November 18, 2011 |
On an August morning in 2008, a handful of executives from the country's top car companies, several environmentalists and two of California's most powerful pollution regulators met in a windowless conference room in a hotel next to Los Angeles International Airport. For 30 years, the car companies had been locked in battle with California and environmentalists over increasing vehicle fuel efficiency and cutting air pollution. But that meeting at the Radisson Hotel brought together new government and industry leaders able to capitalize on new technologies in a market ready to adopt fundamental changes in cars.
November 15, 2011 |
The builders of the controversial Keystone XL tar sands pipeline agreed Monday to reroute it around Nebraska's ecologically fragile Sandhills in the hope the move would shorten any delay in the project, which has posed political complications for the Obama administration. TransCanada Corp.'s agreement to skirt the porous, watery region atop the nation's most important agricultural aquifer was celebrated by Nebraska ranchers and conservationists who have battled the pipeline. But it posed a new dilemma for environmentalists, who had hoped to scuttle the project because of concerns about climate change, air pollution and the potential for leaks along the 1,700-mile route.
November 11, 2011 |
The Obama administration put off until after the 2012 election a politically charged decision on whether to approve the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline, easing one problem for President Obama but opening another with the missed opportunity to boost job growth. With the State Department announcement Thursday that it would study alternate routes for the $7-billion pipeline, the administration sought to calm the environmentalist movement that has mobilized against the proposal — no small matter for Obama given activists' threats that they might abandon his reelection campaign.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 26, 2011 |
Los Angeles County supervisors Tuesday approved plans for the second phase of a controversial development near Six Flags Magic Mountain in the Santa Clarita Valley. The Mission Village segment of the Newhall Ranch project will contain nearly 4,000 housing units, an elementary school, 580 acres of open space and three preserves designed to protect a rare species of flowers. Newhall Ranch was first approved by supervisors in 2003 after nearly seven years of debate but has been mired in legal challenges and debate since.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 22, 2011 |
Jarron Lucas tromped through waist-high brush at the Chatsworth Nature Preserve, flipping over weathered boards. "Let's see if anyone's home," he said, lifting a plank. Coiled underneath was a reddish snake with dark brown cross bands on its neck. Lucas reached down and snatched the young red racer. "It's just a baby," he said as the slender 14-inch snake writhed in his hand. Male, too, he said, judging from the long tail. A few yards away, he found a 4-foot adult female red racer thick as a broom handle.
October 21, 2011 |
The Environmental Protection Agency said it planned to regulate wastewater discharged by companies producing natural gas from shale formations, including chemically laced water used in a controversial extraction process known as hydraulic fracturing. The EPA's initiative comes as water-intensive natural gas production has spread around the country, raising concerns about the effects on drinking-water supplies. The practice, also known as fracking, involves shooting water infused with chemicals and sand at high pressure into shale formations to unlock reservoirs of natural gas. The EPA will try to determine what to do with water used during fracking, as well as water that is already underground and flows back up the well.
October 20, 2011 |
Monsanto Co., whose genetically modified corn and soybeans have reshaped America's heartland and rallied a nation of fast-food foes, wants to revolutionize the produce aisle. The agribusiness giant already has quietly stepped into the marketplace with produce grown from its seeds. Grocery customers in California and elsewhere are chopping its onions that produce fewer tears, stir-frying its broccoli that decreases cholesterol and biting into tiny orange tomatoes that last longer on the shelf.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 27, 2011 |
Wangari Maathai, a Kenyan environmentalist who made it her mission to teach her countrywomen to plant trees and became Africa's first female Nobel Peace Prize winner, has died. She was 71. One of Kenya's most beloved figures, Maathai died Sunday after a yearlong battle with cancer. Her illness was not widely known until after her death in a Nairobi hospital. Maathai won the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize for her work on sustainable development, democracy and peace. She believed that environmental degradation and unbridled development were among the roots of poverty.