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The Encinitas Environmental Commission met last Thursday for a monthly meeting. Photo from the EEC.
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Encinitas Environmental Commission advocates for fossil fuel divestment

ENCINITAS — The Encinitas Environmental Commission last Thursday passed a report advocating for the city’s divestment from fossil fuels, discussed EDCO’s recycling initiatives and reviewed safety concerns at San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station.

The report, first drafted by Commissioner Christian Adams, requested the city petition its pooled fund managers to divest from fossil fuel companies.

While Encinitas does not currently hold direct fossil fuel investments, the city invests in firms and funds that do. All commissioners voted in favor of the action with the exception of Chairman Ari Novy.

“I do believe that to solve this problem, we need fossil fuel companies to convert to renewable fuel companies and this actually disincentives that,” Novy said.

San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station

Members of Samuel Lawrence Foundation (SLF) gave a presentation warning of the dangers associated with the storage of spent nuclear fuel at San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station. Specifically, members expressed their concerns over the facility’s spent nuclear fuel canisters stored just 100 feet from the coastline. Additionally, the group believes the canisters are too thin and susceptible to degradation. 

“The storage canisters are buried just eighteen inches above naturally occurring groundwater tables,” Iwane said. “If the canisters leak, it would contaminate our drinking water, marine environment, air, and food.” 

Chelsi Sparti, associate director of SLF, introduced a variety of solutions that city governments can put into practice, such as participating in independent coalitions, advocating for state authority over spent fuel storage locations, and engage with federal leaders on long-term waste disposal solutions.

“The optimal solution is to construct an on-site handling facility to repair and replace canisters for as long as they remain,” Sparti said. “Ultimately, we call for the replacement of all of the current thin-walled canisters with the safer thick-walled transportable casks used around the world.”

In a 2019 letter addressed to the California Coastal Commission, Edison challenged the group’s assertions that the canisters were too damaged to function, according to previous reporting by The Coast News.

Though the company acknowledges that the canisters are likely to bump into the narrow opening of the storage vaults, the company had performed “comprehensive inspections and analyses” that were reviewed by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which determined that the canisters did not have significant wear marks or scratches affecting their functionality or safety.

Edison has an inspection and maintenance program, also approved by the California Coastal Commission, that evaluates the spent fuel canisters for aging and degradation over time.

EDCO

Jim Ambroso, general manager of waste management company EDCO, addressed the organic waste issue that California has attempted to tackle through Senate Bill 1383. The bill mandates a 50% reduction in landfill organics by 2022 and a 75% reduction by 2025, as well as a 20% increase in recovery of disposed of edible food. 

“What our mission is, is not only to remove this organic waste and capture it but to first and foremost share it with those who may have food insecurity if it’s something that can be consumed,” Ambroso said. 

The state law requires the cooperation of cities, residents, and commercial businesses. Restaurants and grocery stores must report what they produce and cities must collect this data and report it to state officials. 

Residents will soon be offered educational brochures and kitchen containers to deposit both food waste and paper goods. They are also encouraged to deposit food waste in their existing green waste bins.

The Encinitas Environmental Commission meets monthly and is expected to hold its next meeting on Thursday, May 13th.

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