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Mixer: Watching the Watchers

Posted February 5, 2016 by | 0 Comments | ]

State regulators have been under intense scrutiny in recent history — overseeing utilities that are shutting down or shoring up nuclear power plants, dealing with an environmental disaster that’s displaced thousands, and even trying to coordinate the cleanup of a now-shuttered, lead-leaking battery plant.
So this week in Sacramento, has come a push to do something about those agencies that are responsible for regulating and …

Environment, News »

University Park residents fear oil drilling site

Posted February 4, 2016 by | 0 Comments | ]
Youth activist Ashley Lazaro, 14, at the shuttered drilling site in University Park. (Photos by Alexandra Garreton)

The streets of South LA’s University Park neighborhood are lined with old Victorians, palm trees and bougainvillea. Close to several houses, large apartment buildings, day care centers and schools, including a high school for developmentally disabled children, stands a tall, beige gate.
“If anybody was walking by they’ll see a normal building,” said Ashley Lazaro, 14, who grew up nearby. “They’ll say, ‘Oh, maybe it’s …

Environment, Food, Santa Barbara »

Meet at the market: mussels made simple

Posted January 29, 2016 by | 0 Comments | ]

Each week we meet up with Katie Hershfelt of Cultivate Events as she chats with farmers, chefs and shoppers at the Santa Barbara Certified Farmers’ Market.
This week, she spoke with Chris Shemet, who sells Hope Ranch Mussels caught by fisherman Bernard Friedman, about the best, and simplest ways to cook local mussels.

Mussels on the stove (for two):

“De-beard” the mussel – grasp the byssal thread (the hairy bit that …

Environment, News »

California, on cutting edge, gets an official state lichen

Posted January 27, 2016 by | 1 Comment | ]
Lace lichen. (Photo by Shelly Benson)

Among new state laws taking effect at the beginning of 2016 was one designating lace lichen as the official lichen of California. The organism joins a list of more 30 officially designated state symbols, including the redwood tree, California poppy, purple needlegrass and of course, the California dog-faced butterfly.
State Assemblyman Marc Levine, who sponsored the lace lichen legislation, said, “They are biological indicators of both air …

Environment, Food, Santa Barbara, Water and the Drought »

Meet at the market: Singing the Goleta drought blues

Posted January 22, 2016 by | 0 Comments | ]

Each week we meet up with Katie Hershfelt of Cultivate Events as she chats with farmers, chefs and shoppers at the Santa Barbara Certified Farmers’ Market.
This week, she spoke with Jack Motter, who started Ellwood Canyon Farms in Goleta in 2009. The drought has hit his farm hard, and the recent decision by the Goleta Water District to raise agricultural water rates has left Motter questioning the …

Environment, Santa Barbara »

Locals only compete in El Niño waves this weekend

Posted January 15, 2016 by | 0 Comments | ]

This weekend, surfers from the 805 only will duke it out at Rincon Beach, at the 33rd annual Rincon Classic.
Unlike many sports competitions, such as the Super Bowl or March Madness, the Rincon Classic has no scheduled date. Instead, there’s an eight-week “waiting period.” Each Wednesday, contest coordinators decide whether the upcoming weekend will be the one.
This year, for the first time since 2009, they chose the …

Environment, Power and Water, Santa Barbara, Water and the Drought »

My El Niño plan

Posted January 5, 2016 by | 0 Comments | ]
Photo: Ingrid Taylar/Flickr

No one knows exactly what impact this winter’s El Niño forecast will have on Southern California. But, despite the uncertainty, many people in Santa Barbara are getting ready. They may be lugging sandbags, fixing roofs or prepping crops. We spoke with different people with different plans for the wet skies, heavy winds and strong seas that may be coming our way. (Reporting by  Linda …

economy, Environment, Issues, LA Noir, News, Politics, The Mixer »

Mixer: Ooh That Smell

Posted January 1, 2016 by | 0 Comments | ]

Weeks have turned into months of a sulfuric stench in Porter Ranch, a pretty idyllic part of the northern San Fernando Valley.
A gas leak in the region – emanating from the Southern California Gas Company Aliso Canyon Natural Gas Storage Field – started small, with a few residents complaining.
Now, hundreds of homeowners – and thousands of school children – have been relocated out of …

Education, Environment, Politics, Santa Barbara »

A drop in oil won’t put Santa Barbara in the red

Posted December 21, 2015 by and | 0 Comments | ]
PlatformHolly- US Dept of energy

Santa Barbara County has a complicated – and at times, turbulent– relationship with oil. In May, the Refugio oil spill resulted in roughly 140,000 gallons of crude gushing over state beaches. Environmentalists rallied and called for an end to oil production in the region.  At the same time, these corporations remain among the top tax payers in the county – which raises the question: how …

Environment, News »

A Natural Gas Leak Disrupts Life in a Los Angeles Suburb

Posted December 16, 2015 by | 0 Comments | ]

It’s an environmental emergency that’s not unfolding in the rainforests of South America or at the polar ice caps, but rather in a Southern California suburb.
Since October, large amounts of natural gas have been steadily leaking from an energy facility owned and operated by the Southern California Gas Company in Aliso Canyon on the northern edge of the San Fernando Valley. Because repairs involve drilling …

Environment, Santa Barbara »

One Thing in Santa Barbara: Environment

Posted December 14, 2015 by | 0 Comments | ]

From food and nightlife to environment and philanthropy, what were the most important stories and trends of the year in Santa Barbara? Five of our sharpest local observers weigh in on the one thing that shaped 2015.

According to Linda Krop, chief counsel at the Environmental Defense Center, the top environmental story of the year was the oil spill along the Gaviota Coast. On May 19, 142,000 gallons of crude …

Environment, Interviews, News, Politics, Warren Olney »

Governor Brown: On His Way to Paris for Climate Change Summit

Posted December 2, 2015 by | 0 Comments | ]

This week, Governor Jerry Brown heads to Paris for the United Nations summit on climate change. As the representative of the eighth largest economy in the world, he will likely be greeted more as a de facto head of state than just a governor.
Still there are limits to what a California delegation can do. In an interview on Which Way LA? with Warren Olney, …

Education, Environment, Issues, News »

Textbooks not telling whole story on climate change

Posted November 25, 2015 by | 0 Comments | ]

What’s causing climate change?
There’s broad agreement in the scientific community that greenhouse gases produced by human activity are the primary driver of rising global temperatures, but you wouldn’t learn that from textbooks used in California public schools.
A new report from Stanford University says that science texts used by students in elementary and middle school in the state are out of date because they explain …

Environment, News, Santa Barbara »

Southern California Prepares for El Niño

Posted November 20, 2015 by | 0 Comments | ]
El Nino 2

At a recent town hall meeting in the San Bernardino County community of Chino, residents packed an auditorium to hear from local, state and federal officials about the need to get ready for a very wet winter because of predicted El Niño storms.
“The bottom line is El Niño is here,” said Alex Tardy, a meteorologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. “It’s record-breaking already. …

Environment, Food, News, Santa Barbara »

Toxic algae bloom grinds crab industry to a halt

Posted November 17, 2015 by and | 0 Comments | ]
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Scientists say they’ve discovered one of the largest toxic algae blooms ever recorded. It extends from the Santa Barbara Channel all the way up to Oregon and it is taking a financial toll on the California crab industry.
Down at the Santa Barbara Harbor, it was quiet this week. Crabbing boats are docked in their slips. Crab fisherman Mark Brubaker sat aboard his boat, working …

Environment, Issues, News »

Floating a plan for California’s first offshore wind farm

Posted November 9, 2015 by | 0 Comments | ]

Is California the next frontier for offshore wind energy?
A Seattle company is proposing to build the state’s first ocean wind farm off of Morro Bay on the Central Coast. Trident Energy has filed early paperwork with the city of Morro Bay prior to seeking approval of the project, says the San Jose Mercury News.
Trident wants to build 100 floating turbines, some rising more than …

Environment, Food, Santa Barbara, Water and the Drought »

Growing grapes, four years into the drought

Posted October 28, 2015 by | 1 Comment | ]

Santa Barbara County’s wine harvest is complete. Local winemakers are fermenting their last grapes, cleaning the presses and scrubbing down their gear after months of hard work.
“There are four words that describe the harvest,” says Lompoc winemaker Peter Work about this year’s yield. “It was early, short, light and the quality was amazing,”
That’s been a common occurrence throughout the county. Compared to last year’s bumper …

Environment, News, Santa Barbara »

Drilling along Los Padres

Posted October 27, 2015 by | 1 Comment | ]

A controversial decision was made in the town of Santa Paula last week. The Ventura County Board of Supervisors gave the green light to build 19 new oil wells and to continue operating 17 more.

In a 3-2 vote, the board voted to deny appeals by environmental groups and grant a 30-year permit modification for the project proposed by California Resources Corp. in an existing oil field along …

Environment, Issues »

An electric-powered cross-country road trip

Posted October 21, 2015 by and | 0 Comments | ]
Brian Kent's Nissan Leaf charging in Ohio. Photo credit: Brian Kent

What’s the conventional wisdom about electric cars? They’re quiet, they have nice pick-up, they’re good for getting around town, but, because of their limited range, they’re not suited to take on a long road trip.
Brian Kent wants to change that perception. Kent, 44, is a freelance writer based in Albion, New York. On Aug. 28 he set out on a 26,000 mile road trip …

Environment, News, Santa Barbara »

The local environmental movement, book-ended by spills

Posted October 16, 2015 by | 0 Comments | ]

The timing is uncanny, and slightly distressing.
Paul Relis founded the Community Environmental Council in Santa Barbara after the 1969 oil spill wreaked havoc on the Central Coast. This year, Relis’ new book was published just a month before another oil spill hit the Central Coast. His book, Out of the Wasteland: Stories from the Environmental Frontier, documents the history of the environmental movement in …

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