Pacific Swell | Southern California environment news and trends

Morning greens: Hollywood debates ways to prevent tourists from setting the Hollywood sign on fire

Hollywood wants to remove tourist butt, a local art student designs for disabled bikers, and U.S. House Republicans want an “honest” tally of how much protecting the environment is costing big business. Here’s your Thursday morning greens.

The City of Hollywood is studying tourist access to the Hollywood sign. Tourists often clogged the brush near the sign, smoking in dangerous fire conditions. They also significantly pollute the area by leaving their butts behind. KTLA shares that while there is a $1200 violation against smoking in the area; tourists are rarely ticketed by police because they do not return for their court dates. As The Los Angeles Times reports, one resident has suggested building an aerial tram from which to view the sign.

A local art student has invented a device to help the disabled pedal bikes. Seth Astle, a student at the Art School of Design in Pasadena, has invented a device called the “cadence,” a new prosthetic leg that allows amputees to pedal. reports that “Astle's invention enables the foot to be more flexible, allowing the rider to move faster.” His invention was selected as the U.S. winner in the international James Dyson Award competition. 

Did you know that it is Watch Out for Wildlife Awareness Week (WOW)? As the Daily News of Tehama County reports, “The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will observe the third week in September as Watch Out for Wildlife (WOW) Awareness Week, which strives to reduce the number of wildlife-related injuries and vehicle passenger fatalities on the state's highways.” Experts estimate that 1.5 million animals are killed on America’s roadways each year.

U.S. Senate Democrats slammed a House bill that seeks to inhibit clean air rules. As KPCC reports, “This week, the Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives expects to vote on a measure that would require cost-benefit analyses of clean air regulations. The White House and Senate Democrats threaten to derail the TRAIN Act.” The Transparency in Regulatory Analysis of Impacts on the Nation (TRAIN) wants an “honest” accounting of how much clean air regulations are costing the taxpayer. No word on if Republicans have taken into account the medical costs that will ensue if industries are permitted to pollute as much as they want.

The Nature Conservancy is backing the U.S. swordfish industry. reports that the Nature Conservancy plus government groups want the government to consider expanding or re-evaluating swordfish bans. “The U.S. imports roughly 75 percent of its swordfish from unregulated and unobserved industries with high bycatch rates, much higher than the heavily regulated and observed fleets in the United States,” writes Bycatch are animals like turtles and other fish that are taken into the large nets used by unregulated fisherman. Other organizations hope that the U.S. will just ban imports on unregulated swordfish. 

Image: dpurdy/Flickr