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Upcoming Events


Water in Paradise (and the state's vision for water budgeting and the Water Action Plan)


Join us for a forum on California's New Groundwater Laws (and how these bills can lead to sustainable water use).


Butte Environmental Council's annual holiday party for members, board, staff, and interns will be held in the home of one of our lovely staff members!  This fun get-together will take place on:


The holiday season is always a time for gratitude and reflection; the new year, a time for setting our goals and expectations of ourselves. In keeping with gratitude and goals, we honor our BEC Angels in January, and share our stories of goals set, and goals achieved.


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Newsletter Archive

BEC Protects

The Butte Environmental Council (BEC) is a non-profit environmental organization based in Chico, California. Our mission is to preserve and conserve the Earth’s natural resources, with particular attention to environmental issues in Northern California. BEC was formed in 1975 and throughout its 37 years, BEC has had a significant voice in shaping the environment and policies of Butte County and beyond.

BEC in the News

November 5, 2014

Highlights and Sticky Notes:CHICO >> Twenty-five trees are scheduled for removal, after the Chico City Council upheld a decision by the Bidwell Park & Playground Commission on Tuesday.
Councilors voted 5-2 with Tami Ritter and Scott Gruendl dissenting to uphold the granting of a permit to remove 25 Yarwood sycamore trees and replace them with varieties that are better suited for the area. The Butte Environmental Council had appealed the permit approval, which stemmed from a request by the Mission Santa Fe Community of Homeowners and its 47 encompassing households.Butte Environmental Council appealed on the basis that the project has undergone "inadequate environmental review because the cumulative effects on the urban forest have not been discussed."
"If we compartmentalize tree discussions without first addressing overall impacts we are doing the community and the urban forest a disservice," Commissioner Mark Herrera told the council Tuesday.Tags: BEC, chico, treesby: rdifalco

November 5, 2014

Highlights and Sticky Notes:One of the first items will be a public hearing for an appeal of the Bidwell Park and Playground's decision to approve the removal and replanting of 25 trees on Mission Ranch Boulevard and Holly Avenue. Butte Environmental Council is appealing the permit approval, which stemmed from a request by the Mission Santa Fe Community of Homeowners and its 47 encompassing households.
Butte Environmental Council is appealing on the basis that the project has undergone "inadequate environmental review because the cumulative effects on the urban forest have not been discussed."
Tags: BEC, chico, tree, removal, councilby: rdifalco

October 23, 2014

Highlights and Sticky Notes:An Oroville group concerned about area ground contamination has made new strides in a bid to test soil around the city for cancer-causing dioxin.

The Oroville Dioxin Education Committee (ODEC), whose goal is to “educate and prepare community members, to raise awareness, and to lead the effort to safeguard our community against dioxin,” recently received $3,000 in grants from The Rose Foundation, an Oakland-based organization concerned with environmental health issues.Don Rust, Oroville planning and development services director, said he has met with representatives from the Butte Environmental Council—which formed ODEC last year—to talk about the grants, but warned they may not meet ODEC’s needs.

“It can’t go to dioxin testing,” he said. “It goes to brownfield assessment. Basically this is for people to volunteer to help clear their properties so they can be developed.”Mark Stemen, a Chico State professor and president of the BEC board of directors, offered an analogy comparing the EPA grants with those from the Rose Foundation.

“BEC’s grant allows them to look for the needle in the haystack,” he said. “Oroville’s grant helps them build a new barn for the haystack.”Still, he said, the two projects are “compatible and complementary,” and that BEC has received letters of support from both the Butte County Public Health Department and Supervisor Bill Connelly.Tags: BEC, Oroville, Dioxin, toxicityby: rdifalco

BEC News Interests

November 17, 2014

Highlights and Sticky Notes:The contentious 35-mile-long tunnels are part of a plan designed to make it easier to pump water from the Sacramento River to Central Valley farms and Southern California cities


Associated Press and Jonathan LloydTags: no_tagby: rdifalco

October 31, 2014

Highlights and Sticky Notes:Butte County planning commissioners debated an ordinance to ban the oil and natural gas extraction process known as fracking last week, finally tabling a measure they said might be purely symbolic.

And if an ordinance that would ban fracking in Butte County is a symbolic gesture—as some argue—the importance of the symbolism to the state’s oil-and-gas industry was clear at the Oct. 23 meeting. The commission faced upfront industry lobbying from statewide groups opposed to the ban.

After hearing testimony from more than 30 people, the commission voted 4-0 to table the matter until its Dec. 11 meeting.“When they destroy your water, it’s forever,” county Water Commissioner John Scott told the Planning Commission.

There also was growing concern about whether wastewater from fracking operations near Butte County could be disposed in any of the 200 abandoned gas wells here.

Prior to the meeting, the panel received correspondence opposing the ban from a Los Angeles law firm representing the industry-funded political action committee Californians for Energy Independence.

ATags: water, fracking, Butte Countyby: rdifalco

October 22, 2014

Highlights and Sticky Notes:Councilors also voted unanimously to support the development of a plan to abate the growth of arundo donax, an invasive weed, in Little Chico Creek. When prompted to take action on a citizens' request to require the posting of salary, wage and benefit information for each employee, on the city's website, city staff told them such a database has been created and is now available from the city's homepage, only it has employee identification numbers instead of names.Tags: chico, water, Little Chico Creek, arundo, watershedby: rdifalco

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