Environment, Food, News, Politics, Santa Barbara »

Too close for comfort: Pesticide spraying near Oxnard high school sheds light on statewide issue

Posted March 31, 2015 by | 0 Comments | ]
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A 15 month study by the Center for Investigative Reporting has found potentially harmful amounts of chemically-laden pesticides in the air above an Oxnard high school.
As the pictures suggest, pesticides being sprayed at Bob Jones Ranch are a bit too close to Rio Mesa High School for comfort.
Rules concerning pesticide use, however, are made and enforced on a state level. Although this study has …

economy, Environment, Interviews »

Why are California’s gas prices so volatile?

Posted March 24, 2015 by | 0 Comments | ]
gasprices

State lawmakers today tried to fill-up on knowledge of why gas prices have been all over the place the past few months. And how refinery issues have affected recent spikes.
Prices in January were near four and five year lows. Then they jumped by a dollar in some cases in the course of just a couple of weeks.
Part of that is the recent explosion at …

California Elections, economy, Environment, Interviews, Issues, News, Politics, Power and Water, Zocalo Public Square »

Mixer: Dry land and deaf ears

Posted March 20, 2015 by | 0 Comments | ]
friday mixer square

We’re well into the fourth year of a severe drought in California.
And this week, Governor Jerry Brown and legislative leaders from both parties announced more than a billion dollars in emergency aid that’s being introduced as legislation in Sacramento.
But at a press conference, the governor also faced question after question over whether the State Water Resources Control Board’s new conservation actions are enough.
John Myers is …

Arts & Culture, economy, Environment »

How your garden tells the story of immigration in Southern California

Posted March 19, 2015 by | 5 Comments | ]
SONY DSC

The buzzing of leaf blowers, weed whackers and lawnmowers are part of Southern California’s sonic landscape. And the people usually holding those machines are Latino immigrant men, who call themselves jardineros, Spanish for gardeners. It’s their labor that gives curb appeal to so many homes, keeping lawns neatly trimmed, hedges pruned and weeds at bay.
The story of the jardineros also reveals the long relationship between immigration and the …

Environment, News »

Can we conserve our way out of the drought?

Posted March 19, 2015 by | 0 Comments | ]
Photo via Flickr/CC/docentjoyce

As California enters its fourth year of severe drought, the state is getting serious about water conservation. Gov. Jerry Brown and state lawmakers revealed a $1 billion drought relief plan Thursday. The package includes money for water recycling, water efficiency measures, and food assistance for communities impacted by the drought. (The LA Times breaks down the funding, here).
In a press conference, Gov. Jerry Brown said that the …

Environment, Issues, News »

Rescuers overwhelmed by number of sick sea lions

Posted March 17, 2015 by | 1 Comment | ]
Malnourished sea lion pups recover at the Marine Mammal Care Center

An unprecedented epidemic of stranded sea lion pups is straining the resources of California marine rescue agencies.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says at least 1,650 sickly sea lion pups were rescued from California beaches between the start of this year and March 8th. That’s 250 more than were saved during all of 2013, the last time this happened in large numbers.
Scientists say the …

Bad Driving, economy, Environment, Issues, Zocalo Public Square »

Mixer: LA’s decelerating car culture?

Posted March 13, 2015 by | 0 Comments | ]
friday mixer square

Gas prices have been on a roller coaster ride in Southern California the past few weeks.

From rock-bottom lows at the start of the year because of an abundant global supply, to a quick rise of a dollar or more per gallon because of a new summer gasoline blend that’s being produced and a refinery explosion in Torrance. There’s no shortage of complaints. And, of …

Commentary, Environment, Zocalo Public Square »

Let’s brag about California’s weather while we still can

Posted March 13, 2015 by | 3 Comments | ]
Photo by Tony Hisgett via Flickr/CC

One of the little joys of being Californian is the opportunity to taunt folks back East about their terrible winter weather. Hey, Boston, how does it feel to have been colonized by Eskimos?
But this winter, we seem to be overdoing it, sending out a blizzard of social media postings of palm trees and blue skies. It’s enough to make you wonder if all our …

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

The 90s are back: Aged desalination plant gets dusted off in Santa Barbara

Posted March 12, 2015 by | 0 Comments | ]
Water Resources Manager Joshua Haggmark

The Charles E. Meyer Desalination Plant in Santa Barbara hasn’t seen use in over two decades, but that might change soon. According to the city’s Water Resources Manager Joshua Haggmark, the plant is crucial for Santa Barbara to survive the drought.
“I don’t think desalination should be our only source of water, but in California I think it should be a small portion of the water supply. At least …

Environment, Issues, News »

Chances of really ‘Big One’ in California have increased

Posted March 11, 2015 by | 0 Comments | ]
EARTHQUAKEMAP

 
The odds have just gone up that a major earthquake – we’re talking magnitude 8 – will strike California in the next three decades.
The U.S. Geological Survey has updated its quake risk assessment for California. The federal agency now says there’s a 7 percent chance that California will be hit with a magnitude 8 earthquake in the next 30 years, up from 4.7 percent.
A …

Environment, Issues, News »

EPA tests for toxic air near South Bay Superfund sites

Posted March 9, 2015 by | 0 Comments | ]
del-amo-l

The Environmental Protection Agency has begun testing the air inside dozens of South Bay homes. The houses sit near former industrial properties that have been designated as “Superfund” sites because of high levels of toxic pollution.
The tests will reveal whether dangerous vapors are seeping into the homes from polluted groundwater in a process called vapor intrusion. The tests come decades after the discovery of …

Environment, Issues, News, Water and the Drought »

Threat to drinking water is the pits in Central Valley

Posted March 4, 2015 by | 1 Comment | ]
OILDRILLING

A dozen oil and gas wells in the Central Valley have been ordered to shut down over concerns that they could contaminate underground drinking water.
The operators of 10 of the wells voluntarily flipped the switch, but state officials issued cease-and-desist orders for two others.
The orders came just as California’s Environmental Protection Agency issued a report saying that lax oversight and years of confusion among overlapping …

Environment, Issues, News, Water and the Drought »

Do humans have a role in the California drought?

Posted March 3, 2015 by | 0 Comments | ]
sierras

A new measurement of the Sierra Nevada snowpack will be made today, and the results are not expected to be encouraging.
The state’s first two surveys of the season indicated that water content in the snowpack was less than 20 percent of where it should have been. The news is not anticipated to be much better in survey No. 3.
Officials with the Department of Water …

Arts & Culture, economy, Environment, Issues, News, Water and the Drought »

Climate trumps traffic, crowds for California residents

Posted March 2, 2015 by | 2 Comments | ]
big-sur-california-coastline

Yes, we have traffic, a high-costing living and a historic drought. But more than seven in 10 Californian voters say the Golden State is still the best place to live.
A new USC Dornsife-L.A. Times poll finds that state residents remain smitten with California’s weather, its beaches and its cultural offerings. But especially the weather. Sixty-nine percent of people said the state’s mild climate was …

Environment, Issues, News, Water and the Drought »

Support for mandatory water cutbacks is growing

Posted February 26, 2015 by | 0 Comments | ]
watering-lawn

More than a third of Californians now believe the state should put into place mandatory water restrictions – instead of the voluntary cutbacks that are currently being urged.
The last time California had a major drought – back in the 1970s – just 51 percent of state voters described the situation as “extremely serious.” A new Field Poll says that nearly 70 percent of California …

Environment, Santa Barbara »

The fragile first days: Seal pups in California

Posted February 18, 2015 by | 0 Comments | ]
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No one likes to see a sign reading “beach closed.” But from December through May, that’s exactly what you’ll see on a small stretch of shoreline between the Carpinteria State Beach and Rincon Point. That’s because it’s pupping season, and about 100 seal moms have chosen that spot to return to annually to give birth.

This is an exciting time for those who visit the trails along …

economy, Environment, Issues, News, Politics »

State’s fracking wells have alarming levels of benzene

Posted February 12, 2015 by | 0 Comments | ]
fracking3

Waste liquid from fracking operations contains levels of benzene that can be far higher than state and federal agencies consider safe, according to a new analysis.
That liquid – known as flowback fluid – is often reinjected into groundwater. Benzene is a known carcinogen.
The state passed a fracking law two years ago that requires oil companies to test wells for a variety of toxins. The …

Environment, Issues, News »

Big winter blaze could be a glimpse of what’s to come

Posted February 10, 2015 by | 0 Comments | ]
california+fire3

A wind-whipped wildfire that tore through the eastern Sierra Nevada this week didn’t get the same attention that many other devastating fires in the state receive – perhaps because it’s not fire season, and few were expecting it.
But this one was bad, and it’s exactly the kind of fire that climate experts warn will become more common in California as increased heat and more …

economy, Environment, Power and Water »

Another big solar plant goes online in California desert

Posted February 9, 2015 by | 0 Comments | ]
DesertSunlight_3

One of the biggest solar energy projects in the country will get an official dedication ceremony today in the Riverside County desert.
The 3,800-acre Desert Sunlight Solar Farm is expected to generate electricty for more than 150,000 homes. Pasadena-based First Solar is building and operating the plant.
U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell is expected to join state and local officials for the dedication today.
The biggest solar …

economy, Environment, Issues, News »

California’s plastic bag ban facing two-pronged attack

Posted February 4, 2015 by | 1 Comment | ]
plasticbag

An Orange County lawmaker is pushing to dump California’s plastic bag ban – even while the law is on hold because of a pending voter referendum.
Costa Mesa Republican Assemblyman Matthew Harper introduced two bills yesterday. One would reverse the plastic bag ban. The other would get rid of the 10 cent fee for paper bags that is part of the law.
Harper says the charge …

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