The tremendously destructive Woolsey Fire has been widely reported as beginning “near” the Santa Susana Field Laboratory (SSFL or Rocketdyne), but it appears that the fire began on the Rocketdyne property itself. Cal Fire identifies the fire location as E Street and Alfa Road, a location that is in fact on SSFL. It was recently reported that the “Chatsworth electric substation” experienced a disturbance 2 minutes before the fire was reported, but that substation is in fact on SSFL, near that location. A photograph posted on Twitter from KCAL9’s Stu Mundel shows the fire starting Thursday afternoon near the same location, which is only about 1,000 yards away from the site of the 1959 partial nuclear meltdown of the Sodium Reactor Experiment (SRE) reactor.
Full story: Massive Woolsey Fire Began On Contaminated Santa Susana Field Laboratory, Close to Site of Partial Meltdown by Physicians for Social Responsibility - Los Angeles (from IndyBay)
The land of the South Central Farm, at 41st and Alameda, is currently owned by PIMA an apparel company that wants to build warehouses. However, on August 9, a judge agreed with the South Central Farm that an adequate Environmental Impact Report was never done. Quite a few trucks would enter and leave the warehouses every day in an already dense neighborhood. Thus, the project will be reviewed by City Council again, giving the Farmers another chance to present their case for restoring the urban farm.
Story and photos: Setback for Developer of SC Farm Land by RP
Update: November 13: The Judge ruled the City of LA and P.I.M.A need to redo and re circulate the Environmental Impact Report and the community will be able to comment on it once its published. In the coming months, the City Council and PLUM Committee will vote on whether to proceed with the project in light of its environmental impacts. Another victory for our community. Join us as we continue to fight for the restoration of the #southcentralfarm. It's time for community investment and equity #bringbackthefarm . (Facebook announcement)
The destruction of a hill in Echo Park would make way for four three-story homes. Both PLUM and City Council approved the project despite failure to meet all CEQA requirements (i.e., a threatened species, the black walnut tree, is on the premises) and objections of some 50 neighbors. Instead, a developer in San Jose, California is being favored.
The land in question has long been known by the community as Kite Hill and has been valued as one of the few remaining undeveloped spaces left in Los Angeles. Red tail hawks frequent the area often, and one neighbor saw the mountain lion P-22 there.
The case is expected to be heard in court in a few months. Meanwhile the developer could choose to start demolition of the hill at any time depending on how confident he feels of the legal outcome.
Full story and photos: Echo Park Residents Sue LA Over Controversial Development by Friends of Kite Hill
David Braun of Californians Against Fracking and the Rootskeeper said, "I think it's notable that 20 million pounds of hydrochloric acid and 10 million pounds of hydrofluoric acid were used in Los Angeles County in a 3 year period in oil extraction operations."
California is the nation's "green leader" and Governor Jerry Brown is the country's "greenest governor," right?
That is the narrative promulgated by state officials, public relations experts and writers who gush about the Governor's frequent speeches at international climate conferences. The reality on the ground here in California is much, much different.
In fact, California is the third biggest oil producing state in the country and Big Oil is the largest corporate lobby, dominating the Governor's Office, the Legislature and the regulatory agencies.
Full story: Report reveals L.A. oil cos. have used 49,000 tons of toxic chemicals since 2013 by Dan Bacher (for Indybay)
The actress-activist celebrated her birthday by joining #BankExit. Fonda's plan was to divest publicly, but Wells Fargo locked its doors. She pointed out the role divestment made against Apartheid South Africa. Also present was Lily Tomlin, who'd already divested; Frances Fisher; Catherine Keener; Mike Farrell; Dolores Huerta; and a crowd estimated to be in the hundreds.
At one point a round dance took place in the busy intersection of Sunset & Vine, paralyzing traffic for several minutes.
Story and photos: Jane Fonda Divests From Wells Fargo by Ross Plesset
Also: Jane Fonda, Dolores Huerta, Tokota Iron Eyes, et al interviewed on American Indian Airwaves (SoundCloud)
The winter 2016 Anti-Mall was in solidarity with Stop the Dakota Pipeline and Buy Back the Farm! (and there were multiple ways for guests to support them). Clemency for Leonard Peltier was also promoted. And as always, the Anti-Mall was a chance for shoppers to put their money into the activist-artist community and practice sustainable living (e.g., repairing more and throwing away less).
Story and photos: Anti-Mall '16: Buy Back the Farm! / Stop DAPL / Free Peltier by Ross Plesset
November 15, 2016: As part of a world-wide day of solidarity with Indigenous tribes in Standing Rock, North Dakota, a well-attended rally, demonstration, and march occurred at the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers in downtown L.A. Other actions took place in 300 cities around the world (200 of them reportedly in the U.S.). Here in the States, participating cities included San Francisco (where, according to the Pacifica Evening News, Market Street was shut down. Keep an eye on IndyBay
for coverage); Portland, Oregon where Portland IndyMedia
reported more than 500 participants; Columbus, Ohio; Montpelier, Vermont; and the University of Denver (Colorado), where hundreds also turned out.
The issue at Standing Rock concerns the North Dakota Access Pipeline, which is being built on Sioux land over sacred sites (many graves have already been destroyed), and inevitable oil leakage, which will contaminate water.
Full story and pictures: Large Turnout for Dakota Pipeline Protest by R of the Northeast LA Radical Neighbors | Photos of Pershing Square: NODAPL by Volunteer
Also: Interview with four Indigenous people on Standing Rock, N.D. and the Standing Rocks all over: IndyMedia on Air | And: Winona LaDuke on the Ralph Nader Radio Hour (first half of show). She says we may not need to remain on red alert but should certainly be on orange alert. Also, she wonders if these pipelines are meant to expedite U.S. avoidance of purchasing Venezuelan oil.
Another local action: Standing Rock Solidarity Action by X. Community groups picket Safariland--a manufacturer of police weapons in Ontario, California.
Articulate and passionate, Daniel was selected for this distinguished Award for his ongoing efforts to encourage students and adults to recycle and reuse containers, plant organic gardens, create pollination habitats for bees and butterflies, and protect our, air, water and soil from being contaminated by toxic chemicals.
Daniel, an environmental advocate since pre-school, also volunteers at a local animal rescue and describes the day he helped a bird that was trapped in plastic netting get free and fly away as the "best day of my life."
Full story: California Safe Schools Honors 11 Year Old Daniel Randall by California Safe Schools
When an oil spill happens, you see it. At a coal fired power plant, you can often see the pollution blowing in the wind. But when a natural gas storage facility pollutes, what do you see? Until now, you saw nothing. That’s because much oil and gas air pollution is normally invisible.
Earthworks uses a FLIR (Forward Looking InfraRed) Gasfinder 320 camera that is specially calibrated to expose otherwise invisible air pollution from oil and gas operations.
This pollution must be stopped: •Methane is 86 times worse for climate change than carbon dioxide over a 20 year period. This one leaking facility in Porter Ranch accounts for an estimated 25% of California’s daily methane emissions. •Natural gas and natural gas drilling operations (mostly hydraulic fracturing a.k.a fracking) often bring up ‘hitchhikers’ like benzene with the natural gas that drillers seek. These pollutants can be harmful to human health and have led to documented health impacts for people living near compressor stations, pipelines, fracking facilities, etc.
Full article and video: Porter Ranch Methane Leak Doesn't Bode Well for Climate by Hilary Lewis
More: Erin Brockovich on Democracy Now! (December 30, 2015)
In 2012, wind generators were built in Ocotillo Valley in southern California, an area long known to the Quechan as the Valley of the Dead because of ancestors traveling through en route to the next world. The installation of wind turbines, over the objection of the Quechan and other tribes (as well as non-Native residents), has desecrated sacred sites; disrupted, and even killed, wildlife and vegetation; and oil from the machines has been dripping into the ground.
And the generators seem to be doing little, if anything, to provide alternative energy. There is only enough wind in Ocotillo to keep them active four to five months a year. And when the energy is transported long distances (in this case to San Diego), as much as half gets spent in transmission. Furthermore, turbines require conventional grid energy for their initial start-up and to operate computers inside, which must also be cooled with fans in hot weather.
Much grid energy is also used in maintaining them--and they've required maintenance. One lost a Siemens propeller just over a year after activation (pictured above). Eight months later, another caught on fire.
Story: Greed Energy Update by Ross Plesset, pictures by Jim Pelley
Grants along with a successful crowdfunding campaign have provided Los Angeles based artists Karen Fiorito and Alex Arinsburg the means to secure two 14 foot x 48 foot billboards in the Downtown and Silverlake areas. Ten additional 5 foot x 11 foot billboards are being displayed in Hollywood, Culver City, Santa Monica, Marina Del Rey and other locations. These billboards will be on view from November 30 – December 27, 2015.
According to a recent study, 47% of California's total water is used up by Animal Agriculture. 1300 gallons of water is required to make one hamburger versus 42 gallons for one veggie burger. Consequently, California residents are required to reduce water consumption by 25%; even though residential water use accounts for only 4% of California's total water footprint.
Story and photos: "Got Drought?" Public Art Project About the California Drought Unveiled on Billboards by Karen Fiorito
People of Los Angeles joined the global call to March Against Monsanto on Saturday, May 23, 2015, in solidarity with thousands of people spanning over 400 cities of the globe. In L.A. the march originated in four cardinal directions in the morning (North Hollywood/Valley, West L.A/Venice, South L.A., and downtown) and traveled via public transportation to the central rally in East Hollywood, followed by a march to Griffith Park for a non-GMO potluck and teach-in. Over five hundred people participated in #MAMLA #MAM2015 to say #HellNoGMO.
Full story and pictures: Four Winds of March Against Monsanto Los Angeles Take The Streets of Hollywood by Occupy Los Angeles OWS
On February 20 a Federal Court of Appeals in Washington DC rejected an attempt by Pacific Gas & Electric and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to quash a lawsuit filed by environmental group Friends Of the Earth (FOE). According to Friends Of the Earth, the suit alleges that the "NRC illegally allowed PG&E to alter Diablo Canyon's nuclear plant license.
"FOE contends the NRC acted in secret and collusion with PG&E to hide Diablo Canyon's vulnerability to earthquakes stronger than it was built to withstand. A decision in favor of Friends of the Earth could result in PG&E having to shut down its reactors, pending a public hearing to examine the new risks at the plant."
Diablo Canyon has been controversial since the beginning. Located on California's Central coast near San Luis Obispo, and in an earthquake and tsunami zone,
1900 no nukes protesters associated with the Abalone Alliance were arrested in 1981 over a period of two weeks in an attempt to stop its construction.
Several years before that, The China Syndrome, a movie starring Jane Fonda and Michael Douglas, appeared on silver screens across the nation, at least partially inspired by the struggle at Diablo Canyon. This was 1979, the year the Three Mile Island nuclear disaster melted down into American consciousness.
And in fact Friends of the Earth itself was founded all the way back in 1969 by environmentalist David Brower because of concerns about the possible construction of Diablo Canyon.
Full story FEDS ALLOW LAWSUIT TO SHUT DOWN DIABLO CANYON TO PROCEED by Michael Steinberg
Dozens of voters occupied the median of Sunset Blvd outside the Stewart and Lynda Resnick mansion in Beverly Hills Thursday afternoon to declare "No More Sweetheart Deals for Billionaire Farmers!" Hand-painted signs pleaded for "real water solutions, not Prop 1" and decried the water bond as "water for the 1%," not for the people of California. #NoOnProp1
At the "No on Prop 1" press conference, actors portraying the Resnicks toasted the growth of their own wealth thanks to powerful friends in Sacramento, while a tuxedo-clad waiter held a tray of POM Wonderful juice, Fiji Water, and Wonderful Pistachios (brands owned by the Resnicks' umbrella company Roll Global). The skit touted record profits in a drought year, revealing the business model of growing water-intensive crops on toxic Central Valley soil for export to foreign markets in China.
Full story and photos: Voters Rally Against Proposition 1 Outside the Beverly Hills Mansion of Water Barons by Jessica Lux.
Huntington Beach: The sacred site of Bolsa Chica (aka: Puvungna East)--or rather, what's left of it--is again in serious jeopardy. The 9,000+ year-old burial site will be the subject of a hearing on January 8, 2014
. A developer is seeking to have it rezoned from Open Space to low-density Residential.
Bolsa Chica is known for, among other things, its ancient cogged stones (found nowhere else in the world except Chile). The area has already been developed extensively, with 174+ ancestors and thousands of ceremonial objects and other items removed.
The Coastal Commission hearing will be in San Diego at 9am; however, free bus rides from Huntington Beach will be provided to those who RSVP. Supporters are also encouraged to write to the Coastal Commission.
Further details: Rezoning of the Ridge in Huntington Beach by Johnk
This video describes the site and its history (though a bit dated in some ways): The Bolsa Chica Project
See the Bolsa Chica Land Trust for more historic and environmental information.
Update (May 2014): From the Bolsa Chica Land Trust: SAVE THE DATE: Very possible Coastal Commission hearing June 11th -- 13th at HB City Hall concerning Ridge LCPA. We need your help and support in this very pressing issue! If you can attend in person, write in, or even just share this with your friends to get the word out, that would be great! We will continue to post more information as it becomes available.
Another Update: From the Bolsa Chica Land Trust The city (at the applicant's request) withdrew the application meaning that whatever happens on The Ridge or Goodell sites in the future will have to be reapproved by the city - this now gives us a chance to work with the landowners to purchase these sites and save them - still a long ways to go but today we can declare VICTORY!