Pacific Swell | Southern California environment news and trends

Morning greens: Cali parks closures, rail ride discounts, and a plan to ban Styrofoam

Happy Bike to Work Week!

Brown says he’s closing 70 California state parks. Reports KPCC: “The closures include the Governor’s Mansion in Sacramento, the Salton Sea State Recreation Area in Imperial County, Pio Pico in Whittier, Orange County, and McGrath State Beach in Ventura County.” SoCal Focus also reports on the news.

Calif. parks and beaches make for a thriving outdoor economy. Reports LA Times: “On Friday, Gov. Jerry Brown announced that budget woes might force the state to close 70 of its 278 parks, but state park officials said they would try to keep open those parks that generate the most revenue through entrance fees and concession operations.”

Los Angeles County is poised to accelerate its rail projects. Reports LA Times: “With financial support from Measure R, a voter-approved sales tax, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s proposed $4.15-billion budget could pay for planning or construction for roughly a dozen lines.”

Metrolink to offer unlimited $10 weekend pass. Reports ABC7: “Starting July 1, Metrolink will offer an unlimited weekend pass for $10. The commuter rail is also replacing its 10-trip ticket with a new 7-day pass.” According to L.A. Now, officials hope these changes “will reduce revenue losses caused by fare evasion.”

Burbank to charge $5 a day for large vehicles to park on city streets. Reports LA Times: “The City Council this week adopted a plan that would force drivers of non-commercial vehicles longer than 22 feet or taller than 8 feet — which would include most recreational vehicles, trucks with campers or trailers, even raised pickups — to get a daily $5 permit for parking on residential streets or face a $55 citation.”

Some Glendale and Burbank residents fight smart meters. Reports LA Times: “Glendale and Burbank officials have lauded their respective multimillion-dollar smart-grid projects — which will allow two-way communication with the utility and let customers track real-time water and electricity consumption — as an exciting technological advancement.”

Former Tejon Ranch hunting guide says mountain lions were killed illegally at the ranch. Reports LA Times: “The California Department of Fish and Game is investigating claims in a whistle-blower lawsuit filed by a former Tejon Ranch employee who alleges that he was fired after he complained about the illegal killing of mountain lions at the company’s direction.”

Senator wants to ban Styrofoam in Calif. eateries. Reports ABC7: “The bill’s author is Sen. Alan Lowenthal of Long Beach, who says there are other biodegradable materials that could replace Styrofoam containers and they are not more expensive.”

In national news: Obama shifts to speed oil and gas drilling in U.S. Reports NY Times: “President Obama, facing voter anger over high gasoline prices and complaints from Republicans and business leaders that his policies are restricting the development of domestic energy resources, announced Saturday that he was taking several steps to speed oil and gas drilling on public lands and waters.” LA Times also reports on the story.

Photo: McGrath State Beach, located in Oxnard, Calif., is on the list of potential state park closures (The City Project/Flickr)