Southern California environment news and trends

Pong, Pong, Pong... beep. Game over?

No clearer example of the decayed and decaying relationship between the Department of Water and Power and the L.A. City Council exists than the Pong-like battle over watering rules in the city of Los Angeles.

It's become like Pong because it's just outright boring. (If you never played Pong, it's like Activision Decathalon, when you would have to just shake the joystick back and forth for about 15 minutes to run a marathon. If you don't know what either of those two things are, well, you're not a Gen X-er who had an Atari 2600, and you probably never read the Sears catalog like a novel either.) So maybe another metaphor for it is this: imagine two people straightening a picture hanging on a wall. The first time it went on the wall, it pulled out some plaster; they were using the wrong hook in the wrong place. But now that it's secure on the wall, they're each nudging one corner, one on the left, one on the right, each saying saying his way is straighter.


Ventura stormwater forecast: cloudy, with a chance of clearing

Just a quick update on a story I posted over the weekend about Ventura stormwater management. The regional water quality control board has for three years been working on low-impact development rules: a watershed-wide permit that would govern how new development and re-development must manage stormwater on their properties. Last week the board took an action: but nobody who was at the meeting has been able to report clearly to me what happened there.

The board's interim executive officer, Sam Unger, now says the specific language of the stormwater permit will be available today or, at latest, tomorrow.


Rotenone and chemical policy: fish kills and trout angling

I've been on an extended vacation for the last coupla weeks - including in New Orleans, about which I'll have something to say later. But as I re-enter my brain into my job, I noticed this Chicago Tribune story about plans to apply Rotenone to deal with Asian Carp - an invasive species in the Great Lakes region.

Some years back (nearly three!) I did a story on aquatic invasive species in California. (Can't seem to find it on our website, but here's an external link.) California, of course, has thrown Rotenone in its lakes, too. And just recently the Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board met in Tahoe to approve Rotenone for killing invasive species in a place they're trying to protect angling for Paiute cutthroat trout.

Here's some information on Rotenone from the Pesticide Action Network and from the more middle-of-the-road Wikipedia entry.


I hate Earth Day

I'm not allowed to, of course; I cover energy and the environment for a public radio station. It violates the code. (Yes, conspiracy trolls, we've got a code, it's in our underground lair.) Nonetheless.


…with a white hot passion that burns like a thousand suns (though none of those suns have solar thermal or PV panels to soak up their energy, which seems unfortunate).

I didn't use to. I'm a good several years younger than Earth Day, but I grew up in Northern California's Bay Area, one of your early adopters. To talk about what I remember about it then is to fully embody every cliché you can think of for people in such places, so here goes, get your bingo cards out. We had petition gatherers outside the Co-op, the market my mom preferred over the big Safeway. (And we were mainstream – hell, my parents had a Suburban.) My brother and I fondly remember him getting indoctrinated in Montessori school. There's a hazy memory of Mr. Zucca the science teacher blowing up an earth-shaped balloon and releasing it, which we know makes no sense now.


US chemistry policy might get greener, sooner

I reported a series some time ago about "green chemistry" - a loosely defined term for reforms promoted by environmentalists aimed at clarifying for the public what the hell the chemicals do, and minimizing human exposure to stuff that's toxic or carcinogenic.

Now the Washington Post reports Senator Frank Lautenberg's going to introduce legislation to change up the way the federal government manages chemicals.

The idea is that chemical manufacturers would be on the hook for showing that their products are safe for human exposure BEFORE the chemicals make their way into products that people might, you know, get exposed to. And chemical manufacturers would have to give the EPA health and safety data they've (in some cases) never handed over before.

Lautenberg told the Post:

We're saying those who make the chemicals -- and there are 700 new ones that come to market each year -- ought to be responsible for testing them first before they're released to the public, instead of having the EPA play detective to search and try to find problems.