Environment

Environment
7:46 pm
Wed August 7, 2013

Fight Over Alleged Radioactive Waste Involves Kern County Landfills

Consumer Watchdog and other environmental groups have filed suit against Boeing and the California Department of Toxic Substance Control over what they claim is the illegal disposal of low-level radioactive waste from a retired Boeing facility in Ventura County.

The groups allege that the demolition of potentially contaminated buildings at the Santa Susana Field Laboratory near Simi Valley is a threat to public health, and a violation of the state’s environmental laws.

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Fracking
10:23 am
Mon August 5, 2013

Feds, State to Study Fracking in California

The federal government has announced a sweeping study of fracking and other oil and gas extraction techniques in California.

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management will lead the study.  BLM California State Director Jim Kenna says it’s in response to lawsuits attempting to block oil and gas development on public lands.

“Certainly, the intent would be to reduce legal challenges – hopefully because people trust the information and are more aware of what is going on.  But the bottom line is, the science will find out what it finds out,” says Kenna.

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Environment
10:26 pm
Wed July 31, 2013

PPIC Poll: Nearly Two-Thirds of Californians Favor Action Now on Climate Change

Credit Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

Californians are now more likely to urge swift state action to slow global warming than they were during the recession.  Ben Adler has more from Sacramento on that and other findings from the Public Policy Institute of California’s new poll on environmental issues.

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Environment
10:41 am
Tue July 30, 2013

Aspen Fire Grows to Over 16,000 Acres Near Huntington Lake

U.S. Forest Service fire behavior analyst John Smith captured this image of the Aspen Fire on Sunday morning.
Credit John Smith / Sierra National Forest Official Twitter @Sierra_NF

Update: 9:00 a.m. 8/1/13 - The Aspen Fire has now grown to 16,204 acres and is 40 percent contained.

Update: 9:00 a.m. 7/31/13 - Fire officials say the Aspen Fire has now consumed 14,332 acres and is 35 percent contained.

Update: 5:30 p.m. 7/30/13 - Officials with the Valley Air District have issued a "health cautionary statement" for residents in all valley counties due to smoke from the Aspen Fire.  From a press release issued by the district:

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Environment
2:07 pm
Wed July 17, 2013

The Challenges of Salvaging Smelt and Other Delta Fish

A truck dumps fish into the Delta at the DWR release site
Amy Quinton Capital Public Radio

For decades, millions of fish have been diverted from pumping facilities at state and federal water projects in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Fish -- including endangered species like the Delta smelt-- are put in holding tanks then trucked to other parts of the Delta and released. From there, little is known about their fate. But most scientists agree it’s not good. As Amy Quinton reports from Sacramento, predator fish often wait for what amounts to a daily feeding.

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Energy & Environment
6:00 pm
Tue July 9, 2013

California Assesses its Future Energy Supplies, Without San Onofre

file photo
Credit Valley Public Radio

California lawmakers want to know how the state is going to make up for the loss of a major electricity source. As Katie Orr reports from Sacramento, a State Senate committee will hold a hearing on the issue Wednesday.

The San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station was the largest source of electricity for Southern California. But the plant is permanently closing after a series of maintenance and safety problems.

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Environment
5:20 pm
Wed July 3, 2013

Experiment to "Farm" Carbon Underway in Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta

An example of a restored wetland on Sherman Island.
Amy Quinton Capital Public Radio

Agriculture in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta has flourished thanks to rich organic soils. But after more than a hundred years of farming, those soils are eroding, and the interiors of many Delta islands are sinking. California may have a solution that would not only help farmers, but could combat climate change. Amy Quinton reports from Sacramento.

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Environment
7:00 pm
Mon June 24, 2013

Department of Public Health to Distribute Unspent Clean Water Money

Credit Valley Public Radio

The California Department of Public Health released its plan today on how it intends to use some $455 million in unspent federal funds that are supposed to go to pay to clean drinking water programs.

The agency was the subject of a highly critical report from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in April over the failure to spend the federal funds.

The Department of Public Health plans to distribute $84 million from that fund to local water agencies by the end of the week, and nearly $200 million in the next fiscal year.

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Environment
11:34 am
Fri June 14, 2013

Budget Agreement Diverts Money From Cap and Trade

file photo
Credit Valley Public Radio

California’s budget agreement borrows 500-million dollars from the state’s cap-and-trade program. As Amy Quinton reports from Sacramento, environmentalists say the maneuver neglects polluted communities.

Environmentalists say money from the sale of carbon pollution permits is supposed to go to programs that help further reduce emissions. California Governor Jerry Brown and lawmakers say it will, just not this year.

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Energy & Environment
12:22 pm
Thu June 13, 2013

Study: Development of Alternative Fuels Surpassing Expectations

file photo
Credit Flickr user swanksalot / Creative Commons License / Flickr.com

California’s low carbon fuel standard may be driving the development of alternative fuels more quickly than expected. As Amy Quinton reports from Sacramento, a new report shows significant progress in fuels that can replace or blend with gasoline and diesel.

The report is produced by a coalition of utilities and alternative fuel makers. It looks at different ways companies can comply with the regulation that requires a 10 percent reduction in the carbon intensity of transportation fuels by 2020.  

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Energy & Environment
5:53 pm
Wed June 12, 2013

Only One Major Fracking Bill Left Now at California Capitol

file photo
Credit Capital Public Radio

A bill that would regulate the controversial oil and gas extraction process known as “fracking” in California has stalled at the State Capitol.

The measure by Democratic Assemblyman Bob Wieckowski fell two votes shy of passage in an Assembly committee today. It would have required oil companies to provide a complete list of chemicals used, their concentrations, how much water was used and how it was disposed of once fracking was complete.

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Fracking
9:00 am
Mon June 10, 2013

Legislative Battle Over Fracking Not Over

file photo
Credit Capital Public Radio

The legislative battle over more stringent regulation of a controversial method of extracting oil and natural gas in California is far from over. As Amy Quinton reports from Sacramento, lawmakers will discuss the issue once again this week.

The deadline for all bills to pass their chamber of origin or die has already passed. But last-minute Assembly floor amendments on a bill that would expand public disclosure of fracking chemicals sent it back to committee.

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Environment
6:47 pm
Fri June 7, 2013

EPA and Lawmakers Call Lack of Clean Drinking Water Unacceptable

Jeanette Pantoja, California Rural Legal Assistance, Kenia Acevedo, California Rural Legal Assistance and Don Rosa, with the Pajaro Sunny Mesa Community Services District
Amy Quinton Capital Public Radio

The Environmental Protection Agency says California is violating the Safe Drinking Water Act. EPA says the state’s Department of Public Health has failed to spend nearly a $500 million in federal money to provide safe drinking water. It’s estimated the state will have to spend $40 billion over the next two decades to fix the problem.  As Amy Quinton reports from Sacramento, some lawmakers are outraged by what they see as a bureaucratic nightmare within the Department.

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Environment
6:46 pm
Fri June 7, 2013

Hundreds of Communities Rely on Contaminated Water

Springfield's well is tainted with nitrate pollution
Amy Quinton Capital Public Radio

More than 600 communities in California rely on contaminated groundwater. Nowhere is the problem more acute than in the Tulare Lake Basin and the Salinas Valley.  It’s estimated that a quarter of a million people there rely on groundwater contaminated with nitrates, including some of the poorest people in the state. In the first of two stories, Amy Quinton reports on how one community struggles to deal with the problem. 

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Environment
4:35 pm
Tue May 21, 2013

Environmentalists Lobby To Change Brown's Proposal For Cap and Trade Funds

file photo
Credit Valley Public Radio

Environmental groups have begun a lobbying campaign to stop California Governor Jerry Brown’s budget proposal to divert money from the cap-and-trade program.

Environmentalists say money from the sale of carbon pollution permits is supposed to go to programs that help further reduce emissions. Brown wants to borrow $500 million for the general fund.

Vien Truong with the Greenlining Institute says environmental advocates are angry. She says that money could be used for clean air programs in low-income communities.

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Environment
1:21 pm
Mon May 13, 2013

New Google Tool Shows Remarkable Timelapse of Fresno Growth Since 1984

A screen capture of a satellite based timelapse of Fresno's suburban growth from 1984 - 2012
Credit http://earthengine.google.org/timelapse

A new timelapse tool released this month by Google provides Fresno residents with a stark reminder of just how quickly much of the city's nearby agriculture land has been replaced by homes, shopping centers and freeways. 

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Environment
6:14 pm
Tue May 7, 2013

Brown Proposes Changes to Prop 65 Warning Signs

A Proposition 65 mandated warning sign sits inside a Starbucks in Fresno, CA.
Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

It’s hard to go anywhere in California without seeing a little signs warning about potentially hazardous chemicals. Now Governor Jerry Brown wants to give those signs an update. Katie Orr reports from Sacramento.

Proposition 65 requires California businesses to post warnings about potentially hazardous chemicals in the air. The voter approved law has been in place since 1986. Now Governor Jerry Brown wants the warnings to be more specific and he wants to modify the law requiring where the signs are posted.

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Environment
5:16 pm
Thu May 2, 2013

New Study Examines Collapse of Honey Bee Colonies

Credit USDA/EPA

The collapse of honey bee populations in the U.S. is the result of a number of factors, ranging from insects and diseases to pesticides, according to new study released today by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Environmental Protection agency.

The report says a parasitic mite is the single most destructive pest to bee populations, and is closely linked with what has come to be known as colony collapse disorder.

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Water
5:12 pm
Thu May 2, 2013

What Snow? Final Snow Survey Yields Dry Results

file photo
Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

The season’s final snow survey in California found what most expected – dry conditions. Snow surveyors found absolutely no snow on the ground at Phillips Station, nearly 7,000 feet up Echo Summit in the Sierras.

Water content in California’s snowpack is only 17 percent of normal, meaning a below average water supply this summer.

Frank Gehrke with the Department of Water Resources says despite that, most reservoirs are near normal levels for the date thanks to early winter storms.

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Environment
5:45 pm
Wed May 1, 2013

Major CEQA Legislation Passes First Committee Test

Lawmakers are considering a number of bills that would change California’s Environmental Quality Act, or CEQA. The more than 40-year-old law guides almost all development projects in the state.

The bill garnering the most attention passed its first legislative test today. Democratic Senate President pro Tem Darrel Steinberg’s bill would streamline some aspects of the environmental law.

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