Southern California environment news and trends

About time to certify sustainable wine in California?

Doing a little desk clearing (and it's a new desk, so that's not encouraging), and I found something I'm very interested in: wine. Not necessarily at my desk, but hell, we're reporters.

I come from a family of sniffers and swirlers. Not my dad the truculent Swede, but the Irish Catholic side. My grandfather was fond of a Sancerre now and again; my uncle invests in a magnificent winemaker's operation in the Russian River Valley, where he and my mom spent some summer vacations, and I've got some other cousins who make wines too.

Then a few years back I visited Napa for a friend's birthday, and we heard a lot about sustainability. A little less about organic, and biodynamic, but, for example, Robert Sinksey had folks who were knowledgeable and accessible during pourings. I love covering the environment. I love wine. You'd think I would have found an excuse to expense some stories by now.

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ATTENTION CALIFORNIANS: Urgent urgency on the radio today 3-5:30 pm

Attention women of Los Angeles, and those who love them, and those who work with them, and those who are physically proximate to them, and are fearful or enraptured and possibly both:

(Actually, before you do, pause for a moment; imagine me as a cross between two characters in the classic film Mr. Mom: Terri Garr, and the guy who played the president of Schooner Tuna (the tuna with a heart). Actually, imagine me as Terri Garr playing the Schooner Tuna guy. If you're thinking about Martin Mull right now, that's on you, and I can be of no help.)

Your country needs you. Actually, not your country. Your local public radio station. And when I say your local public radio station, I mean KPCC. No, we're the one with local news. And when I say TODAY, I mean, between 3:00 pm and 5:30.

A gauntlet has been thrown down. And when I say gauntlet, I mean, a sort of glove. No, I don't plan to smell it. It came from KPCC's estimable John Rabe, the host of Off-Ramp, and KPCC's Frank Stoltze, who is to "downtown bureau chief" what Les Nessman of WKRP is to "guy whose office has a door."

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POLA re-ups with Gephardt group on F4A issues

It happened last week instead of one night, but...the Port of Los Angeles has, for the fourth time, renewed its relationship with a lobbying firm helping it out on Capitol Hill. In doing so it puts a very interesting problem in the lap of LA's new deputy mayor, Austin Beutner.

POLA is very very very interested in amending a law called the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act. The act prohibits local authorities from regulating rates, routes and service. Specifically, they're interested in "clarifying and strengthening the rights of local public port authorities to enact essential environmental and security programs," as Philip Stanfield told the Daily Breeze.

The Gepbardt group has been:

working continuously on securing an amendment to the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act (FAAAA), which currently prohibits state and local governments from regulating drayage truck rates, routes and services, with certain exceptions such as safety. The FAAAA has been interpreted by the courts as preempting certain essential elements of the Port’s CTP. The Port believes that its current program, as enacted, complies with current law and will continue making this case in court. While not guaranteeing any existing element of the CTP, staff believes that amending the FAAAA would strengthen the ability for any publicly-owned port to enact environmental and security programs on par with the extraordinary environmental and security challenges facing the Port.

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Hikers to Half Dome will need paperwork next time

Comes word from the National Park Service that if you're above the subdome, you're going to need a permit for that, Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays when the cables are up - and they're only giving out 400 a day. I say "only" - that seems like plenty, and you'll still see crowds up there, I'm guessing. But it seems Yosemite - likely with the input of the climbing community - is looking to cut down on the Russian-bread-line aspect of Half Dome hiking. (You can see a line of hikers packed in on the cables here.

It's become a safety issue - cries for more safety grew louder last June when a young man fell to his death from the congested area. A genius outdoors writer from my hometown paper, Tom Stienstra, has an eyewitness account of the accident and smart discussion of the issues here.

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