Pacific Swell | Southern California environment news and trends

Morning greens: Rail debates, water worries, wired forests

In L.A. rail news: KPCC reports Angelenos disagree on where Metro Purple Line’s Century City subway station should be located. According to Streetsblog LA, South L.A. is still fuming over Metro’s Leimert Park/Crenshaw Subway vote. Pasadena S-N reports Monrovia is facing off with the Gold Line Construction Authority over plans for a rail yard. And LA Now reports Angels Flight has been shut down by inspectors over damaged wheels.

Wilshire bus lane project goes to L.A. City Council for approval. According to Steve Hymon at Metro’s The Source, “If the full Council ends up backing a different option than the 7.7-mile option, then the environmental report will return to the Metro Board to decide what to do next. If everyone agrees on the 7.7 miles — and I think that could happen — then the project goes to the Federal Transit Administration for their sign-off.”

Is L.A.’s public transit a joke? This comedian sure hopes so. GOOD profiles Kristina Wong: “Her one-woman show “Going Green the Wong Way” chronicles her attempts to live responsibly in a city that isn’t known for its environmental values—including the story about how her biodiesel car burst into flames on a Los Angeles freeway.”

Wired Californian forests to guide response to climate. Reports NewScientist: “trees are rigged with sensors that inject pulses of heat and record its spread to track the flow of sap; and microclimate monitoring stations perch on stakes. The entire system is linked by bundles of cables.”

Western snowpack shrinking, raising water supply concerns. Reports Climate Watch: “For several years, scientists have observed that spring snowpack all across the West — in both northern and southern areas — has been decreasing. But now, Betancourt and a group of other climate scientists have found that the recent decline is a departure from patterns of the past 1,000 years.” Relatedly, NPR reports that thinning snows in Rockies is tied to global warming.

Mattel won’t use wood from alleged clear-cutter following Greenpeace Barbie protest. Reports KPCC: “The toymaker says it’s told packaging suppliers to stop using wood products from Asia Pulp & Paper while it investigates deforestation allegations.” LA Times also reports on the news.

Picking up San Francisco’s garbage is a sweet deal, and a monopoly. Reports NY Times: “Recology’s swank headquarters in the Financial District are a testament to its success, with sweeping views of the bay and art installations made from salvaged garbage…. But Recology is under siege. In February, Harvey Rose, the independent budget analyst to the Board of Supervisors, sounded an alarm about the unusual nature of the company’s deal with the city — a no-bid, no-franchise-fee garbage concession, in perpetuity.

In national news: U.S. plants gird for the next Fukushima. Reports NY Times’ Green: “three nuclear organizations said on Thursday that in response to Japan’s Fukushima accident, they are acting jointly to learn everything they can, seeking to reduce the risk of an accident and prepare for the consequences should one occur.”

Photo: Sign in support of putting a Westside Subway Extension stop at Avenue of the Stars and Constellation Boulevard. (Brian Watt/KPCC)