At 9am on Tuesday morning this week I stood with Los Angeles Mayor, Eric Garcetti, members of the L.A. City Council, board members of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power Commission and long term colleagues from the climate justice action community to be part of a historic announcement.
Just like in the movies, days of rain suddenly ended as if Moses had parted the Atmospheric River, and the California sunshine spotlighted our snow-kissed mountains in high def.
Only two days earlier I had been at a meeting to plan our response and action if Garcetti were to choose to repower the plants to burn more gas for the next 30-40 years.
But then on Monday afternoon word started to stream through that the Mayor was embracing the Green New Deal for Los Angeles and would announce there would be no gas repower. Garcetti was ready for clean power NOW.
What was to be a protest rally and action suddenly turned into a green victory celebration. Instead of being there as opponents, the Mayor invited environmentalists to stand with him in support.
We went to the SCAQMD hearing out in Diamond Bar last Friday, February 6, 2015, to testify on the big, new storage tanks Phillips 66 wants to build in Wilmington at its refinery so they can receive more of the super explosive, super dirty crude from the Bakkens. The SCAQMD wants to approve the project without a CEQA environmental report, and our friends at Communities for a Better Environment and Food & Water Watch, California asked us to be there to support their appeal and request for a hearing.
But we had to throw our notes away when we heard Dr. William Burke, Chairman of the AQMD Governing Board, react with glee when he received only 2 speaker request cards from the public on the subject and then not so much when he was handed the real deck of over 20 requests. That’s when we heard him say this:
A lot of people have nothing to do…
And after that statement we were forced to say this:
It’s time for some climate reality and a 21st century sense of urgency from the SCAQMD and it is time to replace Chairman Burke with a new leader who not only understands what a carbon budget is and where CO2 levels should be but who can also remember his own words uttered just minutes earlier.
You can watch the entire meeting and outstanding comments from Alicia Rivera and other patriotic and courageous community members here: