Pacific Swell | Southern California environment news and trends

Morning greens: Southern California Edison wants you to pay more for power

SoCal Edison wants more of your money, California’s bullet train may never happen, and Yellowstone National Park faces climate change danger. But in “humanity isn’t completely lost” news, a little girl has gotten a posthumous wish to help others have clean water. Here’s your Wednesday green news.

Southern California Edison wants $3.2 billion in rate increases over the next three years. The Los Angeles Times reports that hearings are underway in Los Angeles over a price increase that consumer advocate groups are calling unnecessary and greedy. As the LA Times writes, “To Southern California Edison, the $3.2 billion in rate hikes it wants on homes and businesses are vital to ensuring much-needed improvements to an aging electrical grid serving 14 million people and 285,000 companies.”

Rachel Beckwith was just nine years old when a tragic traffic accident took her life last week. Her wish in June was to raise $300 by her ninth birthday to help bring clean water to people in poor countries. Now this wish has gone viral. reports that the little girl from Bellevue, Washington, has inspired more than $300,000 in pledges for charity:water, a nonprofit organization that brings clean drinking water to people in developing nations. You can see Rachel’s webpage here

The plan for California’s bullet train is troubled by budget woes. reports that “Plans to build a high-speed rail system in California that would transport passengers from San Diego to San Francisco on a bullet train traveling 220 mph have been beset by a series of roadblocks that are now exacerbated by budget cuts.” The $19 billion in federal funding for the $43 billion system is in jeopardy. 

Gov. Brown goes on a solar spree for homes. In order to encourage small-scale local energy that doesn’t require an enormous grid for transport, KQED reports that Gov. Brown is “hosting a conference at UCLA this week to promote his eight-point energy plan announced in June, and map out how the state can meet his goal of 12,000 megawatts of local, renewable energy by 2020.”  The state has already approved permits for more than 4,000 megawatts of new solar power for 2010 alone.  

And finally, experts are predicting more fires for Yellowstone National Park because of climate change. The Los Angeles Times reports on a new study that shows “the size and frequency of wildfires in the northern Rocky Mountains will increase so much with global warming that it will profoundly alter the landscape of Yellowstone National Park and its environs.” It’s thought that the conifer forests of spruce, pine and Douglas fir might “give way” to open woodlands, grass and shrubs. 

The San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant Image: angstdei/Flickr