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Monday, October 30, 2006

Sebastian Inlet Shows at Sean Slater Invitiational

October 27 and 28th brought back Cocoa Beach local Kelly Slater to his brother's Sean Slater Invitational Surf Event to benefit The World Cancer Foundation. With seven-time World Champion Kelly Slater committed, this invite-only field of 32 surfers was an event of unbelievable talent. This was the first time in about 15 years that Kelly has surfed a contest in his hometown. Sean Slater has been involved in the surf industry for over twenty years in different capacities. He currently works for Volcom and also produces Slater Surfboards.

Rick Hayes, Sebastian Inlet Chapter Chairman, gets a visit from Surfrider pro team member C J. Hobgood, as C. J. prepares to paddle our for his heat at the Sean Slater Invitational in Cocoa Beach.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Oregon Pulp Mill: Surfrider Petition Accepted!

(Nye Beach - near GP outfall)

The Oregon Dept of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has accepted Surfrider's Petition for Reconsideration on the NPDES permit of the Georgia Pacific Pulp and Paper Mill in Toledo! The Petition presents formal scientific and legal arguments for the agency to strengthen the terms of the permit. In the coming months, DEQ will review the points raised in the Petition, modifiy the terms of the permit they deem necessary, and then issue the permit for a public review and comment process. Specific elements Surfrider is advocating for include: improved scientific monitoring, analysis of treatmentment alternatives, and provision of a smaller mixing zone. DEQ's acceptance of the Petition is huge! GP releases 10 million gallons of wastewater a day off Nye Beach near surf spots, fishery habitat, etc. Thank you to the nearly dozen members of Surfrider's Oregon Environmental Issues Team (scientists, attorneys, permit afficianados, etc) who volunteered their personal time to help pull this document together under a 60 day deadline. Also, major thanks to CRAG and NEDC for providing pro bono support to make this happen. You all ROCK!!

Georgia-Pacific pollution permit to be examined

BETH CASPER Statesman Journal
October 18, 2006

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality will reconsider the pollution permit for Georgia-Pacific’s pulp and paper mill in Toledo, the fifth time in six years the agency has done so.

The permit, renewed in July, regulates the millions of gallons of discharge released daily into the ocean in Newport.

Five environmental groups filed a petition with the agency last month. The DEQ’s decision to further evaluate the permit triggers a likely yearlong period of review and public comment.

“We’re really encouraged that DEQ has accepted our petition and hopeful that this will ultimately lead to a stronger permit to protect water quality on the central coast,” said Pete Stauffer, Oregon Policy Coordinator of Surfrider Foundation, one of the petitioners.

Among the pages of concerns Surfrider raised in the petition, two chief issues are improving monitoring of the water at Nye Beach and identifying treatment alternatives for the waste water coming from the plant.

Tom Picciano of Georgia-Pacific said the mill will continue to operate under the current permit during the review period.

Oregon Department of Environmental Quality officials said some of the petitioners’ concerns stemmed from a lack of clarity in the July permit’s language.

For example, petitioners said the new permit increased the size of the mixing zone, or physical area in which pollution can mix with water before it has to meet water quality standards.

“We know (the permit couldn’t) double the size of the mixing zone without going through review,” said John Ruscigno, the water-quality manager for the Salem office of the state DEQ. “But I can see how (the petitioners) drew that conclusion.”

Since 2000, the agency has agreed to reconsider every industrial water pollution permit that was challenged — a total of about five cases.

bcasper@StatesmanJournal.com or (503) 589-6994


Tuesday, October 17, 2006

ASBPA Part 2

In ASBPA Part one you saw a very public protest on the first day of the American Shore and Beach Preservations Association's conference. The dredge and fill lobby knew we were there as did the press and the public. It was quite a different stroy the day before. Those who arrived early to the conference on Sunday were treated to a bus tour of the fabulous replenished beaches of Northern Monmouth County, NJ. The chartered bus drove by dozens of private beach access points en route to their first stop where the bus unloaded on to a big, wide, sterile beach, with absolutely no surfing, and impaired fishing and swimming opportunities due to beachfill. It was a beautiful day, but the beach of course was empty due to the access restrictions. At their first stop, as an Army Corps official gave a speech, two activists from the Jersey Shore Chapter walked within 20 feet of the crowd with signs saying, "WARNING Hazardous Beachfill Ahead", and "This Surf Spot Ruined By Beachfill."

The bus then went up to Sandy Hook where Surfrider and SEA saved a great wave from being buried under tons of sand. The bus tour was met with signs like "Modified Beachfill Works - Modifications Saved this Surf Break" The scene on the beach couldn't have been more different: lots of people, lots of surfers, a good right hander working under a chest high swell. The big bus group was given the same sign treatment as before and more. As surfers passing by learned who the big group was, they went over and gave them a piece of their mind.

They read this sign on their way back to the bus. "Beachfill - Temporary, Budget Busting, Expensive"

This simple tactic using only a few people and a few signs worked because it was outside the experience of the targets. We definitley got thier attention.

- John Weber

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Surfers and Paddlers Protest Ocean Polluters in Florida

by Greg Gordon

On September 9th, 2006, the Surfrider Foundation held its 3rd Annual Paddle for Clean Water at Jetty Park in Cape Canaveral. Over 50 volunteers arrived early morning Saturday for coffee and treats courtesy of Sunseed Food Co-op. Then at 10 a.m., everyone pitched in to help clean the beach and garbage bags made from recycled plastic were given out to the beachgoers awaiting the launch of the space shuttle Atlantis.

A minute after the shuttle left the pad, the watermen and women took to the waves in their multicolored crafts. Members of the local Spacecoast Paddlers helped to carry out a large sign that read “Pump, don’t Dump”, referring to the local gaming ship’s twice daily practice of dumping thousands of gallons of partially treated sewage. “I can’t believe it’s still legal to do that,” remarked one spectator when told the ships only had to be three miles from the coast to dump.

If the Clean Oceans Bill, sponsored by Rep. Bob Allen and Sen. Mike Haridopolus, is passed, it would be made illegal for boats running “cruises to nowhere” to dump any sewage within 12 miles from Florida’s coastline. What does that mean to the average Joe, who maybe comes to the beach twice a year? “Happy tourists and locals that support our economy,” answers Greg Gordon, who led the local Surfrider chapter in 2005. “Tourists want to come to clean beaches and oceans to swim in. The locals also want clean oceans because it’s their backyard playground, and the fishermen rely on a healthy fish population. The average Joe gets to enjoy the entertainment options for tourists, cheaper fresh seafood, customers for his business, and the personal satisfaction that his grandchildren may still see a loggerhead turtle come to lay eggs on the beach in June, or one of the 360 northern right whales left on the planet to swim by the Canaveral Jetty in December.”

On this Saturday, a manatee greeted the paddlers on the way back to the beach. The group’s shouts of “Pump, don’t Dump!” to the crews aboard the Suncruz and Sterling Casino ships may have aroused its interest. Just outside of the breaking waves, everyone made a circle of solidarity and a prayer was said for the victims of 9/11, the soldiers fighting overseas, and Steve Irwin. The participants left the water sharing a feeling of unity with their surroundings, and a desire to protect an ocean that has taken care of them throughout their lives.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

ASBPA Protest, Part 1

Ruby Liss holds a sign that says it all.

Until recently, the ASBPA thought their only problem was that money from Washington DC was drying up. They lobby for federal dollars for “shore protection,” and the end products are massive dredge and fill beach replenishment projects delivered by the Army Corps of Engineers and their contractors.

Surfrider Foundation gave them a lot more to worry about on Monday, by leading a group of 50 surfers, anglers, divers, homeowners and concerned citizens in protest claiming their projects do anything but “protect” the shore.

Surf spots, fish habitat, and shipwrecks with historical and cultural significance have all been covered over by sand pumping. Some beaches are less safe after sand bars and low-tide terraces are buried leaving sharp drop-offs at the water’s edge. Furthermore, development runs wild after these beachfill projects which disgusts environmentalists and leads to the abuse of eminent domain.

They Couldn’t Have Picked a Better Place.

Their conference was held in a hotel on a stretch of beach that serves as the poster child for development gone wild following beach replenishment. People homes and businesses were taken from them so the town could “redevelop” the area. Now there are million-dollar condos and a line of restaurants even closer to the ocean than the previous buildings were before the beachfill. We didn’t have to bring pictures, we just asked people to look around.

Our banner read Replenishment = Vulnerable Development

Friday, October 06, 2006

Bienvenidos El Niño

Typical El Niño effects are likely to develop over North America during the upcoming winter season, including warmer-than-average temperatures over western and central Canada, and over the western and northern United States, wetter-than-average conditions over portions of the U.S. Gulf Coast and Florida, and drier-than-average conditions in the Ohio Valley and the Pacific Northwest.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Wave Energy in Oregon?

In recent months, two wave energy projects have been proposed off the Oregon coast. New Jersey-based Ocean Power Technologies filed a pre-application permit in July with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for a commercial wave project in Reedsport. Under the proposal, electricity would be generated from buoys in a wave park about 2.5 miles off the coast and anchored in water about 165 feet deep. More recently, Lincoln County filed an application with FERC for a wave energy project that would be a partnership between public and private entities. According to Lincoln County reps, the project has the long-term potential to meet the entire county's energy needs. Surfrider is working to gather information on potential benefits and costs, as well as provide opportunities for local members to particpate in these upcoming federal permitting processes. For more information: http://seagrant.oregonstate.edu/communications/special.html

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Getting to the Bottom of "Top Beaches"

In April, the American Shore and Beach Preservation Association, the ASBPA, aka the beachfill lobby, announced a list of their "Top Restored Beaches" for 2006. http://www.asbpa.org/news/news_2006_TopRestBeaches.html One of their "Top Beaches" continues to make the news but it is not something we think you should be proud of. According to this article, the gravel-like material placed on the beaches in Delaware has created a steeper than normal beach. This in turn causes all the wave energy to crash right on the beach as shorebreak which has notably increased spine and neck injuries on those beaches.
Please read this excellent article calling into question the cost, size, and safety of modern day beachfill projects. Anyone who would call this an award-winning beach has very different prioritries than us.

John Weber