Pacific Swell | Southern California environment news and trends

Morning greens: L.A. River to get walkway, music

pan Morning greens

Officials prepare for emergency drill at San Onofre nuclear power plant. Reports KPCC: “Officials from a bunch of different agencies will take part in a mandatory emergency drill at San Onofre. It starts tomorrow and runs through Thursday. A couple hundred workers at the San Onofre plant will simulate shutting down the facility and securing the plant’s radioactive materials.”

Meanwhile in Japan: Lack of data heightens Japan’s nuclear crisis. Reports NY Times. “Nearly one month after Japan’s devastating nuclear accident, atomic energy experts, regulators and politicians around the world are still puzzling over a basic question: How much danger is still posed by the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant?” LA Times reports that three strong aftershocks jolted the Japanese quake zone earlier today.

Metro launches Spanish-language blog. Called El Pasajero, “It’s the first Spanish-language blog by a transit agency in the United States,” according to Metro’s English-language blog, The Source. LA Times reports “The aim of El Pasajero is to create an interactive experience for Latino passengers by providing news and features from the Los Angeles County transit agency as well as photos and video.”

L.A. River walkway project about to begin after many delays. Reports LA Times: “After years of delays, construction finally is set to begin next week on a long awaited pathway along the Glendale portion of the Los Angeles River.”

Youth invited to compose song about L.A. River. The City of Los Angeles, in collaboration with the L.A. River Day of Service, has launched The Songs of the L.A. River Project: “L.A. based youth ages 6 – 18 are invited to write and submit an original piece of music inspired by the Los Angeles River…. The top entries will win a chance to perform their song live with L.A.’s own GRAMMY© Award-winning Ozomatli at the free L.A. River Day of Service Jamz concert.” (via Eric Garcetti’s blog)

California farmers, ecologists square off over drinking water pollution. Reports Greenspace: “Should farmers in the Central Valley, California’s richest agricultural region, be required to monitor and clean up groundwater pollution from their operations? Under the proposed regulations, farmland would be classified based on the contamination risk.”

Lake Tahoe logging plan ignites a court battle. Reports Greenspace: “Should the scorched forests around Lake Tahoe be logged and replanted, or should they be allowed to regenerate at nature’s pace? That’s the issue at the heart of a lawsuit filed recently in U.S. District Court in Sacramento by the environmental group Earth Island Institute and others against the U.S Forest Service.”

Midwest competing with California for high-speed rail funds. Reports LA Times: “Illinois and neighboring states have applied for some of the $2.43 billion in federal high-speed rail funding that became available after Florida Gov. Rick Scott scuttled plans for fast trains. That puts them in direct competition with California, which has set its sights on the same funds.”

Europe has advice for California’s cap-and-trade captains. Climate Watch reports that EU Commissioner Connie Hedegaard advised against too many free allowances. “The pollution permits traded among companies in a cap-and-trade system are known as ‘allowances.’ Whether to give them away or make industry pay for them is an ongoing point of contention. California regulators have chosen to begin by giving away the lion’s share of permits at first, ramping up to a system of auctioned allowances.”

Photo: Evening sets on the San Onofre atomic power plant in northern San Diego County, south of San Clemente, California. (David McNew/Getty Images)