Environment

News about energy and the environment

Amber Kinetics

The Fresno City Council has approved a land lease that will make Fresno the site of an innovative new energy project. Kerry Klein reports from downtown.

California has one of the most aggressive renewable energy policies in the country: by 2030, renewables like solar and wind must produce half of all our energy. But, to meet that goal, we’ll have to get a whole lot better at energy storage.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Some popular Yosemite landmarks including the Ahwahnee Hotel and Curry Village will soon be getting new names thank to a lawsuit over intellectual property associate with the park.

Longtime concessionaire Deleware North contends that it owns the trademark to the names, and wants $50 million from the new concessionaire Aramark, which takes over March 1st. The National Park Service disputes the trademark claims. Scott Gediman is the Yosemite spokesperson.

USGS

California’s prolonged drought is once again causing the valley in sink. Groundwater pumping to keep water flowing and plants growing is resulting in the valley floor to settling and sinking in what is known as subsidence. As the water is pulled out the ground underneath fills the space and settles. In some places, the land is subsiding as much as a foot a year.

  Hydrologist Jim Borcher says the Valley has experienced sinking before, but now it is back.

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

Farmers are gathering in meetings across California this month to talk about insecticides currently used that could be harmful to human health. FM89’s Ezra David Romero reports from a meeting in Parlier.

Rockfall Closes Highway 140 In Yosemite

Jan 7, 2016
National Park Service

A rockfall early this morning below the Arch Rock entrance to Yosemite National Park has closed Highway 140. Massive boulders are currently blocking the roadway, which is near the site of the 2014 Dog Rock Fire. The road is currently closed from the park entrance to the junction of Highways 120 and 140. 

It's unknown when the roadway will re-open. Services in El Portal are still open. The rockfall happened at about 5:45 A.M. Thursday morning, following several wet El Nino storms. 

Biomass Power Could Help California's Dying Forests

Jan 5, 2016
Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

Millions of dead trees in California create a huge risk of wildfire. It’s led Governor Jerry Brown to declare a state of emergency that will require utilities, power plants and state agencies to work together. Biomass power plants can create energy from those dead trees. But as Amy Quinton reports from Sacramento, biomass plants alone won’t solve the crisis.

Congress.gov

With negotiations on new compromise water legislation for California farmers currently deadlocked in Congress, is there a chance of a deal in 2016? Or will it be too late to capture El Nino floodwaters and store them for the future? Congressman Jim Costa (D-Fresno) joined us on Valley Edition to offer his insights into the water negotiations, and why he's concerned the lack of a deal might leave many valley farmers with another year of zero allocations of water, even with a strong El Nino. 

Courtesy of Brett Lebin

California farmers are known for producing some of the finest fruits, vegetables and nuts in the world. But what if big agriculture here also included marijuana? If the legalization of recreational pot makes it onto the November  2016 ballot and passes, local growers might have a new crop to harvest.  FM89’s Ezra David Romero reports that some Central Valley farmers are already eyeing just that possibility. 

A few years ago Los Banos Farmer Cannon Michael discovered a one-acre illegal marijuana grow on his land.

https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/legalcode

At one time there were over 10,000 grizzly bears in California, but people’s fear of the enormous animal drove the bears to extinction. The last California grizzly bear was shot in Tulare County in 1924. One group would like to see the bears thrive again. But as Valley Public Radio’s Ezra David Romero reports not everyone thinks the idea is a good one..

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

The Kern County Board of Supervisors has approved new rules that supporters say will streamline oil and gas production.

The unanimous vote by the board Monday endorses a new environmental report that will make most surface production activities go through a process similar to the one to get a building permit.

The state will still regulate subsurface operations.

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