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June 22, 2012 | By Lauren Frayer, Los Angeles Times
ALCORCON, Spain - On a dusty plateau dotted with half-built condos, unemployed Spaniards hope a proposed development will amount to more than a mirage in the desert: a glittering gambling city to rival Las Vegas, and the quarter-million jobs it's expected to bring. American billionaire Sheldon Adelson, owner ofLas Vegas Sands Corp., wants to build a casino complex dubbed EuroVegas, complete with 36,000 hotel rooms, 18,000 slot machines and three golf courses, and this Madrid suburb is vying for the jackpot.
June 14, 2012
Re "Would rail project foul the air?," June 11 Where did America go? Where is the drive to build much needed infrastructure that creates jobs? It worked after the Great Depression. Regarding California's bullet train, you can continue to look for reasons not to build it, but that's not what made this country great. Once upon a time, California would not have thought twice about moving this project forward. Now you can't swing a dead cat without hitting someone who is trying to stall it. Yes, the environment will be affected slightly while the system is built.
June 4, 2012 | By Mark Magnier, Los Angeles Times
ALANG, India - For the ship formerly known as the Exxon Valdez, even sailing quietly into the sunset is proving difficult. Now called the Oriental Nicety, it's floating off India in a kind of high-seas limbo as a court decides whether the vessel that dumped 11 million gallons of crude oil into Alaska's unspoiled Prince William Sound in 1989 can be hacked apart in this forlorn graveyard for once-mighty ships. Local environmentalists have petitioned the High Court here in the western state of Gujarat to block its entry pending an onboard inspection for toxic chemicals, including mercury, arsenic and asbestos.
May 11, 2012 | By Kate Linthicum and David Zahniser, Los Angeles Times
When Austin Beutner entered the mayor's race last year, it looked like the wealthy former investment banker and onetime city jobs czar might give the Los Angeles business community its best chance in years at regaining influence at City Hall. His abrupt exit from the campaign this week after struggles with fundraising and a poor showing in the polls highlights the decline of political power that was once wielded by the city's business elite. That weakening comes as the business sector's traditional rivals - organized labor and environmental activists - are enjoying increasing influence.
May 11, 2012 | By Louis Sahagun, Los Angeles Times
Despite strong opposition from environmentalists, the state Assembly on Thursday approved controversial legislation that allows a solar energy developer to bypass local agencies in seeking to build a large-scale power plant in a valley that is home to desert tortoises, golden eagles and bighorn sheep. The nation's leading environmental groups see K Road Power's proposed 663-megawatt Calico Solar plant as one of the most ecologically damaging renewable energy projects in the California desert.
April 20, 2012 | By Aaron Wiener, Los Angeles Times
KLEINENSIEL, Germany - When the German government shut down half the country's nuclear reactors after the Fukushima disaster in Japan, followed two months later by a pledge to abandon nuclear power within a decade, environmentalists cheered. A year later, however, criticism of the nuclear shutdown is emerging from a surprising source: some of the very activists who pushed for the phaseout. They say poor planning of the shutdown and political opportunism by the government have actually worsened the toll on the environment in Germany, and Europe, at least in the short term.
April 18, 2012 | By Neela Banerjee, Los Angeles Times
WASHINGTON - TheU.S. Environmental Protection Agencyissued regulations that for the first time will curtail air pollution from natural gas wells that use a controversial production technique known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. The regulations will limit emissions of volatile organic compounds, which react with sunlight to create smog. The rules also will curb carcinogens and methane, the main component of natural gas and a potent contributor to climate change. The rules are expected to affect about 11,000 new wells annually that undergo fracking and an additional 1,200 that are re-fracked to boost production.
April 12, 2012 | George Skelton, Capitol Journal
SACRAMENTO - Good reform ideas are a dime a dozen. Look in any faculty lounge. But successful strategies for implementing those ideas are rare. Espousing sweeping reform that can't be enacted because it's politically unacceptable is a common habit of profs, pols and pundits. There also are idealists unwilling to compromise, who'd rather strike out than bunt the runner to the next base. California Forward, a blue-ribbon reform group, is none of that. But the think tank provides a case study of how difficult it is to enact significant change when confronted by the status quo. Not that every proposed reform is golden or all status quo rotten.
April 6, 2012 | By Julie Cart, Los Angeles Times
AMARGOSA VALLEY, Calif. - April Sall gazed out at the Mojave Desert flashing past the car window and unreeled a story of frustration and backroom dealings. Her small California group, the Wildlands Conservancy, wanted to preserve 600,000 acres of the Mojave. The group raised $45 million, bought the land and deeded it to the federal government. The conservancy intended that the land be protected forever. Instead, 12 years after accepting the largest land gift in American history, the federal government is on the verge of opening 50,000 acres of that bequest to solar development.
March 26, 2012 | Tony Barboza
As the sun sets over the ocean, the six crewmen on the Cape Blanco are starting a long night's work off the far side of Santa Catalina Island, putting on orange slickers and hard hats to fish for the milky white mollusks that have become California's most valuable catch. Below the gentle waves off the side of the boat swims an immense school of market squid. Capt. Nick Jurlin, pacing impatiently with a cigarette dangling from his mouth, is eager to pull in as much of it as possible.
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