Environmental Concerns 2014-2015

Carol Stone photo

Carol Stone

by Carol Stone and Gail Schickele, Co-Chairs.

Once again we hosted an amazing array of speakers.

“Disruption – a dramatic film on the dangers of climate change—was shown, just before the People’s Climate March on Sept 21 and the U.N. Climate Summit in New York City.

Sara M. Kamins, Supervisor of the Customer Generation Program in the energy office of the California Public Utilities Commission discussed AB 327, a bill to reform electricity pricing and allow Net Energy Metering, so customers with solar panels can be paid for the electricity they feed into the system.

Severin Borenstein,  Director of the University of California Energy Institute, spoke on the economics of renewable energy, economic policies for reducing greenhouse gases and alternative models of retail electricity pricing . His research focuses on business competition, strategy, and regulation.

Mechanical Engineer, inventor and bike advocate Leif Bansner with Rock the Bike addressed the Climate Crisis One Bicycle at a Time. Leif shared a slide show and a pedal-powered demonstration of making hot apple cider.

Crude Oil Transportation in the Bay Area was discussed by Leslie Stewart, Contra Costa County Hazardous Materials Commissioner.  The increasing numbers of crude oil tank cars coming to the Bay Area represent a controversial change in both the type of crude oil supplying the region’s refineries, and the way it gets here.

A First Hand Report from Lima, Peru of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, was given by Kathleen Dervin, who worked at the California Department of Public Health studying the relationship between climate change and public health.

Vera Pardee, Senior Attorney of the Center for Biological Diversity explained her work with the center’s Climate Law Institute to set legal precedents to show that existing environmental laws require analysis, regulation, avoidance, and mitigation of greenhouse gas and climate impacts.

U.S. EPA Engineer Eric Magnan gave an overview of EPA’s Clean Water Act enforcement program and the EBMUD sewage settlement which should eliminate millions of gallons of sewage discharges into San Francisco Bay. Keeping sewage out of our nation’s waters is one of the U.S. EPA’s National Enforcement Initiatives.

Our final speaker was Antonio “Tony” Rossmann of the Berkeley Law faculty, an expert on land use and water policy, speaking on The Great California Droughts of 1977 and Today: What We Learned and What We Didn’t.

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