Pacific Swell | Southern California environment news and trends

Morning greens: WeHo's heritage trees, Obama's forest rules

treesweho Morning greens:

Los Angeles will install the city’s first bike corral in Highland Park. According to the LADOT Bike Blog, “a bright & shiny bike corral will be installed in front of Cafe de Leche at York Boulevard and Avenue 50…. A tentative date of February 18th at 9:00 AM has been set for the corral’s grand opening.” (via LAist)

West Hollywood’s Heritage Tree Program protects unique trees and shrubs. Reports WeHo Patch: “Only six trees on four properties have been designated Heritage Trees, evenly divided between public and private property.” (via LAist)

Expo Line gets new drought-tolerant landscaping. According to the Expo Line Construction Authority’s press release (quoted in The Source), “the landscaping along the alignment will provide screening and buffering along the transit corridor and establish a parkway that connects neighborhoods along the way.”

California gauges private-sector interest in high-speed rail. Reports Greenwire: “The agency in charge of the project, the California High-Speed Rail Authority, gave interested parties a five-week window, until March 16, to express interest in design, construction, financing, operations and maintenance of the north-to-south line.”

Southern California Edison signs another big photovoltaic farm deal. Grist reports the L.A. utility agreed to buy electricity from a 250-megawatt solar farm to be built by First Solar. “Add that contract to 831 megawatts’ worth of photovoltaic power purchase agreements the Los Angeles utility signed with SunPower and Fotowatio in January, and you’re talking some serious solar — more than a gigawatt.”

In national news: The Obama administration released new forest rules — and some environmentalists aren’t happy about them. Reports NY Times: “While mining and timber industry groups seemed to take a wait-and-see attitude, several environmental advocacy groups quickly expressed deep disappointment over what they saw as setbacks for conservation.” LA Times’ report on the news reflects a more mixed response: “Some environmental groups praised the proposed rule as a vast improvement over the Bush regulations. But advocates also complained that it would leave too much wiggle room for local forest supervisors to fudge protections.”

Ecotrope took a closer look at the new forest laws with a series of posts, with one reporting that “When asked whether the new planning rule would result in more or less logging and mining in federal forests, [Agriculture Secretary Tom] Vilsack suggested it would depend on the forest.” Some environmentalists say Obama’s new forest rules are weaker than Reagan’s; a timber group is reportedly “pleased with the new rules.”

Photo: Trees on a West Hollywood street (Corey Harmon/Flickr)