W.A.T.E.R. is working for the community and environment in changing times.
We hope this communication finds you and your friends and loved ones healthy. Although there have been few confirmed cases of Covid 19 in Siskiyou County, being on the I-5 corridor between major epidemic centers (e.g. LA, Bay Area, Portland and Seattle) requires that we all remain vigilant. Although Covid 19 has many of us sheltering at home, W.A.T.E.R. is still actively doing our part to ensure that once the virus runs its course, we still have a secure healthy planet to support humanity.
It is as important as ever for the public to remain informed about what is happening in this country. While the population is sheltering in place to try and stem the spread of Covid 19, government agencies, responding to corporate pressures, are moving forward with attacks on the planet, including rolling back clean car standards (to support the oil industries), leasing public lands to the highest bidder (to allow more oil and gas drilling and coal mining), attacking the Endangered Species Act, and stopping the EPA from enforcing environmental protection laws. In our own state, on April 3, the California Geologic Energy Management Division’s oil regulators quietly approved 24 new fracking wells for the first time in nearly six months. We must remain educated and outspoken in opposition to these attacks on our freedom and democracy.
W.A.T.E.R.’s work continues as we meet via video conferencing:
Crystal Geyser Water Company EIR: The legal cases against Siskiyou County and the City of Mt. Shasta regarding the Crystal Geyser bottling plant have been somewhat delayed but will most likely go forward at the Appellate Court in Sacramento by video conferencing.
Participating in the CEQA process for the Delta Conveyance Project: The California Department of Water Resources has initiated the CEQA process for a tunnel that would divert water from the Sacramento River to southern California. Whereas it may seem this project is far away from our area, as the headwaters of the Sacramento River, there are significant negative impacts to the ecology of our area and to Tribal Traditional Cultural Resources that must be avoided.
NGO Groundwater Collaborative: W.A.T.E.R. participates in a state-wide collaborative of non-governmental organizations working to protect the state’s groundwater resources as a public commons. A statewide convening of participating groups occurred via Zoom last month, and W.A.T.E.R. is supporting an effort to include volcanic aquifers, including those in our area. These aquifers are currently not covered under Bulletin 118, a document that defines the state’s groundwater resources that are to be managed by the state. We can’t manage what we don’t recognize and the State’s water recharge areas and volcanic aquifers currently have no protection under the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act. We aim to change that!
Promoting a constitutional amendment: W.A.T.E.R. has endorsed the National Move to Amend effort to pass an Amendment to the US Constitution that explicitly says corporations are not people and money is not speech. A resolution supporting the amendment, House Joint Resolution 48, has already been introduced into the US House of Representatives. We view this amendment as being essential to creating a democracy for the people and to create an economic culture that puts people over profits. We invite you to visit www.movetoamend.org to learn more about this effort; look for a tab that allows you to sign a petition showing your support. There is also a local chapter in Mt. Shasta. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to get involved locally.
Getting power lines underground: As the threat of Covid 19 (hopefully) wanes in the coming months, we will be facing the next big threat to our area -- wildfires. With this winter’s precipitation levels being again significantly below normal, we must be seriously vigilant in protecting our area from fire. A recent study has shown increases in fire incidents over the past several decades correlates with increases in powerline-intiated fires. Thus we are appealing to the governor’s office and our local officials to demand Pacific Power put all power lines underground, starting with planned upgrades, including those related to the Lassen Substation upgrade. You can read our recent letter to the editor of the local newspapers HERE.
Board Strategic Planning Efforts: W.A.T.E.R.’s board of directors is working with a local consultant to evaluate our board structure and operations and to update our strategic plan. With the Covid 19-induced many uncertainties about the future, planning ahead is a challenging task, yet essential to ensuring we can continue our mission to protect our local environment and communities. We expect the planning process to take several months, and we look forward to this exciting challenge.
W.A.T.E.R. is a member of the Shasta Environmental Alliance; a coalition of groups and individuals organized to protect and preserve the flora, fauna, air and water of the Upper Sacramento River Watershed through advocacy and education. Check out the web site for more information about the many issues impacting the Upper Sacramento River Watershed at www.ecoshasta.org.
Preparing for “The Disaster after the Disaster”
As we contemplate what the world will look like after the pandemic runs its course, we must prepare for the “disaster after the disaster.” Congress, while approving some funding and protections for working families, has also taken serious actions at the behest of major corporations of the world that will leave a grieving population with ever more serious threats to our health and wellbeing. There are trillions of dollars in bailouts, tax breaks, and subsidies to major corporations that will only widen the income gap between rich and poor. Smaller businesses will be bought up by huge banks and corporate conglomerates, even further increasing the concentration of wealth and power. With the EPA not enforcing laws for environmental protection, the inherent dangers of increasing dirty air, polluted water, and greenhouse gas emission that will further jeopardize future generations.
We must not let this happen… we must take a stand and say “enough is enough”. As many corporations, companies, and government officials encouraging us all to “get back to normal,” let’s remember that our past “normal” was causing climate change at a rate that threatens all life, and it is not a state worth returning to. At a minimum, we must all individually engage in our political system, become knowledgeable about the real issues impacting our lives and vote at the polls. Let’s take the time to evaluate our own roles in perpetuating dysfunctional political and economic systems so we can make the changes needed to create a society that puts humanity and all life over profits.
We invite you to join us in our efforts to work for a healthy planet that supports a healthy humanity for countless generations to come.