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Old barded wire and other artifacts are still scattered around the Manzanar War Relocation Center north of Lone Pine, Calif., where 10,000 Japanese-American citizens were confined during World War II
A large array of solar panels the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power is proposing for the floor of the Owens Valley will get a public meeting in downtown Los Angeles Saturday.
In scheduling the meeting, the DWP has again extended the public comment period for the project it calls the Southern Owens Valley Solar Ranch, which, as we reported a few weeks back, would send 200 megawatts of energy down an existing transmission line from the Eastern Sierra to the LA Basin.
Photovoltaic solar panels on tall metal poles would cover miles of city-owned land near the Manzanar National Historic Site north of Lone Pine. During World War II, the U.S. Government rounded up Japanese Americans and confined them in remote internment camps, including Manzanar.
Community groups, like the Manzanar Committee and the Owens Valley Committee, have criticized the project, in part, because they say the solar ranch will industrialize the area near the former camp and degrade its historical value.
Dept. of Water Resources
Much of the State Water Project is comprised of pipelines that carry water south.
Top officials from the state’s Department of Water Resources and the Metropolitan Water District warn that drought and dry conditions could reduce water supplies next year.
Southern California still has healthy reserves of water – for now. The Metropolitan Water District’s Jeff Kightlinger says upgrades to the region’s reservoirs mean we’ve banked enough water for a dry year.
The concern is the water sources that supply the local reservoirs. The states that feed the Colorado River are in drought, and the river’s two big reservoirs in Arizona, Lake Mead and Lake Powell, are less than half full.
The other major source of Southern California water, the State Water Project, is hamstrung by dry conditions and species protection that have limited water deliveries from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta.
People living near a controversial lead battery recycling plant in Vernon demanded answers from regulators and lawmakers about the facility's future during a tense four hour meeting Tuesday.
The government shutdown kept the Environmental Protection Agency away from the meeting. But the head of the California Department of Toxic Substances Control, Debbie Raphael, showed up to face an angry crowd of nearly two hundred in the auditorium of Resurrection Catholic Church in Boyle Heights.
On Monday Raphael's agency announced it planned to drop efforts to close the plant operated by Exide Technologies. In exchange, Exide agreed to set aside nearly $8 million to clean up toxic pollution, limit future emissions, and provide blood screenings to concerned residents.
Raphael defended the agreement, stressing that Exide contributes jobs to the community. But she said that wasn't more important than operating safely.
State officials suspended operations at the Exide Technologies in Vernon, Calif. in April due to emissions of arsenic that could pose a health risk to 110,000 people in nearby communities. The plant is now reopened.
The California Department of Toxic Substances Control announced that it has reached a deal with embattled battery recycler Exide Technologies that will allow the company to keep its Vernon plant open.
Brian Johnson, chief of the department’s hazardous waste management program, says DTSC will issue an order requiring Exide to clean up leaky stormwater pipes and control toxic substances in air emissions.
“[The order] includes requirements that go beyond out initial concerns,” Johnson said in a conference call. Those requirements will help “identify potential impacts the facility may have had on surrounding communities,” he said.
TIMELINE: Exide's shutdown in Vernon
Earlier this spring, toxics officials identified those two problems as health hazards to workers in the area and the community at large. Air emissions of lead and arsenic are raising cancer risks in the area, according to a study released by the South Coast Air Quality Management District. The company’s own inspection video identified leaks in stormwater pipes, used at times for wastewater. That could lead to toxic chemicals seeping into the surrounding soil.
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An US Park Ranger sets up a sign announcing the closure of Joshua Tree National Park, in Joshua Tree, California, due to the government shutdown.
The National Park Services reported that vandals cut locks at two sites in the Santa Monica Mountains Friday night, after park officials limited access to the national recreation area due to a red flag warning. Signs at Rancho Sierra Vista in Newbury Park and Cheeseboro – Palo Comado Canyons in Agoura Hills noted the risk of fire. According to a written statement released by Superintendent David Szymanski, “it appears that the gates were vandalized in response to the Federal government shutdown.”
Twenty-six properties in the national parks system remain closed in California. As federal furloughs continue, conservationists have warned of the risk of environmental harm there, too.
As for the dozens of biological and ecological monitoring projects on shuttered federal lands – they’re shut down too.