Recent Environmental Wins

Due to pressure from members of People Over Pollution and OCV, a pollution monitor has been put in place by the SCAQMD near the Sentinel Power Plant in Desert Hot Springs.  Though we remain somewhat skeptical as to the effectiveness/availability of collected data, etc., this is a positive step towards being able to track what is happening to the air quality.  For more information, see:

In concert with this, over 95% of the candidates endorsed by the California League of Conservation Voters have successfully navigated the Top Two primary yesterday, June 3, 2014, and will be on the ballot in November, though some of CLCV’s picks may be questionable, especially in view of far more progressive third-party choices that were on the ballot.  But for what it is worth, you can find their summary here:

The fact remains, however, that according to Food & Water watch, “Despite thousands of emails, hundreds of calls and a new poll showing that 68% of Californians support a moratorium on fracking, the California Senate failed to pass a bill to do just that. Now, it’s up to Jerry Brown. The Governor has the power to stop fracking, but he has turned a blind eye to the real impacts that this toxic industry has on our state.”

Food & Water Watch is working with to get Governor Brown to visit Kern County to meet with impacted community members. Here’s how you can help:

1. If you haven’t already, sign this petition to tell the Governor to meet with Kern County residents who have been personally affected by fracking.

2. Share this action with your friends and networks to help us amplify this message far and wide.

Our Air Quality is Not Improving!

Check out this opinion piece in the Desert Sun Valley Voice by Robert Terry of People Over Pollution about the air quality in the Coachella Valley due to the pollution of the Sentinel Power Plant.

As long as corporate interests exert a corrupting influence on government, the needs and health of people will be put in jeopardy.

OCV Marches with VFP in Gay Pride Parade

Members of Occupy Coachella Valley joined Veterans for Peace in the Gay Pride Parade on Sunday, November 3, 2013 in Palm Springs, California, carrying signs “Free Chelsea Manning,” rainbow flags and a rainbow Occupy Coachella Valley banner, and chanting “We are the 99%,” “YOU are the 99%,” and “Free Bradley Manning, now Chelsea Manning” while flashing peace signs to the crowd who occasionally joined in the chanting.

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As Occupiers went by, announcers mentioned that OCV has been working on illegal foreclosure, stopping the TPP, and protesting the Sentinel power plant and announced our website.  Check out the picture of the parade on the Desert Sun at:   Pride Parade 2013

Sentinel Update

Desert Sun newspaper, August 3, 2013 headline reads:

“Sentinel Funds Slow to be Dispensed to Groups”

In the Desert Sun article, K. Kaufmann reports on the newly-built natural gas power plant near Desert Hot Springs (CPV Sentinel), stating that Sentinel officials promised to offset toxic emissions with grant money for local projects and that this money has been slow to materialize.

OCV’s position is that the toxic air pollution generated by the plant is unacceptable, that no amount of offsetting makes up for it, that it contributes to climate change, and that the plant should not have become operational and should be shut down.

We hope members of the community will stand with OCV in our effort to: STOP SENTINEL! and will read this article and make comments.

CPV Sentinel’s Threat to Our Water Supply

We may never know the whole truth about CPV Sentinel and our drinking water because the California Energy Commission granted the plant owners’ request that the “entirety of the enclosed information” regarding water negotiations “be kept confidential indefinitely in order to ensure protection of the confidential trade secrets and to ensure that ongoing negotiations are not hampered.” We still do not know why they did not use Colorado River water instead of award-winning Mission Springs Water District water, despite being advised by MSWD that it would be inexpensive and simple to run a pipe, downhill, from the aqueduct to the plant.

Here’s what we do know:

  • CPV Sentinel used the “bait and switch” technique with the claim that they would use “reclaimed water” in their early promotions.
  • CPV buys ad space in our local newspapers, and reports as “news articles” a series of lies and half-truths, among them that they are giving us a “two-for-one” replacement on our water. This is based on 108% recharge of toxic water, (the eight percent is to account for the evaporation and loss before it actually reaches the aquifer) and their paying $300,000 to Desert Water Agency to run a 900-foot extension of a 12-inch water pipe to a bankrupt golf course.
  • CPV has received permits for 1100 acre feet a year of MSWD drinking water. That comes to 10.75 billion gallons over the life of the contract. This is in the desert in an ongoing drought.
  • CPV is replacing MSWD water with Colorado River water, putting it into our aquifers. We know that the Colorado is polluted. It has been found to have many toxins including chromium 6 and ammonium perchlorate (from a rocket fuel plant in Nevada), and will likely soon be contaminated by 12 million tons of radioactive waste from an abandoned uranium mill on the banks of the Colorado at Moab, Utah.
  • South Coast Air Quality Management District granted $3.3 million from Sentinel’s pollution mitigation funds to MSWD. Since then, there has been no resistance from MSWD to the CPV Sentinel plant.

Climate Change

While Congress drones on about the deficit and engages in stand-offs about the so-called fiscal cliff with Republicans willing to derail negotiations by their obdurate determination to oppose tax increases for the ultra-wealthy1%, the real emergency of global warming and the continued burning of fossil fuels is being ignored. In the Coachella Valley, the imminent threat is the Sentinel Power Plant, due to go online before the end of the year.

In view of Hurricane Sandy and the Climate Change Summit in Doha, Qatar going on as we write, we are offering the following links as sources for more information.  In striking contrast to Washington, people like Bill McKibben of offer real world solutions to climate change. We invite everyone to join OCV in protest of the Sentinel, a local example of corporate dirty energy trumping the will of the people, by attending local actions and by contacting your local representative and making your voices heard.  See these articles:

To Fight Climate Change, College Students Take Aim at the Endowment Portfolio –