As the Bay Area struggles to meet sustainability goals, double-digit population growth presents a clear challenge to reducing the region’s ecological footprint. Residents must use resources more efficiently to counteract the addition of more than a million new residents. In many ways, it mirrors a challenge the planet is facing. Can population growth in San Francisco and the Bay Area be sustainable?
PG&E has proposed charging residential customers to opt out of having wireless transmission of electric meters turned off at their homes.
The proposal announced Thursday would allow the utility to recoup the expenses it says are associated with running an opt-out program by charging participating customers. The utility has come up with a rate program with one-time charges of either $135 or $270, plus either monthly fixed charges or a surcharge on hourly rates for gas and electric.
California health and emergency officials said a “plume” of radiation coming from the Japanese nuclear crisis that’s expected to hit the West Coast as early as tomorrow will bring radiation levels to no higher than normal background levels.
The California Public Utilities Commission has decided to allow PG&E customers to opt-out of having Smart Meters installed in their homes in Northern California.
PG&E is expected to present a proposal back to the commission within two weeks to allow the opt-out “at a reasonable customer cost,” according to utilities commission President Michael Peevey.
Foes of the Smart Meters were pushing for a moratorium on further installation of the devices.
The America’s Cup, still two years away from its arrival in San Francisco, is already a topic of concern among environmental groups and regulators. Officials have launched an accelerated environmental review of the plans, and the event organizer are promising to raise tens of millions of dollars to mitigate the effects of the world’s premier sailing event. Part of the concern is boat traffic. Also on the agenda: the pollution from cleaning and repairing the boats.
Mayor Gavin Newsom’s decision to replace three or possibly four members of the Treasure Island Development Authority board of directors has sparked protests from some residents of the island and a few San Francisco supervisors. The critics point out that one of the ousted board members is the only member who lives on either Treasure Island or Yerba Buena Island and represents the interests of island residents — though the mayor vows to find a replacement.
Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., has come out swinging on environmental causes, linking the nation’s longer term economic prospects to growth in the green energy industry. She railed against corporations for sending jobs overseas, vowing to eliminate their tax breaks and reward those who build an environmentally benign economy at home. She is running a high-profile race against GOP opponent Carly Fiorina.
When activists dumped processed sewage compost on the steps of San Francisco City Hall in March, the stunt was meant to draw national attention toward a supposed hypocrisy afoot in the greenest city in America. The city immediately stopped the giveaway of sewage sludge, a mixture of treated sewage and yard wastes, and ordered a series of expensive tests to prove its safety. The Public Utilities Commission said the compost was no worse than commercial fertilizers. But opponents say the fight is far from over.
In the next six months, local officials and a consortium of private developers will begin to finalize legal papers for Treasure Island’s future as a high-density eco-city. Renderings of the gleaming towers, parks and gardens suggest harmony and community. Yet the promise of an urban Treasure Island, one of the most complex and risky redevelopments in San Francisco’s recent history, has for more than a decade been wrapped up in a process driven by power and influence. The mayor got neartotal control. Political friends got plum jobs and contracts. Critics were exiled. City and state conflict-of-interest laws were waived. Independent inquiries and the will of voters were nakedly rebuffed.
KALW Public Radio reporter Alison Hawkes took a closer look at Parkmerced, where owners are pitching a 30-year plan to transform the site into a low-carbon community. For developers, it’s a test to see if “green” can stand for both environmental sustainability and the color of money. Hawkes found the drive for a clean new future is clashing with the past.