Environmentalists: America's Cup not green enough


A preliminary planning document for the America's Cup doesn't go far enough to protect San Francisco's natural environment, a coalition of environmental organizations has said.

The Environmental Council -- made up of a group of nonprofits including the Sierra Club, San Francisco Baykeeper, Turtle Island Restoration Network, the Dolphin Swimming and Boating Club, and others closely tracking planning for the America's Cup -- were gearing up to offer feedback to the San Francisco Planning Commission Aug. 11 on a hefty draft environmental impact review (DEIR) of the prestigious yachting event's impacts on marine life, air quality, and parklands.

The draft EIR "does not go far enough to protect San Francisco's air, water, and marine life," said Teri Shore of the Turtle Island Restoration Network. She advocated for requiring vessels to use the cleanest possible fuels and to travel at slow speeds so as not to collide with dolphins, porpoises, seals, sea lions, or whales once outside the Golden Gate.

Ken Coren, Vice President of the Dolphin and Swimming Club, voiced concerns about the effects the race would have on swimming and recreational boating. "The bay would be sealed off -- it would only be spectator viewing," he said. Activities like swimming around Aquatic Park or entering the bay on rowboats "would be prevented if you were going to take the EIR as it stands today at its word."

Jon Golinger, president of the Telegraph Hill Dwellers, said the report "dramatically underestimates the impact" to individual San Francisco neighborhoods.

Jon Golinger speaks at a press conference on the steps of City Hall. Video by Rebecca Bowe

Jennifer Clary, of San Francisco Tomorrow, said the groups' concerns centered on three key areas: Impacts to the water, such as the potential for oil spills or degraded water quality; impacts that huge crowds would have on surrounding lands, especially in protected areas such as the Presidio; and neighborhood impacts. "You have already busy locations, and they're going to packing more people in," she said.

While they raised concerns, the nonprofit representatives also made it clear that they were not opposed to the America's Cup, and only wanted to see the city strengthen environmental protections during the event. David Anderson, Conservation Committee Chair with the Golden Gate Audubon Society, noted that the world-famous regatta would result in a major economic boon. "Certainly the city can afford some mitigation to make it right," he said.


One good initiative would be to limit, ban or tax Plastic Water Bottles given their impact on the environment:

Posted by EcoLeader on Aug. 11, 2011 @ 3:08 pm

As a matter of fact there's a LOT of evidence to show that slow speeds actually increase manatee collisions in Florida. There are many ways to protect marine life but knee-jerk proposals like slowing down watercraft have little positive impact and may in fact have quite a negative one instead.

Posted by Right on Sister Snapples on Aug. 11, 2011 @ 6:32 pm

Your comment is completely counter to reality. Research has been done, and in fact shows an incredibly strong correlation between ship speeds and whale strikes.

Such research is directly cited in the petition of the Environmental Defense Center, Center for Biological Diversity, Friends of the Earth and Pacific Environment asking for lower ship speed regulations, at: http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/campaigns/ocean_noise/pdfs/Petition_N...

From page 18 of the report (page 23 of the pdf):

**2. Correlation Between Vessel Speed and Ship Strikes

Scientific research has shown that there is a direct correlation between vessel speed and ship strikes resulting in whale mortality (Laist, et al. 2001, Pace and Silber 2005, Vanderlaan and Taggart 2007, Panigada et al. 2006, Silber et al. 2010). Ship speed affects the likelihood of whale mortality in two ways. First, slower ship speeds provide whales with a greater opportunity to detect the approaching ship and avoid being hit by it. “To the extent that increasing vessel
speed significantly increases accelerations experienced by a whale, limits on vessel speed will reduce the magnitude of the acceleration; may increase response time for a whale attempting to maneuver away from a vessel; and appear to be reasonable actions to consider in policy decisions aimed at reducing the overall threat of ship strikes” (Silber et al. 2010).

Second, research shows that whales that are hit by slower moving ships are less likely to suffer serious injury or death. While slower speeds may not avoid all collisions between whales and ships, research shows that collisions at slower speeds are less likely to result in serious injury or death of the whale that has been struck. Laist et al. (2001) reported in a historical analysis of ship strikes involving large cetaceans that:

Among collisions causing lethal or severe injuries, 89% (25 of 28) involved vessels moving at 14kn or faster and the remaining 11% (3 of 28) involved vessels moving at 10-14 kn; none occurred at speeds below 10 kn (Laist et al. 2001 at 49).

In this study, none of the whales hit at a speed of 10 knots or less were killed. Vanderlaan and Taggart (2007) report that “as vessel speed falls below 15 knots, there is a substantial decrease in the probability that a vessel strike to a large whale will prove lethal” (Vanderlaan and Taggart 2007 at 152), but that only at speeds slower than 11.8 knots does the chance of a fatal injury to a large whale drop below 50 percent (id. at 149). Pace and Silber (2005) noted that they
found “clear evidence of a sharp rise in mortality and serious injury rate with increasing vessel speed.” Specifically, they found that probability of serious injury or mortality increased from 45 percent at 10 knots to 75 percent at 14 knots, exceeding 90 percent at 17 knots (id.).**

'Lucretia' do you ever get tired of making a complete fool of yourself by being repeatedly proved to be ridiculously wrong in nearly everything that you claim?

Apparently not, since you do it so regularly and with such relish...

Posted by Eric Brooks on Aug. 11, 2011 @ 7:49 pm

to show that slow speeds actually increase manatee collisions in Florida."

Then where is this evidence?

Posted by Guest on Aug. 11, 2011 @ 8:32 pm

'Lucretia' is of course completely full of crap on the manatee point as well.

You can see clear discussions of the fact that high speed boat collisions are leading to manatee deaths at:




There is almost no point on any subject, on which it cannot be shown that 'Lucretia' completely has her head up her ass...

Posted by Eric Brooks on Aug. 11, 2011 @ 8:55 pm

These people should just put their heads in the toilet and shut up. Everyone is SO tired of this crap.

The event will employ thousands and bring millions to the city. Deal with it, Eco Boy.

Posted by Guest on Aug. 12, 2011 @ 1:31 pm

What human endeavor have the more goofy "environmentalists" not complained about?

Posted by meatlock on Aug. 13, 2011 @ 1:22 pm

"seconded" = one sentence empty personal attack TROLL 'meatlock'

Posted by vigilante on Aug. 13, 2011 @ 1:57 pm

"'seconded' = one sentence empty personal attack TROLL 'meatlock'"

- Vigilante

Isn't the above comment a one-sentence personal attack?

Do you ever think through your posts before hitting the SAVE button?

Posted by Arthur Evans on Aug. 13, 2011 @ 3:14 pm