CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 28, 2013 |
Days before a series of public meetings are to begin on the health risks allegedly posed by a Vernon battery-recycling plant, the Los Angeles City Council on Tuesday urged the state to more rigorously regulate the facility. The council also asked the city attorney to lay out possible legal action against plant owner Exide Technologies, one of the world's largest makers and recyclers of lead-acid batteries, or to compel the state to ensure that the public is protected from potentially dangerous levels of lead and arsenic.
May 16, 2013 |
The cause of the fire that triggered the deadly explosion of a fertilizer plant in West, Texas, last month remains undetermined after a $1-million investigation, officials said Thursday. Although the probe continues, the cause of the disaster may never be known. An estimated 28 to 34 tons of ammonium nitrate fertilizer exploded in two stages, separated by a fraction of a second, according to the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Texas State Fire Marshal's Office. Debris flew up to 2 1/2 miles and the damage extended across a 37-block area.
May 16, 2013 |
A malfunctioning golf cart, a faulty electrical system or even arson could have led to the fire that triggered the deadly explosion of a fertilizer plant in West, Texas, but federal and state officials said Thursday that their $1-million investigation had yet to find the cause. Fourteen people died in the April 17 blast, including 12 first responders who arrived nine minutes after the fire was reported - and just eight minutes before the explosion shook the town, devastated two schools and shattered a nursing home.
May 13, 2013 |
How's this for spring cleaning? Scientists have discovered that a carnivorous plant deletes so much of its own junk DNA that it has hardly any left. The finding, published online in Nature, hints that such noncoding DNA may not be as important as some scientists believe. "Junk DNA is probably well named as junk. There doesn't seem to be any glorious reason or function behind it," said Victor Albert, a University at Buffalo molecular evolutionary biologist and one of the lead authors on the study.
May 12, 2013 |
WASHINGTON -- Climate change could lead to the widespread loss of common plants and animals around the world, according to a new study released Sunday in the journal Nature Climate Change. The study's authors looked at 50,000 common species. They found that more than half the plants and about a third of the animals could lose about 50% of their range by 2080 if the world continues its current course of rising greenhouse gas emissions. Climate change affects the availability of nutrition and water for animals and plants.
May 12, 2013 |
POOLESVILLE, Md. - On a curve of the Potomac River 37 miles northwest of Washington, the Dickerson power plant has stood sentry over small villages, crop fields and horse farms for more than half a century. Burning mostly coal and some natural gas, Dickerson emitted about 1.5 million tons of greenhouse gases in 2011, akin to the pollution of about 275,000 cars. How much longer Dickerson will run depends in no small measure on the steps President Obama takes to fulfill the pledge he made in his State of the Union address to tackle climate change.
May 11, 2013 |
HOUSTON - A paramedic who responded to the devastating fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas, last month was arrested Friday after federal investigators said they discovered he had the makings of a pipe bomb. It was not clear whether the arrest was connected to the April 17 explosion, which killed 14 people and injured more than 160 others in the small McLennan County town about 70 miles south of Dallas. The explosion had been investigated as an industrial accident, but officials said Friday they had started a criminal investigation.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 7, 2013 |
California energy officials are preparing for another summer without the San Onofre power station while facing the growing possibility that the nuclear plant will never return to service. The nuclear plant, one of only two in the state, was powered down more than a year ago when a small amount of radioactive mist leaked from one of the thousands of tubes in the plant's steam generators. Southern California Edison officials said in financial statements last week that if federal regulators do not agree to the utility's proposal to restart one of the plant's two units at partial power, they might elect to retire the plant completely by the end of the year.
May 6, 2013 |
Southern California Edison officials are saying that if they can't get permission to reopen one of the shuttered reactors at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, they will consider permanently closing the plant this year, according to a report last week from the Associated Press. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is mulling the request to reopen Unit 2 at partial power this summer for a five-month test period, to see if the plant can operate safely at that level after extraordinary wear was found in tubes related to the plant's new steam generators.
May 5, 2013 |
The fertilizer plant that exploded last month in West, Texas, holds just $1 million in liability insurance, a negligible amount compared to the estimated cost of the damage caused by the blast, lawyers said. John McCoy, one of the attorneys representing the company that owns West Fertilizer Co., confirmed the amount in an email to the Los Angeles Times after the Dallas Morning News reported it Friday. He said the plant did not hold excess or umbrella insurance policies. “We do not yet know how this horrific accident occurred,” McCoy added in the email.