Joining 80 other concerned non-profit organizations, MBCA signed a letter to California's Senate Appropriations Committee members describing how the bill will: 1) allow developers to sue before environmental review; 2) reduce the incentive to complete environmental review; 3) allow developers to avoid public scrutiny; and 4) discourage legitimate environmental justice lawsuits.
MBCA is joining dozens of organizations in support of an appeal for a rehearing of the California Public Utilities Commission's decision to significantly decrease compensation to solar customers. The Center for Biological Diversity, The Protect Our Communities Foundation, and the Environmental Working Group filed the appeal. The Center's January 18, 2023 Press Release outlines the history and issues of the agency's decision that will discourage the growth of rooftop solar in California and inequitably affect low-income populations.
MBCA supports the position of the Stop Wonder Inn community group opposing the County's acceptance of a Mitigated Negative Declaration for the Wonder Inn Hotel/Resort. Instead, we argue that a full Environmental Impact Report is required under the California Environmental Quality Act. In a presentation to Wonder Valley residents on January 28, MBCA Board member Pat Flanagan illustrated that many of the Project's Initial Study conclusions overlook or minimize conditions and show significant discrepancies from the experience of residents. Among the areas of concern are sand transport (dust) exacerbated by additional traffic, the presence of desert tortoise, diminishment of dark night skies, and environmental justice issues for a state-indicated Super Disadvantaged Community. On February 21 MBCA sent a detailed comment letter to San Bernardino County Land Use Services, explaining these concerns in more detail. In an addendum also sent February 21, reference is made to extensive social media advertising by the Project proponent promoting expansion of facilities and services beyond the project application.
MBCA joined over 60 organizations in an appeal to Governor Newsom to declare a public health state of emergency in the Inland Empire due to "the unchecked escalation of warehouse growth and an accompanying health crisis within Inland communities." The case is made not only for environmental harm that affects health, but the unbalanced effect on low income and communities of color, creating an environmental justice issue as well.
A November 2 news story by Sammy Roth of the Los Angeles Times provides a comprehensive overview of the many issues and viewpoints swirling around California's Net Energy Metering (NEM) program. MBCA's earlier news stories of May 8 and June 4 provide our history of involvement as we have signed on to Solar Rights Alliance letters seeking both local and distributed renewable energy commitment and climate justice goals. (If you cannot access the article, here is a text-only version.)
The Net Metering bill AB 1139 that would reduce benefits for home solar failed to pass a June 2 California Assembly vote. MBCA joined many organizations in March to oppose the bill. Several renewable energy industry news groups have provided information and commentary on the bill and the vote, including PV Tech, Solar Power World, and PV Magazine. While it is "off the table" for now, the bill could be reintroduced in January 2022.
While Assembly Bill 1139 ("Net Energy Metering") contains provisions that support expansion of clean energy, especially to low-income customers, other provisions undercut those benefits. They add costs and reduce solar customer credit for extra energy they can send back to the grid. MBCA joined more than 30 organizations in signing a letter to insist on amendments that will continue to advance clean energy for low-income consumers.
MBCA has joined over 70 organizations signing a letter addressed to Governor Newsom and the California Public Utilities Commission stating concern about changes to net metering. Net metering allows rooftop solar owners connected to the grid to receive bill credit for energy produced beyond their own needs. This does not work to the advantage of investor-owned utilities that are pressing for changes. The letter also encourages more solar battery storage and rooftop solar growth with extra support for low-income communities.
MBCA has sent a letter to San Bernardino County Land Use Services and the Countywide Plan Coordinator with concerns about the Environmental Justice Policy proposed as part of the Countywide Plan. The Plan is due for consideration at a September 17 Planning Commission meeting. Of special concern is why Lucerne Valley has not been designated an "Environmental Justice Focus Area" (EJFA), and why other communities that should qualify by state descriptions do not qualify for the same protections.