Tuesday, July 20, 2010
California's state parks are falling apart because of decades of underfunding. State budget cuts are causing parks to 'fall behind in the system' and there is currently more than $1 billion 'backlog' of maintenance. Our state parks are struggling financially and need permanent funding to ensure they are maintained (i.e. hiking trials, campsites, bathrooms, visitor centers, kiosks, etc), AND that enough staff and personal are hired to ensure our parks are safe (i.e. lifeguards, rangers, facility managers, etc).
Last November, the Surfrider Foundation supported the California State Park and Wildlife Conservation Trust Fund Act of 2010 as a way to maintain healthy parks.
This summer, the California State Park and Wildlife Conservation Trust Fund Act officially qualified for the November ballot; now called Proposition 21. Prop 21, slated for the Nov 2 election, will create stable and adequate funding for parks. The funding would come from an annual "State Park Access Pass" surcharge of $18 per California vehicle. The surcharge will apply to California vehicles and in exchange, they would receive free day-use admission to Parks throughout the year.
The folks running the ballot initiative are looking for supporters and volunteers, please visit their website.
Please review a recent blog post about why Surfrider is supporting park protection efforts.
Friday, July 16, 2010
Chula Vista, CA 91910
(619) 409-7688 fax
El Centro, CA 92243
(760) 335-3444 fax
Coachella, CA 92236
(760) 398-6470 fax
Thursday, July 15, 2010
Please help us pass AB 1998, the California bill that reduces plastic bag litter by banning single-use grocery bags, and adding a 5 cent fee for paper bags. The general public can take action by clicking here, but we especially need them from our business community. If you live or work in their district, please consider sending a letter from your firm in support of this bill.
A sample letter is provided. Please email it to 3 places:
1) Your Senator (http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/
2) email@example.com, the staffer on the Appropriations committee
[Put this entire letter on your letterhead. Please fill in the parentheses, and feel free to change the language as you desire.]
[Insert full date here]
The Honorable [Your Senator’s Full Name Here]
State Capitol, Room [ room number goes here ]
Sacramento, CA 95814
Fax : (916) [ fax number goes here]
RE: AB 1998 (Brownley) Single-Use Bag Reduction Act - Support
Dear Senator [Last Name Here]:
On behalf of [Your Business Name Here], I am writing to express our support of the Single-Use Bag Reduction Act (Assembly Bill 1998) as amended.
I am a California business owner/operator in your Senate district and I support taking immediate action to ban plastic grocery bags. I believe that this is an issue that needs to be addressed at the state level to avoid piece-meal legislation that can lead to confusion. As you know, plastic bags are the most ubiquitous consumer item designed to last for minutes but may persist in our marine environment for hundreds of years. While our community has very strong waste diversion and recycling programs, we can not reasonably recycle our way out of the problem that plastic bags cause to our local marine environment.
Despite efforts to expand recycling programs, less than 5% of single-use plastic bags are currently being recycled. The rest of these bags end up in our landfills or as litter, clogging storm drain systems, and making their way to our waterways and ocean. It is estimated that 60–80% of all marine debris, and 90% of floating debris is plastic. Plastic lasts for hundreds of years in our environment and may never biodegrade in the ocean. As a result, it poses a persistent threat to wildlife. Plastic litter, including plastic bags, has impacted over 267 species worldwide.
Paper bags are not a viable alternative to plastic bags. Paper bag production contributes to deforestation, greenhouse gas emissions, and waterborne wastes from the pulping and paper making process. Even compostable plastic bags made of plant-based sources have not proven to degrade in the ocean. Instead, they require industrial composting facilities, and only a small number of cities currently support the infrastructure to collect and dispose of compostable bags properly.
As citizens of a vibrant coastal community, we pride ourselves on our beaches, as well as the healthy lagoons that border our community. Our natural environment resources are an economic benefit to our community and we endeavor to invest wisely in caring for them – and, have very dedicated volunteers who come out on a regular basis to help remove litter and marine debris, including plastic bags, bottle caps, balloons, and other plastic items. These marine debris items pose a threat to marine life, and can be an economic blight to our beach related economy.
San Francisco, Malibu, Fairfax, and Palo Alto have banned plastic bags and at least 20 more cities in California are considering this approach. Rather than taking a piecemeal city-by-city approach, AB 1998 will create one uniform policy for addressing all types of single-use bags to encourage consumers to use reusable bags, the most sustainable alternative. This is a matter of statewide importance and we strongly support the effort being put forth through AB1998 to ban plastic carryout bags and no longer allow free paper carryout bags.
California has a critical role to play in becoming a true leader in eliminating plastic bag waste and preventing the proliferation of plastic pollution in our communities. The passage of AB 1998 will be a major step in breaking our addiction to single-use bags and will protect our coasts and beaches from unsightly and costly pollution caused by single-use plastic bags.
cc: Surfrider Foundation San Diego Chapter