Pacific Swell | Southern California environment news and trends

Morning greens: Transit plans, tainted fish, and updates on the BP oil spill, nuclear safety

Funding approved for downtown LA streetcar project. Reports ABC7: “The urban street car system would serve a four-mile area including Bunker Hill, the Music Center, historic Broadway, L.A. Live and the L.A. Convention Center.”

Rail service plan for LAX still has hurdles. Reports LA Times: “More than 15 years after the Green Line opened, an extension into the airport is being considered. But cost and logistical problems remain.”

Volunteers hit OC beach in cleanup effort. ABC7 reports the cleanup was part of Preserve Our Parks Campaign, which “aims to raise more than $750,000 to go toward keeping state parks and beaches clean and well maintained.”

On Southland piers, warning that more fish species are tainted. Reports LA Times: “Besides white croaker, contamination has been found in four other kinds of fish. Some anglers, lured by the free meals fishing provides, are unfazed.”

Big Bear Lake filled to the brim. Reports LA Times: “After near-record amounts of snow and rain in the San Bernardino Mountains over the last year, wind-blown waves are cresting over Big Bear Lake’s 74-foot dam and have forced the agency managing the lake to release water downstream for the first time in 15 years.”

U.S. is increasing nuclear power through uprating. Reports LA Times: “The U.S. nuclear industry is turning up the power on old reactors, spurring quiet debate over the safety of pushing aging equipment beyond its original specifications.” Relatedly, an independent commission needs to review U.S. nuclear safety according to Physicist Tom Cochran, interviewed by NPR. Meanwhile, Schwarzenegger defends nuclear, sugarcane ethanol, reports Greenwire.

Meanwhile in Japan: Robots in Japanese reactors detect high radiation, reports AP. NY Times reports the Tokyo utility laid out a plan to stabilize the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in the next nine months.

A year later, BP oil spill still marks the gulf and Gulf marine life still lives in spill’s horror, reports NPR. Year Later, BP Oil Spill Still Marks The Gulf. LA Times and AP also report on the state of the Gulf. NY Times reports that regulation of offshore rigs is still a work in progress.

Image: A portion of the route for the proposed streetcar system in downtown Los Angeles. (