Today, UC Merced, through its local outreach organ, the Merced Sun-Star, proclaimed that it is taking extraordinary pains to build the campus to be "earth-friendly."
This reminds us of the frequently heard claim of developers before local land-use jurisdictions that they are "creating open space" when they put a golf course in a subdivision built on a sprawling expanse of seasonal pasture.
UC Merced and its congressman, Dennis Cardoza, Polar Bear Slayer-Merced, are riding the alternative energy fashion for all its worth, to hide major failures. UC Merced failed to even apply for its Clean Water Act permit before building its first phase and now, seeking to expand onto critical habitat land, there is a danger the US Army Corps of Engineers will reject its CWA application. Meanwhile, in the past three years, Cardoza has introduced three bills -- two to change the critical habitat provisions in the Endangered Species Act and a third to gut the whole act of its power to enforce -- and all have failed.
Cardoza's pompously titled "Empower America Act of 2006" heavily backed by the solar industry, merely extends existing federal subsidies for solar power already in place and lifts some other language from existing bills. But it comes in tandem with the state Legislature's "California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006," largely a policy statement leaving the thorny issues of implementation and enforcement to another day.
Both UC Merced and its congressman are rapidly disappearing into clouds of techno-babble about solar energy, costuming themselves in jungle-green camouflage. Nevertheless, the rapid urbanization of the Central Valley will be the most proximate cause of rapid snow melt in the Sierra in coming years.
Of late, there has been a great deal of talk about regional planning in the San Joaquin Valley. It is driven by county-wide associations of governments charged with promoting transportation expansion to accommodate new growth while simultaneously paying lip service to cleaning up air pollution in our extreme non-attainment basin. They are responsible for several of county sales-tax-increase measures to chum the local pork barrel with local contributions to entice federal highway funds.
But regional planning is not yet perfected in the two congressional districts known locally as Pombozastan (Cardoza's and the adjoining district of Rep. RichPAC Pombo, Whale Slayer-Tracy). The problem is again the University of California Board of Regents and it sovereign land-use authority. The UC Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is in the running to site a biowarfare laboratory of the highest level of danger on Corral Hollow Road, on the same site as its explosives lab, about 60 miles from the UC Merced campus. I don't think there are enough tons of green UC flak to cover that one over.
Meanwhile, to make our born-again green cross even more of a burden, Angelo Tsakapoulos is threatening to sue the City of Tracy if it does not approve a sprawling development called Tracy Hills, also located on Corral Hollow Road.
We hope and pray that Tsakapoulos will offer a solar option on his housing products and that there willbe no accidental explosions at the lab that disperse Ebola over his subdivision and strike down golfers putting on open space.
UC Merced succeeding in goal to be Earth-friendly campus...Corinne Reilly
UC Merced say they're taking unprecedented measures among college campuses to conserve resources. While numerous environmental groups have questioned where the university is building - at full buildout, UC Merced's proposed 900-acre campus would destroy about 70 acres of rare wetlands - criticism of how the university is building is hard to come by. UC Merced has pledged to construct every campus building to meet the U.S. Green Building Council's "silver" standard - a mark no other college campus has met... Mark Maxwell, who oversees the UC Merced's environmental building efforts, said environmental stewardship became a priority at the campus long before construction began. Last year, a small group of students founded the UC Merced Green Club, which lobbied to start the campus-wide recycling program launched last week.
Trouble in the Hills...John Upton
Nearly a decade after it was given the green light...proposed Tracy Hills development
remains a controversial project. Councilwoman Evelyn Tolbert has described a 5,500-home
project slated for southwest Tracy since the 1970s as a mistake by today’s planning
standards...said AKT Development’s lawyers could bankrupt the city if development there is
nixed. The project would, however, take up a swath of land that is home to a bounty of
local wildlife. About 2,000 acres of habitat for raptors, rattlesnakes, coyotes and
endangered tiger salamanders would be bulldozed for the project seven miles from Tracy’s
heart, but AKT was forced to abandon more than 3,500 acres of rugged land that is almost
completely covered with native grass species under strict laws that protect endangered
species. Tracy Hills was dreamed up in the 1970s as a county project, and it was lassoed
into city limits in 1998. AKT bought the land from Grupe Development in 2001 after Tracy’s
voters passed a slow-growth law. AKT will level the land and lay infrastructure, while
Souza will help the company navigate city politics and sell land to builders, according to
Mike Souza of Souza Realty.
Site 300 is wrong spot...Beverly King, Livermore...Your Voice
Putting a biolab that will deal with deadly pathogens in the hills outside Tracy is simply
a bad idea. Site 300 is LLNL’s high – explosive testing range, and it is already so
heavily polluted with radioactive and toxic contaminants that it is a federal Superfund
cleanup site. LLNL’s mission is to design nuclear weapons of mass destruction. A scary
truth about the biological research to be conducted at Site 300 is that it is “dual
purpose,” meaning it could be used for defensive or offensive purposes.
Site 300 is wrong spot
Written by Tracy Press/
Putting a biolab that will deal with deadly pathogens in the hills outside Tracy is simply a bad idea.
I recently read about the dangerous proposal to build a huge bio-warfare agent research complex at Livermore National Laboratory’s Site 300 on Corral Hollow Road. The new facility would cover 30 acres and have 500,00) square feet of lab space, including a BSL-4, which looks like a science fiction movie where researchers wear moon suits and special breathing apparatus to experiment with deadly pathogens for which there is no known cause, such as Ebola virus.
A Site 300 spokesman said that the bio-facility would research diseases that affect agriculture and animals as well as humans. Site 300 is LLNL’s high –explosive testing range, and it is already so heavily polluted with radioactive and toxic contaminants that it is a federal Superfund cleanup site. Do we want biological agents like live anthrax, mad cow disease and bubonic plague spreading from Site 300 as well
LLNL’s mission is to design nuclear weapons of mass destruction. The lab is developing a new submarine-launched nuclear warhead. How I the lab going to assure the world that it is not interested in researching new bio-weapons A scary truth about the biological research to be conducted at Site 300 s that it is “dual purpose,” meaning it could be used for defensive or offensive purposes.
I thank the Tracy Press for covering this issue and I urge your readers to become involved by attending a study group and workshop from 7 to 9 p.m. Tuesday at Sarvey’s Shoes, 501 W. Grant Line Road.
Beverly King, Livermore