WatchSonoma Watch
GUEST OPINION: Standing up for our coastal economy

Expanding offshore oil drilling increases the risk of a devastating accident while doing nothing to lower the price of gas at the pump, says Richard Charter, a senior policy adviser with Defenders of Wildlife. He wants the public to link hands on Saturday at Bodega Bay to signal support for policies that encourage the growth of clean and renewable energy sources in place of oil and coal.

Sanctuaries bill OK’d by Senate panel

California Sens. Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein on Wednesday hailed a Senate committee’s approval of their bill to expand two North Coast marine sanctuaries that would permanently prohibit offshore oil drilling.

Will Congress ban oil drilling off the Sonoma coast?

Congress has lots of last-minute bills to sort through this month, ranging from the Bush tax cuts and unemployment benefits to “don’t ask, don’t tell.” Environmentalists on the North Coast hope lawmakers approve legislation by Rep. Lynn Woolsey that would double the size of two marine sanctuaries, providing permanent protection from offshore oil drilling along the Sonoma County and southern Mendocino County coasts.

Budget cuts hit state parks this week

One of the parking lots and bathrooms at Goat Rock beach is scheduled to close Wednesday for seven months. Similar cuts are expected at state parks across Sonoma County, reducing public access to Fort Ross, Austin Creek, Bodega Dunes, Blind Beach and Russian Gulch.

Supes OK tasting room on Sonoma coast

Neighbors opposed the Fort Ross Vineyard tasting room on Meyers Grade Road, citing concerns about increased traffic and impacts on groundwater, greenhouse gases and coastal scenery. But supervisors said the project was consistent with county planning documents and would not harm the rural character of the area.