Category Archives: Napa Climate NOW!

Napa Climate NOW! Solicits Environmental Responsibility Comments from Napa City Council

Napa Climate Now! solicited comments about environmental responsibility from candidates for the Napa City Council.

NCN received completed questionnaires from candidates Liz Alessio, Ricky Hurtado, Mary Luros and Bernie Narvaez. Responses were not received from candidates James Hinton and Peter Mott.

July 25, 2018

Greetings City Council Candidate:

This questionnaire is from Napa Climate NOW!, an organization of community members concerned about climate change. We educate and advocate on effective actions to stabilize our climate. As a non-partisan group, we do not endorse candidates, but we will share your responses with our mailing list of 200 mainly Napa City residents.

1. What overall strategy should the City of Napa take to reduce emissions of Greenhouse Gases (GHG) and Short-Lived Climate Pollutants (SLCP)?

Alessio:

My first strategy is for the City of Napa to address this issue regionally with all of the cities and towns within Napa County in the incorporated and unincorporated areas. The Napa County Climate Action Plan is expected to be filed the first quarter of 2019 (after 10 years). Next, we need to review and possibly adopt the California Air Resources Board (CARB) strategy that was effective as of January this year that addresses the Short-Lived Climate Pollutant. We need to particularly look at black carbon that is driving global warming. The Napa Valley is a source of this through diesel engines and agricultural burning. Then is makes good sense to align Napa’s CAP with California’s statewide plans.

Hurtado:

Man-made climate change poses an existential threat to our future generations. Although the current presidential administration has rolled back climate change regulations and rescinded our participation in the Paris Climate Accord, I believe that state and local governments are our best paths forward to lead the effort to address and find best approaches to combat climate change. The majority of the traffic that Napa receives is from people that visit or work in the City and County of Napa, but many live out of the area, increasing greenhouse emission gases. I would fight to combat this by working to increase public and alternative transportation options, expand the portfolio of renewable energy in our area and craft other innovative ideas to work towards a collaborative approach to cohesively address climate change and the reduction of GHG and SLCP’s

Luros:

The City of Napa should take a leading role in reducing emissions of GHG’s and SLCP’s and reducing our overall carbon footprint. Buildings are the biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions, due to the energy they use for water, electricity, and heating. The city can—and should—control the level of sustainability we require of our buildings.

The City of Napa is also the majority voting block of the Napa Valley Transportation Authority—the agency that runs our public transit system. If we improve the efficiency of our system and increase usage, we can cut down on pollution.

Smart meters are also an easy way for our citizens to better understand their energy usage. We have a responsibility to help our citizens be more accountable for their carbon footprint.

Finally, the City of Napa must lead by example by creating and enforcing policies and programs in our own facilities and operations.

Narvaez:

Find ways to encourage building environmentally friendly residential and commercial buildings.

2. Do you favor the municipalities joining with Napa County to enact a county-wide Climate Action Plan?

Alessio: ABSOLUTELY as expressed in the above question.

Hurtado:

California continues to be the beacon of hope for our nation. Many California counties and cities have implemented a Climate Action Plan (CAP), and that is something that all communities should be doing. It’s only imperative that we have such measures to ensure that we support our future generations of tomorrow. I would be an advocate, and do whatever possible to ensure that the City of Napa work in collaboration with Napa County and with other local municipalities within the county to address our environment, global warming, and our changing climate and further implement the CAP once the county releases it in 2019. Additionally, It’s crucial to have a local voice that can work with legislators at the state and federal level as well, which I believe I can provide.

Luros:

Absolutely—no action is not an option, and if we truly want to make a difference, we have to work together with a unity of purpose and commitment. The City of Napa specifically must take a lead in this, considering our GHG emission levels. Sea level rise and the climate change impacts on agriculture and our native plants and wildlife affect all of our community.

The increase in wildfires in our community and Northern California are a perfect example of why we MUST address climate change, together as a community, and immediately. Continued dry periods and high temperatures are triggering an increase in
wildfires, due in large part to the impacts of climate change. If we want better for our community, we need to be better.

Narvaez:

Protecting our environment should be a joint effort by all cities in our county and Region. I am in favor of tackling our climate issues together.

3. What specific actions would you promote to reduce emissions in City of Napa operations?

Alessio:

Just as we address recycling, banning plastic grocery bags and water conservation, I would look at small short term strategies and bigger long-term strategies for City operations to take the lead to reduce emissions. This would include but not limited to requesting sour City Manager to include City employees in the discussions creating more awareness and “buy in” for positive change. I also believe in giving incentives and recognition when attempting positive change in behavior. These strategies also need to be tracked and measureable. Long-term strategies that have been discussed and I would like to learn more about are reducing methane due to wastewater treatment by installing anaerobic digesters at wastewater treatment plants in American Canyon, St. Helena and Calistoga.

Hurtado:

In order to convince City of Napa residents of the importance of reducing emissions, the city needs to take the lead in responding to this issue. Combating global warming and climate change through the reduction of emissions shouldn’t only be our social responsibility, but our moral responsibility as a governing entity. Therefore, investing in city electric cars and making charging stations more accessible throughout the city are important and something that I would advocate.

Other ways I would promote reducing emissions in city operations would be to implement smart heating and cooling systems. This method would allow city buildings to adapt the temperature depending on how many people are in the building and other variables, with the net effect of reducing energy consumption. Our City has done a street light program in which they have changed all streetlights with LED lights that produces fewer emissions. I would also promote the planting of more trees in our city and in our county, especially as we suffered the loss of many trees through the 2017 October fires. Such action steps like this are important so the city can get buy-in from residents, and so our current and future generations can call this community their home.

Luros:

Currently more than half of countywide GHG emissions (and almost half of City of Napa emissions) are produced in relation to transportation. The City must take a more active role in supporting public transit, bicycling, walking, and car-sharing.

Specifically, I would promote carpooling amongst employees, advocate for providing public transit vouchers for all employees (employees should be riding our public transit for free to set a good example), encourage and support telecommuting opportunities, encouraging nontraditional working hours where possible (cars that aren’t stuck in traffic contribute less in GHG’s), explore and expand alternative fuel sources within our city fleets, and prioritize solar and other renewable energy sources wherever possible.

Narvaez:

Commercial buildings emissions of CO(2) are growing at a fast rate. We need to look at how we build so we design environmentally friendly structures and reduce the impact on our climate

4. What specific actions would you promote to reduce emissions by City of Napa residents?

Alessio:

  •  Create incentives to replacement of residential and commercial gas water heaters with electric or alternatively-powered units.
  •  Create incentives to replacement of diesel powered farm equipment with more efficient and clean fuel sources.

Hurtado:

Transportation is one of the leading causes of emissions in our country. In order to help reduce emissions, we need to ensure that we collaborate and communicate with other cities and towns in our county in supporting this effort. As someone who lived in American Canyon for a couple of years while in high school, this issue is personal to me. It’s important to note that this is not an American Canyon “only” problem, this is a regional issue. Therefore, collaboration between the different municipalities is key. I would also fight to combat this by implementing trainings and information sessions to educate the community at large of the environmental impact traffic and their daily livelihoods can cause, but reduce by taking necessary action steps. Furthermore, it’s important to work with important and crucial programs like Napa Bike Coalition to deliver this educational piece to residents of our community. I would generally support the idea to better our bike corridors and infrastructure as well. It’s important to also have interconnected traffic signals, which will ultimately help reduce traffic congestion, and reduced vehicle emissions.

Luros:

Reducing emissions by residents starts with education. People believe that conservation is a sacrifice, or that their individual impact doesn’t make a difference. We must counter
these behaviors and educate people about the true value of conservation and of reducing emissions.

We as a city can also have a big impact on our residents by making the reduction of emissions as cost-effective as possible. I would promote lowering the economic barriers to using renewable energy and greener transportation alternatives.

As a government entity, we also have the power to develop land use policies that minimize GHG emissions. If elected, I would continue to encourage the planning of walkable and bikeable neighborhoods, and seek funding for more ways to incentivize energy efficiency upgrades and renewable energy usage by property owners.

Narvaez:

Incentivize builders to build environmentally friendly structures for both commercial and residential uses. We need to address our housing issues, and this provides an opportunity to implement designs that reduce CO(2) emissions.

5. Additional comments?

Alessio:

Bottom line our City Council needs to have the leadership to direct our City Manager to take this issue as a priority. We need to get us caught up and on board with current science based strategies that are measured, tracked and accountable to the residents of Napa and Napa County in addition to state regulations. This will require cooperation and collaboration with a city-county wide strategy. This in part can be done by having 2 Council Members and 2 Supervisors work on this issue together. I hope Napa Climate NOW! Will join these efforts.

Hurtado:

I’ve served the Napa community at different capacities. I’m currently the Community Engagement Manager for Cope Family Center. I am a first generation college graduate, and received my Bachelor’s Degree in Government from California State University, Sacramento. Prior to working with Cope, I worked for UpValley Family Centers (UVFC) as the Development Manager, supporting their fundraising, budgeting and communications efforts. In my tenure at UVFC, I also worked and mentored at-risk youth. I have also volunteered at Puertas Abiertas.

One of my passions is to further help our community, which is why I have worked in Napa’s nonprofit field the past 6 years and am now running for City Council. I currently serve as the Treasurer for the Napa County Fair Board Association, have served on the Board of the Napa County Hispanic Network for the last five years and am now President of the organization that has given over half a million dollars to first generation students. I also serve on the Fair Housing of Napa Valley Board, and have served on other various boards and committees, including the Cesar Chavez Statue Committee,
Vice President & President of the Democrats of Napa Valley, Congressman Mike Thompson’s Immigration Committee and Napa County’s Spanish Electoral Outreach Committee.

Whether it be on boards or committees, I have been serving our community one way or another. On the side, I serve as an inspirational speaker to our community by speaking at local middle schools, high schools, and our local Napa Valley College (NVC). I have also helped various members of the community to get in touch with local representatives, navigate local government or offer them the right resources in times of need. Whether there’s a disaster, or any regular day, I am ready to serve. I was at the NVC shelter at 2am on October 9, when people were being evacuated to that site. When the Lake County fires happened in 2015, and people were being evacuated to the Napa County Fairgrounds, I was there assisting day in and day out. When the 2014 Napa earthquake occurred, I helped members of the community by cleaning their homes and helped our local church with rebuilding. I have been nominated for the Man of the Year award two separate times in 2013 and 2015, and have received other awards and nominations for my commitment to serving our community.

My humble upbringing, coupled with my passion to serve others has also led me to run for office. Born and raised in Napa, I want to make sure that my children, and the future generations can call this community their home. This will only happen if our generation takes the lead in ensuring that we protect our environment for tomorrow’s future, and I am committed in ensuring that we can accomplish that. It is not only our social, but should be our moral responsibility in doing so. Although I’ve given back to our community at multiple levels, my work is not done, which is why I’ve decided to run for Napa Council. On Council, I’ll provide new leadership and a new perspective. I will fight for the Napans of today and tomorrow, I’m committed to ensuring that we continue promoting the reduction of emissions, the protection of our watersheds and trees, and combating global warming at a local level.

Luros:

Thank you so much for the opportunity to speak to your members, and thank you for doing what you do! If you would like to know more about me, my background, or where I stand on the issues, please visit my website www.MaryLuros.com, email me at Mary@maryluros.com, or call my cellphone at (707) 877-6279.

Narvaez:

As your elected Councilmember, I will seek our local environmental experts for information and guidance in areas where

I need clarification, education and direction. It is important to engage with each other and work together to protect the environment for the next generations.

 



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Measure C protects our local water supplies — our municipal reservoirs and groundwater

The watersheds in the hillsides surrounding the Valley (in the Ag Watershed zone) supply 100% of reservoir water and 60% of the Valley’s groundwater.
Trees in the watershed capture and filter rainwater:
“Oak woodland canopies capture 20-30% more rainfall than do grasslands, and their contribution to organic matter in the soil improves its water holding capacity… soils under oak woodland canopy are able to absorb and hold greater amounts of rainfall than equivalent soils with only annual grassland cover… Oaks and other vegetation also help reduce soil contamination by absorbing heavy metals, fertilizer nutrients, and pesticides from the soil and intercepting sediments containing these pollutants, thereby preventing these materials from reaching surface waters.” — The 2010 Napa County Voluntary Oak Woodland Management Plan:  https://www.countyofnapa.org/DocumentCenter/View/953
How much water are we using?
In 2017 residents relied on the reservoirs in our watershed for 65% of the domestic water used by Napa and cities north.  Agriculture used 68% of the groundwater pumped out for vineyard irrigation and winery production.  On average, producing 1 gallon of wine requires 7 gallons of water.
Napa Valley residents and our agriculture depend upon the water captured by oak woodlands in our hillsides. By protecting our woodlands– NOW and for generations to come — Measure C protects both the rights of all homeowners to turn on their tap and have water, and the ability of our hillside watersheds to recharge the groundwater that is critical for Napa Valley’s agriculture.
We are currently in balance with our groundwater use, taking out about the same amount as we use for cities and agriculture, according to a study of well levels from 1988-2015 initiated by the County.  As we take out more for growth, where will the water come from? Currently there is NO STATED LIMIT for how many acres of woodlands can be removed for ag development.
 
Measure C sets a limit for oak woodland loss to development— the 795-acre limit was determined by the Napa Valley Vintners in collaboration with the Watershed Initiative Committee.  This limit allows for vineyard development predicted by the County’s General Plan.  When the 795 acre limit is reached, a permit from the county is needed to remove oaks, just as a permit from the city is needed now for oak removal in city limits.  Do we want more development by large, non-local corporations such as Walt Ranch, which can have 35 parcels with roads homes and buildings, and was approved by our Supervisors to remove 14,000 oaks?  Measure C is an initiative because the Supervisors aren’t willing to work on protections.
 
Yes on Measure C relies on volunteer and local citizens, and it’s proof that parts of our democracy still work.  Please share this grassroots effort with your networks, and thank you for your concern and support.


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A court showdown poses climate change questions. Scientists have answers.

A court showdown poses climate change questions. Scientists have answers.

A first-of-its-kind climate science trial came to a California federal court on Wednesday. The cities of San Francisco and Oakland are suing five major oil companies for knowingly contributing to climate change and deceiving the public to rake in profits.

William Alsup, an unorthodox judge who requested a highly unusual tutorial in climate science, asked the defendants and plaintiffs to provide answers to eight questions. Climate scientists took to the interwebs to crowdsource answers to them. The questions include:

Q. What caused the various ice ages (including the “little ice age” and prolonged cool periods) and what caused the ice to melt? When they melted, by how much did sea level rise?
A. Natural changes in the Earth’s orbit and the amount of greenhouse gases. Sea level rose a lot — more than 400 feet.

Q. What are the main sources of CO2 that account for the incremental buildup of CO2 in the atmosphere?
A. Fossil fuel burning and deforestation.

Q. What are the main sources of heat that account for the incremental rise in temperature on Earth?
A. Human activities are likely responsible for 93 to 123 percent of recent global warming. It can go over 100 percent because we’re canceling out what would be natural cooling.

Environmental journalists, including Grist’s Nathanael Johnson, are tweeting updates from the courtroom. Follow along! And if you want to check out the rest of the questions, find them here.

From March 21st article from Grist.



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Be a Part of EARTH DAY Napa 2018

Earth Day Napa brings our community together to celebrate, honor and protect nature and Mother Earth. This event is also a fundraiser to support a bus grant program for environmental education field trips and scholarships for graduating high school students pursing studies in the field of environmental studies.

This event is hosted by Earth Day Napa and Environmental Education Coalition of Napa County.

There are numerous opportunities to get involved to help make Earth Day a success and to be part of the ongoing efforts to protect and honor mother earth.  For EARTH DAY, there are opportunities to volunteer, exhibit, become a sponsor or donate to make the day a big success.

The Environmental Education Coalition of Napa County (EECNC) is a non-profit which connects members of our community with the local environment. Through a network of local organizations, EECNC provides resources and support to promote sustainable living and to cultivate an appreciation of the natural world.



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Sonoma County Superior Court Rules in Favor of River Watch!

Napa County Climate Action Plan

The article below tells the story of the victory of a group called River Watch, who sued Sonoma County and won. The judge determined that Sonoma County’s CAP violates CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act) in that the inventory of greenhouse gas emissions is based on insufficient information. This mirrors the Napa County Climate Action Plan, which, as currently written, has the same issues. Our Planning Commissioners will be discussing the CAP again on September 20. Come and tell express your opinion about the importance this document which sets our climate policies for the future.

Watch for more updates on how you can ask your legislators on issues relating to our CAP, which NCN! would like to be a “living document” —reviewed annually and updated to reflect the most current mitigation and solutions.


CEQA Requires Assessment of GHG Impacts from Tourism

Judge Rules Climate Action 2020 Plan Violates CEQA

Sonoma County Superior Court Judge Nancy Case Shaffer in Santa Rosa has ruled in favor of local Sonoma Valley attorney Jerry Bernhaut’s lawsuit challenging Sonoma County’s Climate Action 2020 Plan. A lawyer with River Watch, a Sonoma County firm active in filing environmental challenges, Bernhaut’s suit argued that the county’s plan violated various provisions of CEQA, the California Environmental Quality Act.

Quoting from the 41-page ruling:

“The court finds that the Sonoma County Regional Climate protection Authority’s Final programmatic EIR (“the PEIR”) for Climate Action 2020 and Beyond, its Climate Action Plan (“CAP”) and the County of Sonoma”s approval of the CAP violate CEQA, in that the inventory of greenhouse gas emissions is based on insufficient information, the PEIR fails to include effectively enforceable, clearly defined performance standards for the mitigation measures regarding Green House gas (“GHG”) emissions, identified as “GHG reduction Measures”, and fails to develop and fully analyze a reasonable range of alternatives.”

Commenting on the ruling, Bernhaut said, “The court’s ruling validates River Watch’s contentions that:

1. By failing to account for GHG emissions from global tourist travel and global distribution of wine and other Sonoma County products, the CAP grossly understated the true GHG emissions generated by activities in Sonoma County.

2. By failing to identify clear and enforceable reduction measures, the CAP failed to provide reasonable assurance that it’s program would result in the projected reduction of the County’s GHG emissions to 25% below 1990 levels, as predicted in the CAP, or even to 1990 levels by 2020, consistent with AB32.

3. By refusing to evaluate an alternative involving a moratorium or any form of control of growth in tourist destinations and/or wine production, the CAP failed to consider environmentally superior alternatives which are necessary for any realistic hope of reducing Sonoma County’s contribution to global GHG emissions to levels required to avoid reaching tipping points for irreversible catastrophic global warming.”

Bernhaut added, “It’s time to admit that perpetual growth on a planet with limited resources and carrying capacity is not sustainable.”

Read More in The Sonoma Valley Sun >>

Read more in the Press Democrat >>

Read a statement from the Sierra Club Sonoma Group >>

Read Judge Shaffer’s 41-page Ruling >>



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