Los Angeles City Councilmembers Call for Moratorium on Fracking

frackingIn a press conference outside City Hall on Wednesday morning, LA City Councilmembers Paul Koretz and Mike Bonin introduced a motion to place a moratorium on fracking within the city of Los Angeles and along the city’s water supply route.

“On one hand, we’re all concerned that a strong earthquake could destroy the Bay Delta levees and contaminate one of L.A.’s major water supplies with salt water,” said Councilmember Paul Koretz. “On the other, fracking is happening all over the state, and the United States Geological Survey says fracking-related activity has definitively caused earthquakes in Ohio, Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas. As a state, we have to decide which it is, are we protecting our water supply, or not?”

EcoWatch reports that they were joined by environmental activist and EMA Board Member, Ed Begley Jr. along with Food & Water Watch, the environmental health group Physicians for Social Responsibly-Los Angeles, Citizens Coalition for a Safe Community (CCSC) and the Sierra Club.

“It is very important that we realize the potential risks that others around the country have already been dealing with and make sure that we do not expose Californians to those risks,” said Begley. “There are just too many unknowns and our citizens cannot afford foolish experimentation with our water, air, health, earthquakes and climate.”

Unbeknownst to many, fracking is already taking place in Southern California. Oil companies have placed wells in the Inglewood Oil Field, the largest urban oil field in the country, located between the Baldwin Hills and Culver City. Residents living near those wells have reported increased health issues and property damage caused by fracking activities.

Continue reading

Is Climate Change Making Redwood Trees Grow Faster?

redwoodsGiant, old-growth redwood trees that line the California coast have seen an unprecedented growth spurt in recent years, a study by the Redwoods and Climate Change Initiative recently revealed. And it appears that climate change could be the reason for the unexplained growth.

The study found that over the past century, the trees produced more wood than over any other period in their lifetime, accelerating in the last few decades after a slowdown in the 1950s and 1960s.

“It shows these trees are being impacted by something in the environment,” Emily Burns, director of science for Save the Redwoods League, the San Francisco nonprofit that is managing the initiative, told the San Francisco Chronicle. “Our hypothesis is that it’s because it is warmer. That lengthens the growth season.”

So are we actually seeing a positive side effect of climate change?

Continue reading

California Bill Boosts Open Access Charging for EV Drivers

electric-vehicle-charging-stationGood news for California electric vehicle drivers! SB454, the EV Open Access Act, has passed out of the California Senate Energy, Utilities and Communications Committee. SB454 allows consumers with plug-in cars the same access to charging stations that gas stations provide gasoline cars. In other words, EV drivers will soon be able to charge anywhere, at rates that are clearly marked, and without the need for special membership.

“This bill will ensure that plug-in drivers can charge everywhere and will know what it will cost,” said Jay Friedland, Plug In America’s Legislative Director. “Public charging spots must be readily accessible to the public and not constrained with access cards or network membership requirements.”

Currently, EV drivers are required to obtain access cards for charging stations. The new bill would allow anyone with an electric vehicle to charge their car and pay with their regular credit card. The bill also requires pricing transparency so that drivers know costs associated with particular charging stations. Since 2010, the charging industry has made significant progress installing EV charging infrastructure.

“A sustainable vehicle charging infrastructure is an important part of the road to electric transportation. Greater consumer confidence in public charging will speed acceptance of EVs by ensuring that drivers will know how much charging will cost them,” Friedland added. “A straightforward, sound set of principles that builds off the best practice standards already being set by leading charging companies will strengthen and increase the size of the market, especially as the number of vehicles continues to grow at an accelerating pace.” Continue reading

Toyota Prius is Top Selling Car in CA

Toyota-Prius-California-September-2012According to the Los Angeles Times article the Honda Civic’s two-year reign is over; the Prius is now King in California. Even though the Ford F-series is still America’s favorite vehicle, eco-conscious Cali is driving the Toyota Prius more than any other car.

The margin between California and the rest of the country is still rather large; the Prius didn’t even make it into the top 10 cars Americans drive. Perhaps a large reason that Californians prefer the various Prius models, and have a disdain for trucks, has something to do with long commutes and rising gas prices. Whether the preference is due to environmental reasons or just practical ones, we are still proud of this data.

Continue reading

Toyota Prius is the Best Selling Car in California

Toyota Prius V on display at the 22nd Annual EMA Awards

The Toyota Prius is the best-selling car in California, the state that buys more cars than any in the country.

Emily VanCamp arrives at the 22nd Annual EMA Awards in a Prius

According to data from Experian Automotive, by the end of September, Toyota had sold over 46,000 Priuses in California. Of those, about 6,000 were the Prius C, a less expensive compact version with a smaller engine, and about 7,600 were the Prius V, a wagon version with more cargo space. The remainders were the standard Prius and the Prius Plug-in, which has a battery that can be charged from an electrical outlet.

According to CNN.com, not only is California the nation’s biggest car market, it’s also the biggest market for alternative fuel cars, including hybrids, plug-in cars, diesels and natural gas cars.

Continue reading

The California Right-to-Know GMO Ballot Initiative Gets Its Official Prop Number

If you live in California, you’re going to be seeing a lot of the number 37 from now until November. Prop 37 is the  initiative that will appear on ballots in November giving consumers the option to vote on placing labels on genetically modified foods (GMOs).

If Prop 37 passes, food products using genetically modified ingredients would be labeled as such. Be prepared to see a lot of Yes on 37 advocates at your local farmer’s market and tapered to the cars of the majority of the general public. According to JustLabelIt.org, 92% of Americans want the FDA to label genetically modified foods.

According to KCET, opponents of Prop 37 include the companies that make GMOs, particularly Monsanto, who have incredibly deep pockets and the best marketers money can buy, so the passing of Prop 37, even in a consumer-friendly state like California, is not a given. Continue reading

How Much Do We Actually Recycle in California?

A lot. According to CalRecycle’s Biannual Report of Beverage Container Sales, Returns, Redemption, and Recycling Rates, released last week, Californians recycled over 16 billion beverage containers in 2011. For a state that is home to 38 million people, that number seems pretty impressive. California continues to lead the nation in total quantity of bottles and cans recycled.

According to the report, 4,504,934,972 aluminum cans were purchased from July to December in 2011 with 4,276,266,506 of those cans getting recycled – that’s a 95% recycling rate!

The overall recycling rate for the first half of 2011 was 86% The second half calendar year recycling rate was lower than the first half at 79%, which is consistent with the trend observed over the life of the recycling program. Continue reading