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Monday, December 29, 2014

Sexiest Bakersfield Environmental News stories for 2014

Looking back at the past year, some of the more popular articles published here had, well, sex as a theme. Sex sells right? It did for these articles, as they were some of the more popular ones published in this column. If you missed them, here are some summaries with links to the original articles and a slideshow with related photos.

Read more at the link below:

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Top 10 local environmental news stories for 2014

There were a lot of news stories relevant to Bakersfield and the San Joaquin Valley in 2014. Some dealt with air pollution, others with the drought, and some with climate change. Based upon records from Google Analytics, here are the top 10 Bakersfield Environmental News stories, as measured by readership records. Did you comment on any of them? Here's another chance if you haven't.

Read more at the link below:

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Bakersfield settles bullet train lawsuit with High-Speed Rail Authority

The California High-Speed Rail Authority (CaHSRA) announced yesterday that it has agreed to a settlement with the City of Bakersfield that will result in the dismissal of the latter's lawsuit against California's ambitious high-speed rail project. The litigation was filed by the city after officials objected to the Final Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement (EIR/EIS) for the Fresno to Bakersfield project section of the project.

Read more at the link below:

Monday, December 15, 2014

Tips for an environmentally friendly holiday

We are in the middle of the holiday season but it's still not too late to make some decisions that can reduce waste, benefit the environment, and give your friends, family, and yourself an extra helping of holiday good cheer. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has come up with several suggestions that can help us all make more environmentally friendly decisions. They are all simple, inexpensive, and easy to use.

Read more at the link below:

Monday, December 08, 2014

A new report issued by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) asserts that California's recent drought is the result of natural variations and not due to global warming. The results were summarized by the report's lead authors at a special news conference held today and almost immediately generated a firestorm of criticism among some of the world's climate experts, including notables such as Michael Mann and Joe Romm.

Read more at the link below:

Saturday, December 06, 2014

Bakersfield and Kern County residents looking to finally get rid of their outmoded electronics have a free and easy way to do it this month at an electronic waste (E-waste) recycling event on Saturday, Dec. 13, 2014.

Get more details at the link below:

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Environmental Week in Review, November 23 - 30, 2014

Continuing with our new feature, Environmental Week in Review, here is a summary of what we wrote about last week in Bakersfield Environmental News. As expected with the Thanksgiving holiday, maybe we were a little too busy with cooking preparations (and then eating activities!) and the number of articles wasn't too high. But, please take a look at this in case you aren't a subscriber or just happened to miss last week's articles. We wrote about a variety of things - safety tips to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning indoors, a new photochemical smog (ozone) standard proposed by EPA that could be more stringent than California's standard, and a $146,500 fine L’Oreal USA received for a technical violation of rules applicable to consumer hair products.

Read the article at the following link for more information:

Photo © Frank Maccioli

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Indoor Air Pollution: Carbon Monoxide

Most people associate Bakersfield and the San Joaquin Valley with smoggy air, little rain, and uncomfortably high temperatures, oftentimes exceeding 100 °F for weeks at a time. However, as those of us who live in the Valley know, wintertime temperatures can be very cold, many times approaching or even going below the freezing mark, especially at night.

Those cold temperatures cause us to not only dress warmly, but also to use other sources of heat, either to remain comfortable inside our houses, while working in our garages, or sometimes when doing outdoor activities, like camping. These sources include natural gas fired water heaters, wood or gas burning fireplaces, gas cooking appliances, and at times, portable electricity generators powered by gasoline. One of the dangers of using all of these different pieces of equipment stems from a very dangerous combustion product that forms when gas, wood, or gasoline is burned. That product is carbon monoxide.

Read more at the link below:

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

EPA proposes more stringent smog standard, will impact San Joaquin Valley

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced that it is recommending a more stringent federal smog (ozone) standard for ambient air quality. Based upon an analysis of the latest scientific research on the effects of ozone on human health and the environment, EPA is proposing to lower the 8-hour standard from its current level of 75 parts per billion (ppb) to somewhere in the range of 65 - 70 ppb. EPA is also considering lowering the limit to a level as low as 60 ppb.

Read more at the link below:

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy

Monday, November 24, 2014

L’Oreal USA fined $146,500 for illegal, air polluting hair care products

L'Oreal USA S/D Inc. has just paid a $146,500 fine for selling products that didn't meet air quality regulations, according to an announcement by the California Air Resources Board (ARB) today. The explanation for the penalty is sure to support arguments made by many that California's regulatory climate is out of control and not friendly to business.

Read more at the link below:

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Environmental week in review, November 16 - 22, 2014

Here's a new feature, in case you aren't a subscriber or just happened to miss last week's Bakersfield Environmental News articles. We wrote about a variety of things - reformulated gasoline, hazardous waste disposal, recycling grants, indoor air pollution at gyms, and vernal pool destruction.

Below are short briefs of each topic, with a link to each article for further reading.

Remember, to ensure you don't miss any future articles, just hit the SUBSCRIBE TO AUTHOR button below and you will be notified of every new one. It's absolutely free too!

Here is what we reported on last week:

Friday, November 21, 2014

ARB fines 3 more companies for illegal gasoline

California's Air Resources Board (ARB) announced yesterday that it has fined three gasoline suppliers for gasoline that did not comply with California's air quality regulations. Houston-based Vitol, Inc., Petro-Diamond of Irvine, and Shell Oil Products US were fined $70,000, $50,000, and $45,000 respectively.

Read more at the link below:

Telecom giant AT&T penalized $51.8 million for hazardous waste violations

Telecommunications giant AT&T agreed to a $51.8 million settlement with the State of California to resolve charges that employees at hundreds of its California facilities illegally disposed of hazardous waste and other materials for nine years. The settlement was jointly announced yesterday by California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris and Alameda County District Attorney Nancy E. O’Malley. This is the first enforcement action in California against a telecommunications company for its management of electronic waste.

Read more at the link below:

California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris

Valley recycling firms to get CalRecycle grants to reduce GHG emissions

Three San Joaquin Valley recycling businesses and five other state firms will share $19.5 million in newly established greenhouse gas reduction (GHG) grants, according to an announcement from the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) on Wednesday, November 18, 2014. The monies will be used to construct or expand new and existing facilities, and to upgrade equipment to allow the processing of more recycled materials.

Read more at the link below:

Thursday, November 20, 2014

New study warns of unhealthy indoor air pollution at the gym

Many residents of Bakersfield and the San Joaquin Valley, concerned about their health and physical fitness, hit the gym several times a week to get into or maintain their shape. Be it running on a treadmill, trudging up and down on a stair climbing machine, taking a spin class, or simply lifting weights, going to the gym has become a frequent habit for the healthy minded.

However, except for the occasional turned-up nose when encountering a fellow gym member who, shall we say, has less than perfect personal hygiene, most people give little thought to the quality of the air that they breathe inside the gym when they workout.

Read more at the link below:

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Modesto almond farmer learns the hard way not to ignore environmental laws

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced that it has penalized the owner of a proposed almond orchard for destroying nearly 33 acres of wetlands near Merced, California. Edward Lynn Brown, from Oakdale, California, who does business as California Healthy Harvest, a wholesaler of canned foods and nuts in Modesto, Stanislaus County, California, was fined $160,000. According to EPA's press release, he was also ordered to purchase and endow a conservation easement worth $1 million as part of the settlement.

Read more at the link below:

Thursday, November 13, 2014

America Recycles Day event at Bakersfield's Rabobank Arena this Saturday

Bakersfield residents looking for a way to recycle household items no longer of use to them should head to the Rabobank Arena in downtown Bakersfield this Saturday, November 15, 2014. A free recycling event will be held in the arena's south parking lot between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. Rabobank is partnering with America Recycles Day as part of a nationwide effort to help people recycle things they don't need anymore instead of throwing them away in the trash.

Read more at the link below:

Monday, November 10, 2014

Chevron fined $329,700 by ARB for sales of illegal gasoline

The California Air Resources Board (ARB) announced today that Chevron Corp. has been fined $329,700 for the sale of illegally reformulated gasoline at its Montebello and Richmond, California terminals. The violations were for exceeding the oxygenate limit of 10 percent specified in state regulations for oxygenated gasoline. From 2010 through 2011, Chevron sold over 4.4 million gallons of the illegal fuel.

Read more at the link below:

Monday, November 03, 2014

Hyundai and Kia to pay largest fine in Clean Air Act history

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Justice today announced the largest Clean Air Act settlement in history. Hyundai Motor Company, Kia Motors Corporation, and their United States affiliates Hyundai Motor America, Kia Motors America, and Hyundai America Technical Center, Inc. will pay over $300 million in fines and other penalties resulting from testing and certification violations of vehicles sold in America. The violations led to incorrect fuel economy and greenhouse gas emission data related to the sale of approximately 1.2 million vehicles.

Read more at the link below:

Friday, October 31, 2014

San Joaquin Valley low income communities to receive cap-and-trade investments

The California Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA) today announced that it has prioritized disadvantaged communities across the state for projects funded by California's cap-and-trade program. As a result, more than $200 million of $832 million in cap-and-trade proceeds from the 2014-2015 budget will be earmarked for low-income areas, including those in Bakersfield and the San Joaquin Valley.

Read more at the link below:

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Eight scary horror movies for Halloween with an environmental theme

Halloween is almost upon us. Our streets will be filled with revelers dressed, among other things, as ghouls and monsters. To help get in the spirit of what is this author's favorite holiday, here are eight movies that will provide plenty of thrills and scares, if not campy humor, for you and your friends and family to enjoy when you aren't out Trick-or-Treating.

Read more at the link below:

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) wants farmers in the San Joaquin Valley's Stanislaus County to know that they have a free and safe way to get rid of obsolete and unwanted pesticides. In an announcement today, EPA said that farmers may bring the chemicals to a free pesticide collection event on Thursday, October 30, 2014. The by-appointment-only event will be held at the County Agricultural Commissioner's Office, 3800 Cornucopia Way, in Modesto from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Read more at the link below:

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

EPA fines Bakersfield steel fabricator for hazardous waste violations

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced that it has fined a Kern County steel fabrication company for violating hazardous waste management regulations. As a result of an investigation begun in 2012, Kern Steel Fabrication, Inc. was fined $57,100 for improperly managing hazardous waste.

Read more at the link below:

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Ten sports cars rated by smog and greenhouse gas performance

Some of the more pressing environmental problems facing cities and the world include photochemical smog and climate change. The former is caused in part by a chemical reaction between sunlight and air pollution emissions from such sources as industries, power plants, commercial and residential facilities, and motor vehicles. Those same sources contribute to an accumulation of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions which are driving climate change and the warming of the planet.

However, despite these issues, some of us, particularly motor-driving enthusiasts, still would like to have some fun. So for those of you with a similar mind, here is a list of sports cars, all under $100,000, along with their air pollution emission ratings. This is not a complete list and does not include exotics, American muscle cars such as the Ford Mustang or Chevy Camaro, or all electrics such as the Tesla Model S. However, it is a list of cars that most of you have either seen on the road, own, are considering buying, or just wish that maybe, one day...

Read more at the link below:

Friday, October 17, 2014

Cal/OSHA issues Ebola guidance for workers who may be exposed to deadly virus

In response to growing concerns about the introduction of the deadly Ebola virus into the United States, California's Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) and its Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) today announced interim guidance for workers who may be exposed to those who are infected. The guidance is geared toward workers and their employers in six general categories based upon potential risks identified by the federal government. Those categories include health care workers, emergency responders, laboratory staff, mortuary workers, airline flight crews and airport staff, and quarantine operations staff.

Read more at the link below:

Thursday, October 16, 2014

California residents will see electric bills reduced by Climate Credits

Millions of California households will be receiving some good news soon, according to an announcement from the state Air Resources Board (ARB). As part of California's programs to address climate change, consumer utility bills will be reduced by an average of $35 in October. This is the result of California's Cap-and-Trade program and something called the Climate Credit, which is issued biannually.

Read more at the link below:

Friday, October 10, 2014

ARB fines Vallejo bus company for air violations, San Joaquin Valley may benefit

California's Air Resources Board (ARB) just announced that it has fined a Texas based bus company $387,750 for tampering with particulate filters and disregarding rules designed to reduce air pollution. The company, Vallejo Citizens Transit Co. (VCTC), a subsidiary of MV Transportation, Inc., based in Dallas, Texas, was under contract with the City of Vallejo for bus services when the violations occurred.

Read more at the link below:

Thursday, October 02, 2014

ARB seeking nominations for 2014 Haagen-Smit Clean Air Awards

The California Air Resources Board (ARB) yesterday announced that it is seeking applications for the 2014 Haagen-Smit Clean Air Awards. The prestigious awards are given annually to those who have made outstanding contributions in the fields of clean air, climate change, technology, and related policies.

Read more at the link below:

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

California bans single-use plastic bags from groceries and convenience stores

With the stroke of a pen, California Governor Jerry Brown today signed legislation that will ban single-use plastic bags from pharmacies, grocery, convenience, and liquor stores. The landmark legislation, SB-270, had been approved weeks earlier by the state legislature after much debate and needed only the Governor's signature to become law. The bill makes California the only state in the nation to have a state-wide ban on such bags and complements existing ordinances across the state that have already been implemented by some local governments.

Read more at the link below:

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Daniel Rosenboom Quintet at the BJW tonight

Fresh from an appearance at this year’s Monterey Jazz Festival, the Daniel Rosenboom Quintet will be giving a FREE clinic/concert at the Bakersfield Jazz Workshop tonight, September 24, 2014. The appearance is part of a West Coast tour celebrating the release of its debut album, Fire Keeper.

Read more below:

Friday, September 19, 2014

Governor Brown orders streamlined relief for families stricken by drought

In response to severe water shortages resulting from California's historic drought, Governor Jerry Brown announced today that he has ordered streamlined efforts to assist residents facing water shortages. Executive Order B-26-14 takes effect immediately and will help to provide much needed water for drinking and sanitation purposes to communities whose wells or water supplies have dangerously diminished and/or dried up completely.

Read more below:

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

ARB fines 29 consumer products companies $406,625 for air pollution violations

The California Air Resources Board today announced fines totaling $406,625 were levied against 29 different companies who manufactured or sold certain consumer products. All of the settlements were for less than $100,000 each and were finalized during the first half of 2014.

Read more below:

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Governor Brown signs historic water bills despite San Joaquin Valley opposition

Governor Jerry Brown today signed historic legislation that will lead to more stringent control of groundwater management across the state. The move was seen by many as long overdue, especially in the face of California's drought, and means that the state will no longer be the only Western state that does not manage its groundwater in a consistent manner.

Read more below:

Monday, September 15, 2014

APCD seeking student artwork for 2015 Healthy Air Living Calendar

The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District (APCD) recently announced that it is seeking student artwork for its 2015 Healthy Air Living Kid's Calendar. The annual calendar features original artwork from Valley students attending kindergarten through high school.

Read more below:

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Truck performance tuning firm fined $1 million by ARB for selling illegal parts

One of the leaders in the high performance diesel and racing industry has run afoul of California's air pollution laws. As a result, the California Air Resources Board (ARB) announced today that it has fined H&S Performance LLC $1 million for selling illegal aftermarket parts in California in violation of the California Health and Safety Code. Read more below:

Sierra Club loses one in its lawsuit against Kern River Valley Specific Plan

 After three years, lawsuit is denied by Superior Court judge. Read more about it below:

Friday, July 25, 2014