Pacific Swell | Southern California environment news and trends

Morning greens: Green taxis, short subway, and more energy debates

lacab Morning greens: and

LA City Council moved to ‘green’ city’s taxi fleets — “at least 80 percent of the city’s taxicabs within the next five years” — as a condition of renewing the taxi franchise system. LA Times reports “several environmental groups, including the Natural Resources Defense Council, said the evidence of environmental improvement was sketchy.” We’ll have more on this at Pacific Swell later in the week.

Metro’s recommending that the Subway to the Sea only stretch to Westwood, which has made some subway supporters unhappy. In case you missed the Metro public meetings, the transit agency’s blog The Source explains why the transit agency’s recommending a shorter line than what many transit advocates desire. “The short explanation comes down to one word: ‘money’” — as in federal funding, the criteria for which are not met by a longer subway line. Whether you agree or disagree with Metro, you can voice your opinion at the Metro Board of Directors Hearing on the Westside Subway Extension tomorrow.

Glendale Narrows could get a green redevelopment, turning the “hard-scrabble industrial area into river-oriented parks and trails, along with residential neighborhoods, ‘green’ businesses and shopping and dining destinations,” according to LA Downtown News. Called the LA River Corridor Project, the redevelopment plans are coordinated by Community Redevelopment Agency, which recently got a $2.25 million grant to conduct a study for the project from The U.S. Housing and Urban Development Department.

Santa Monica’s leaf blower ban will get easier to enforce. Until now, only police officers were able to issue citations, but starting Oct. 28, officers from the city’s Office of Sustainability and the Environment will take over those duties. Reports SM Mirror: “an individual gas powered leaf blower, those often used by professional gardeners, emit 500 times the level of hydrocarbons than a modern automobile (CA Air Resources Board).”

A California senate committee will debate nuclear power today. The Senate Energy, Utilities and Communications Committee hearing’s drawing criticism from anti-nuclear energy groups, who say their side isn’t represented in the hearing and that lawmakers get big contributions from the nuclear energy industry.

Slate looks at the pros and cons of geothermal energy, with a close look at Yellowstone’s famous geysers. Don’t worry — The geysers aren’t about to be tapped anytime soon. The “Geothermal Steam Act of 1970 puts national park lands off-limits to geothermal energy developers.”

Lastly and gloomily: Want to get a dark eco lesson across on Halloween? Treehugger has a roundup of 10 green Halloween costume ideas inspired by the planet’s perils.

Photo: WarOnTomato/Flickr