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BEC Protects

The Butte Environmental Council (BEC) is a non-profit environmental organization based in Butte County, California. Our mission is to protect and defend the land, air and water of Butte County and the surrounding region through action, advocacy and education.  BEC was formed in 1975 and throughout its 40 years, BEC has had a significant voice in shaping the environment and policies of Butte County and beyond.

BEC in the News

September 2, 2015

Chico >> The public may notice no difference, but there was the slightest tremor of movement regarding Bidwell Ranch by the City Council on Tuesday. - rdifalco

Acknowledging there are unanswered questions, the council agreed to let the 756 acres adjacent to Bidwell Park continue in its mostly off-limit state, waiting for an anticipated Butte Regional Conservation Plan to be completed next year. At that point, the council will look at whether it wants to sell Bidwell Ranch to the conservation plan creators, the Butte County Association of Governments.

Several speakers stressed the biological value of the area, calling it a gem, in part, because of the area’s characteristics and because of Butte County Meadowfoam’s presence. Environmental advocate John Merz said he wasn’t confident that the conservation plan was the answer.

“This is not about making money, but about preserving the property,” Merz said.

Butte Environmental Council Executive Director Robyn DiFalco noted her organization has provided docent-led tours of the property, which helps with public access and understanding of the property’s value.

Tags: Chico, Bidwell Ranch

September 1, 2015

Highlights and Sticky Notes:Oroville >> The Butte County Board of Supervisors has postponed action on possibly rezoning residential property in Chico’s Bell-Muir neighborhood.The board was considering whether to keep the 33 parcels north of Bell Road and west of Muir Avenue at very low density residential with a 2½-acre minimum lots or revert it back to 5-acre rural residential. The properties lie on the agricultural side of the green line, the 33-year-old boundary between urban development and farm use in the Chico area. The neighborhood may be viewed as a buffer because it is between ag land and residential properties with a 1-acre minimum size.

Robyn DiFalco of the Butte Environmental Council said very low density residential zoning is a development zoning. “It’s a direct contradiction of the principles of the green line,” DiFalco said. She raised concerns about water quality in the area and indicated smaller lots increases the probability of the land being annexed into Chico.

Tags: BEC, Butte County, Greenline, Chicoby: rdifalco

September 1, 2015

Highlights and Sticky Notes:Chico >> PG&E intends to remove 33 trees, all on private property, as a safety measure in south Chico, but questioning by the public and the Bidwell Park and Playground Commission shed light on the process and reasoning. At a Monday forum held at the Park Commission’s meeting, PG&E representatives explained why the removals were necessaryPG&E shared a list of about 86 trees that were near the pipeline, but after a tree-by-tree inspection including city staff, nearby residents and representatives of Butte Environmental Council, acknowledged that all but 33 trees could stay but be watched.

Robyn DiFalco of BEC asked the Park Commission to “... make sure that every tree removed is justified and asked for another meeting on PG&E’s replacement plan. Commissioners wanted to know about incidences of pipe leaks in Chico, but Wilson and other PG&E representatives there Monday did not have that information. They also wanted to know more about what the access actually meant, and could there be negotiations on the list of trees to be removed.

Attorney Richard Harriman of Chico said everything should be written into an agreement, and Emily Alma asked the Park Commission to advocate for the trees.Tags: BEC, trees, chico, removal, PG&Eby: rdifalco

BEC News Interests

August 13, 2015

Highlights and Sticky Notes:The district could sell the power it generates to a public utility or a public agency, using the proceeds to pay off debt used to finance construction of the plant."However, development of the Sites Reservoir is controversial. Several conservation and environmental organizations oppose this bill because it facilitates development of the reservoir. These groups contend the reservoir would harm the delta ecosystem while providing few, if any, resource management benefits."Tags: Sites Resevoir, water, energyby: rdifalco

July 24, 2015

Highlights and Sticky Notes:The California Department of Water Resources has released draft emergency regulations governing how groundwater basin boundaries may be modified or redrawn under the state’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act. Public comments on the draft regulations will be accepted until Sept. 4.The historic SGMA legislation, adopted last year, marked the first time California has attempted to comprehensively regulate groundwater and bring groundwater basins into a sustainable pattern of pumping and recharge.Tags: california, water, groundwater, SGMAby: rdifalco

July 24, 2015

Highlights and Sticky Notes:ore than a third of the largest groundwater basins in the world are being depleted faster than they are getting replenished, and there are little to no accurate data showing just how much water is left in them, according to two new studies published Tuesday.The studies spotlight increasing sustainability concerns as regions like California rely more and more on groundwater during times of severe drought."This work clearly demonstrates that it is no longer adequate to continue citing decades-old … estimates of total groundwater storage," according to the new studies, which were published in the journal Water Resources Research.Tags: groundwater, california, waterby: rdifalco

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