Southern California environment news and trends

Senate Approves John Bryson as Commerce Secretary

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President Barack Obama stands with John Bryson after nominating Bryson to be the next Commerce Secretary, on May 31, 2011 in Washington, D.C. Bryson has now been confirmed by the Senate.

While the California Air Resources Board was approving a cap-and-trade scheme to start in 2013 in-state, in Washington the U.S. Senate has approved John Bryson as the next Commerce Secretary. Bryson's nomination was controversial from the get-go. 

Republicans vowed to block Bryson back in July. But in the end his opposition among some Republican senators fizzled as they grudgingly admitted that he has the credentials to serve. As Politico's Darren Goode reports, Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain said, "If I were president of the United States, I would probably not have nominated Mr. Bryson. But I think we all ought to appreciate the fact that elections do have consequences." (Of course, he would know.)

Back in June we looked at 5 environmental connections for Mr. Bryson and California: he'll have authority over matters relating to NOAA, which means interaction with oceans policy and climate policy. Kitty Felde in Washington covered the short confirmation hearing that same month. 


Morning greens: California coastlines get cleaner, but is LA’s solar energy shady?

Happy Thursday, Southern California! The summer sun is heating up, and so is the green news.

Our coastlines are getting cleaner, now that California and the courts are telling ships to stop bypassing the clean fuel zone. As Diane Bailey of NRDC reports, “California’s Air Resources Board meets tomorrow to close a major loophole undermining clean shipping fuel requirements adopted two years ago. NRDC has been to court to defend these important rules several times and the court agrees that California has the right to protect its coastal residents from major health hazards associated with ocean going vessels burning toxics-laden bunker fuel.” This move is expected to drastically reduce premature deaths, asthma and other severe health problems associated with pollution from the diesel freights.