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California

Haze spreads over the Central Valley on January 17, 2014. Air quality levels ranged from unhealthy to very unhealthy throughout the day.

The San Joaquin Valley Air District is once again on track to miss a federal deadline to clean up the air in the notoriously polluted air basin it serves.

While missing an air quality deadline is a blow to public health in any region, it is particularly devastating in the San Joaquin Valley. The valley experiences higher levels of poverty and unemployment than the rest of California, all while being exposed to outrageous levels of pollution and suffering from the resulting health impacts.

Trains carrying coal.

On Monday, the Board of Harbor Commissioners for the Port of Long Beach approved two agreements that locked in exports of coal and petroleum coke for the next 15 years.

Petcoke is a coal byproduct so dirty that the Environmental Protection Agency banned future permits for its use in the U.S. While disallowed here, petcoke is viewed in other countries as a cheap fuel, and these countries will buy it from American companies like Oxbow Corporation, founded and headed up by William Koch.

I’ve always been a biology geek.

As a kid, the ocean gave me a sense of awe and belonging.  I loved the other-worldly creatures of the sea and all the unexpected ways they interact with one another. I still love to be outside, in the water, exploring and observing the natural world.  So why, in the name of all that is good and sensible, did I become a lawyer? 

A new crack in a foundation in proximity to Inglewood Oil Field, CA

Colorado, Texas and Oklahoma aren't known for earthquakes, but that’s changing thanks to hydraulic fracking. Fracking-triggered earthquakes may become stronger and more frequent as the wastewater is injected underground, according to new research. Enormous amounts of wastewater are produced from the fracking process, and underground injection of wastewater is the most commonly used disposal technique. Each time a new well is fracked, the stakes grow higher.

Residents rally outside Berkeley City Hall to show opposition to a proposed crude by rail project.

Is volatile crude oil coming by rail to a town near me? For weeks, I’ve been asking myself that question as I kept hearing about the skyrocketing number of trains that are transporting potentially explosive types of crude throughout the U.S. to East and West Coast export facilities.

And I’m not alone.

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