State Aims to Close Funding Gap for Lead Contamination Cleanup, Neighbors Skeptical
The California Report, 08/24/17
California regulators admit they have only enough funding from the state government to clean up a quarter of the homes contaminated by a battery recycling plant just east of downtown Los Angeles. They say plans are underway to make the recycler, Exide Technologies, pay for the rest of the cleanup. Neighbors say the state's history of lax enforcement makes that promise difficult to believe.





After Decades of Pollution, State Details Cleanup From L.A.’s Exide Battery Plant
The California Report, 07/10/17
State regulators have released plans to clean up lead contamination from thousands of homes near the Exide Technologies battery recycling plant in Vernon, just east of downtown Los Angeles. Officials call it the biggest industrial waste cleanup project in California, and one of the largest in the country. But they said their funding is only sufficient to clean up about a quarter of the estimated 10,000 properties that have been contaminated in a 1.7 mile-radius around the plant.


How California's Greenhouse Gas Laws Can Better Serve Disadvantaged Communities
Ensia, 05/10/17
California legislators recently passed the nation's strictest greenhouse gas legislation, aimed at dramatically reducing the state's emissions of gases that contribute to global climate change. California is certainly a national leader on climate policy. But within the state, a growing number of dissenters is calling for greater attention to environmental justice. How will a state committed to aggressively addressing climate change ensure new and existing programs and policies are inclusive and affordable? What is and isn't working from a solutions standpoint? And how can lessons learned in California be applied to other states?


Activists Worry of Future Gas Leak 'Catastrophes' in Wake of Porter Ranch
The California Report, 12/23/15
This morning, the Los Angeles City Attorney will ask a judge to make SoCalGas act more quickly to find temporary shelter for people affected by a huge natural gas leak 28 miles west of Los Angeles. With the leak unchecked after two months, over 2,600 families have asked for shelter elsewhere. More than 550 are still waiting. City Attorney Mike Feuer says nobody in that situation should have to wait more than 48 hours. Meanwhile, activists say sloppy state oversight of petrochemical operations could lead to more such disasters.






California Fish Farmers Say They Can Meet Strict Environmental Standards
The California Report, 9/8/14
Fish farming raises a lot of environmental concerns, even as it meets more of the world's appetite for seafood. Most of the farmed fish Americans eat comes from overseas, where there are few controls to mitigate issues including habitat destruction and water pollution. Now, fish farming is growing off the California coast -- and the companies involved say they can do it while meeting tougher environmental standards.




As Dairies Poison Lake Champlain, Vermont Fails to Contain Manure and Fertilizers
Grist, 7/16/14
Increasingly, waste from Vermont’s lightly regulated dairy farms is polluting the lake, the nation’s sixth-largest body of fresh water. It’s undermining Vermont’s tourist economy and jeopardizing drinking water supplies for a third of the state’s population. While the dairy industry is sacrosanct in the state, some are questioning whether it's a sacred cow Vermonters can afford.


L.A. Battery Recycling Plant Showers Communities in Lead Dust
The California Report, 3/21/14
Angry neighbors of a battery recycling plant in Los Angeles County packed a community meeting earlier this week to confront state officials over elevated lead levels in the soil around their homes. Some locals are losing faith that regulators are serious about protecting them from harm.


Deadline Looms to Upgrade Trucks or Install Filters
The California Report, 11/19/13
Truckers at the Port of Oakland grabbed headlines last week when they demanded an extension -- and extra funding -- to a January 1 deadline to upgrade their engines to meet California Air Resources Board (CARB) pollution standards. Meanwhile, general freight and construction truck drivers face a separate January deadline to start replacing their vehicles or install filters that can cost as much as a truck. That rule applies to most of the big rigs on the state's roads. But it's an especially heavy burden for small operators.


Wells Run Dry in Paso Robles
The California Report, 10/30/13
It’s picking time for wine vineyards in the central California community of Paso Robles, and the farmers are bringing in a rich harvest. As vineyards proliferate around this farm town halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco, residential wells are starting to go dry. Some are calling the plight of Paso Robles a good example of what’s wrong with California’s unregulated groundwater supply.


Battery Recycler to Test Soil for Dangerous Metals; Neighbors Skeptical
State of Health, 9/4/13
State-ordered testing of soil for lead and other toxins around a battery recycling plant in Vernon, just east of downtown Los Angeles, is underway. The plant, Exide Technologies, already has been accused of endangering the lives of 110,000 people who live nearby.
But neighborhood residents and community leaders say they’re skeptical that the test results will force Exide’s factory to close before it can do any more harm.


In Hinkley, Toxic Legacy Sets the Stage for a Ghost Town
The California Report, 4/2/13
Nearly 20 years ago, Pacific Gas & Electric paid hundreds of millions of dollars to settle legal claims that it had poisoned the Mojave Desert community of Hinkley by dumping industrial waste into the ground.
But that David and Goliath triumph -- portrayed in the movie "Erin Brockovich" -- didn’t last. Since then, a plume of groundwater contaminated with toxic chromium-6 has continued to spread, and the town is emptying.



Controversial Tool Highlights Polluted, Disadvantaged Communities
California Health Report, 10/1/12
State officials are developing a map showing where poverty and pollution make people most vulnerable to environmental health risks. Business groups fear the map will lead to onerous regulation and that it will warn employers away from the areas that need jobs most.



Groundwater Plan Raises Concerns Over Fragile Aquifer
The California Report, 9/10/12
A company based in downtown Los Angeles has nursed a dream for a number of years now -- pumping billions of gallons of groundwater a year from under the Mojave Desert to the thirsty urbanized coast. The plan failed to win over LA water officials, but some in Orange County said yes. Now local environmentalists are suing to stop the project.


Paddling Down the Los Angeles River
The California Report, 8/13/12
Ever since the 1930s, when the Army Corps of Engineers built a massive flood-control channel to contain the Los Angeles River, its graffiti-scrawled concrete banks have served as a drainage ditch and as a backdrop for countless Hollywood chase scenes. It hasn't been used for recreation -- in fact, boating was prohibited until recently. Now environmentalists working to restore the river are leading kayak tours.


Residents Call for Santa Monica Airport to Shut Down
The California Report, 5/16/12
Santa Monica Airport is surrounded by densely populated neighborhoods. For years, the city has tightly regulated noise pollution with strict rules about when planes can take off and land -- but that doesn't protect neighbors from air pollution. Now some local officials are talking about getting rid of the airport altogether, even if that means taking on the federal government.

Radiation Levels Remain High Near Nuclear Meltdown Site
California Health Report, 3/11/12
More than half a century after a partial nuclear meltdown near Los Angeles, a federal study has found ground radiation levels nearly 1,000 times higher than agreed-upon standards for mandatory cleanup.


For Town Made Famous by 'Erin Brockovich,' a Toxic Sequel?
The Christian Science Monitor, 1/10/11
Hinkley, Calif., battled pollution of its ground water by chromium 6 in the 1990s – a case that inspired 'Erin Brockovich.' Now the substance has escaped its containment barrier

Activists Protest Waste Processing Plant Planned for Hinkley
California Health Report, 7/28/11
The Mojave Desert community of Hinkley is best known as the setting for the legal battle over chromium 6 contamination in groundwater, as portrayed in the movie “Erin Brockovich.”
Now, activists say Hinkley faces a new environmental threat – this one carried on the wind.


Hinkley Water Contamination, Part 2
The California Report, 12/10/10
State public health authorities are considering new rules that could dramatically tighten standards for exposure to the carcinogen chromium 6 in drinking water. But in Hinkley, a Mojave Desert community whose name has become synonymous with chromium 6 contamination, traces of the heavy metal continue to spread through the aquifer.

Hinkley Water Contamination, Part 1
The California Report, 12/03/10
About 300 hundred people showed up at the Hinkley School on Wednesday night for a community meeting hosted by the Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board. A decade after the movie "Erin Brockovich" made the Mojave Desert town synonymous with the concept of toxic contamination, a plume of chromium 6 in the groundwater is spreading.


Cleaning Up a Cold War Legacy
The California Report, 9/09/10
In 1959, a partial nuclear meltdown occurred at the Santa Susana Field Laboratory northwest of Los Angeles, but the accident remained largely unacknowledged for decades. Now, federal authorities have agreed to remove the contamination from the part of the property they control.


Mapping Nuclear Contamination at Santa Susana
The California Report, 5/20/10
Half a century after the nation's first nuclear meltdown, the EPA launches a study to track the contamination.


Dry Wells Leave Homes Without Water
The California Report, 8/26/10
Wells are going dry for scores of customers of a rural water district near Bakersfield. The agency blames two big water banks nearby.


Martian Dust Devils
The Weather Notebook 9/04/04
Dust devils on Mars could pose threats to humans and machines alike.


Big Waves and Global Warming
The Weather Notebook, 2/25/03
Researchers say an increase in wave size during severe Pacific storms may point to climate change.