Environment

Eastgate Air Cargo Facility gets green light at San Bernardino International Airport

The San Bernardino International Airport Authority (SBIAA) Commission unanimously approved the final ground lease for the Eastgate Air Cargo Facility with Hillwood Enterprises during a special meeting on Monday, Dec. 30, one week after receiving clearance from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Principal lease terms cited at end of article. The six SBIAA members who voted to approve the development are City of San Bernardino Mayor and SBIAA President John Valdivia, Loma Linda Councilman Obvidiu Popescu, Highland Mayor Pro Tem Penny Lilburn, County Supervisor Dawn Rowe, Colton City Councilman Jack Woods, and San Bernardino Councilman Theodore Sanchez. “The Eastgate logistics facility will help give our airport its much needed rebirth. Not only does it have a great economic benefit for our airport, but it also provides great benefits for the residents of San Bernardino,” said Mayor Valdivia. “I hope to inspire our local residents to take advantage of this great opportunity and apply for the jobs that will be created. This development will provide a great renaissance for our economy and help us move towards a better, more prosperous future in San Bernardino.” The Inland Empire Economic Partnership (IEEP), an organization focused…

Public review period opens for Upper Santa Ana River Wash Habitat Conservation Plan

Members of the public will soon have an opportunity to review and comment on a draft environmental impact statement and supplemental environmental impact report associated with a new Habitat Conservation Plan for the Santa Ana Wash area. The San Bernardino Valley Water Conservation District and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will host two public meetings on the proposal, both on January 9, at the San Bernardino Valley Water Conservation District office, 1630 West Redlands Boulevard, Suite A, Redlands. The meetings will be held from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Requests for sign language interpreting services, closed captioning or other accommodations should be directed to Karin Cleary-Rose, TTY 800-877-8339 by close of business on January 6. The meetings will review the Upper Santa Ana River Wash Habitat Conservation Plan (Wash Plan) as analyzed in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement and Supplemental Environmental Impact Report. The Wash Plan proposes a coordinated process for permitting and mitigating specific public and private projects such as aggregate mining, water conservation, wells and water infrastructure, transportation, flood control, trails, habitat enhancement and agriculture. Implementation…

Protestors demand Amazon protect air quality, provide good jobs

The Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice hosted a rally at the Amazon fulfillment Center in San Bernardino on Monday, December 2 to “…condemn the company’s poor labor practices and negative effects on local air quality.” “Today, Cyber Monday, is Amazon’s biggest sales day of the year… so for us, this was the perfect day to make a loud statement about a community benefits agreement,” said Anthony Victoria, spokesperson for the San Bernardino Airport Communities Coalition. About 200 community members were present at the Amazon ‘ONT 2’ warehouse facility, located on Central Avenue, to demand good paying jobs and air quality control. At the protest, it was stated that the city of San Bernardino experienced 102 bad-air days in 2019 alone. “We understand that Amazon is a big player in this region. But if they’re going to be a big employer in this region they need to provide good paying jobs with benefits, which will allow residents to live a good life. The only way the quality of life will improve in this area is if enterprises like Amazon provide that,” continued Victoria. At…

First hydrogen-powered train in U.S. to be introduced as part of Redlands Passenger Rail Project in 2024

A contract signing Wednesday, Nov. 13 between Stadler U.S. and the San Bernardino County Transportation Authority (SBCTA) clears the way for the first hydrogen-powered passenger train to operate in the United States. The agreement marks a major milestone in bringing zero-emission passenger rail technology to the U.S. The hydrogen-powered FLIRT H2 vehicle will be introduced in 2024 as part of the Redlands Passenger Rail Project, a nine-mile connector between Redlands and San Bernardino’s Metrolink station.  Under the agreement, Stadler will develop the first hydrogen-powered train. The ordered vehicle consists of two cars with a power pack in between that holds the fuel cells and hydrogen tanks. The train is expected to seat 108 passengers in addition to generous standing room. The FLIRT H2 is projected to transport passengers at a maximum speed of up to 79 mph (130 km/h). The predicted delivery will be in 2023; the train is scheduled to enter passenger service in 2024. “Implementing innovative solutions like this first-of-its-kind passenger train is an excellent example of how we are demonstrating our commitment to the next generation in San Bernardino County,” SBCTA President…

San Bernardino County adopts resolution of support for desert protection

The San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors has adopted a resolution acknowledging the value of conservation, tourism, and recreation in “California’s rich desert landscape.” The resolution adopted October 8th, 2019 is a show of support for the last 25 years of desert conservation, which were catalyzed by the 1994 California Desert Protection Act (CDPA). October 31st marks the 25th anniversary of the Act which established Joshua Tree and Death Valley National Parks, Mojave National Preserve, and 3.5 million acres of wilderness. According to the resolution, the Act “catalyzed efforts to protect natural areas and military installations through subsequent legislative and administrative efforts.” It also “safeguards precious groundwater” which supports the “fragile desert ecosystem”, and provides recreational resources, solitude, and “undisturbed vistas and clear night skies.”  The resolution was presented by Supervisor Dawn Rowe during a celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Act at the Mojave Desert Land Trust headquarters on October 8th. The event is one of a number of festivities happening across the Desert to celebrate the last 25 years. This anniversary marks an important moment to appreciate the public lands we enjoy…

State utility officials should stay committed to retiring gas-fired plants, Inland Empire residents and California communities argue

Inland Empire residents expect to join community members from Los Angeles, Oxnard, and Northern California on Thursday October 10 to speak out against the California Public Utilities Commission’s (CPUC) proposed decision to allow four ‘once-through-cooling’ plants set to retire to continue operating and polluting communities across the state.  The CPUC recommended in September that four gas-fired plants in Southern California, slated to be retired in 2020, be allowed to keep operating up to three additional years. They are also considering procurement that might include the development of new gas plants beyond these four power plants.  Gas pollution is one of the leading contributors to climate change and poses alarming health and safety risks, especially to working families and vulnerable communities. Just this week, warnings of power outages signal the beginning of wildfire season in California which further threatens the integrity of the grid and urgency to improve our infrastructure’s resilience with renewable energy sources.  The state has a choice in choosing local clean energy over dirty fossil fuels, explains CCAEJ Executive Director Allen Hernandez. Doing so could help communities like South Colton, which has three…

San Bernardino youth join millions around the world in Global Climate Strike

Hundreds of San Bernardino youth and adults participated in the Global Climate Strike on Friday, September 20. The strike began at the Inland Regional Facility and ended at the Amazon Fulfillment center, located roughly 2.5 miles apart, both in San Bernardino. Photo Manny B. Sandoval: The Global Climate Strike in San Bernardino began at the Inland Regional Center and ended at the Amazon Fulfillment Center, both located in San Bernardino. “San Bernardino youth and residents are calling on Amazon and its developer Hillwood to agree to a Community Benefits Agreement that will prevent air pollution, guarantee safe family sustaining jobs and ensure the city’s infrastructure can handle the increased traffic flow,” said Anthony Victoria, Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice member. At the strike in San Bernardino, many youth shared testimony on the state of the climate. “The Inland Empire has the worst ozone pollution in the nation due to air pollutants from trucks and planes,” said Sierra Club Youth Leader Angela Cardenas. “This pollution directly contributes to the extreme weather patterns, such as wildfires, that are depleting our most precious ecosystems.”  “Pollution from…

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