PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images
Peter Faris, shown here in Washington DC, is an independent driver who works with Uber, a technology firm that has created a mobile app that allows consumers to use their device to request a nearby taxi or limousine.
Businesses aren’t the only interested parties in the guidance that public utilities regulators will provide about ridesharing services such as Uber, Sidecar and Lyft.
Transit policy experts, advocates and environmentalists are watching what happens too. They’re divided about what impact ridesharing will have on the market for mass transit, and by extension the market for fossil fuel-combusting cars, the kind that still dominate the auto industry.
The group Move LA was created five years ago to advocate for sales-tax transportation funding and the passage of Measure R in Los Angeles County. On a recent visit to Atlanta, Gloria Ohland, the group’s communication director, used both Uber and the heavy rail system, MARTA. Her experience there, she says, exemplifies her belief that having choices is good. She says she favors a mass transit system that is “species rich.”
Mar Vista Green Garden Showcase
Mar Vista's annual green garden showcase promotes the kind of landscaping that the LADWP's lawn-removal program promotes.
Around 850 L.A. homeowners and commercial property owners have pulled out a million-and-a-half square feet of grass since the city started paying them to replace it with more drought-friendly options. The city wants to get rid of even more lawns, so the Department of Water and Power is sweetening the pot.
Four years into the program, the DWP has upped how much you'll be paid to replace your lawn, from $1.50 per square foot to $2.
Two bucks a square foot can mean a few thousand dollars in the pocket of the average homeowner, and the DWP hopes that will boost interest. And you don't have to replace it with gravel and cacti.
L.A. recognizes the same wide menu of lawn alternatives that other utilities do, including shrubs, vines, trees, succulents and perennial plants. The utility will also kick in money for using weather-based irrigation systems and eco-friendly sprinkler heads.
To get a rebate, homeowners and commercial businesses must seek pre-approval for their proposed changes, and show the DWP what the lawn looks like now.
Details are on the LADWP's website.
Brightsource has developed concentrating solar technology at the Ivanpah site in the Mojave Desert. Now one of its subsequent proposals in Riverside County is dead, and another in Inyo County is in limbo.
Solar developer Brightsource Energy has cancelled plans to build a large project in Riverside County. The move dims the developer's prospects for getting more solar power on the grid in California.
Rio Mesa was to be a 500-megawatt solar thermal development, with at least half the energy going to Southern California Edison. Brightsource had put Rio Mesa on pause in January, citing scheduling and transmission problems, but now the company has withdrawn its permit application with the state's Energy Commission.
The news comes after Brightsource froze its permit process for another site, Hidden Hills, in Inyo County. Brightsource and industry backers touted both projects as ideally situated on non-public land. But developers still faced tough questions from regulators and conservationists about valuable fossils found at Rio Mesa, and risks to wildlife at both locations.
FILE - In this Dec. 8, 2009 file photo trucks haul material to the Waste Management landfill site just outside Kettleman City, Calif. Federal officials say they have levied about $1 million in penalties on the operator of the massive toxic waste dump in Central California for failure to properly dispose of waste at its landfill.
California dumps a million tons of hazardous waste in landfills each year. Now the head of the state's Department of Toxic Substances Control says she wants to cut that amount in half within a dozen years.
Debbie Raphael says that over the next year, regulators will meet with the waste management industry, environmentalists, and communities that host toxic dumps. Raphael says they'll discuss ways to clean up toxics on site, along with other alternatives to moving contaminated soil from one place to another.
California has some of the toughest hazardous waste rules in the country. But it ships around a third of its toxic waste to other less regulated locales.
Raphael announced the effort at the same time her agency released a draft permit that would allow for the expansion of a controversial hazardous waste dump in Kettleman City, in central California.
Sand dunes at the edge of Owens Lake.
The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and the Great Basin Unified Air Pollution Control District have settled their dispute over dust mitigation measures on portions of Owens Lake. Great Basin has agreed to let the DWP lay down a thinner layer of gravel, and to pursue shallow flooding with brine, to control dust. The deal also calls for steps to preserve the site of a massacre of Native Americans, and for a $10 million DWP payment to help control dust in an area just east of the lake.
The agreement regarding "reduced thickness gravel" and "brine shallow flooding" will help the two agencies achieve their goals of "controlling air pollution and decreasing the use of water at Owens Lake," according to a joint press release.
Two years ago, Great Basin ordered the DWP to take additional steps to control dust on an additional 2.9 square miles at the lake; DWP has already spent about $1.2 billion on dust mitigation over more than 40 square miles. It sued Great Basin, but a judge dismissed the suit in May.