Southern California environment news and trends

LA closer to considering single-use bag ban

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David McNew/Getty Images

A Los Angeles City Council meeting this week moved ahead with the recommendation that all single-use plastic and paper bags be eliminated from the city’s supermarkets and food stores.

As reported by the L.A. Times, the council’s Energy and Environment Committee proposed an environmental review on such a ban as well as an ordinance that would establish it. If the ban were to be approved, stores would have a six-month “warning” period where plastic bags would have to be phased out. Once the ban would theoretically kick in, stores would have to charge 10 cents per paper bag used in any given transaction. Six months after that, paper bags would be eliminated as well, requiring all shoppers to bolster their tote bag collection.

“People will adjust,” said Councilman Dennis Zine to the L.A. Times. “They’ll adapt… and learn to take it with them,” he added in regards to reusable bags.


Beekeepers petition EPA over pesticide

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Frank Rumpenhorst/AFP/Getty Images

While the war being waged over strawberry fumigant methyl iodide that we’ve been following came to an abrupt end, a new pesticide debate is heating up.

Just this week, beekeepers and environmentalists came together and filed a petition with more than one million signatures asking the EPA to ban the use of pesticide clothianidin. Petitioners claim harm the bees, often lethally.

"The future of beekeeping faces numerous threats, including from clothianidin, and we need to take steps to protect pollinators and the livelihood of beekeepers," said co-petitioner Steve Ellis of Old Mill Honey Co in a press release.

As reported in Business Week, the beekeepers say that the pesticide cripples the immune system of the bees, ultimately leading to colony collapse disorder, where all adult honeybees die or simply disappear.


Grant program brings free solar panels to East LA homes

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Photo: Mike Spasoff/Flickr

During a time when the use of solar energy in America is at an all-time high, a new community development program has retrofitted nearly 90 homes in East L.A. with solar panels, attic insulation and a tankless water heater.

As reported by CBS Los Angeles, the Community Development Block Grant program provided the upgrades for free to single-family homes with an income of less than $67,000 in the L.A. County’s 1st District. The grant operator, Enterprise Community Partners, estimate the panels will eliminate 1200 tons of greenhouse gas emissions over their 30-year lifespan.


The iron is hot and the gas is expensive: CODA's first cars roll off the assembly line

CODA Automotive

Los Angeles-based CODA's first all-electric sedans rolled out at its Benicia facility as oil prices strike fear into politicians and consumers alike.

Pacific Swell loves revisiting stories, companies and issues KPCC has covered before. This week it's CODA Automotive. I profiled the Mid-City LA-based company in a story earlier this winter.

CODA clearly believes the best response to the national debate about rising gas prices is to offer a car for sale that needs no gas. "Never has the case for what we do been clearer," said Mac Heller, the company's executive chairman, in Benicia, according to a press release.

Dealerships in Silicon Valley (Del Grande Dealer Group) & San Diego (Marvin K. Brown) will soon offer CODA sedans for sale. In Los Angeles, CODA doesn't seem to have set dealer locations yet, but the company did put its first "experience center" in the Century City Westfield Mall. CODA touts the economic value of the cars themselves AND the jobs it has placed in California--building, marketing and developing them


Public transportation use on the rise across America

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David McNew/Getty Images

In 2011, Americans took a whopping 10.4 billion trips on various means of public transportation. According to an update from the American Public Transportation Association this week, that’s an increase of 2.3 percent from the year before. It’s also the largest that number has been since way back in 1957. It should come as no surprise that the top spot is still held by 2008, when the U.S. saw gasoline prices soar north of $4 per gallon. Sound familiar? 

“Two top reasons for the increased ridership are higher gas prices and in certain areas, a recovering economy with more people returning to work,” said Michael Melaniphy, the president and CEO of the APTA in a press release. “Since nearly sixty percent of trips taken on public transportation are for work commutes, it’s not surprising to see ridership increase in areas where the economy has improved.”