For tickets click, here – 2022 Heritage Foundation Dinner | Contra Costa County (cccfheritagefoundation.com).
A recognition during National Ag Week – March 20-26, 2022
By Julie Yee, Public Affairs, USDA Food & Nutrition Service Western Region
SAN FRANCISCO, March 22, 2022 – Today, the USDA Food and Nutrition Service’s (FNS) Western Region (Alaska, American Samoa, California, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, Northern Mariana Islands, Oregon, and Washington) joins millions of Americans in celebrating National Ag Day. The special recognition encourages every American to understand how food and fiber products are produced, value the essential role of agriculture in maintaining a strong economy, and appreciate the role agriculture plays in providing safe, abundant and affordable products. This day also provides an opportunity to show appreciation to hard-working farmers who provide delicious and nutritious food for families across the region.
“National Ag Day provides us an annual opportunity to say “Thank You” to countless farmers and ranchers across the Western Region who work hard each day so that we have healthy and nutritious food on our plates,” said FNS Western Regional Administrator Jesus Mendoza, Jr. “Over the last year, the agriculture sector has stepped up to ensure we have a stable food supply in the face of incredible challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Farmers provide consumers with fresh, affordable, convenient, and healthy products. With support from USDA, farmers can offer customers the opportunity to make purchases with the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP); the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC); and the Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program.
America’s Direct Marketing Farmers and Farmers’ Markets (DMFs/FMs) are great sources of fresh fruits, vegetables, and other healthy foods. FNS is committed to expanding access to these foods by SNAP recipients while supporting economic opportunities for farmers and producers. Use the interactive map to locate participating DMFs/FMs and other retailers in the west and all across the nation.
In the western region, 230 DMFs and 722 FMs were authorized by USDA in fiscal year 2020. This is an increase of 66.67 percent and 12.64 percent respectively over the previous year. These farmers and farmers markets are authorized to accept SNAP Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT), which enables SNAP recipients to use their benefits to purchase eligible food. Farmers and farmers’ markets in the western region redeemed more than $9.5 million in EBT benefits in fiscal year 2020.
A top FNS priority for 2022 is continuing USDA’s focus on nutrition security, not just for the duration of the pandemic, but well into the future to make sure the many nutrition programs USDA offers are providing access to nutritious food for all those in need. FNS delivers science-based information and guidance that is pivotal in ensuring Americans have a nutritious, safe, affordable and abundant food supply. USDA will make full use of flexibilities to support governors, school districts, food banks and others while deploying food assistance to struggling families, seniors and people with disabilities.
USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. In the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy, and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit
www.usda.gov. USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender.
Small wineries can open two off-site tasting rooms
Local governments gain new tools for overseeing short-term rentals
Thousands of acres of East Bay wilderness to be preserved
By Steven Harmon, Policy Analyst/Communications, Office of Sen. Steve Glazer
Governor Gavin Newsom has signed three long-standing proposals advanced by Senator Steve Glazer, (D-SD7), that will have a direct impact on residents of Contra Costa and Alameda counties.
“It’s very gratifying to see important legislative priorities for my district signed into law,” Senator Glazer said. “These are bills and proposals that I’ve been working on with partners, in some cases, for years. I’m thankful to Governor Newsom for ushering them across the finish line with his signature, a nice reward for all the hard work put in by key allies and friends.”
The three proposals that Gov. Newsom signed were:
Winegrowers: Offsite Tasting Rooms (SB 19)
SB 19 will allow licensed winegrowers or brandy manufacturers to operate two off-site tasting rooms under their winegrower licenses. This bill will particularly help small and family-owned wineries to operate as California continues to recover from the Pandemic.
Approximately 55 wineries are located in Senator Glazer’s district, including in Livermore, Oakley, Brentwood, Byron and Moraga.
“Small and family-owned wineries have struggled the most among wineries, because they rely heavily on visitors and direct sales,” said Senator Glazer. “With tourism taking a terrible hit from the pandemic and consequences of the wildfires, I’m glad that Governor Newsom recognized that these wineries are in need of that additional outlet to provide tastings and sales to their customers.”
Prior to the current tasting room closures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, many wineries viewed additional off-site tasting rooms as a significant benefit. This was even more pressing for many small wineries looking to expand business opportunities, especially those wineries that produce their wine in an agreement to use the facility and equipment of a second (usually larger) winery.
Steven Kent Mirassou, owner and winemaker of Steven Kent winery, part of the Livermore Valley Wine Country Association, said SB 19 will make a difference to the industry, but also to wine enthusiasts.
“The ability to take care of people – which is the true center of hospitality and wine – is important at all times,” Kent Mirassou said. “It is especially crucial during the pandemic when we are all striving to maintain connections with our larger circle of friends and patrons, that small wineries remain open and thriving. I am so appreciative of the hard work and perseverance that Senator Glazer and his staff have shown in helping us continue to add joy and richness to peoples’ lives.”
With the COVID-19 pandemic, tasting rooms have been required to either close or significantly alter their operations for tastings, but can continue to operate sales for curbside pickup or delivery. Tourism has become almost nonexistent and is not expected to recover for several years. As a result, the impact from COVID-19 to the wine industry is estimated to be $5.9 billon, with a $3 billion loss in tasting room sales.
In addition, the 2020 wildfires had a substantial impact on the wine industry. According to the Wine Institute, the estimate of damage from 2020 wildfires amounts to $3.7 billion, including a loss of $41 million in tasting room sales and $57.6 million in lost winery structures.
Allows Increased Fines on Short Term Rental Violations – to Rein in House Parties (SB 60)
Under SB 60, cities and counties can now impose increased penalties on short-term rental hosts who violate local property rental laws – an attempt to rein in house parties, sometimes violent, that have been occurring at short term rentals because of lax oversight of these properties. SB 60, which took effect immediately, authorizes localities to impose fines up to $5,000 for a violation of a short-term ordinance.
“These large gatherings have made some short-term rental properties the sites of underage drinking, brawls, noise complaints, and violence,” Senator Glazer said. “I’m grateful to Governor Newsom for signing this bill so that local governments have the tools to ensure the safety of those who want to continue to use short-term rentals, and of our residents who live nearby these properties.”
The legislation was sparked by a spate of violence at short-term rental properties, most notably a mass shooting in Orinda, where five people were killed. Other abuses at short-term rentals occurred in Los Angeles and other locales in Northern California, including a party at a Sunnyvale rental where a teenager was shot and killed in August after violence erupted at the gathering. (See related articles, here, here, here and here)
Smaller fines were proving to be ineffective in deterring violations. Hosts were able to charge so much rent for big houses that the fines, if they occurred, were just seen as a cost of doing business.
“Violence and destructive behavior at short term rentals has become a true public safety issue in cities throughout California, as residents of Orinda know all too well,” Orinda Mayor Amy Worth said. “I am thankful that mayors like me will now have the ability to impose fines at a level high enough to get the attention of property owners who operate short term rentals to ensure the safety of our residents. Senator Glazer has been a true champion of this issue, and we are thankful for his hard work on making this California law.”
The use of short-term rentals has skyrocketed by 105 percent over just the past three years, according to vacation rental data compiled by AirDNA. Though short-term rentals offer a way to improve tourism and earn owners some extra money, their recent proliferation has allowed bad actors to use the platform to advertise and secure homes for large parties, oftentimes in violation of local ordinances.
The Covid-19 pandemic led to an increase in people using short-term rentals to evade public health restrictions on large public gatherings. Noise complaints as a result of parties have tripled since the start of the pandemic, according to Host Compliance, which tracks legal compliance among short-term rentals for 350 cities and counties in the U.S.
In the last half of 2019, 42 people were shot inside or just outside a short-term rental property nationwide and 17 people died.
Tesla Land Preservation (Budget)
Thousands of acres of East Bay wilderness threatened by the expansion of an off-highway vehicle park will instead be preserved. (See related article)
The legislation, approved in the Governor’s recent budget bills and took effect immediately, ends plans to expand the Carnegie State Vehicular Recreation Area into the 3,100-acre Tesla parcel in the southeast corner of Alameda County, which scientists have described as a biologically unique habitat and Native Americans have long considered to be a sensitive historical site.
That land will now become a new state park closed to motorized recreation. The state will reimburse the Off-Highway Vehicle fund for the purchase price of the land, its appreciation in value, and the money spent planning the expansion, which was opposed from the start 20 years ago by nearby residents and public agencies. That money will go toward the purchase and development of an off-road park at another location.
“Our community and region will preserve this natural and cultural treasure, leaving it pristine for future generations to enjoy,” Senator Glazer said. “Meanwhile, off-road enthusiasts will be able to keep their current park and receive funding to develop another park on land that’s more suitable to that kind of recreation. I appreciate the hard work that so many key individuals played in moving this critical environmental and cultural issue to the Governor’s desk, and, of course, for the Governor to work with all the players to sign this important agreement.”
Senator Glazer partnered with Assembly member Rebecca Bauer-Kahan, the Sierra Club, Friends of Tesla Park and other environmental organizations and individuals in getting the final approval from the governor’s office. Earlier, former Assembly member Catharine Baker worked with Senator Glazer on the same issue.
Nancy Rodrigue, a leading member of the Friends of Tesla Park steering committee and Livermore resident, said she was proud that years of hard work and persistence paid off.
“A very special thank you goes to Senator Glazer and Assembly member Rebecca Bauer-Kahan for the many years of work on this special project,” Rodrigue said. “Tesla Park will now be a reserve with no motorized recreation. Instead, the future holds Tesla as a protected native landscape for hikers, history buffs, nature lovers, researchers and educators.
“Saving Tesla Park has been a long, difficult, and now a rewarding journey, and we are grateful for the tremendous work of so many for saving Tesla as a legacy for future generations,” Rodrigue continued. “We are looking forward to planning the next phase of Tesla Park as a nature and cultural preserve, providing passive recreation and education to the community of the Bay area, the San Joaquin Valley, and Northern California.”
Bay Point Pedestrian and Bicycle Improvement Project moves forward
By Daniel Borsuk
The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors voted 5-0 to permit longtime Brentwood grower Bob Nunn and land planner Lisa Borba, who also serves as a Contra Costa Water District commissioner, to proceed and develop two 10,000 square foot cannabis greenhouses at 4425 Sellers Avenue over the objections of residents. DVF Business Proposal
According to the conditions of approval, the use “permit is for the commercial cultivation of cannabis micro plants only” and “no mature cannabis plants are permitted on the site at any time.” DVF Findings & Modified COAs 03152021
The supervisors’ action reverses a January 27th county planning commission decision that had negated an earlier approval of the proposed cannabis development in Eastern Contra Costa County that had proposed only one 10,000 square foot greenhouse.
During the hearing, supervisors listened to six unidentified speakers oppose the proposed Diablo Valley Farms project on grounds it is nearby a youth center and it will breed crime, noise and odor problems into the environment.
In a Feb. 8th letter from attorney Shawn J. Zovod, the developers Robert Nunn and Borba, and addressed to Contra Costa County Planner Joseph Lawlor, Zovod wrote: DVF SZovod Appeal Letter 02082021 SZovod 030521 Letter to JLawlor Project Planner
“The owner of DVF, Robert Nunn, and the applicant, Lisa Borba (collectively “Applicant”) appeals the CPC decision on the following grounds:
- The CPC decision to deny the Permit was based on an erroneous finding that Sunset Park is a “youth center.” This finding is not supported by the evidence and provides grounds for appeal under Code Section 26-2.2404c (3) Sunset Park is a park and is not a youth center within the meaning of the Cannabis Regulation and Section 11353.1 of the California Health and Safety Code…The CPC’s finding that Sunset Park is a “youth center” and thereby a Protected Use is not satisfied by evidence and is a gross misinterpretation of the Cannabis Regulation.
- “…. Denial of the permit based on an inaccurate and inconsistently applied reading of the requirements of the Cannabis Regulation is denial of equal protection. The CBO cannot turn its back on the laws that it adopted after years of careful consideration. Appellant has invested significant time and tens of thousands of dollars in reliance on the county’s application of its standards on a fair and equitable basis.
Appellant requests the Board of Supervisors uphold this appeal of the CPS, reinstate the Permit as approved by the Zoning Administrator, and decline to add any additional conditions requested by the City of Brentwood to the Permit.”
While supervisors heard from six unidentified Brentwood residents about concerns that the proposed Diablo Valley Farms project will produce crime, odor and noise, Brentwood Police Chief Tom Hansen said the proposed development will bring more “serious crime” to the city and his “officers will be in grave danger.” The police chief recommended that supervisors keep the county planning commission’s January decision intact.
Board Chair Diane Burgis of Brentwood turned the table when she recommended that supervisors reverse the county planning commission’s January action and to approve the Robert Nunn/Borba project.
“They have made it clear there will be no plants of value,” said Burgis. “There will be security. There will be no cash on site. The permit will be valid for five years.”
Supervisors approved the permit on a 5-0 vote.
Approve Engineering Contract for Bay Point Pedestrian and Bicycle Improvement Project
Supervisors approved a $590,000 contract with MNS Engineers, Inc. to provide consulting services with the county Public Works Department for construction management services for the Bailey Road/State Route 4 Interchange Pedestrian and Bicycle Improvement Project for the period March 23, 2021 to June 30, 2022 in the Bay Point area.
The project consists of constructing a retaining wall, widening the State Route 4 westbound diagonal off-ramp, installation and modification of traffic signals, removal of the SR4 westbound loop off-ramp, storm drain modifications, and installation of sidewalk along Bailey Road.
Funding for the project is from the Active Transportation Program (ATP), Bay Point Area of Benefit, Navy Mitigation Funds, Contra Costa County Measure J transportation half-cent sales tax, and the state gas tax.
Recognize 2021 Poetry Out Loud Winners
Supervisors passed a resolution honoring Pinole Valley High School Senior Jermaine Gitana who won first place honors in the Contra Costa County Poetry Out Loud 2021 Competition. Gitana topped second place winner Esmeralda Noyola, a junior at Antioch’s Deer Valley High School, and third place winner Tessa Brubaker, a junior at San Ramon High School in Danville. (See related article)
Initiated by the National Endowment for the Arts and run by the California Arts Council in the state and locally by the Arts and Culture Commission of Contra Costa County, the program, now in its 14th year, engages high school students in the presentation of poetry through memorization and performance.
Almost 1,000 viewers watched the students’ recitations that were viewed at the Virtual Screening and Awards Ceremony Facebook Live event.
Recognize Melody Hung-Fan and Eric Moe for Years of County Service
Supervisors passed two resolutions recognizing the years of service for Melody Hung-Fan, director of the Contra Costa County Public Health Laboratory, and Eric H. Moe, a 35-year Contra Costa County Treasurer-Tax Collector’s Office expert in automation and streamlining workflow of default-tax procedures.
Ms. Hung started her career at CCCPH in 1988 as a public health microbiologist and rose through the ranks to become director of the Public Health Laboratory in January 2013 where she has spent the last eight years planning, evaluating, organizing, and directing all activities and staff of the CCCPH.
She became a licensed Public Health Microbiologist (PHM) through the California Department of Public Health in July of 1988 after receiving a Bachelor of Science in Nutritional Services and a Master of Public Health, both from the University of California at Berkeley.
Ms. Hung has been recognized for her background in research through the publication of various abstracts and journal articles, the most recent including articles published by the American Society for Microbiology, entitled: “A Population-Based Surveillance Study of Shared Genotypes of Escherichia coli Isolates from Retail Meat and Suspected Cases of Urinary Tract Infections.”
Her work has been credited in all phases of creating, running, and evaluating testing procedures for a variety of public health issues including HIV, West Nile virus, Zika virus, Influenza, SARS-CoV-2 and other diseases.
Moe is retiring from a long career in the Treasurer-Tax Collector’s Officer where he became an expert in defaulted=tax collections, bankruptcy claims, and the annual sale of properties subject to the Tax Collectors Power to Sell. He began his career with the county in 1986 as a Clerk-Beginner. He rose up the ranks and his major accomplishment include automating and streamlining workflow of default-tax procedures to more accurately and expeditiously address and manage the many accounts that transfer to the Redemption or delinquent Secured tax roll annually, and the documenting and re-organizing of standard operating procedures of the tax-default program into a comprehensive electronic manual. Moe has also been helpful in assisting the California State Controller’s Office with review and feedback to the “Annual Pre-Notice Guide”, the “Review and Taxation Code,” and “The County Tax Collectors’ Reference Manual.”
County Awards Contract to Labor Attorney Kramer
Supervisors awarded a contract with labor attorney Karen Kramer, who is not related to Contra Costa County Assessor Gus Kramer, for workplace investigation and workplace legal advice. Ms. Kramer specializes in employment law and litigation. She will be of assistance to the County Counsel in the county’s workplace investigations.
Kramer Workplace Investigations will bill the county at an hourly rate of $325 for legal and investigatory services and $400 per hour for testimony.
She is not related to Assessor Kramer, who last November had misconduct charges dropped against him by Superior Court Judge John Cope for accusations of making sexual comments to employees and at least one ethnic slur to a co-worker.
Approve Property Cleanup Cases in Oakley, Martinez and El Sobrante
Supervisors approved three abatement cases. No public speakers were heard on the cases.
The biggest case totaling $38,056.20 was charged to the owners of 2600 Dutch Slough Road in Oakley. The residential property is jointly owned by Darlene Joy Gargulia, Nguyen Ha and Long Hoang Le.
Another residential abatement action costing $4,306.70 occurred at 5321 Alhambra Valley Road in Martinez. The property is owned by Carol M. Gainey.
Supervisors approved abatement action totaling $4,296.70 at 3870 Valley Lane in El Sobrante. Greg Fremont Livermore is owner of the property.
County residents opposed to project work to limit impact and secure benefits if it is built
“We want to make sure they don’t screw anything up,” – David Gloski, Stakeholders Engagement Committee Member
By Allen Payton
What was planned as two tunnels beneath the California Delta to divert fresh water from north of the Delta to areas south, is now a single tunnel plan that is referred to as the Delta Conveyance Project (DCP). The effort is being led by the Delta Conveyance Design and Construction Authority (DCA) which was formed by and makes recommendation to the California Department of Water Resources (DWR).
In the first part of this two-part series, you read about the background and latest efforts to move the project forward. In this part, you will hear from local voices who serve on the Stakeholders Engagement Committee (SEC) and what they are doing to both fight the tunnel, and if it is built to limit its impact and to secure any benefits for our county and the Delta.
Stakeholders Engagement Committee – Local Voices
Because Contra Costa County and the water districts in the county either oppose or are neutral on the Delta tunnel project, no agency from the county is part of the DCA. But there are three people who live and one who works in Contra Costa County and serve on the Stakeholder Engagement Committee. They are Bethel Island resident and retired engineer David Gloski, Discovery Bay resident and real estate appraiser Karen Mann, Antioch resident Jim Cox, a retired fishing boat captain, and Oakland resident Michael Moran, who works for the East Bay Regional Park District as Supervising Naturalist at Big Break Regional Shoreline Visitor Center at the Delta in Oakley.
David Gloski, The Engineer – At Large Member
“I don’t want to understate that I’m against it and I appreciate the people fighting it,” said Gloski, who volunteered to be part of the SEC at the urging of others who also oppose the tunnel. “But I, having a home on the water and having an engineering background – and this DCA SEC group is more engineering focused – we want to make sure they don’t screw anything up.”
“The majority of the people on the stakeholder committee are probably against the tunnel,” he stated. “It includes the lady (Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla) from Restore the Delta. We’ve been effective in preventing them from doing things that don’t make sense and would negatively affect people in Contra Costa.”
“To me, they walk and chew gum at the same time. They’re working on designs and plans without having the permits. They have to do some of it or they don’t know what they’re asking to permit,” Gloski explained. “Similarly, we aren’t doing ourselves any benefit by just opposing it. Because if it does go through, we can get a lot of things done, like new roads, and parks. But you have to participate.”
“I’ve raised my hand to say, ‘if you’re going to build it, let’s get good things out of it, and make sure they don’t screw things up,” he reiterated. “I think the county is mistaken for not being more involved. The DCA made changes because of our inputs. Unfortunately, I’m not sure the inputs are the best from the county’s perspective. For example, an original plan included road and bridge improvements which were eliminated when we were successful in having a maintenance shaft moved further away from Discover Bay. So, you might have won the battle but lost the war.”
“I think we might benefit from more representatives. But right now, the county is just fighting it,” Gloski added.
To give your input to David Gloski, you can join his Facebook page, David Gloski DCA Stakeholder.
Karen Mann – South Delta Local Business
Mann, an appraiser in Discovery Bay, is another member of the stakeholders committee who opposes the tunnel, as the issue literally hits close to home for her like Gloski.
“I’m fighting for our Delta,” she said. “As I’m talking to you my grandchildren are loading the boat, because that’s what we do as a family. We spend time on the Delta.”
“I’m an active boater. I skipper my own 37-foot boat. I’m a very able-bodied skipper. My dad had me at the helm since I was 9 or 10 years old in San Pablo Bay,” Mann explained. “So, I’ve described to this group the terror that I had when I encountered a barge in the middle of Old River. That left me about 25’ (to get by it). My boat is 12-feet-wide. I could feel the propellers of the tugboat drawing me toward that barge. My boat weighs 22,000 lbs. Imagine if that was a ski boat with inexperienced skiers or a family with a father and his kids on board.”
“The number of barges every day that they were talking about loading, I told them ‘you better think twice. You will have lives of families and boaters on your hands,’” she continued.
Effort to Postpone Meetings & Work Due to COVID-19 Unsuccessful
“Through this whole pandemic thing, myself and a bunch of others have said ‘let’s hold off on these meetings’ because we can’t meet with our people,” Mann stated. “The chief engineer said, ‘we’re going to move forward, and we hate to leave you behind. But that’s how it goes. Governor Newsom wants this going.’”
“I piped up and said ‘it appears to me Gov. Newsom his been very busy with this pandemic thing and his three-hour-long press conferences each day, and the Delta tunnel is probably not at the forefront of his thinking,” she shared. “For us to be told, ‘no, that’s out of the question, we’re on a timeline’, this is just not right.”
“The dust-up has caused Sacramento County Supervisor Don Nottoli to challenge one state official about transparency, while the Delta Protection Commission has officially asked California planners to halt their work on the tunnel during the virus outbreak. So far, that hasn’t happened,” reported the SN&R.
Contra Costa County Supervisor Diane Burgis serves on the Delta Protection Commission, which “is supposed to safeguard the environmental and community health of the estuary as part of California’s landmark 1992 Delta Protection Act.”
But the committee meetings are continuing, just online for now, as most if not all other government meetings are currently throughout the state.
No Project Funding or Route, Yet
“I asked them where are we getting the money from? Apparently, there’s no checkbook. There’s no limit. There’s no talk about expenses. It’s like carte blanch. Money is no object,” Mann stated. “There isn’t an official route, yet. Because they’re trying to decide if there is going to be a central corridor which would be within 600 feet of the Discovery Bay water treatment plan and homes on the golf course.”
“That’s not the best of it,” she continued. “The best of it is they’re using their maps of that central location they would have taken that tunnel underneath the only waste treatment plant in the area.”
“They would also be going through our artesian wells,” Mann added.
“If there were any problems, “they would shut off the water and waste treatment for Discovery Bay. How could we live here? We’re not a third world country,” she said with a laugh.
“I’ve been very passionate about those two items,” Mann stated.
She, Cox and Moran all expressed concerns about trucks on Highway 4 east of Discovery Bay and how the committee’s efforts got that stopped.
“There was also going to be a maintenance shaft near Discovery Bay which would require truck traffic on Highway 4. Heavy duty trucks carrying the muck and dirt. Those bridges are old and couldn’t handle it,” she explained.
“Now they’re talking about using the eastern corridor closer to Stockton. But they told us ‘don’t get too excited. Nothing is decided. We’ll take your recommendations, but we will make our own decisions.’” That didn’t sit well with Mann.
“Is this how government is supposed to work?” she asked. “I will say they did listen on the barge issue. I think health and safety got them.”
Fire Marshal, DB Town Manager Shocked
“We took that information to the fire marshal and Discovery Bay Town Manager and they were shocked,” Mann shared. “Neither one of them knew about any of it. They both wrote impassioned letters. We have three fire stations that serve 128 square miles. The engineers thought we had nine stations.”
“So, who’s going to handle the issues…with a project like this?” she asked. “Someone’s going to get hurt and they’re going to need EMT’s. I guarantee you one of their trucks will have an accident and block traffic for hours, if not kill someone.”
“I’ve been sending the chief engineer photos of truck accidents and concerns that we have for our health and safety,” she continued. They had no idea of traffic count. They’re using traffic counts from five years ago from San Joaquin County and they don’t keep track of traffic on Highway 4 and the bridges in our county. So, their traffic counts are completely inaccurate.
“So, I’m wondering who’s really in charge here,” Mann said. “We’re supposed to trust them with building a tunnel 150 feet under ground? If they don’t have this basic information how can they handle the bigger issues?”
“The Delta has been something in my family since I was a child,” she shared. “It’s a way to keep families together. So, when you say Delta you’re talking about families. This life is too short, and you have to enjoy it while it lasts.”
Mann is both a residential and commercial appraiser, which is why she represents the business community on the committee.
She’s also the president of Save the California Delta Alliance.
“We have an attorney that got them to back out of the other tunnel project,” Mann shared.
“It’s just a bunch of homeowners. This is our home. The waterway is our backyard. Our playground. Don’t mess with it,” she concluded before heading out into the Delta for the weekend on the family boat.
“Same Old Song and Dance” on Fish Protections Says a Frustrated Jim Cox – Sports Fishing
Antioch resident Jim Cox ran a six-pack, sport fishing charter boat for 23 years and has been in the Delta since the early 1980’s and is now retired.
“I’m there representing fishing interests,” he shared. “It’s been a very frustrating thing to be involved in. They want us to come back with input from our constituents. The most common thing I hear is ‘what’s going to happen with Clifton Court?’”
The Clifton Court Forebay is where the water is collected south of the Delta before being pumped further south.
“When the current is flowing in there, it’s so strong the fish can’t get out,” Cox explained. “The screens on the pumps are not designed that well. Estimates are anywhere from 15-50,000 striped bass that are trapped in there. They’re only 8 or 9 inches but they’re fully matured fish.”
“They say Clifton Court Forebay is a separate project,” he continued. “I’ve had conversations with Terry Buckman from DWR. The Delta Improvement Act of 2009 has the two goals of habitat restoration and less reliance for water supply. They’re definitely focused on the water supply.”
“They call it EcoRestore, which is part of DWR and the ironic thing is they say ‘we’re not working on that for another year or so.’ This committee will be disbanded before then,” Cox stated.
“This is the same song and dance that fishermen have been told for the past 25 years,” he complained. “In 1994 there was the CalFed agreement. The water contractors were supposed to build state of the art screens across Clifton Court so fish couldn’t get in. But it’s still never been built. “
‘Most of these DWR folks are in their 40’s so they weren’t around…and they’re taking the word for it from others at DWR,” said Cox.
“The real problem is predation (preying of one animal on another), primarily for striped bass,” he continued. “It is a problem because the current flows in there, year-round, 24 hours a day. Larger fish just stick around at the entrance and pick off the smaller fish. They try to make it sound like it’s the striped bass. It’s not. It’s the fact they never built the screens.”
“We were told Fish and Game have plans to remove predators. They have no plans for any such thing. They say it’s a useless idea. Once you get rid of one predator another species will move in,” Cox shared. “Then they said the problem is the outer screens. There aren’t any outer screens. It consists of rabbit wire fence to keep boats and floating logs out of Clifton Court. It has nothing to do with fish.”
“They won’t say anything of how they’re going to make it better. This is why it’s becoming a frustrating endeavor for me,” he stated. “On the one hand they are being responsive to some complaints. But it all revolves around building the tunnel.”
“They won’t even listen to the fishermen. I’ve been tempted to resign a couple times over this. But, if I’m not there who’s going to bring this up?” Cox asked, rhetorically. “First, they talked about having the committee a year. But now they’re talking about extending it.”
“It’s very frustrating trying to get them to listen,” he added.
On finances Cox said “we get told things in bits and pieces. The plan is for all of this to be paid for by the water users, the water contractors. The fine print is they’ve agreed to this in theory, but not in reality. They’re not going to agree to anything until they see the final plan. Over the last year, they’ve been trying to do what took them three years originally on the twin tunnels, to finalize this plan, to be able to move forward.”
“When this COVID thing hit, they said everyone wants to continue to work on this. That’s BS,” he said echoing Karen Mann’s comments. “No one wanted to continue to do this. But they kept pushing on this because they have financing deadlines. So, nope. They’re going to keep on going.”
“I feel in a lot of ways this committee is just going through the motions. I’m starting to feel like a pawn in a chess game,” he said with a chuckle.
Another financial issue Cox shared about was the pay for the DCA’s executive director Kathryn Mallon, who is earning $47,000 per month in her role. That’s in spite of the $54 billion deficit the state is projecting due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Another report by the Sacramento News & Review covers that issue and the opposition from the water agencies that are expected to reimburse the state for her compensation.
Parks District Employee Offers Different Perspective: Mike Moran – Ex-Officio
Mike Moran, although an Oakland resident, represents Contra Costa County interests on the SEC, having worked in Eastern Contra Costa County for 26 years, as of August 1st. He works for the East Bay Regional Park District at the Big Break Regional Shoreline in Oakley.
“Big Break was an asparagus farm that flooded in 1927,” he shared. It’s a 1,688 acre park that’s mostly under water. The East County trail runs through there. Plus, they have a 1,200 square foot model of the Delta on the ground.
“In my position at the park commission and the SEC, we don’t take a pro or a con on this issue. We try to interpret this thing and why it’s being proposed, why it’s being opposed, and not just build it or don’t build it,” Moran explained. “I’m an ex-officio giving folks’ perspective from the East Bay Regional Parks point of view. There’s not a direct correlation on the tunnel.”
“We have land out here and we have folks paying taxes to get access to that land. So, what does this mean? What is the impact going to be where our constituents live?” he asked.
Moran also studied fisheries in grad school. Asked about the fish and Clifton Court Forebay that Jim Cox is concerned about, he said, “It’s part of the state water project, right now. The new forebay would be right next to Clifton Court, built to the west.”
However, Cox responded with, “The fact is that they still intend to use Clifton Court fifty-percent of the time. If the tunnel water was the only water heading into the canal then it would be fine, but that is not the case. Clifton Court will still be part of the water system and that is why I feel improvements to it should be part of the project, not a separate project.”
“The Harvey Banks Pumping Plant is part of the State Water Project. That water is sent through the California Aqueduct and the South Bay Aqueduct serving Alameda and Santa Clara Counties,” Moran explained.
“The feds will require an Environmental Impact Study on the project because it affects federal waters. That’s the Jones Pumping Plant, which is part of the federal water project. That water is pumped through the Delta Mendota Canal,” he shared.
“At the Clifton Court Forebay, as the water is drawn in, there’s a screen that screens out the fish. But it’s old school. It’s an old screen,” Moran explained. “Jim’s saying if we’re going to put in these high-tech screens north of the Delta, let’s do it at Clifton Court.”
“The screening for the proposed tunnel will be located in Hood (north of Elk Grove) on the eastern side of the Sacramento River. There will be three intakes and those would have brand new, top of the line fish screens,” he continued. “So, no fish will be put in that tunnel beyond those screens.”
“That’s one of the selling points for this whole project,” Moran stated. “What we have now, is the diversion is over the surface across the Delta. So, we’re bringing in both water and fish.”
He provided some history to the diversion of Delta water.
“The idea of diverting water, moving water from the north and east, through the Delta is from the 1910’s,” Moran shared. “A lot of the facilities we have now, are not the same thing, but they’re based on Robert Marshall’s plans. He ran the national parks and was pushing this big project of moving water around California. So, that’s part of the rationale of what we have, now.”
He also shared that “Antioch sued upstream water users in 1921 because of too much saltwater. So, this is nothing new.”
“Antioch is way ahead of the game putting in a brackish water plant. That’s a big, bold move,” Moran state. “But what are we going to do with saltwater intrusion up to CCWD?” (See related article)
Asked how the tunnel is a solution to the saltwater intrusion he answered, “It’s coming. If we divert or not, saltwater is coming. How do we prepare for that? In Antioch we build a desal plant. For those south of the Delta it’s a tunnel.”
“The way we’re doing things now, is water flows from the Sacramento River to the rest of the Delta. The pumps in Byron then pump it south,” Moran continued. “This water used to flow down the river and out into the Bay. Sometimes during the year, we have reverse flow, with the water from both the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers. When folks started taking water out in the Central Valley, less water comes out of the San Joaquin River. It was dry for 60 miles as recently as 1994. That was rectified through a court case.”
Because the San Joaquin River is diverted before it reaches and “punches through the Delta”, farmers in the Delta have been relying on Sacramento River water.
“The Sacramento River, high quality, great water, it’s pulled down to the pumps. Not all the water, it’s less than half,” he said. “That goes against the natural flow and messes up the ecology.”
“We’ve gotten a lot of benefit over the past 100 years,” with the current system, Moran shared.
“So, if we don’t do something, if saltwater comes up, or if a levee breaks or a beaver chews through, that’s going to stop the flow of water.”
“Much of the land in the Delta is under sea level because of that peat soil, which is great for farming,” he explained. “But because of decisions made over 100 years ago, because people in the Delta communities and economies, and their way of life, it’s not sustainable.”
“We’re only taking water out when there’s enough to come through,” said Moran. “Like we’re doing, now when there’s Delta Smelt at the pumps, and we have water quality going down the tubes, the feds tell them to stop pumping.”
“It’s these local folks who are members of the committee saying, ‘wait a minute, we have lives that will be affected, too,’” he shared about his fellow SEC members. “The premise is let’s pretend this is getting built. If that’s the case, all you folks around the Delta who have this local experience and expertise, to advise the experts from the DWR.”
“So, that the water can be used all year round. That’s the point of it,” Moran continued. “Is there enough storage south of the Delta? If you’re going to pump water out of the Delta where are you going to store it? There’s the San Luis Reservoir, are we going to raise the height?”
“Every governor has dealt with it, but Newsom is getting more traction,” he shared. “They have this portfolio plan which includes storage, moving water and ground water restoration. Not just sticking straws in the Delta and sucking it.”
“When it’s a common pool and we all have to drink out of the Delta and we all have to be responsible for it including maintaining the levees, and agriculture in the Delta,” Moran concluded.
No Committee Member Supports the Tunnel
Asked about the members of the stakeholders committee and how they were chosen, Nazli Parvizi, the Stakeholder Engagement lead for the DCA, said, “There is not a single member on the committee who supports this project. That’s based on what they wrote in their applications and others, what they’ve said over and over during the meetings.”
“It was an individual application. Not everybody represents their area of work. The requirement was if you live, work or recreate in the Delta in certain categories,” she explained. “If you have an ag person you balance it out with an environmental person. So, I think we have a good broad representation.”
“What we’re excited about Karen…she’s as reliable a source on waterways and boating as Jim Cox would be,” Parvizi shared.
“It’s not a voting body. We don’t make decisions as the DCA,” she explained. “We try to come up with the best engineering and design, the concepts and drawings and give them to Department of Water and it’s up to them.”
“We’re doing our best to take into account the Delta as place,” Parvizi continued. “So, they don’t just make sense from an engineering standpoint, but also as Delta as place. The folks who lead the DCA are representatives from DWR and the agencies that are members of the DCA. Kathryn Mallon, the Executive Director of the DCA is listening and took into consideration the Delta as place. The SEC is the result of that.”
About the committee members’ involvement, she said, “It’s trying to make the best of the worst, while at the same time trying to make sure it doesn’t happen. Karen has done a great job for Discovery Bay and boaters.”
“So, fight on your own time, protest, sue us, whatever and we’re OK with that and several are suing us,” said Parvizi. “We do want to make sure we are respectful of what you care about. They give us incredibly valuable feedback.”
“They fight their war, but on the battles they’re very collaborative,” she stated. “We give them all this information, being transparent as possible and half of them send it to their lawyers, which is fine. But they tell us which is better, A, B or C, and we make our recommendations to DWR.”
“We haven’t seen two groups fight it out,” Parvizi said, and explained how the members of the SEC work collaboratively. “If you move it (the tunnel) this way, it’s good for fish, but if you move it here, it’s good for birds. Or it’s good for animals. But if you put it here, it’s good for business.”
“We can come up with the pros and cons and I think that’s very valuable,” she added.
Opposition Efforts Continue
Efforts continue to stop the new Delta tunnel by groups such as Restore the Delta that have been fighting since the twin tunnels plan was first proposed. They along with Contra Costa County and the other members of the Delta Counties Coalition, Delta residents, Delta business owners, tribal representatives, fishing and non-governmental organizations and other Delta community-based organizations have all asked the Department of Water Resources (DWR) to pause Delta tunnel planning processes that require public participation due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. The Department of Water Resources has refused.
Contra Costa is represented on the DCC by County Supervisor Karen Mitchoff.
In their letter dated April 7, 2020, the DCC wrote California Natural Resources Agency Secretary Wade Crowfoot, “The Delta Counties Coalition (DCC) respectfully requests that you direct the Department of Water Resources (DWR) to pause all Delta Conveyance Project planning and engineering design processes that require Delta stakeholder engagement during the COVID-19 crisis, until the public can fully participate. We request that you ask the Delta Conveyance Design and Construction Authority (DCA) to pause its processes that require public participation, including Stakeholder Engagement Committee meetings, so that the Delta tunnel engineering design can be informed by meaningful public input. We also ask that you direct DWR and other resource agencies to extend public comment periods by at least 45 days beyond the end of the declared emergency.” 2020-04-07-Delta Counties Coalition-Letter-to-Secty-Crowfoot-re-Stay
The Secretary Crowfoot and the Department of Water Resources has refused, but have instead allowed the DCA and SEC to hold their meetings online.
The next meeting of the 20-member DCA Stakeholder Engagement Committee will be held on Wednesday, July 22, 2020 from 3-6 PM. Topics are expected to include: Scoping Update (DWR), Rehabilitation of construction impacted land, Final temporary and permanent boundaries, and Intakes Update (*subject to change). Ring Central Video Conference. Information Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android: https://meetings.ringcentral.com/j/1489140415; iPhone one-tap: US: +1(916)2627278,,1489140415#; or Telephone: US: +1(623)4049000 Meeting ID: 148 914 0415.
Ways to Stay Informed
To stay informed of plans and progress on the Delta Conveyance Project visit https://water.ca.gov/Programs/State-Water-Project/Delta-Conveyance; Twitter @CA_DWR; email DeltaConveyance@water.ca.gov; or call the Project Hotline at 866.924.9955.
From Office of the Governor of California Coronavirus (COVID-19) Response
On March 19, 2020, Governor Newsom issued Executive Order N-33-20 directing all residents immediately to heed current State public health directives to stay home, except as needed to maintain continuity of operations of essential critical infrastructure sectors and additional sectors as the State Public Health Officer may designate as critical to protect health and well-being of all Californians.
In accordance with this order, the State Public Health Officer has designated the following list of “Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers” to help state, local, tribal, and industry partners as they work to protect communities, while ensuring continuity of functions critical to public health and safety, as well as economic and national security.
See the list, here. Updates to this list may be issued periodically, with the most recent updates reflected in blue text.
HEALTHCARE / PUBLIC HEALTH
The Healthcare and Public Health (HPH) Sector is large, diverse, and open, spanning both the public and private sectors. It includes publicly accessible healthcare facilities, research centers, suppliers, manufacturers, and other physical assets and vast, complex public-private information technology systems required for care delivery and to support the rapid, secure transmission and storage of large amounts of HPH data.
- Workers providing COVID-19 testing; Workers that perform critical clinical research needed for COVID-19 response.
- Health care providers and caregivers (e.g., physicians, dentists, psychologists, mid-level practitioners, nurses and assistants, infection control and quality assurance personnel, pharmacists, physical and occupational therapists and assistants, social workers, speech pathologists and diagnostic and therapeutic technicians and technologists).
- Hospital and laboratory personnel (including accounting, administrative, admitting and discharge, engineering, epidemiological, source plasma and blood donation, food service, housekeeping, medical records, information technology and operational technology, nutritionists, sanitarians, respiratory therapists, etc.).
- Workers in other medical facilities (including Ambulatory Health and Surgical, Blood Banks, Clinics, Community Mental Health, Comprehensive Outpatient rehabilitation, End Stage Renal Disease, Health Departments, Home Health care, Hospices, Hospitals, Long Term Care, Organ Pharmacies, Procurement Organizations, Psychiatric, Residential, Rural Health Clinics and Federally Qualified Health Centers, cannabis retailers).
- Manufacturers, technicians, logistics and warehouse operators, and distributors of medical equipment, personal protective equipment (PPE), medical gases, pharmaceuticals, blood and blood products, vaccines, testing materials, laboratory supplies, cleaning, sanitizing, disinfecting or sterilization supplies, personal care/hygiene products, and tissue and paper towel products.
- Public health / community health workers, including those who compile, model, analyze and communicate public health information.
- Behavioral health workers (including mental and substance use disorder) responsible for coordination, outreach, engagement, and treatment to individuals in need of mental health and/or substance use disorder services.
- Blood and plasma donors and the employees of the organizations that operate and manage related activities.
- Workers that manage health plans, billing, and health information, who cannot practically work remotely.
- Workers who conduct community-based public health functions, conducting epidemiologic surveillance, compiling, analyzing and communicating public health information, who cannot practically work remotely.
- Workers who provide support to vulnerable populations to ensure their health and well-being including family care providers
- Workers performing cybersecurity functions at healthcare and public health facilities, who cannot practically work remotely.
- Workers conducting research critical to COVID-19 response.
- Workers performing security, incident management, and emergency operations functions at or on behalf of healthcare entities including healthcare coalitions, who cannot practically work remotely.
- Workers who support food, shelter, and social services, and other necessities of life for economically disadvantaged or otherwise needy individuals, such as those residing in shelters.
- Pharmacy employees necessary for filling prescriptions.
- Workers performing mortuary services, including funeral homes, crematoriums, and cemetery workers.
- Workers who coordinate with other organizations to ensure the proper recovery, handling, identification, transportation, tracking, storage, and disposal of human remains and personal effects; certify cause of death; and facilitate access to behavioral health services to the family members, responders, and survivors of an incident.
- Workers supporting veterinary hospitals and clinics
EMERGENCY SERVICES SECTOR
The Emergency Services Sector (ESS) is a community of highly-skilled, trained personnel, along with the physical and cyber resources, that provide a wide range of prevention, preparedness, response, and recovery services during both day-to-day operations and incident response. The ESS includes geographically distributed facilities and equipment in both paid and volunteer capacities organized primarily at the federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial levels of government, such as city police departments and fire stations, county sheriff’s offices, Department of Defense police and fire departments, and town public works departments. The ESS also includes private sector resources, such as industrial fire departments, private security organizations, and private emergency medical services providers.
Essential Workforce – Law Enforcement, Public Safety and First Responders
- Including front line and management, personnel include emergency management, law enforcement, Emergency Management Systems, fire, and corrections, search and rescue, tactical teams including maritime, aviation, and canine units.
- Emergency Medical Technicians
- Public Safety Answering Points and 911 call center employees
- Fusion Center employees
- Fire Mitigation Activities
- Hazardous material responders and hazardous devices teams, from government and the private sector.
- Workers – including contracted vendors — who maintain digital systems infrastructure supporting law enforcement and emergency service operations.
- Private security, private fire departments, and private emergency medical services personnel.
- County workers responding to abuse and neglect of children, elders and dependent adults.
- Animal control officers and humane officers
Essential Workforce – Public Works
- Workers who support the operation, inspection, and maintenance of essential dams, locks and levees
- Workers who support the operation, inspection, and maintenance of essential public works facilities and operations, including bridges, water and sewer main breaks, fleet maintenance personnel, construction of critical or strategic infrastructure, construction material suppliers, traffic signal maintenance, emergency location services for buried utilities, maintenance of digital systems infrastructure supporting public works operations, and other emergent issues
- Workers such as plumbers, electricians, exterminators, and other service providers who provide services that are necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences.
- Support, such as road and line clearing, to ensure the availability of needed facilities, transportation, energy and communications Support to ensure the effective removal, storage, and disposal of residential and commercial solid waste and hazardous waste.
FOOD AND AGRICULTURE
The Food and Agricultural (FA) Sector is composed of complex production, processing, and delivery systems and has the capacity to feed people and animals both within and beyond the boundaries of the United States. Beyond domestic food production, the FA Sector also imports many ingredients and finished products, leading to a complex web of growers, processors, suppliers, transporters, distributors, and consumers. This sector is critical to maintaining and securing our food supply.
- Workers supporting groceries, pharmacies, and other retail that sells food and beverage products, including but not limited to Grocery stores, Corner stores and convenience stores, including liquor stores that sell food, Farmers’ markets, Food banks, Farm and produce stands, Supermarkets, Similar food retail establishments, Big box stores that sell groceries and essentials
- Restaurant carry-out and quick serve food operations – including food preparation, carry-out and delivery food employees
- Food manufacturer employees and their supplier employees—to include those employed in food processing (packers, meat processing, cheese plants, milk plants, produce, etc.) facilities; livestock, poultry, seafood slaughter facilities; pet and animal feed processing facilities; human food facilities producing by-products for animal food; beverage production facilities; and the production of food packaging
- Farm workers to include those employed in animal food, feed, and ingredient production, packaging, and distribution; manufacturing, packaging, and distribution of veterinary drugs; truck delivery and transport; farm and fishery labor needed to produce our food supply domestically
- Farm workers and support service workers to include those who field crops; commodity inspection; fuel ethanol facilities; storage facilities; and other agricultural inputs
- Employees and firms supporting food, feed, and beverage distribution (including curbside distribution and deliveries), including warehouse workers, vendor-managed inventory controllers, blockchain managers, distribution
- Workers supporting the sanitation of all food manufacturing processes and operations from wholesale to retail
- Company cafeterias – in-plant cafeterias used to feed employees
- Workers in food testing labs in private industries and in institutions of higher education
- Workers essential for assistance programs and government payments
- Workers supporting cannabis retail and dietary supplement retail
- Employees of companies engaged in the production of chemicals, medicines, vaccines, and other substances used by the food and agriculture industry, including pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, minerals, enrichments, and other agricultural production aids
- Animal agriculture workers to include those employed in veterinary health; manufacturing and distribution of animal medical materials, animal vaccines, animal drugs, feed ingredients, feed, and bedding, etc.; transportation of live animals, animal medical materials; transportation of deceased animals for disposal; raising of animals for food; animal production operations; slaughter and packing plants and associated regulatory and government workforce
- Workers who support the manufacture and distribution of forest products, including, but not limited to timber, paper, and other wood products
- Employees engaged in the manufacture and maintenance of equipment and other infrastructure necessary to agricultural production and distribution
The Energy Sector consists of widely diverse and geographically dispersed critical assets and systems that are often interdependent of one another. This critical infrastructure is divided into three interrelated segments or subsectors—electricity, oil, and natural gas—to include the production, refining, storage, and distribution of oil, gas, and electric power, except for hydroelectric and commercial nuclear power facilities and pipelines. The Energy Sector supplies fuels to the transportation industry, electricity to households and businesses, and other sources of energy that are integral to growth and production across the Nation. In turn, it depends on the Nation’s transportation, information technology, communications, finance, water, and government infrastructures.
Essential Workforce – Electricity industry:
- Workers who maintain, ensure, or restore the generation, transmission, and distribution of electric power, including call centers, utility workers, reliability engineers and fleet maintenance technicians
- Workers needed for safe and secure operations at nuclear generation
- Workers at generation, transmission, and electric blackstart facilities
- Workers at Reliability Coordinator (RC), Balancing Authorities (BA), and primary and backup Control Centers (CC), including but not limited to independent system operators, regional transmission organizations, and balancing authorities
- Mutual assistance personnel
- IT and OT technology staff – for EMS (Energy Management Systems) and Supervisory Control and Data
- Acquisition (SCADA) systems, and utility data centers; Cybersecurity engineers; cybersecurity risk management
- Vegetation management crews and traffic workers who support
- Environmental remediation/monitoring technicians
- Instrumentation, protection, and control technicians
Essential Workforce – Petroleum workers:
- Petroleum product storage, pipeline, marine transport, terminals, rail transport, road transport
- Crude oil storage facilities, pipeline, and marine transport
- Petroleum refinery facilities
- Petroleum security operations center employees and workers who support emergency response services
- Petroleum operations control rooms/centers
- Petroleum drilling, extraction, production, processing, refining, terminal operations, transporting, and retail for use as end-use fuels or feedstocks for chemical manufacturing
- Onshore and offshore operations for maintenance and emergency response
- Retail fuel centers such as gas stations and truck stops, and the distribution systems that support them.
Essential Workforce – Natural and propane gas workers:
- Natural gas transmission and distribution pipelines, including compressor stations
- Underground storage of natural gas
- Natural gas processing plants, and those that deal with natural gas liquids
- Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) facilities
- Natural gas security operations center, natural gas operations dispatch and control rooms/centers natural gas emergency response and customer emergencies, including natural gas leak calls
- Drilling, production, processing, refining, and transporting natural gas for use as end-use fuels, feedstocks for chemical manufacturing, or use in electricity generation
- Propane gas dispatch and control rooms and emergency response and customer emergencies, including propane leak calls
- Propane gas service maintenance and restoration, including call centers
- Processing, refining, and transporting natural liquids, including propane gas, for use as end-use fuels or feedstocks for chemical manufacturing
- Propane gas storage, transmission, and distribution centers
WATER AND WASTEWATER
The Water and Wastewater Sector is a complex sector composed of drinking water and wastewater infrastructure of varying sizes and ownership types. Multiple governing authorities pertaining to the Water and Wastewater Sector provide for public health, environmental protection, and security measures, among others.
Employees needed to operate and maintain drinking water and wastewater/drainage infrastructure, including:
- Operational staff at water authorities
- Operational staff at community water systems
- Operational staff at wastewater treatment facilities
- Workers repairing water and wastewater conveyances and performing required sampling or monitoring
- Operational staff for water distribution and testing
- Operational staff at wastewater collection facilities
- Operational staff and technical support for SCADA Control systems
- Chemical disinfectant suppliers for wastewater and personnel protection
- Workers that maintain digital systems infrastructure supporting water and wastewater operations
TRANSPORTATION AND LOGISTICS
The Transportation Systems Sector consists of seven key subsectors, or modes:
– Aviation includes aircraft, air traffic control systems, and airports, heliports, and landing strips. Commercial aviation services at civil and joint-use military airports, heliports, and sea plane bases. In addition, the aviation mode includes commercial and recreational aircraft (manned and unmanned) and a wide variety of support services, such as aircraft repair stations, fueling facilities, navigation aids, and flight schools.
– Highway and Motor Carrier encompasses roadway, bridges, and tunnels. Vehicles include trucks, including those carrying hazardous materials; other commercial vehicles, including commercial motorcoaches and school buses; vehicle and driver licensing systems; taxis, transportation services including Transportation Network Companies, and delivery services including Delivery Network Companies; traffic management systems; AND cyber systems used for operational management.
– Maritime Transportation System consists of coastline, ports, waterways, and intermodal landside connections that allow the various modes of transportation to move people and goods to, from, and on the water.
– Mass Transit and Passenger Rail includes terminals, operational systems, and supporting infrastructure for passenger services by transit buses, trolleybuses, monorail, heavy rail—also known as subways or metros—light rail, passenger rail, and vanpool/rideshare.
– Pipeline Systems consist of pipelines carrying natural gas hazardous liquids, as well as various chemicals. Above-ground assets, such as compressor stations and pumping stations, are also included.
– Freight Rail consists of major carriers, smaller railroads, active railroad, freight cars, and locomotives.
– Postal and Shipping includes large integrated carriers, regional and local courier services, mail services, mail management firms, and chartered and delivery services.
- Employees supporting or enabling transportation functions, including dispatchers, maintenance and repair technicians, warehouse workers, truck stop and rest area workers, and workers that maintain and inspect infrastructure (including those that require cross-border travel)
- Employees of firms providing services that enable logistics operations, including cooling, storing, packaging, and distributing products for wholesale or retail sale or use.
- Mass transit workers
- Taxis, transportation services including Transportation Network Companies, and delivery services including Delivery Network Companies
- Workers responsible for operating dispatching passenger, commuter and freight trains and maintaining rail infrastructure and equipment
- Maritime transportation workers – port workers, mariners, equipment operators
- Truck drivers who haul hazardous and waste materials to support critical infrastructure, capabilities, functions, and services
- Automotive repair and maintenance facilities
- Manufacturers and distributors (to include service centers and related operations) of packaging materials, pallets, crates, containers, and other supplies needed to support manufacturing, packaging staging and distribution operations
- Postal and shipping workers, to include private companies
- Employees who repair and maintain vehicles, aircraft, rail equipment, marine vessels, and the equipment and infrastructure that enables operations that encompass movement of cargo and passengers
- Air transportation employees, including air traffic controllers, ramp personnel, aviation security, and aviation management
- Workers who support the maintenance and operation of cargo by air transportation, including flight crews, maintenance, airport operations, and other on- and off- airport facilities workers
COMMUNICATIONS AND INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY
The Communications Sector provides products and services that support the efficient operation of today’s global information-based society. Communication networks enable people around the world to contact one another, access information instantly, and communicate from remote areas. This involves creating a link between a sender (including voice signals) and one or more recipients using technology (e.g., a telephone system or the Internet) to transmit information from one location to another. Technologies are changing at a rapid pace, increasing the number of products, services, service providers, and communication options. The national communications architecture is a complex collection of networks that are owned and operated by individual service providers. Many of this sector’s products and services are foundational or necessary for the operations and services provided by other critical infrastructure sectors. The nature of communication networks involve both physical infrastructure (buildings, switches, towers, antennas, etc.) and cyber infrastructure (routing and switching software, operational support systems, user applications, etc.), representing a holistic challenge to address the entire physical-cyber infrastructure.
The IT Sector provides products and services that support the efficient operation of today’s global information-based society and are integral to the operations and services provided by other critical infrastructure Sectors. The IT Sector is comprised of small and medium businesses, as well as large multinational companies. Unlike many critical infrastructure Sectors composed of finite and easily identifiable physical assets, the IT Sector is a functions-based Sector that comprises not only physical assets but also virtual systems and networks that enable key capabilities and services in both the public and private sectors.
Essential Workforce – Communications:
- Maintenance of communications infrastructure- including privately owned and maintained communication systems- supported by technicians, operators, call-centers, wireline and wireless providers, cable service providers, satellite operations, undersea cable landing stations, Internet Exchange Points, and manufacturers and distributors of communications equipment
- Workers who support radio, television, and media service, including, but not limited to front line news reporters, studio, and technicians for newsgathering and reporting
- Workers at Independent System Operators and Regional Transmission Organizations, and Network Operations staff, engineers and/or technicians to manage the network or operate facilities
- Engineers, technicians and associated personnel responsible for infrastructure construction and restoration, including contractors for construction and engineering of fiber optic cables
- Installation, maintenance and repair technicians that establish, support or repair service as needed
- Central office personnel to maintain and operate central office, data centers, and other network office facilities
- Customer service and support staff, including managed and professional services as well as remote providers of support to transitioning employees to set up and maintain home offices, who interface with customers to manage or support service environments and security issues, including payroll, billing, fraud, and troubleshooting
- Dispatchers involved with service repair and restoration
Essential Workforce – Information Technology:
- Workers who support command centers, including, but not limited to Network Operations Command Center, Broadcast Operations Control Center and Security Operations Command Center
- Data center operators, including system administrators, HVAC & electrical engineers, security personnel, IT managers, data transfer solutions engineers, software and hardware engineers, and database administrators
- Client service centers, field engineers, and other technicians supporting critical infrastructure, as well as manufacturers and supply chain vendors that provide hardware and software, and information technology equipment (to include microelectronics and semiconductors) for critical infrastructure
- Workers responding to cyber incidents involving critical infrastructure, including medical facilities, SLTT governments and federal facilities, energy and utilities, and banks and financial institutions, and other critical infrastructure categories and personnel
- Workers supporting the provision of essential global, national and local infrastructure for computing services (incl. cloud computing services), business infrastructure, web-based services, and critical manufacturing
- Workers supporting communications systems and information technology used by law enforcement, public safety, medical, energy and other critical industries
- Support required for continuity of services, including janitorial/cleaning personnel
OTHER COMMUNITY-BASED GOVERNMENT OPERATIONS AND ESSENTIAL FUNCTIONS
- Critical government workers, as defined by the employer and consistent with Continuity of Operations Plans and Continuity of Government plans.
- County workers responsible for determining eligibility for safety net benefits
- The Courts, consistent with guidance released by the California Chief Justice
- Workers to ensure continuity of building functions
- Security staff to maintain building access control and physical security measures
- Elections personnel
- Federal, State, and Local, Tribal, and Territorial employees who support Mission Essential Functions and communications networks
- Trade Officials (FTA negotiators; international data flow administrators)
- Weather forecasters
- Workers that maintain digital systems infrastructure supporting other critical government operations
- Workers at operations centers necessary to maintain other essential functions
- Workers who support necessary credentialing, vetting and licensing operations for transportation workers
- Workers who are critical to facilitating trade in support of the national, state, and local emergency response supply chain
- Workers supporting public and private childcare establishments, pre-K establishments, K-12 schools, colleges, and universities for purposes of distance learning, provision of school meals, or care and supervision of minors to support essential workforce across all sectors
- Workers and instructors supporting academies and training facilities and courses for the purpose of graduating students and cadets that comprise the essential workforce for all identified critical sectors
- Hotel Workers where hotels are used for COVID-19 mitigation and containment measures, including measures to protect homeless populations.
- Construction Workers who support the construction, operation, inspection, and maintenance of construction sites and construction projects (including housing construction)
- Workers such as plumbers, electricians, exterminators, and other service providers who provide services that are necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation, construction material sources, and essential operation of construction sites and construction projects (including those that support such projects to ensure the availability of needed facilities, transportation, energy and communications; and support to ensure the effective removal, storage, and disposal of solid waste and hazardous waste)
- Commercial Retail Stores, that supply essential sectors, including convenience stores, pet supply stores, auto supplies and repair, hardware and home improvement, and home appliance retailers
- Workers supporting the entertainment industries, studios, and other related establishments, provided they follow covid-19 public health guidance around social distancing.
- Workers critical to operating Rental Car companies that facilitate continuity of operations for essential workforces, and other essential travel
- Workers that provide or determine eligibility for food, shelter, in-home supportive services, child welfare, adult protective services and social services, and other necessities of life for economically disadvantaged or otherwise needy individuals (including family members)
- Professional services, such as legal or accounting services, when necessary to assist in compliance with legally mandated activities and critical sector services
- Faith based services that are provided through streaming or other technology
- Laundromats and laundry services
- Workers at animal care facilities that provide food, shelter, veterinary and/or routine care and other necessities of life for animals.
The Critical Manufacturing Sector identifies several industries to serve as the core of the sector: Primary Metals Manufacturing, Machinery Manufacturing, Electrical Equipment, Appliance, and Component Manufacturing, Transportation Equipment Manufacturing Products made by these manufacturing industries are essential to many other critical infrastructure sectors.
- Workers necessary for the manufacturing of materials and products needed for medical supply chains, transportation, energy, communications, food and agriculture, chemical manufacturing, nuclear facilities, the operation of dams, water and wastewater treatment, emergency services, and the defense industrial base.
- Workers at nuclear facilities, workers managing medical waste, workers managing waste from pharmaceuticals and medical material production, and workers at laboratories processing test kits
- Workers who support hazardous materials response and cleanup
- Workers who maintain digital systems infrastructure supporting hazardous materials management operations
The Financial Services Sector includes thousands of depository institutions, providers of investment products, insurance companies, other credit and financing organizations, and the providers of the critical financial utilities and services that support these functions. Financial institutions vary widely in size and presence, ranging from some of the world’s largest global companies with thousands of employees and many billions of dollars in assets, to community banks and credit unions with a small number of employees serving individual communities. Whether an individual savings account, financial derivatives, credit extended to a large organization, or investments made to a foreign country, these products allow customers to: Deposit funds and make payments to other parties; Provide credit and liquidity to customers; Invest funds for both long and short periods; Transfer financial risks between customers.
- Workers who are needed to process and maintain systems for processing financial transactions and services (e.g., payment, clearing, and settlement; wholesale funding; insurance services; and capital markets activities)
- Workers who are needed to provide consumer access to banking and lending services, including ATMs, and to move currency and payments (e.g., armored cash carriers)
- Workers who support financial operations, such as those staffing data and security operations centers
The Chemical Sector—composed of a complex, global supply chain—converts various raw materials into diverse products that are essential to modern life. Based on the end product produced, the sector can be divided into five main segments, each of which has distinct characteristics, growth dynamics, markets, new developments, and issues: Basic chemicals; Specialty chemicals; Agricultural chemicals; Pharmaceuticals; Consumer products
- Workers supporting the chemical and industrial gas supply chains, including workers at chemical manufacturing plants, workers in laboratories, workers at distribution facilities, workers who transport basic raw chemical materials to the producers of industrial and consumer goods, including hand sanitizers, food and food additives, pharmaceuticals, textiles, and paper products.
- Workers supporting the safe transportation of chemicals, including those supporting tank truck cleaning facilities and workers who manufacture packaging items
- Workers supporting the production of protective cleaning and medical solutions, personal protective equipment, and packaging that prevents the contamination of food, water, medicine, among others essential products
- Workers supporting the operation and maintenance of facilities (particularly those with high risk chemicals and/ or sites that cannot be shut down) whose work cannot be done remotely and requires the presence of highly trained personnel to ensure safe operations, including plant contract workers who provide inspections
- Workers who support the production and transportation of chlorine and alkali manufacturing, single-use plastics, and packaging that prevents the contamination or supports the continued manufacture of food, water, medicine, and other essential products, including glass container manufacturing
DEFENSE INDUSTRIAL BASE
The Defense Industrial Base Sector is the worldwide industrial complex that enables research and development, as well as design, production, delivery, and maintenance of military weapons systems, subsystems, and components or parts, to meet U.S. military requirements. The Defense Industrial Base partnership consists of Department of Defense components, Defense Industrial Base companies and their subcontractors who perform under contract to the Department of Defense, companies providing incidental materials and services to the Department of Defense, and government-owned/contractor-operated and government-owned/government-operated facilities. Defense Industrial Base companies include domestic and foreign entities, with production assets located in many countries. The sector provides products and services that are essential to mobilize, deploy, and sustain military operations.
- Workers who support the essential services required to meet national security commitments to the federal government and U.S. Military. These individuals, include but are not limited to, aerospace; mechanical and software engineers, manufacturing/production workers; IT support; security staff; security personnel; intelligence support, aircraft and weapon system mechanics and maintainers
- Personnel working for companies, and their subcontractors, who perform under contract to the Department of Defense providing materials and services to the Department of Defense, and government-owned/contractor-operated and government-owned/government-operated facilities
Supes finalize appointment of County Clerk, approve agriculture land use policy
Contra Costa County Health Department officials told the Board of Supervisors Tuesday that the county is “taking extra steps to control” the global Novel Coronavirus epidemic.
Dr. Louise McNitt, Director of the Contra Costa County Communicable Disease Unit, told supervisors, “We are still learning about it, but we are taking the extra steps to control it, who to test.”
As of Tuesday, there were no Novel Coronavirus cases reported in Contra Costa County while four cases had been reported elsewhere in the Bay Area. Overall, six Novel Coronavirus cases had been reported in California. There were 11 cases reported throughout the United States. McNitt reported there were 20,000 cases worldwide.
McNitt said the county checks daily with the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta to get the most recent information on how to medically combat Novel Coronavirus.
“The Centers for Disease Control answers a lot of our questions,” she said.
“What happens if in four months there are a large number of cases?” asked District 1 Supervisor John Gioia of Richmond. “We cannot build new hospitals overnight like how China does.”
“We have the tight network of health officials in the Bay Area to quickly respond to this virus should it get out of control,” said Contra Costa Health Services Director Anna Roth. “We are ready if we have a case that comes to us.
“The risk is low,” added Roth. “We are continuously updating our website and advice line.”
“I have every confidence any hospital is ready to treat patients with this disease” said District 4 Supervisor Karen Mitchoff of Pleasant Hill. But the supervisor said that citizens can get help by getting flu shots and frequently washing their hands.
McNitt agreed with Mitchoff about the flu shots. “Right now, there are more people who have the flu than have this virus,” she said.
Supervisor Federal Glover of Pittsburg, who requested that the Novel Coronavirus topic be placed on the Board Agenda, requested that the county’s health department’s website be continuously updated with information about this virus.
Finalize Appointment of Deborah Cooper as County Clerk
The Supervisors appointed Deborah Cooper as the County Clerk-Recorder to the remaining term of the office that will expire on January 2, 2023.
“The Board held an open process over the past three months to find, interview, select and appoint a new County Clerk-Recorder,” said Board Chair, Supervisor Candace Andersen. “During this time, the Board of Supervisors has strongly affirmed the integrity and the professional work of County staff in the Clerk-Recorder-Elections Division. We have every confidence that Debi Cooper will continue to move the team forward during this important election year and beyond with the utmost integrity.”
Deborah Cooper, County Clerk-Recorder, said, “Our primary purpose is to serve the public, whether conducting elections or providing Clerk and Recorder services. Maintaining the public trust while remaining impartial and neutral is crucial. I appreciate our talented and dedicated staff. We will continue to provide great customer service to the people of Contra Costa.”
Most recently, Cooper served as the Acting County Clerk-Recorder since November 1, 2019 and, prior to that, as the Deputy County Clerk-Recorder since 2012.
County Administrator David J. Twa who announced the recruitment for selecting and appointing a Clerk-Recorder, remarked, “It was important to conduct a clear and transparent process with each step. The public was able to attend or watch Board of Supervisors meetings, make public comment, and see the timeline and other key information on the website.”
Ag Land Use Policy Gets Green Light
Supervisors flashed the green light for the county planners to proceed in the development of an Agricultural Land Use Policy that envisions the transformation of agricultural land use to various types of lodging accommodations and food services.
Funded on a $150,000 Livable Communities Trust Grant since 2016, the Department of Conservation and Development presented an update to supervisors on where the study stands.
So far, more work needs to be done since there is no consensus on the study’s recommendations about different types of lodging accommodations, including short-term rentals for 9-days or less, farm stays for up to 90 days, bed-and-breakfast, and camping, yurts or little houses on wheels.
Food service use proposals include farm dinners, farm-to-table restaurants, updating the Winery Ordinance, and allowing hosting of large events. These uses may require a zoning permit like an administerial permit or a land use permit or other permits required by other agencies.
“This is not a total road map. We are checking into with the Board to see if you accept the report,” said Contra Costa County Conservation & Development Department Director John Kopchik.
“There’s tension in the farm community,” Supervisor Mitchoff said about the preliminary land use plan. “You need to work it out.”
Where once fertile farmland once stood with real estate prices might fetch $10,000 an acre, some farmland is being snapped up by developers at $100,000 an acre or higher.
The county’s Agricultural Land Use Policy is in response to the skyrocketing real estate prices shaking up the rural areas in Brentwood, Oakley, Knightsen in East County and Danville.
The planning study occurs at a pivotal time in the county’s steadily declining agricultural economy. In 2017, county crop production from corn, berries, and other crops fell to $120.4 million, a six percent decline from 2016 due mainly to crop marketplace conditions.
The planning study also includes recommendations to promote agriculture use to include equestrian and bike trails to connect farms, consider allowing equestrian facilities within additional agricultural districts, exploring funding for signage to promote farming in the county, updating the county’s sign ordinance, and working with other agencies to promote agricultural vitality in the County.
Funds for 30-Unit Pittsburg Rental Housing Project Approved
Supervisors unanimously approved as part of the consent agenda items, the issuance of $18 million in state Multifamily Housing Revenue Bonds to finance the cost of the acquisition and construction of a 30-unit rental housing development at 901 Los Medanos Street and 295 E. 10th Street in Pittsburg.
Veterans Square will provide 29 units of affordable housing and one manager’s unit. Fifteen units will be reserved for households with incomes at or below 50 percent of the area median income and 14 units will be reserved at or below 30 percent of the area median income.
The Board of Supervisors had previously allocated about $2.2 million in HOME Investment Partnerships Program funds for Veterans Square and approved the county submission of an application to the state for $3.6 million in No Place Like Home funds. On Dec. 17, 2019, the Board of Supervisors approved a Reimbursement Resolution for this prospective issuance of bonds.
When asked why it’s costing $600,000 for each of the one-bedroom apartments, county Affordable Housing Program Manager Kristen Lackey said, “That is what we are seeing in affordable housing units, and with other projects, as well. Construction costs are going up. Affordable housing is typically more expensive to develop based on the different sources of funds, which adds to the complexity and they have to pay prevailing wage, so the labor costs on it are higher, than what normal residential construction will be.”
“It’s an unfortunate reality of the housing crisis,” she added.
Allen Payton contributed to this report.
The 2019 California State Fair & Food Festival officially opened its gates Friday morning, July 12 with big crowds, eagerly awaiting to get into Cal Expo in Sacramento.
“We’re so thrilled Opening Day was such a great success; it’s fun seeing so many people and families out having a good time, and of course, eating at our 100 food booths.” said Rick Pickering, Cal Expo General Manager and CEO. “We’ve worked hard to make this year’s State Fair the best yet – a fair for all Californians up and down the state. The food festival is just part of what we have in store for the next two and a half weeks.”
The California State Fair & Food Festival runs through July 28th.
For the schedule of daily events and concerts, as well as the list of food vendors, fairgoers are encouraged to visit the website at CaStateFair.org or download the Ca State Fair app where they can map out all of their adventures.
About the California State Fair
The California State Fair is an international award-winning fair, receiving top honors at the International Association of Fairs and Expositions out of more than 1,100 fairs world-wide. The California State Fair is dedicated as a place to celebrate the best the state has to offer in agriculture, technology and the diversity of its people, traditions and trends that shape the Golden State’s future. We invite you to join us for the 166th California State Fair, July 12-28, 2019.
The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is pleased to announce the appointment of Clarimer Hernández-Vargas as the new Contra Costa County District Conservationist, based in Concord.
“I am very excited to be in this position,” said Hernández-Vargas. “I am excited to meet the local farmers and see how we can help them address their resource concerns across the county.”
Popular conservation practices in the county include irrigation improvements on cropland and orchards, assistance to organic producers, and wildlife habitat, in addition to dozens of other conservation priorities.
Hernández-Vargas holds a bachelor’s degree in agriculture with a minor in animal science from the University of Puerto Rico-Mayagüez Campus. She is a native of Puerto Rico.
Hernández-Vargas started her NRCS career as a soil conservationist in Sioux Falls, S.D. She worked in different counties throughout South Dakota, before moving to Delaware. When this position became available in California, she jumped at the opportunity. Hernández-Vargas started her new position on March 18.
NRCS is a federal agency that works in partnership with resource conservation districts. With the mission of “Helping People Help the Land,” NRCS provides products and services that enable people to be good stewards of the nation’s soil, water, and related natural resources on non-federal lands.
The Contra Costa Resource Conservation District was formed in 1941. Their service area includes all of Contra Costa County and covers 516,191 acres. CCRCD is one of California ’s 103 Resource Conservation Districts. It is governed by a voluntary Board of Directors appointed by the County Board of Supervisors.
Allen Payton contributed to this report.
CDFA and DPR will convene a new working group to identify, evaluate and recommend alternative pest management solutions. Environmental Working Group praises action.
SACRAMENTO – In a move to protect workers, public health and the environment, the California Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA) announced on Wednesday that the Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) is acting to ban the use of the pesticide and toxic air contaminant chlorpyrifos in California by initiating cancellation of the pesticide.
CalEPA and the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) also announced that the Governor will propose $5.7 million in new funding in the May Revision budget proposal to support the transition to safer, more sustainable alternatives, and plans to convene a working group to identify, evaluate and recommend alternative pest management solutions.
“California’s action to cancel the registration of chlorpyrifos is needed to prevent the significant harm this pesticide causes children, farm workers and vulnerable communities,” said CalEPA Secretary Jared Blumenfeld. “This action also represents a historic opportunity for California to develop a new framework for alternative pest management practices.”
The decision to ban chlorpyrifos follows mounting evidence, including recent findings by the state’s independent Scientific Review Panel on Toxic Air Contaminants, that the pesticide causes serious health effects in children and other sensitive populations at lower levels of exposure than previously understood. These effects include impaired brain and neurological development.
In April, chlorpyrifos was formally listed as a “toxic air contaminant”, which California law defines as “an air pollutant which may cause or contribute to an increase in mortality or an increase in serious illness, or which may pose a present or potential hazard to human health.” The listing requires DPR to develop control measures to protect the health of farm workers and others living and working near where the pesticide is used.
DPR has determined, in consultation with CDFA, the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA), and the California Air Resources Board (CARB), that sufficient additional control measures are not feasible.
As a result, DPR intends to move forward in a responsible manner by beginning the process of canceling the registrations for products containing chlorpyrifos, and at the same time, convening a cross-sector working group to identify safer alternatives to avoid replacing chlorpyrifos with an equally harmful pesticide.
DPR also will consult with county agricultural commissioners and local air pollution control districts before filing for cancellation. The cancellation process could take up to two years.
During the cancellation process, DPR’s recommendations to county agricultural commissioners for tighter permit restrictions on the use of chlorpyrifos will remain in place. These include a ban on aerial spraying, quarter-mile buffer zones and limiting use to crop-pest combinations that lack alternatives. DPR will support aggressive enforcement of these restrictions.
DPR and CDFA will convene a cross-sector working group to identify and develop safer and more practical and sustainable alternatives to chlorpyrifos, including the use of biological controls and other integrated pest management practices. They will also partner with growers as they transition from using chlorpyrifos to implement safer alternatives.
In addition, the Governor’s May Revision budget proposal includes $5.7 million in funding for additional research and technical assistance to support this effort. In combination, the working group and funding for alternatives will produce short-term solutions and prioritize the development of long-term solutions to support healthy communities and a thriving agricultural sector.
“We look forward to working with the Legislature through the budget process on the Governor’s proposal to support growers in the transition to alternative pest management,” said CDFA Secretary Karen Ross.
In 2015, DPR designated chlorpyrifos as a “restricted material” that requires a permit from the county agricultural commissioner for its application. In addition, application of chlorpyrifos must be recommended by a licensed pest control advisor and supervised by a licensed certified applicator.
The proposed cancellation would apply to dozens of agricultural products containing the pesticide. The pesticide has been prohibited by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for residential uses since 2001.
Chlorpyrifos is used to control pests on a variety of crops, including alfalfa, almonds, citrus, cotton, grapes and walnuts. It has declined in use over the past decade as California growers have shifted to safer alternatives. Use of the pesticide dropped more than 50 percent from two million pounds in 2005 to just over 900,000 pounds in 2016.
Environmental Working Group praises action
In contrast to the decision by President Trump and his administration, Newsom’s decision to prohibit the use of chlorpyrifos by agriculture operations in the state demonstrates the kind of leadership where public health takes priority over the narrow interests of chemical agriculture, said EWG President Ken Cook.
“Gov. Newsom has done what the Trump administration has refused to do: protect children, farm workers and millions of others from being exposed to this neurotoxic pesticide,” said Cook. “Just because chemical agriculture wants to use a pesticide on our food that can harm kids’ brains doesn’t mean they should. With the governor’s action, California is once again showing leadership in protecting public health.”
Two years ago, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, under former Administrator Scott Pruitt, sided with the pesticide lobby over the agency’s scientists in an 11th-hour decision to abort a proposal to ban chlorpyrifos from use on food crops.
In August the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Pruitt’s decision violated federal law and ordered the EPA to ban chlorpyrifos within 60 days. But new EPA chief Andrew Wheeler refused to obey the court’s order. In September, the Trump Justice Department filed a petition on behalf of the agency, calling on the court to overturn its earlier ruling and leave chlorpyrifos legal. An order last month by the Ninth Circuit gives Wheeler and the Trump administration until mid-July to make its decision.
Earlier this year, State Sen. Maria Durazo (D-Los Angeles) introduced legislation to ban chlorpyrifos. The bill is currently moving through the legislature.
“EWG applauds Gov. Newsom and Sen. Durazo for advancing policies that take a stand on behalf of the health and well-being of California’s children,” said Bill Allayaud, EWG’s director of government affairs for California. “The health and safety of the people of this state should always come before the demands of the pesticide and chemical industries, and today they did.”