MARCH 2005 HEADLINES

Gleick Op-Ed Calls for New Approach
to CVP Contracts

The federal government is on the verge of destroying any chance
of peacefully and economically solving California’s water problems
by pushing through contracts to provide heavily subsidized water
to a small number of powerful irrigation districts. That’s the
core message of an opinion essay Dr. Peter Gleick, President of
the Pacific Institute, penned for the Sacramento Bee at the end
of February. As the opinion essay goes on to explain, the water
delivered by the federal Central Valley Project (CVP), built for
and paid for by taxpayers, is sold for pennies on the dollar.
The price doesn’t even cover the project’s operating and maintenance
costs, much less the cost of building it.

The full essay is available from our
website.

Efforts to Reduce Diesel Gain Traction

February was a key month for efforts to reduce diesel pollution
in West Oakland, West Contra Costa County, and throughout California.
Pacific Institute staff moved forward on a variety of fronts;
working with the Regional Air District and the Port of Oakland
to improve enforcement of truck idling restrictions, and to provide
incentives to truckers to get newer, cleaner trucks on the road.
Institute staff also are working with the City of Oakland to develop
an improved truck route and to inform the development of statewide
policy on goods movement.

In West Contra Costa County, Fanta Kamakate, working with the
Neighborhood House of North Richmond, attended numerous neighborhood
council meetings to present our upcoming indoor diesel pollution-monitoring
project, and recruit volunteer households to host equipment for
the study. Residents responded positively to the project’s goals
and a number have volunteered to be part of the survey. Also on
the horizon is a project to improve indoor air quality in the
homes of seniors affected by diesel pollution in West Oakland.

Morrison Named NGO Representative for
New Social Responsibility Group

In February, Jason Morrison was designated by the American National
Standards Institute (ANSI) as the NGO representative on a six-person
multi-stakeholder delegation attending the first meeting of the
ISO’s Working Group on Social Responsibility in Salvador, Brazil
in early March. Over the next three years, the ISO Working Group
will develop an international standard that provides operational
guidance for organizations wishing to undertake Social Responsibility
practices. On February 23 in Washington, DC, Morrison attended
a meeting of the US national mirror body to the ISO Working Group
to identify US positions and provide guidance for the US delegation.

UPCOMING

3/8, Water Policy [San Francisco, Calif.],
Peter Gleick will speak to the World Affairs Club, Great Decisions
Program on Water and U.S. Foreign Policy, at noon. Event location:
312 Sutter St., Ste. 200.

3/22/05, Water Efficiency, [San Francisco,
Calif.], Gary Wolff will discuss “Economic Assessment of
Water Conserving Fixtures: Some Methods and Examples” at
the Water Conservation Showcase being held at the Pacific
Energy Center (851 Howard Street). The Pacific Institute is proud
to be a cosponsor of the event. More info by phone (415) 973-2277,
or online.

3/24/05, “The
Colorado River Drought — Sharing the Pain”
[San Diego,
Calif.]. Michael Cohen will participate on a panel at the Water
Education Foundation’s Executive Briefing. Info online.

3/30 to 4/1/05, Salton
Sea Symposium
[San Diego, Calif.]. Michael Cohen will speak
about the future of the Salton Sea at the Salton Sea Symposium.


STAFF UPDATES

2/25-2/27, Peter Gleick made three presentations
at the EPIIC International Symposium on Oil and Water at Tufts University
and at the meeting on Water as a Source of Conflict and Cooperation.

2/26, Margaret Gordon made a presentation on
the West Oakland Environmental Indicators Project to the John George
Democratic Club of West Oakland.

2/23, Jason Morrison attended a meeting of the U.S. national
mirror body to the ISO Working Group in Washington, DC. The purpose
of the meeting was to identify U.S. consensus positions and to provide
guidance for the US delegation attending the Brazil meeting.

2/23, Margaret Gordon and other members of
the West Oakland Environmental Indicators Project met with the East
Bay Community Foundation to discuss funding opportunities to build the
capacity and organizational development of the Project.

2/19, Michael Cohen gave a presentation on
the impacts of the Colorado River drought on delta restoration efforts,
at the University of the Pacific’s/McGeorge School of Law conference
on “Transboundary Freshwater Ecosystem Restoration.”

2/19-2/20, Emily Lee and Margaret Gordon attended
a conference organized by the Labor/Community Strategy Center in Los
Angeles on environmental justice, public health, and civil rights called
“The Future of Transportation in Los Angeles.”

2/18, Peter Gleick delivered the luncheon keynote
address at the University of the Pacific’s/McGeorge School of Law conference
on “Transboundary Freshwater Ecosystem Restoration.”

2/18, Emily Lee and Margaret Gordon attended
a Planning Consortium meeting of the California Environmental Health
Tracking Program in Oakland, CA. Ms. Lee and Ms. Gordon have been involved
in the Consortium’s efforts to incorporate environmental justice concerns
into health tracking.

2/17, Meena Palaniappan and Emily Lee hosted
a meeting with Jesse Marquez of Wilmington Coalition for a Safe Environment
and members of the Regional Diesel Coalition. Mr. Marquez presented
successful strategies in reducing pollution from the Ports of Long Beach
and LA, including mitigating pollution from ships, developing a green
barrier, and documenting Port expansion.

2/17, In an event for Black History Month, Margaret
Gordon
participated in the Environmental Racism Forum at Boalt Hall
Law School as a panelist. Ms. Gordon shared her experience as a resident
of West Oakland in the environmental justice movement and gave an overview
of the current state of West Oakland.

2/17, Margaret Gordon participated in the first
meeting of the Community Air Risk Evaluation (CARE) Advisory Group.
The Group advises the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, which
will investigate risk from toxic emissions in the Bay Area, and develop
and implement a pilot risk reduction plan for the more highly impacted
neighborhoods in the region.

2/16, Meena Palaniappan, Margaret Gordon, and Emily
Lee
hosted a meeting with our West Oakland Pilot Health Survey partners
on the pilot survey results. The partners agreed to participate in the
October 2005 West Oakland Healthy Neighborhoods Festival and will also
convene a meeting of local health agencies in April to discuss the pilot
survey results.

2/12, Gary Wolff made a presentation on “Balancing
Uncertainties in Water Supply” at Sustainable Marin Water Day.
About 40 people were present, including several elected officials and
water district senior managers.

2/11, Meena Palaniappan presented opening remarks
at the Goods Movement Hearing hosted by the Business, Transportation
and Housing Agency and California EPA. With goods movement through California
Ports set to double or triple in size in the next few decades, it is
critical to ensure we mitigate environmental impacts and protect the
health of communities near ports. Ms. Palaniappan presented solutions
from our “Clearing
the Air”
report on how to reduce diesel pollution in West Oakland,
and involve fence line communities in decisions about goods movement.
A highlight of the event was when a trucker held up our two page solutions
sheet and said, “This is a great summary of what needs to happen,
everyone needs to have one of these.”

2/10, Emily Lee, Margaret Gordon, and the West
Oakland Environmental Indicators Project hosted a meeting with City
Transportation Services and residents to create a residential truck
route in West Oakland that minimizes residents’ exposure to toxic diesel
soot. The West Oakland Environmental Indicators Project presented the
draft truck route to community residents at Councilmember Nancy Nadel’s
Townhall meeting on February 24.

2/8, Meena Palaniappan participated in the
Port of Oakland’s Truck Advisory Committee and Technical Review Panel
to provide oversight and feedback on disbursement of Carl Moyer Program
funds to replace older truck engines with newer cleaner truck engines,
and the use of Port settlement funds to get cleaner trucks on the road.

2/3-2/4, Peter Gleick lectured at UC Santa
Barbara on the state of the world’s water and was on a panel at the
premiere of “Running Dry” — a new documentary about water
problems in developing countries — at the Long Beach Aquarium.

2/2, Meena Palaniappan, Margaret Gordon, and Emily
Lee
along with the West Oakland Environmental Indicators Project
and the Golden Gate Law Clinic hosted a meeting with the Bay Area Air
Quality Management District and local truckers to better enforce the
30 minute idling limit for diesel trucks at the Port of Oakland. Photographic
and survey evidence of idling trucks was presented along with ideas
to improve enforcement and improve appointment systems to reduce diesel
truck idling.


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