Why the 1st Earth Day was a Success

April 10, 2020
Op-Ed by Denis Hayes
The Seattle Times

Author Denis Hayes was one of the organizers of the first Earth Day in 1970. The first thing to know about the beginning of Earth Day is that the big win wasn’t establishing Earth Day itself, but bringing the same organizing skills to the 1970 November elections.

“That November political triumph made clear to Congress that Earth Day had not been just a frolic in the park. One month after the 1970 election, the Clean Air Act of 1970 passed the Senate unanimously and the House with just one dissenting vote.

In short order, Congress also passed the:

• Clean Water Act

• Occupational Health and Safety Act

• Marine Mammal Protection Act

• Endangered Species Act

• Safe Drinking Water Act

• Set Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFÉ) standards for cars

• Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act

• Resource Conservation and Recovery Act

• Toxic Substances Control Act

• National Forest Management Act

In the 10 years following Earth Day, bold new laws changed the direction of the United States economy more profoundly than any other period in history, except perhaps the New Deal. And the New Deal was pushed by a wildly popular president whose party controlled both houses of Congress. The environmental revolution came from the grassroots up.”

Click here to read the full article.

Photo from University of Michigan School for Environment and Sustainability, via flickr.com.

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Collaboration and persistence bring South Sacramento Habitat Conservation Plan to life

By J. Paul Bruton
September 9, 2019
US Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District

Multiple agencies and stakeholders from the Sacramento area gathered recently at the Sacramento County Administration building to acknowledge and celebrate the formal adoption of the South Sacramento Habitat Conservation Plan (SSCHP).
The project has been twenty years in the making, and is a first-of-its-kind project. But what exactly is it? The SSHCP is a 50-year plan under the federal Endangered Species Act that balances the conservation of important species with planned development in a 317,655-acre area within Sacramento County.
While hundreds of habitat conservation plans exist in California, this is the first in the nation to include Clean Water Act permits issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in addition to the Endangered Species Act permits that are issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

“This is a real groundbreaking permitting strategy with the Corps of Engineers that’s never been done anywhere in the country,” said Norris. “This is the first!”
The Habitat Conservation Plan area includes wetlands, natural grasslands with vernal pools and oak savannas, and covers 28 species, most of which are wetland dependent, including vernal pool fairy shrimp, California tiger salamander, giant garter snake and Swainson’s hawk, among others.

“One of the biggest difficulties in getting one of these plans done is that it’s an absolute marathon. It’s not a sprint,” said Sean Wirth, co-chairperson for Habitat 2020 with the Environmental Council of Sacramento. “It took 24 years to get the South Sacramento HCP from idea to completion.”
“When we’re done, we’re going to have a preserve network that works …That’ll last in perpetuity,” said Wirth.

Read the full article by clicking here.

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