Sunflower (Encelia californica)

Note that parasites do not intend to cause lethal damage to their host, any more than parasitoids intend to spare the life of their host. They’re all just concerned with their own survival. Continue reading “Invisible Friends”

Along the Path: A Young Person’s Guide to Exploring Nature – Music in the Air

By Susan Rothrock Deo                                                                                                           Photo: Northern Mockingbird. R. Hagerty, USFWS

Tweedle-dum, tweedle-dee; Richard, Richard; cheer-up, cheer-up, cheer-up! the mockingbird seemed to sing this morning. It’s fun to make up onomatopoeic words for birds’ songs (words that sound like what they sing). Experienced birders can identify a species just by hearing its song. Some use words or phrases to help them remember, like the Eastern Towhee sings, “Drink your tea.”

Our northern mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos) is quite a prolific songster. Mockingbirds belong to the thrush family—like the robin and wood thrush—many of which are beautiful songsters. Here in SoCal mockingbirds are one of the earliest birds to start singing in the morning and one of the last to stop at night. This spring they seem especially vocal, or maybe it’s because we are home more. Not only do they have tons of their own songs, but they also “mock” other birds, or sounds they hear like lawn mowers and car horns! Listen to this one imitating a car alarm. Mockingbirds can learn new songs throughout their lives but not all birds are able to do that. Continue reading “Along the Path: A Young Person’s Guide to Exploring Nature – Music in the Air”

Links of Interest: Environmental Justice

Racism is Killing the Planet by Hop Hopkins, Sierra Club director of strategic partnerships (Sierra Magazine)

Sierra Club’s Environmental Justice Program

Black Environmentalists Talk About Climate and Anti-Racism (New York Times) “Both political racism and environmental racism are drivers of our excess pollution and climate denialism.”

Energy Justice Network

How Residents of South LA Are Tackling Environmental Racism (Yes! Magazine)

Trump Administration’s Current Assault On Environmental Laws

By Dave Wiggins, Al Sattler and Steve Dillow

For several months, the attention of America’s citizens, and its press, has been focused in large part on the Covid-19 pandemic now sweeping the world, and the dramatic impact it has had on our health, economy, natural environment and culture. But as the spread of the disease, and the nationwide debate over how best to respond have commanded our civic attention, the Trump administration, with little fanfare, has been chipping away at some of our most significant and protective environmental safeguards.

Let’s review just a few of the actions taken this year:

On January 23, the administration narrowed the definition of what constitutes a federally protected waterway, exposing millions of miles of streams, arroyos and Continue reading “Trump Administration’s Current Assault On Environmental Laws”

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