In the small Kern County community of Tupman, the 2013 pistachio harvest is well underway.
Chris Romanini's family has been farming this land, just west of Interstate 5, where the valley's fields meet the Elk Hills for decades.
It's probably not the first place you'd think of when it comes to the effort to reduce CO2 emissions and combat global warming. But just a few hundred yards away from this orchard, plans for a $4 billion power plant and fertilizer factory could soon make the Tupman area known for a lot more than those pistachios.
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.
A prominent environmental group has filed a lawsuit challenging the State of California’s stance on the regulation of hydraulic fracturing in the production of oil and natural gas.
The Center for Biological Diversity says that the state’s Division of Oil Gas and Geothermal Resources has failed to act on an existing state law that it says allows the regulation of the controversial practice. The lawsuit was filed today in Alameda County Superior Court.
Two hazardous waste facilities in the San Joaquin Valley led the state in toxic chemical releases in 2011, according to a report released today by the Environmental Protection Agency.
The Clean Harbors landfill in Buttonwillow in western Kern County ranked number one in the state in toxic releases, with nearly 10 million pounds in 2011. In Kings County, Chemical Waste Management’s Kettleman City disposal facility released nearly four million pounds in 2011, which ranked third in the state.
Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 7:18 pm
The controversial drilling technique known as hydraulic fracturing has created an oil and gas boom around the country. In states like Texas, Pennsylvania and Colorado, there's been heated debate about rules that protect groundwater and public health.
California is now wading into that arena with the release of the state's first fracking regulations. The state's earthquake-prone geology, however, could bring particular concerns.
Fracking itself isn't new. The technology behind it, though, has changed.
Arvin "Bucket Brigade" The small Kern County community of Arvin has some of the worst air in the nation, thanks to geography and numerous pollution sources. But now some citizens are taking matters into their own hands, with a "bucket brigade" that aims to clean up the air by monitoring pollution themselves. On Sunday they gathered outside a local composting plant to protest what they call a major community polluter. But their “do it yourself” efforts at monitoring pollution are not without controversy. Valley Public Radio's Joe Moore has this report:
President Obama made his first visit to Central California today, as he dedicated the Cesar Chavez National Monument in the Tehachapi mountain community of Keene. The site served as headquarters for Chavez and the United Farm Workers Union for decades.
The President told a crowd of over 6,000 people that Chavez was a hero for all Americans in his fight for justice, and the site, called Nuestra Senora Reina de la Paz (Our Lady Queen of Peace) or La Paz, is a tribute to his legacy.
President Obama announced today that he will visit Kern County next Monday to declare the headquarters of the late United Farm Workers union co-founder César Chávez a national monument. The Chávez compound in the small community of Keene, located in the Tehachapi hills east of Bakersfield served as the home for both the UFW and Chávez for several decades.
The Kern County Board of Supervisors voted yesterday to accept a $100 million state grant that would help fund construction of a new jail at the existing Lerdo pre-trial facility. As a condition of the grant, the county also committed over $22 million in matching funds to support construction of the facility, which will house around 800 mostly medium security inmates.
The county had previously been awarded a similar grant in 2008, but had to reject the funding because it was unable to allocate the matching funds required the state.
Employment in California’s largest counties rose between December of 2010 and December of 2011, but paychecks got smaller in most large counties. 24 of the 26 large counties in California saw employment increase. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics defines large counties as those with employment of 75,000 or more.
Kern County posted a 5.3 percent increase, followed by San Francisco County at 3.3 percent. Kern County’s increase was not only the largest increase in the state but in the country as well. Los Angeles County has the highest number of employed at more than 3.9 million.
The Kern County Board of Supervisors will consider a proposal next Tuesday to allow a foreign medical school from the Caribbean to cycle 100 students a year through the clinical rotation program at Kern Medical Center.
The Ross University School of Medicine would pay Kern County $3.5 million a year for 10 years for the program, if it’s approved by the board. KMC currently has students from UCLA and several other Caribbean medical schools in its program.
Travelers are stocking up on snacks inside the convenience store at the Shell gas station in Maricopa on a hot Saturday afternoon. This is a town of about 1,200 residents in the oil-rich foothills of western Kern County. Bob Archibald’s Shell station sits on the intersection of two highways, and his business counts on travelers heading to the Central Coast.
So last year, Archibald took notice when the Maricopa Police Department began an aggressive campaign to pull over drivers for minor traffic violations and to impound cars.
On this Valley Edition, we look at the big problems facing the small Kern County city of Maricopa, we examine the controversial issue of racial profiling, and find out about an upcoming soul food festival at Fresno's African American Historical and Cultural Museum.
Segment 1 – County Jails & State Prisons - Last month the US Supreme Court ruled that California must reduce its prison population by 33,000 inmates by 2013, to improve inmate health care. And a new state law plans to shift much of that burden to county jails. We talk about the future of the state's corrections system and what it means for the Valley, with Kern County Sheriff Joel Youngblood, Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims and prisoner rights advocate Rebecca Evenson of the Prison Law Office.
Segment 1: The Kern River Flows Through Bakersfield Once More? - The Kern River has long been known as one of the wildest rivers in the west. But far below Lake Isabella, as the channel makes its way through the city of Bakersfield, the days of a wild river, or for much of the year a river at all, are long gone. However, a new proposal from the City of Bakersfield aims to do what many thought would never happen, return year round water to the river through the city, creating a new community amenity.