On Tuesday, Los Angeles Water and Power Commissioners will consider a settlement to end decades of discord over ecological damage at Mono Lake stemming from the city's water use.
Los Angeles first took water for its aqueduct from the Mono basin in the 1940s, starving miles of streams and creeks that fed Mono Lake. Courts and state water officials have since required L.A. to improve the health of those tributaries. Now, this new deal requires the DWP to build a $15 million dollar gate in the Grant Dam above Rush Creek. Mark Drew of the preservation group, California Trout says the goal is to release a pulse of water into the creek that mimics natural seasonal snow melt.
"I look forward to seeing robust riparian vegetation and a fishery that is flourishing, a lake that is continually rising that the four tributaries feeding Mono Lake will be healthy and robust. And it will now have lasting impact for generations to come."
In March, protesters tossed toy guinea pigs at a sign for the Shell Pipeline Company outside their facility in Carson.
Regional water regulators have rejected the first part of a plan put forward by Shell Oil to clean up toxic chemicals in soil under the Carousel neighborhood in the city of Carson.
Two-hundred-eighty-five homes sit atop what once was a petroleum tank farm. Shell Oil sold the site in the 1960s to a developer. Decades later, investigators found benzene, methane, and other chemicals in soil at the site.
The Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board has ordered Shell to investigate the sites, propose remediation and clean them up. Earlier this year, Shell submitted its proposed “site specific cleanup goals” for the contamination – something like a road map for addressing contamination that needs regulator approval.
In a 15-page letter, the water board’s executive officer Sam Unger acknowledges that Shell’s investigation of the contamination so far has “provided reliable, comprehensive, and high quality data.” But he also writes that Shell’s goals “do not appear to take into account” regional regulations, state policy, and federal law, adding that they “may not be fully protective of unrestricted residential land use,” as the land is being used right now.
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Old twisted barded wire and other artifacts are still scattered around the Manzanar War Relocation Center south of Independence, California.
Supporters of Manzanar Historic Site -- home to a former Japanese-American internment camp -- are objecting to a proposal by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power to put solar panels nearby, along the Owens River. They say the panels would obstruct the view from the camp.
Earlier this month, the DWP told Inyo County that it was resurrecting a project called the Southern Owens Valley Solar Ranch.
The agency wants to install enough solar panels to generate around 200 megawatts of energy on land near Manzanar.
Manzanar commemorates the experiences of Japanese-Americans placed in an internment camp there during World War II. It's managed by the National Park Service. The Manzanar Committee, an activist group that has long skirmished with the DWP, opposes the solar plan.
In a letter, the Committee argues that one million solar panels would obstruct the view from the camp – and that construction would harm an old solid waste dump site that may contain historic artifacts.
The proposed project would be built on land owned by the City of L.A. Inyo County is considering allowing it. County supervisors there voted two weeks ago to seek compensation from the DWP for potential costs to the county.
Two years ago, DWP had floated the idea of a similar solar field nearby – but didn't follow through on the plan.
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California brown pelicans fly around offshore oil rigs near Santa Barbara.
Environmental groups are using information provided by the oil industry to up their pressure on the California Coastal Commission to ban hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in coastal waters. The groups say the Commission should at least impose a "time-out" on fracking while it investigates the procedure's impact on the ocean and marine life.
Fracking is on the Coastal Commission's agenda when it meets Thursday in Santa Cruz.
The Center for Biological Diversity, Surfrider, and the Santa Barbara-based Environmental Defense Center point to oil producers’ own disclosures on the industry-run website FracFocus. Thums and Occidental Petroleum told FracFocus, which tracks well operation information, about chemicals the companies used in oil production along the nearshore coast, in California state waters.
The Hansen Spreading Grounds, south of Pacoima, stretches 120 acres and provides water to more than 200,000 people each year. The grounds absorb storm water, where it is restored and then reused in homes and businesses.
Environmentalists got a win at the 9th circuit court of appeals last week, in their odyssey to hold L.A. County responsible for pollution carried into the sea by its stormwater. Regardless of whether that court decision sticks, it's a reminder that the issue of how to control coastal runoff isn’t going away.
Los Angeles Waterkeeper and the Natural Resources Defense Council brought the Clean Water Act case five years ago. They argued that stormwater runoff has exceeded pollution standards measured by the county’s own instruments, and since that violates the permit regional water regulators issued to the county, the county is in violation of the Clean Water Act.
Since then the case has bounced up and down through federal court like a yo-yo; it was argued at the U.S. Supreme Court in January.