November-December 2010 Roadrunner Newsletter, Kern-Kaweah Sierrra Club


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November-December 2010 Roadrunner Newsletter, Kern-Kaweah Sierrra Club

  1. 1. A BI-MONTHLY PUBLICATION OF THE KERN-KAWEAH CHAPTER OF SIERRA CLUB NOV./DECEMBER, 2010The RoadrunnerRESIDENTS OPPOSE SOLAR PROJECT IN KELSO VALLEY WHEN GOOD PLUS GOOD EQUALS BAD: Weldon is a disaster in the making for rural area The Weldon Solar Project is a KELSO VALLEY:proposed 60 megawatt solar Renewable Resources Groupinstallation, 300 acres of panels is planning toon a 500-acre site. Weldon is a build 300 acres ofsleepy unincorporated community solar panels onin the east side of the beautiful farmland inKern River Valley. Why dont Weldon adjacent to the AudubonWeldon and a large solar project Preserve and thego together? South Folk of the Weldon has sun, flat ground at Kern. RRGthe site, and a transmission line purchased theadjacent to the site that may be Onyx Ranch in 2008.adequate. Renewable Resources Photo/Group (RRG), the developer, Ara Marderosianbought the 68,000-acre OnyxRanch in 2008 and selected thesite as most suitable for a solar which is often visited by tourists huge mountainous areas, and sawproject on the land they retained, from around the world. The site is major flooding in 1964, 1966,after selling 30,000 acres to the also on a severe non-attainment 1984, and of Vernon in Los Angeles. area for PM10 (air pollution). The land is flat because of the The site on prime farm land is A terrain map of the South Fork flooding. Steep mountain terrainimmediately adjacent to two and Kelso Valley reveals the and alluvial fans suddenly meethome tracts, churches and underlying source of the problem flat land, telling a story ofschools. It is also located on a (download HYPERLINK "http:// repeated severe flooding overflood plain and is within yards of" http:// millennia. It will happen again –the South Fork of the Kern River for info, the question is not if, but when.and the largest remaining riparian maps and photos). Kelso Creek The original proposal includedforest in the Southwestern United and the South Fork meet at a concentration-camp fence,States near an Audubon Preserve, Weldon near the site. These drain Please turn to page 2FALL DINNER COMING ON NOV. 13 AT HODEL’S; PAID RESERVATIONS DUE NOV. 4 Our annual fall dinner is an opportunity to The menu will offer a choice of beef tips meet, greet and socialize. It is being held at with mushrooms or lemon herb roasted Hodels Country Dining, 5917 Knudsen Drive chicken and a variety of other choices. (Please on Saturday, Nov. 13. Our social hour begins fill in the dinner reservation form with your at 5 p.m. with a no-host bar. Dinner starts at 6 choice or any special dietary needs.) The price p.m. This is a chance to invite your family of $25 per person includes room, set-up, members, your work buddies, your neighbors, security, tax and gratuity. your adult grand-children and great-grand- This year our leaders and activists will share children. (No children under the age of 7 what they are doing for the chapter and the please.) public. The fall dinner also serves to reach out to Please fill out the reservation form on the the community to attract newcomers. What last page of The Roadrunner and mail as does the Sierra Club do? We will answer. directed before Nov. 4.
  2. 2. THE ROADRUNNER NOVEMBER/DECEMBER, 2010KELSO VALLEY: Residents oppose 300-acre solar developmentContinued from page 1which RRG modified to “ranch farmland hurts everybody, but project, because construction duststyle fencing” due to flood risk particularly these farmers. There would be a threat to studentand public complaint. However, is not enough local farmland for health, among other reasons.)RRG then added shrubs and trees this to be mitigated. A less obvious concern is thatto the plan, as a thick visual The Kern Valley narrows RRG intends to sell water out ofscreen, which replaces the abruptly at Weldon, and one the area. They deny it, but haveflooding risk removed by result is that the west wind is specialists in water on tap, andchanging the fence. One may concentrated, and thus quite ties to the Los Angelesdrive across the South Fork strong. The DG soil includes a lot Department of Water and Power.through the riparian forest, and of dust, which local farmers can The water table is usually aboutsee shrubs and trees collect debris manage, but since 2009 when the three feet deep at the site. Anyand divert flow. imported farm managers plowed, reduction in the water table There is little agricultural land dangerous dust levels are would risk the health of thein the Kern River Valley, and common. riparian forest.almost all is in Weldon. The site David Jones of the Kern There are additional concerns –is on prime farmland, and has County Air Pollution Control said please consider helping stop thisproduced crops since the area was he has no idea how the PM10 project in the wrong place!settled. The fifth and sixth problem can be mitigated. The —Jody Steelgenerations of the pioneers still usual methods, chemical coatings Weldon residentfarm this land, and a car trip is or paving, can’t be used so near For more commentary on theoften interrupted by cowboys the river. (The local school board solar project in Weldon, please seemoving cattle. The loss of passed a resolution to oppose the “Midgebuzzings” on page 9.Ruling on EIR in September puts FOR PDFTulare Sports Project on hold VERSION OF Tulare County Judge Lloyd Hicks Another environmental issue noted NEWSLETTER—recently ruled that the city must in the ruling is about methods ofwork on the Tulare Sports Project generating electricity for the sports E-mail Lorraine Ungerenvironmental report. complex. The EIR maintains that The report was made public on only five percent would be atSept. 16 and will soon become final. generated by solar panels, but the “They are going to have to redo Sierra Club wanted a greater and ask to be taken off percentage of power coming fromthe EIR and go through the solar. the hardprocess,” Kern-Kaweah Ex-com copy list.board member Gordon Nipp was The project was approved in 2008quoted as saying in the Fresno Bee. by a 3-2 Tulare City Council vote. Project developer is Bud Long of The EIR reportedly cost the city $1 Log on to http://Fresno. His attorney, Myron Smith, million. Reportedly, the $1 million kernkaweah.sierraclub.stated that the ruling against the is supposed to be recouped when parcels are sold before construction org/email.html and joinproject is a setback, but “it willdefinitely not kill the project. starts on the sports complex. the Judge Lloyd Hicks said that the The sports complex, as proposed, KERN-NEWSEIR was weakened by not offering would include a race track, a drag email list. strip and residential, commercial“factual, reasoned analysis” in its and retail development.rejection of mitigation plans tocompensate for the loss offarmland. The EIR was also Material for this article is adaptedinadequate in its analysis of the from articles in the Fresno Bee (byeffects on air quality and climate Lewis Griswold) and Visalia Timeschange. Delta (by Luis Hernandez).
  3. 3. THE ROADRUNNER NOVEMBER/DECEMBER, 2010VOTE...VOTE...VOTE...VOTE: It’s our civic responsibility Okay, before you look over The Roadrunner, first comments on the recently released Draft EIS for the pour yourself a cup of coffee and find a comfortable Monument Plan. Third, don’t miss the news about seat, because we want you to read this edition from positive Chapter- sponsored events, such as the high cover to cover. It’s loaded with important and school art competition and Paul Gipe’s “Feed-In interesting information and we don’t want you to Tariff” workshop held last July. miss a thing! And last , we hope to see you all at the upcoming First, you are urged to vote. Practice your civic Chapter fall dinner, Saturday, Nov. 13, at Hodel’s. duty and participate in elections for the Chapter, We’ll have beautiful new 2011 Sierra Club calendars state, and federal races. Please read the Chapter for sale, and hear from our wonderful Chapter Executive Committee statements from our stellar, activists. Okay, now start reading from cover to hard-working candidates. Also, read the Sierra Club shining cover! And then vote! endorsements to assist in your decision making. —Georgette Theotig Second, the giant sequoias need your help. Don’t Chapter Chair miss Joe Fontaine’s article asking you to write CANDIDATE STATEMENTS FOR THE KERN-KAWEAH CHAPTER EXECUTIVE COMMITTEERICHARD J. GARCIA STEPHEN MONTGOMERY LORRAINE UNGERI have been a member of the ExCom for After more than 40 years, I retired from I have been a Sierra Club member for11 years. I have served as the Chapter the Union Pacific Railroad. Until my over 30 years. I was active in theWater Committee chair and am interested retirement I was the legislative officer in Angeles Chapter and when we moved toin protecting wildlife. I will continue to my union local. Bakersfield, I sought out Kern-Kaweahadvocate for the greater use of the for new friends.valley’s natural waterways to recharge A long time life member of the Club, Iaquifers and restore riparian habitats, and have served the Chapter as editor and I have served in most of the Chapter rolessupport the San Joaquin River restoration helped with letter writing and other and enjoy being an activist. Uponproject. I plan to continue to work with chores as needed. retirement I decided to be one of thethe CNRCC to protect black bears and public faces for the Club in Kern County.threatened wildlife from cruel and I attend many civic meetings and try toenvironmentally destructive practices like With a strong interest in sound urban planning, I have represented the Club comment for the Chapter. I am currentlyhounding. the Chapter treasurer. before the Bakersfield City Council on planning issues that requiredARA MARDEROSIAN consideration. I also an advocate for ANN WILLIAMSChapter member Charlene Little inspired architectural historical preservation. My time on the Executive Committee,me, in 1996, to help her analyze Sequoia first as secretary and then as a member atNational Forest project proposals for large, has enriched my appreciation oftheir adherence to the “best available GORDON NIPP My conservation efforts center around the excellent work being done constantlyscience.” I have written up to 2,000 pages in this Chapter by strong peopleof comments and successful appeals of local sprawl impacts. Focuses include: global warming, energy, air pollution, dedicated to the welfare of the naturalSequoia’s harmful logging projects, environment. Some very effective resultsannually. and farmland preservation. Most local successes in these areas have resulted have come from their detailed knowledge from litigation and/or negotiation with of threats both to the immediate localSince the Bush administration changed individual development projects, and environment and further afield. Iall forest management regulations, some of these successes have involved appreciate the attitude of determinationguidelines, and policies, I have had to precedents that led to wider applications. among members of the ExCom, and ahave the assistance of an attorney to As an advocate for these issues, it is spirit of optimism that seemsmaintain standing on many projects. I’ll important that I be on the ExCom, and I unassailable.continue on the ExCom with your help. ask for your support. See ballot on newsletter insert.SIERRA CLUB CALIFORNIA RECOMMENDATIONS: Sierra Club California is recommending thefollowing votes on these initiatives. YES ON PROP 25: Simple majority for passing state budgets. YES ON 21: TheCalifornia State Parks Initiative to provide a stable source of funding to protect state parks. NO ON 23: Proposed Bill OilInitiative to halt clean energy efforts and pollution control. PROP. 18: The $11.1 billion water bond was voted off the ballotby the legislature for the present. It is promised back for 2012. For more information, please see:
  4. 4. THE ROADRUNNER NOVEMBER/DECEMBER, 2010 KERN KAWEAH ROUNDUPPLEASE READ CAREFULLY IF YOU PLAN TO PARTICIPATE IN SIERRA CLUB HIKES:Everyone is welcome, Sierra Club members and non-members, to join in any of the outdoor activities. Requirements: Youmust be in condition for the type of hike, equipped appropriately for the activity and prepared to sign a Sierra Club releasefor liability. You must be willing to follow the leader’s directions. Be sure to bring any personal medicines you might need.Customary appropriate equipment includes good hiking shoes, plenty of water, snack, sunglasses, suntan lotion, and layeredclothing. The following might be helpful but definitely is not required: compass, whistle, matches or lighter, and a good firstaid kit. Long pants are recommended. Unprepared for the prospective hike? It will be a no-go for you. Participation mustbe leader approved. Please let the leader know ahead of time that you are intending to participate. Check individual grouplistings for the desired means of communication.Since unexpected change of plans may be necessary, it is recommended that YOU contact the hike leader the night before tobe assured that the hike is still going to happen.New California legislation designed to protect the consumer requires us to publish this notice: CST 2087755-40. Registration as a seller oftravel does not constitute approval by the State of California. This legislation is designed to protect the user of outdoor activities thatrequire cash payments of more than $50 for participation.BUENA VISTA GROUP (Bakersfield area)More info? Call Donnel Lester at 661.831.6784 or e-mail or Isabel at661.246.6195.Tuesday conditioning hikes of 4 or 5 miles at 7 p.m., meet at corner of Highways 178 and 184. Contact Gordon at: ( orLarry (661.873.8107) for more information.Saturday, Nov. 6—"How Senate Bill 375 will impact your life." Join us at 10 a.m. to hear how this important Californiabill will promote a healthier community. Rob Ball, Kern Council of Government, Planning Division director, will clue us inabout transportation, sprawl, and infrastructure costs to Kern communities. Camino Real Restaurant, 3500 Truxtun Ave andWestwind just west of Oak Street. Optional brunch is served for $7.60/ person+tip. Info: 661,246.6195.Saturday, Nov. 20—Adopt-A-Highway cleanup: Meet at Old River Road and Hwy 119 (Taft Hwy) at 9 a.m. Park at theMonte Carlo lot. We will bring equipment. We recommend that you bring a hat, good hiking shoes/boots, and water todrink. Inclement weather cancels this event. Call to confirm your attendance: 661.246.6195.Saturday, Dec. 4— Breakfast with Zac Griffin from Bike Bakersfield. He will fill us in about biking for transportationand infrastructure for bicycles. Presentation is at 10 a.m. at Camino Real Restaurant, 3500 Truxtun Ave. at the corner ofTruxtun and Westwind, just west of Oak Street in Bakersfield. Optional brunch is served for $7.60/person + tip. Info: 661.323.5569Saturday, Dec. 18—Adopt-A-Highway cleanup: Meet at Old River Road and Hwy 119 (Taft Hwy). Park at 9 a.m. at theMonte Carlo lot. We will bring equipment. We recommend that you bring a hat, good hiking shoes/boots, and water todrink. Inclement weather cancels this event. Call to confirm your attendance: 661246-6195.Meeting Notices—If you would like to receive Buena Vista Group meeting and activity notices by email, please contact Donnel Lester,, with Add me to the email list. You can opt out of the email notices at any time. We try to limit this to once-a-month emails. CONDOR GROUP (Frazier Park area) More info? Mary Ann Lockhart (661.242.0432). Hikes? Dale Chitwood(661.242.1076)
  5. 5. THE ROADRUNNER NOVEMBER/DECEMBER, 2010Saturday, Nov. 27—Craft Fair Booth. The Condor group is sponsoring a booth at the annual PMCPOA craft fair from 9a.m. till 3 p.m. at the Pine Mountain Clubhouse. This is a good spot to do a little holiday shopping combined with a late falldrive into the mountainsSaturday, Dec. 4—Holiday party. Hilarious exchange of gifts with contents being recycled items only. Potluck withprecede at the Pine Mountain Clubhouse in Pine Mountain Club at 6 p.m. (located approximately 15 miles west of FrazierParkKAWEAH GROUP (Porterville)More info? Call Pam Clark (559.784.4643) or Diane Jetter (559.781.8897).OWENS PEAK GROUP (Ridgecrest)More info? Chair Dennis Burge (760.375.7967) or e-mail Jim Nichols,hikes (760.375.8161) or e-mail, Oct. 25—Travel Talk. Janet Westbrook will show pictures of some of her most recent travels with an ecologicalimplication. Meet at the Maturango Museum at 7:30 p.m.Saturday, Nov. 13—Jayhawker Canyon (off Hwy 190 on west side of Death Valley, 4080 ft max, 1070 ft gain, 4.8miRT) We will explore part of the canyon found as an escape from Death Valley by the Jayhawker party in the winter of 1849.There are artifacts still visible from their visit to Jayhawker Springs which we will explore. This canyon route climbs up andover the SE flank of Pinto Pk and continues on into Panamint Valley. Easy/Moderate due to cross country sections. MeetSaturday, Nov. 13, at 7:30 a.m. at the Ridgecrest Cinema parking lot. Call Dennis Burge at 760.375.7967 or Jim Nichols at760.375.8161 for more info.Monday, Nov. 22---Update on Renewable Energy Projects. This is a talk by Hector Villalobos, manager of the BLMRidgecrest Field Office, about projects on BLM land in the Ridgecrest area. Maturango Museum at 7:30 p.m.Saturday, Dec. 11—The Ashrama at Tuttle Creek. Up Tuttle Creek, west of Lone Pine, ~7700 ft elevation, 1150 ft gain;3.5 mi RT). This spiritual retreat, built around 1930, has served several generations of spiritual seekers, mystical students,and most recently rock climbers. Throughout the years, the name of the building has changed from Summer Camp to theRama Sangha School, to the Ajna Ashrama. Lone Pine residents often refer to it as The Monastery, and a hiker’s manualrefers to it as the Stone House; it is known by the U.S. Forest Service as the Tuttle Creek Ashram. If the snow allows, thisshould be an easy hike to a spiritual place at this spiritual time of the year. Meet Saturday, Dec. 11, at 7:30 a.m. at theRidgecrest Cinema parking lot. Call Dennis Burge at 760.375.7967 or Jim Nichols at 760.375.8161 for more info.MINERAL KING GROUP (Visalia: Tulare & Kings counties)More info? Please also visit for more info.Thursday, Oct. 21—Bring-A-Bag Dinner. Join us at the Cal Natives Nursery for a talk hosted by Cathy Capone. Ice teasand dessert provided. For information, call 559.781.8897.Saturday, Oct. 23 —Kings Canyon Hike. A moderately easy 5-mile round trip hike in Kings Canyon National Park. Wewill hike 2.5 miles downhill among redwoods and dogwood to Redwood Creek where we will enjoy lunch. Call David orJoanne for meeting time and place at 559.733.2078.Saturday, Nov. 6—Big Baldy Hike. Come hike the Big Baldy trail in Sequoia National Forest. On a clear day this easy5-1/2 mile hike provides spectacular panoramic views. For more information, call Joanne or David at 559.733.2078.Saturday, Nov. 20—Garfield Grove Trail to Putnam Canyon. This is a moderate hike of 4-6 miles depending on how farwe can go on the trail. The hike includes some elevation gain. For more information contact Dave at 559.688-.813,, Dec. 11—Hospital Rock Hike. This will be a family friendly outing in the foothills of Sequoia National Park.Lets get above the fog by going to Hospital Rock. We will do a leisurely walk down a road and enjoy the sights and soundsSTAYING INFORMED: JOIN OUR KERN-NEWS & KERN FORUM E-MAIL LISTS at: http://
  6. 6. THE ROADRUNNER NOVEMBER/DECEMBER, 2010along the Middle Fork of the Kaweah River. After the walk, we will have a potluck at the Hospital Rock picnic area. Formore information, call Joanne or David at 559.733.2078.Find the Mineral King Group on Facebook! Visit our page for up-to-date information on outings, social events, and ourconservation efforts in Tulare and Kings Counties. California/Nevada Regional Conservation Committee Desert Committee OutingsFor questions about, or to sign up for a particular outing, please contact the leader listed in the write-up. For questions about DesertCommittee outings in general, or to receive the outings list by e-mail, please contact Kate Allen at or 661.944.4056.Saturday-Sunday, Nov. 20-21--Explore and Serve in the Carrizo Plains. Pronghorn antelope will not jump fences to escape predatorsbut rather attempt to crawl under. Our service on Saturday will either remove or modify several sections of fence to facilitate this mobility.Sunday will be, at the choice of the group, either a hike in the Caliente Range or else a tour of popular viewing areas in the plains. This isan opportunity to combine car camping, day-hiking, exploring, and service in a relatively unknown wilderness. Leader: Craig Deutsche,, 310.477.6670. CNRCC Desert CommitteeSaturday-Sunday, Dec. 4-5--Carrizo Plains Fence Removal. Our work parties to remove barbed wire fences on the Carrizo Plain NMare opening up the plain for the benefit of pronghorn antelope and other wildlife. Here is another chance to destroy fences. Meet at 0900Saturday morning at Goodwin Visitor’s Center or join us Friday night at Selby campground. Potluck dinner and campfire Saturday.Bring fence tools if you have them, heavy leather work gloves, long pants and long-sleeved shirts, and clothing appropriate for theweather. Bring everything you need, including water, as there are no stores on the Carrizo. Resource specialists; Alice and Bob Koch.For more information and to sign up, contact leaders: Cal and Letty French,, 805.239.7338. CNRCC Desert Com/Santa Lucia Chapter Tuesday-Sunday, Dec. 28, 2010-Jan. 2, 2011--Holiday Service in Carrizo Plain. Celebrate the end of one year and the beginning ofthe next in one of our new national monuments. The Carrizo Plain, west of Bakersfield, is a vast grassland, home to pronghorn antelope,tule elk, kit fox, and a wide variety of birds. A welcome hike Dec. 28, three and a half days of service modifying barbed wire fencing, anda full day for hiking and exploring are planned. Use of accommodations at Goodwin Ranch included. Limited to 14 participants, $30covers five dinners. For more information, contact leader: Craig Deutsche,, 310.477.6670, or co-leader leaderMelinda Goodwater,, 408.774.1257 CNRCC Desert Committee
  7. 7. THE ROADRUNNER NOVEMBER/DECEMBER, 2010 Chapter sponsors full day workshop by renewable energy expert The Kern Kaweah Chapter The second half of the day was There is now clear movementsponsored a full day workshop in San devoted to case studies of pricing for on feed-in tariffs at the highest levelsFrancisco on July 13. Given by wind and solar energy in California of the Club. This movement is takingFrench energy expert Bernard and Oregon. place for several reasons, but aChabot, the workshop held at the The sponsorship of the San significant reason is that the Kern-Sierra Club’s national headquarters Francisco event was likely the largest Kaweah chapter showed the nationalexplained how to use a simple single grant ever awarded by the organization in the clearest and mostmethod for calculating the price of Kern-Kaweah chapter. The chapter’s direct manner possible—with theirfee-in tariffs for wind and solar action did not go unnoticed and money—that they want prompted senior staff to offer the Here are some representative Of the three such workshops Club’s Yosemite Room to host the comments:given in the U.S. this year, Sierra meeting as an in-kind donation. “The tariff workshopClub chapters were either the The advance press the yesterday in SF was excellent.sponsors or the principal organizers workshop received, internal Club Thank you for making itof two. lobbying, a new executive director, happen.”—Bill Powers (Powers Thirty six participants attended and a companion event held the day Engineering and Sierra Clubthe San Francisco workshop, the before the pricing workshop led the California)majority from California. However, national Sierra Club to take a more “Thanks to you and Bernardthere was a sizable delegation from direct role. This took the form of Chabot for a fantastic workshopOregon, and there were two national Sierra Club sponsorship of on rate setting. I learned so muchparticipants from Nevada. the companion event and Sierra Club and feel much better equipped to Sierra Club California (SCC) Executive Director Michael Brune participate in rate settingmembers Ray Pingle, Bill Powers, agreeing to give the morning keynote discussions in the future. Theand Robert Freehling participated. address. workshop was very well done!”—They have been instrumental in When Brune asked how many Jennifer Gleason (EnvironmentalSCC’s campaign for more distributed of the 200 attendees at the Law Alliance Worldwide)renewable energy, such as rooftop companion event were Sierra Club “The seminar this past weeksolar photovoltaic (PV) systems, in members, nearly a third of those was top-class and I learned quite athe state. present raised their hands. It was bit.” —Joe Bonanno (Sustainable The first half of the day was clear to everyone that the Sierra Club Power Assets)spent on conventional financial rank and file supported feed-in tariffs and wanted action not only in —Paul Gipeformulas and backgroundinformation on economic analysis. California but also nationwide. This Workshop Organizer was not lost on Brune, or his staff.DONATION: Chapter gives copies of Fontaine book to libraries The Kern-Kaweah Chapter purchased 90 copies of Joe Joe spent many years hikingFontaine’s book, The Kern Plateau and Other Gems of the the areas mentioned andSouthern Sierra and then donated them to libraries and was directly instrumentalschools in Kern, Tulare, and Inyo counties. in having the Golden Trout Joe, a long time member and activist of the Chapter, was Wilderness of the Kernthe national president of the Sierra Club (1980-1982) Plateau added to the nationalduring the tumultuous times of Secretary of Interior James wilderness system. InWatt of the Reagan administration. All public libraries in addition, illustrations inthe three counties received a copy of the book. the book are the work In addition, all of the high school libraries in the counties of local artist and Chapternow have a copy of the book. Chair Georgette Theotig. The EXCOM decided that one of the best ways to educate Have not had a chancethe public, especially younger members, of the message of to read his book? Nowconservation was to make available to them this you can go to you localexceptional account of the history and natural attributes of library to check one out.the area. Being a retired high school science teacher, Joe —Harry Loveknows how to best reach the reader with his message. Member-at-large
  8. 8. THE ROADRUNNER NOVEMBER/DECEMBER, 2010Court requires rewrite of Forest Service Monument plan The first management plan the Forest Service adopted for management that Sierra Club and other environmentalthe Giant Sequoia National Monument was thrown out by groups oppose.the court as a result of a lawsuit brought by the Sierra Club We believe those are poison pills placed in Alternativeand others. The judge said it was incomprehensible and C to make it unacceptable to the public. The Sierra Clubtold them to do it over. advocates the type of management used by the Sequoia Our primary complaint was that it did not comply with National Park for their forests and wildlife but not thethe Proclamation that created the Monument signed by restrictive recreational rules used in the park. We stronglyPresident Clinton in 2000. oppose Alternative C as written. This summer Sequoia National Forest released a Draft We are putting together ourEnvironmental Impact Statement for a new plan. It is a own management alternative “The use of fire isbigger stack of paper that weighs 11 pounds but it still called the Citizens Park the preferredcalls for logging in the Monument. So it looks like we are Alternative. Our alternative method ofheaded own the same path we took on the first plan. calls for managing the giant ecosystem restor- Their preferred alternative, Alternative B, calls for sequoia groves and the entirelogging the equivalent of 7 or 8 million board feet per year. forest ecosystem in the same ation. ProtectionThe Forest Service claims logging is necessary to restore a fine manner used in Sequoia and restoration ofhealthy forest and reduce the fire hazard. Yet in the National Park. The use of healthy habitats ofadjacent Sequoia National Park they have been fire is the preferred method sensitive wildlifesuccessfully using prescribed and naturally ignited fire to of ecosystem restoration. must be a priority.”achieve the same result. Protection and restoration of The Proclamation says that no tree may be removed from healthy habitats of sensitive —Joe Fontainethe Monument unless clearly needed for ecological wildlife must be a priority. Sequoia Task Forcerestoration and maintenance or public safety. The fact that Any mechanical thinning forexactly the same giant sequoia ecosystem in Sequoia fuel reduction should beNational Park has been managed using fire only to create a focused in areas directly adjacent to structures. Dispersedhealthy resilient forest with excellent giant sequoia recreation should be encouraged. Overly restrictive rulesregeneration and to eliminate dangerous accumulation of for recreation are not needed.fuels seems to mean nothing to Sequoia National Forest. Comments on the Draft Environmental Impact StatementThere are communities and developed areas in Sequoia are due by Nov. 3. Please help by submitting your ownNational Park that are safe from wildfire with the use of comments that support the Citizens Park Alternative. Emailshaded fuel breaks and clearing smaller trees and brush comments can be sent to:within about 300 hundred feet of structures. The use of fire only in the park is clear ecological Or you can send comments to: US Mail to GSNM-DEISevidence that trees do not need to be removed to create a Comments, Sequoia National Forest, 1839 S. Newcombhealthy forest and public safety. Somehow the Forest St., Porterville, CA 93257Serviced turns a blind eye to the results the National Park Your comments will help to protect the Giant Sequoiahas achieved without logging. National Monument as the Proclamation intended. Alternative C is called the National Park Alternative bythe Forest Service. But alternative C would prohibit —Joe Fontainedispersed camping and other overly restrictive Sequoia Task ForceArt may spark interest in environmentalism The newly formed Buena Vista Judging of work will take place afterGroup Art Committee is hosting an the Feb. 1 deadline.exhibit of student art (grades 9-12) Committee members includein the Younger Gallery in downtown Marjorie Bell, Pat Bonas, DinahBakersfield from Feb. 11-April 1 Campbell, Kathy Kalson, Cynthiawith help from the Arts Council of Lane, Maria Polite, and LauraKern. A reception and awards event being planned for Feb. 11 from 5 Through private memberto 7 p.m. at the gallery. donations, the Art Committee also The theme of the competition is contributed to the recent Via Arte The committee is also working“California Perspectives 2011” with chalk drawing event. Haven Drive on an exhibit of photos by formerfocus on our state’s unique school children created the design of Bakersfield resident and club activistenvironment, both natural and urban. a colorful parrot. Bev Steveson.
  9. 9. THE ROADRUNNER NOVEMBER/DECEMBER, 2010MIDGEBUZZINGS On a shelf behind me is a framed photograph of the beautiful Kelso Valley taken during a storm, withexquisite light and shadow, heavy dark clouds and portions of a rainbow’s arch. It reminds me of some of thefinest moments I’ve experienced in the Owens Valley, that enchanting land where so many of us go for renewalof faith in the endurance of the earth. But the Kelso Valley is much closer and can be reached in little more thanan hour from my home. It is east of Lake Isabella on Highway 178, the road we take to the Audubon Preserveon the south fork of the Kern River, and includes the little communities of Weldon and Onyx. Sadly, these two valleys, each unique to the earth, KELSO VALLEY:are now alike in another regard. Many of us know Farming in and the history of the rape of the Owens Valley: the near Weldon maysecret purchases of farm land and water rights soon come to a haltorchestrated by a man named Mulholland, who when solar panels line the valley floor.was head of the Los Angeles Department of Water This photo from theand Power. By the time ranchers and farmers hills north ofunderstood what had happened, their water Weldon shows arights were gone and their means of drawing view of the valleya living from the land were lost. Ironically, floor. Photo/the negative effect of those secret negotiations, Marjorie Bellwhile it ruined the farmers, resulted in thepreservation of that valley from excessive development such as we suffer inthe San Joaquin. But in the case of Kelso Valley, the ugliness of recent and similar wheeling and dealing, begunby the Los Angeles DWP and taken up by other powerful concerns, will result in changes hideouslyvisible from any viewpoint. A part of the earth now so beautiful that it consoles the spirit will become vastacres of solar units for almost as far as the eye can see. The power brokers who set this up will becomeconsiderably richer, energy from the solar collection will benefit people far away who have no interest whateverin its source, and the people in Kelso Valley, who have farmed there for generations, will be devastated. The particulars of these machinations and their pending results are being examined by the citizens of Weldonwho have caught on to them at last, and by other writers who specialize in the details and effects of suchbehavior. My purpose is to examine the aesthetics of the proposed venture, and to consider the probleminherent in the fact that the destruction of natural beauty is primarily useless in a legal argument for thepreservation of unique places on the earth. There is no doubt in my mind that beauty is necessary for human happiness, and by association, necessary forhuman health and sanity. Opinions vary regarding its definition and source, but few of us would reject theGrand Canyon or the redwood forests as exemplars. The development of aesthetic sensitivity is subject tocircumstances, and may be a luxury for the poor and disadvantaged. But nothing justifies the apparentindifference to it among privileged people. The most likely explanation is appetite for extreme wealth. Giventhe rapid disappearance of beautiful places, I think that we must develop strong and politically viable tactics tocounter sheer expediency and human greed. Planning departments in California are required to consider environmental issues that include questions aboutadverse effects upon scenic values. Unfortunately, lawsuits based upon aesthetics are rarely won. I see little hope for administrative change. However, I do believe in the potential power in people who standto lose a beautiful natural asset without any compensation to themselves. In this case, that includes all of uswho live in Kern County. There is political power in numbers. I urge the signing of petitions, such as thosebeing written in Weldon, and massive presence in government-sponsored meetings on this issue. —Ann WilliamsExecutive Committee of the Kern-Kaweah ChapterChair: Georgette Theotig (Tehachapi), 661.822.4371. Vice-chair: Gordon Nipp (Bksf), 661.872.2432. Secretary:Ara Marderosian (Kernville), 760.378.4574. Treasurer: Lorraine Unger (Bksf), 661.323.5569. Donnel Lester(Bksf), 661.831.6784. Richard Garcia (Min King), 559.624.0199. Ann Williams (Bksf), 661.324.1055. ArthurUnger (Bksf), 661.323.5569. Peter Clum (Min King), 559.561.4661. Chapter ExCom Meetings: All Sierra Clubmembers are always welcome to attend these meetings. Call 661.822.4371 to confirm all meeting dates as wellas location and time.
  10. 10. POSTSCRIPTS The Roadrunner Non-Profit Org.Santa Lucia Chapter hosts event U.S. POSTAGE 2815 La Cresta Dr.A fund raiser for the San Luis Obispo Chapter ofSierra Club is “A Celebration of Environmental Bakersfield, CA 93305-1718 PAIDArt and Literature” on Dec. 5 from 1 to 5 p.m. at Permit No. 498the Masonic Temple, 859 Marsh St. in San LuisObispo. The event will include wine and food, Bakersfield, CAlive readings by local authors, signed books andoriginal artwork for sale, and music, dancing anda live auction of one-of-a-kind holiday gifts.Admission is $50 ($25 for students). Tickets,which are limited, are available Chapter event is an environmental filmfestival on Friday, Oct. 22 at the Spanos Theatreat Cal Poly with a reception at 6:30 p.m.followed by films starting at 7:30 p.m. Theadmission cost is $10. Tickets are available Proceeds benefit Los PadresForestwater.Audubon sponsoring bus tripThe Return of the Cranes event will be at PixleyNational Wildlife Refuge (NWR) on Nov. 13sponsored by the Kern and Tulare AudubonChapters. Bus transportation is being madeavailable from both Bakersfield and Visaliia. Theevent schedule from Bakersfield is to meet thebus at 2:30 p.m. Arrangements are now beingfinalized. Reservations should be made for thebus ride by calling the refuge office at661.725.2767. People also can drive directly toPixley NWR if they prefer. Dinner Reservation Form — Clip and mail before Nov. 4 deadline I/we will attend the Fall Chapter Dinner on Saturday, Nov. 13, 2010 at Hodels off Olive Drive in Bakersfield. Please make check out to: SIERRA CLUB, KERN-KAWEAH CHAPTER. Mail check to: Glenn Shellcross, Chair, Buena Vista Sierra Club Group, 6403 Priest River Place, Bakersfield CA 93306-7435. Check must be received by Thursday, Nov. 4, 2010. Enclosed is a check for ______ reservation(s) @ $25 per person for a total of $________ Indicate number of each meal requested: ___ Beef tips with Mushrooms ___ Lemon herb roasted chicken ___ Special dietary needs: specify _____________________________ Name(s) of those attending: ________________________________________________