Solar Careers: Revitalizing The Hope For New Job Creation in California

By Bruce Reznik
Planning and Conservation League

Yesterday, The Solar Foundation released its “National Solar Jobs Census 2011 Report.” The new study found that one in four solar energy jobs in the United States are held by Californians; and that nationwide, clean tech jobs are on the rise. With 25,575 of the 100,237 solar-related jobs nationwide, California leads the pack and holds four times as many positions as the runner- up, Colorado with 6,186 solar jobs recorded last year.

State Transit Systems Gain Traction Despite or Perhaps Because Of Economic Downturn

By Alan Kandel

Even in these “I’m a day late and a dollar short” times, there is good news. For Fiscal-Year 2011, Amtrak California – comprised of the “Pacific Surfliner,” “Capitol Corridor” and “San Joaquin” state-supported services – moved a total 5,458,788 riders, up 6.1 percent from the year prior, according to Amtrak California. This represents yet another milestone achieved by Amtrak California in a long line of recent ridership records. Perhaps even more noteworthy is that, for the first time, “San Joaquin” ridership exceeded the 1 million mark.

We Like to Move It, Move It -- San Francisco Bay Area Rallies for Solutions to the Climate Crisis

By Rachele Huennekens
Sierra Club

Saturday, September 24 was the day that the San Francisco Bay Area put the “move” in the climate justice movement.   

The massive parade down Market Street and rally at Civic Center were part of  Moving Planet, a global day of action demanding solutions to climate change. The SF mobilization was organized by the Sierra Club,, California NOW and a broad coalition of 50 Bay Area sustainability, peace, environmental and social justice, conservation, faith, women's, bicycle, clean tech, and community groups, and was by far the largest climate justice demonstration to take place in the Bay Area in recent years.  

Supporters, Opponents Address Panel in Fresno Regarding State High-Speed Rail Plan

By Alan Kandel

A hearing on California high-speed rail was held in Fresno Sept. 20th at Fresno’s Convention Center downtown. The hearing, held from 3 to 8 p.m., gave the public a chance to address their concerns regarding both the Merced-to-Fresno and Fresno-to-Bakersfield Draft High-Speed Rail Environmental Impact Reports/Statements (EIR/EIS). However, it was clear from the comments of several people going before the panel, that they had not read the reports beforehand.

Case in point. One interested party who has a business that could possibly be impacted by the high-speed rail line made a plea to the panel that livelihoods would be adversely affected by HSR and urged the panel to reconsider its plan. Because the addressee feared his business would be impacted, his recommendation was that the existing freight railroad, located across the way from his “potentially” affected business, instead be made use of to provide high-speed passenger train services.

Solyndra Controversy a Transparent Attempt to Kill Green Energy

By David Dayen

Conservatives are pushing very hard to punish the White House over loan guarantees they made to the now-bankrupt solar energy company Solyndra, and by association to damn any investment in green technologies whatsoever, to keep the dirty energy economy paramount.

The latest claim is that the White House tried to rush the $500 million loan to Solyndra to line up with a September 2009 announcement at the factory by Vice President Biden.

Boxer Wants Clean Air Groups to Sue White House Over Ozone Rules

By David Dayen

The Obama Administration environmental agenda has underwhelmed progressive supporters over the past week, to say the least. The rollback of ozone regulations will keep the country on a 1997 standard, worse than what the Bush Administration proposed in the waning days of his second term, and will lead to more asthma cases, more public health problems and more deaths. The battle over the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline is moving away from activists as well. Thousands of them were arrested in Washington during two weeks of action, but in that time the State Department put out a whitewash of an environmental analysis, and the Administration does appear poised to rubber-stamp the project.

Public Comment Essential to Ensure California High-Speed Rail is Built Right

By Alan Kandel

I have never known there to be as much attention – media or otherwise – paid to rail – high-speed rail (HSR) or otherwise – at any time in history as there is right now. What all this coverage (the good and bad) tells me is that it’s crucial that California get HSR right the first time. There is no doing this over.

Those in the know are fully aware that the 60-day public comment period regarding the California HSR Draft Merced-to-Fresno and Draft Fresno-to-Bakersfield Environmental Impact Reports/Statements is in full swing. The comment period provides those who publicly want to weigh in on the California High-Speed Rail Authority’s plan the opportunity to do so. (Additional information on the public comment process is included at the end of this op-ed).

An Opportunity We Can't Afford To Miss

By Jakada Imani
The Ella Baker Center for Human Rights

We've heard it before - "the green economy is here" and "green jobs are on the way!" At the Ella Baker Center, we put time, energy, and money into building training programs and promoting the idea of the "new," green economy. Just a few years later, the economy crashed and green jobs became fewer and farther between than anticipated.

Now, more than ever, jobs of any kind are hard to find. But a weak economy doesn't make the bad air any less harmful, or the energy bills we pay any more affordable. In a sustainable, healthy economy, people shouldn't have to settle for grey jobs. Fortunately, Jerry Brown has a plan to fight unemployment and put more Californians to work fixing up houses and apartments to reduce energy consumption- the renewal and reform of the Public Goods Charge.

PG&E’s Success in Washington Led to Failure in San Bruno

By Donald Cohen
Cry Wolf Project

Federal investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board concluded that the horrific gas pipeline explosion that killed 8 people in the Bay Area city of San Bruno was the result of a “litany of failures” by Pacific Gas and Electric.

Investigators charged PG&E with " poor record-keeping, inadequate inspection programs, and an integrity management program without integrity." According to internal PG&E documents and emails released in the investigation, PG&E had ample warning that the gas lines welds may have had dangerous flaws.

If Valley Air Pollution Spikes Aren’t A Wake-Up Call To Stem Problem, What Is?

By Alan Kandel

It is a known fact in the San Joaquin Valley, 80 percent of all air pollution comes from transportation, which means the remainder comes from stationary sources. All of last week except for Sunday in Fresno and Sunday and Monday this week, a bad-air alert has been issued. The air quality index for Monday this week is 147 placing it in the upper portion of the “Unhealthy for sensitive groups” range and just three points shy of the lower limits of the “Unhealthy (for everyone)” range.

It is one thing to know where toxins in our air come from. It is yet another to know what happens to the airborne toxins once they arrive. And it is another still to take corrective measures to try to stem the problem.