Southern California environment news and trends

LA has the most Energy Star buildings in U.S.

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For the fourth year running, Los Angeles will rank first among all cities for the highest number of Energy Star Certified buildings in America.

According to the annual report released by the Environmental Protection Agency this week, Southern California alone boasts 930 Energy Star certified buildings across Los Angeles, Riverside, and San Diego, saving an estimated $186 million in utility bills annually. Overall, California has six cities on the list, including San Jose, Sacramento and San Francisco.

"More and more organizations are discovering the value of Energy Star as they work to cut costs and reduce their energy use," said EPA administrator Lisa P. Jackson in a press release. "This year marked the twentieth anniversary of the Energy Star program, and today Energy Star certified buildings in cities across America are helping to strengthen local economies and protect the planet for decades to come."

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EPA rejects petition to ban popular herbicide

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The Environmental Protection Agency this week denied a request by the National Resources Defense Council that extensively used herbicide 2,4-D be taken off the market. The 2008 petition was denied because the EPA felt that the NRDC did not provide adequate evidence to their claims that the pesticide is indeed harmful to humans.

“This has been one of the most widely used and successful herbicides in history and growers along with other users around the U.S. and the world can continue to use it with confidence,” said Jim Gray, executive director of the Industry Task Force II on 2,4-D research data in a press release. “EPA’s most recent decision is consistent with findings of other authorities such as the World Health Organization, Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency and the European Commission.”

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“Fix A Leak Week” is coming to California

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It’s time to tighten up, California. Your faucets, that is. The Environmental Protection Agency and California American Water are teaming up to remind state residents simple yet effective ways to conserve water (and save money) with “Fix A Leak Week,” to be observed March 12-18.

“A leaky faucet or sprinkler may not seem like a big deal to the individual resident,” California American Water Northern Division General Manager Andy Soule said in a Yahoo! Finance report. “But when you take your leaky faucet and add it with your neighbor’s leaky showerhead and his neighbor’s leaky toilet and so on, you’re talking about an enormous amount of water being wasted on a national level.”

According to the EPA, that adds up to more than a trillion gallons of water wasted annually across America, which breaks down to about 11,000 per residence.

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Southern California wins big at EPA’s first Climate Leadership Awards

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The Port of Los Angeles was given a Climate Leadership award by the EPA.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is using this leap day to recognize the recipients of the first-ever Climate Leadership Awards, and Southern California is walking away with a slew of honors.

The awards aim to spotlight “corporate, organizational, and individual leadership in addressing climate change and reducing carbon pollution,” according to an EPA press release.

Of the 21 honorees, the lone “Individual Leadership” award went to Gene Rodrigues, the Director of Customer Energy Efficiency and Solar at Southern California Edison. San Diego Gas & Electric was one of two winners of the “Organizational Leadership” award, alongside IBM.

In the category of “Supply Chain Leadership,” Port of Los Angeles was recognized for “actively addressing emissions outsider their operations.”

“The Port of Los Angeles has worked hard to establish itself as an international leader in port-related greenhouse gas emission reduction efforts,” explained Geraldine Katz, Ph.D and Port Executive Director. “We're proud that many of our programs now serve as models for other ports around the world.”

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Is “Dr. Seuss' The Lorax” the most eco-friendly animated movie ever?

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Taylor Swift voices a character in "Dr. Seuss' The Lorax."

Typically, when a major animated movie like “Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax” hits the local multiplex, it comes saddled with a slew of merchandising tie-ins. At least one of which inevitably leads beleaguered parents to a fast-food restaurant to procure a plastic toy stuck to a cheeseburger for their cinematically influenced children.

“Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax,” which arrives in theaters on March 2, is not lacking for marketing tie-ins – the Associated Press reports that Universal Pictures has amassed close to 70 “launch partners” for the film – only these connections will direct you towards Whole Foods Markets and Energy Star stickers.

It all makes perfect sense, since in Suess’ original book “The Lorax,” the title character defends trees against the evil and mysterious character, “Once-ler.” On the movie's official webisite, there's an entire page dedicated to green tips and activities.

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