Pacific Swell | Southern California environment news and trends

Morning greens: CA’s nuclear waste has nowhere to go, rabid bats invade Los Angeles suburb

Quite a weekend, wasn’t it? Our first order of business is to send good thoughts out to the people of Norway after the horrible attack on their capitol and youth. Our next is to share the latest green headlines.

Just what is California’s nuclear waste burden? KQED reports “Nearly 3,000 tons of spent nuclear fuel have accumulated at nuclear power plants in California with nowhere to take it.” Per Peterson chairs the nuclear engineering department at UC Berkeley and is member of a White House commission on nuclear waste solutions. He told KQED, “This country has an obligation to those states and those communities to take those materials and put them into deep geologic disposal, where they can be safely isolated for a very long period of time.” 

Think your neighbors are annoying? They probably aren’t as bad (we hope) as the rabid bats that have moved into a Moorpark neighborhood. The Los Angeles Times reports that homeowners in Moorpark have been battling a rabid bat infestation resulting in one man bitten and his house quarantined. In the past two months, 10 bats have tested positive for rabies in the area. Homeowners have been sealing off spots where the bats like to nest while exterminators have been called in to evict the unruly neighbors. 

Poison oak is bad, but there’s another local plant that may be worse. The Los Angeles Times reports there’s a little-known plant threat that is currently competing with poison oak for the title of the biggest, baddest plant in the Southland. As the LA Times writes, “A species of plant that thrives in areas scorched by wildfire, the lavender-flowered Turricula parryi packs a bite. Skin contact can cause rashes, blisters, swelling and general irritation.” To see what this dastardly plant looks like, click here. 

After a powerful heat wave pounded the United States last week, relief has finally arrived. reports that the sweltering wave of heat and humidity finally started to fade on the East Coast on Sunday. As writes, “At its peak, the heat wave put some 132 million people under a heat alert and was blamed for as many as 34 deaths, according to the National Weather Service.” 

What’s more, a study revealed last spring shows that today’s weather infuences attitudes on global warming. MNN, via Live Science, reports on a study from Columbia Business School's Center for Decision Sciences. As MNN reports, “The study results suggest that because global warming and climate are complex and long-term trends, people may be more likely to grasp onto a simpler, more easily accessible explanation — the weather.” No word on if climate naysayers had a response other than “it wasn’t that hot”.

Image: tennesseevalleyauthority/Flickr