Southern California environment news and trends

SDG&E to grant $1 million to a few good ‘Environmental Champions’

Utility San Diego Gas & Electric is soliciting nonprofit environmental groups based in San Diego and south Orange County to split $1 million in grants through their Environmental Champions Initiative. Through July 27, SDG&E will be accepting proposals for programs “that engage and educate young people in the community as stewards of the environment in the areas of ecosystem awareness, environmental conservation, and energy and water efficiency,” according to a statement. Winning proposals can get up to $25,000 for individual projects, while collaborative efforts between nonprofit organizations can receive up to $50,000.

“The San Diego region is home to hundreds of non-profit organizations whose programs engage kids and communities in our local environment. SDG&E is proud to partner with many of these non-profits in support of our shared commitment to the environment and environmental stewardship,” said Pedro Villegas, director of community relations for SDG&E in a statement. “Through support of our partner non-profit organizations, we also seek to provide underserved communities with access to environmental education and engagement programs, access that may not be available otherwise.”


Pure energy: San Diego’s controversial Sunrise Powerlink activated

San Diego Gas & Electric announced this week that the much-debated Sunrise Powerlink has been completed and energized. The 117-mile, 500,000 volt transmission line that connects San Diego with the Imperial Valley is the culmination of close $1.9 billion, five years of environmental reviews and 18 months of construction. According to NASDAQ, The review was so extensive that it is being considered “the most comprehensive study of a proposed transmission power line in state history.”

“Putting the Sunrise Powerlink into service is the final milestone in a complex and challenging energy project that ranks among the largest and most significant in the history of San Diego Gas & Electric,” said Jessie J. Knight Jr., chairman and chief executive officer of SDG&E in a press release. “Design, planning, construction and implementation of the project required scores of public hearings, detailed construction schedules to accommodate a wide array of environmental regulations and coordination of thousands of helicopter flights to ferry crews and material to the construction sites along the route.”


EPA rejects petition to ban popular herbicide

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flydime/Flickr Creative Commons License

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.”


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

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Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images

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.”