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The Green LA Coalition has recently sent out an extremely informative “Special Memorandum” laying out “What to Expect in 2011” on the environmental front for the Los Angeles region. The memo, compiled by Jonathan Parfrey (Director, Green LA Institute),  is extremely comprehensive, and should be a great resource to anyone in the environmental policy sector looking to envision what’s to come.  The memo can be viewed in full by clicking here:  Green LA Special Memorandum.

The memo covers the following subjects:

  • Climate action in Southern California
  • Climate action statewide
  • Transportation
  • Clean Air
  • Port of LA and Long Beach
  • Renewable energy and energy efficiency
  • Electric vehicles
  • Rubbish (Waste)
  • Green jobs
  • Water
  • Municipal elections
  • Los Angeles River projects are moving ahead
  • Open space and parks
  • Ocean protection
  • Global environmental meetings
  • Climate trends, etc…

Here is an example of one of the subjects discussed in detail:

 

Transportation
(Note: Online version includes multiple hyperlinks not included below)

  • The Wilshire Bus Only Lane is swiftly (and sadly) losing its potency as a viable transportation option.
  • In 2011 preliminary engineering work begins on the Westside Subway Extension, and the Regional Connector. Both projects could qualify for federal funds in next year’s budget.
  • A much improved City of Los Angeles Bicycle Plan will be adopted by city council in early 2011.
  • Construction will continue on High-Occupancy Toll (HOT) express lanes on I-10 and I-110 freeways and are scheduled to come online in 2012.
  • Orange Line extension construction continues.
  • Construction continues on Expo Line, Phase One, downtown to Culver City. Service may begin in 2012.
  • Metro is expected to award a design-build contract for Expo Line, Phase Two, Culver City to Santa Monica, in Spring 2011.
  • Construction is scheduled to begin in 2011 on the Gold Line Extension, Sierra Madre to Azusa, with service beginning as soon as December 2014.
  • Governor Jerry Brown plans to restore transit funds. His 2011-2012 budget proposal includes a boost in transit funding.
  • Vision Los Angeles releases its report on reducing traffic and spurring economic development.
  • Although LA Bureau of Engineering’s Green Streets standard plans were developed last year — first in the nation — seven new standards will be promulgated this year, including a new tree well design by February.

 

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Yesterday the Center for American Progress, Energy Action Coalition, and Groundswell released a paper entitled “CLEAN Contracts: Making Clean Local Energy Accessible Now.”Read and download the full report here. The paper looks at the policy that has helped to bring more renewable electricity into the marketplace than any other: the CLEAN contract (which is sometimes called a “feed-in tariff”). These are national, state, or local policies that allow renewable energy project owners to sell their electricity to utilities at a pre-determined, fixed price for a long period of time.

The paper examines how lawmakers and advocates can successfully implement CLEAN Contracts, and it offers recommendations of how to apply CLEAN contracts in ways that create the greatest benefit for consumers, communities, and the economy as a whole. The report was written by Richard W. CapertonBracken Hendricks, John Lauer, Courtney Hight

From CAP Action: CLEAN Contracts: Making clean local electricity accessible now with feed-in-tariffs

 

The next frontier in green building is discussed in an interesting article in the Los Angeles Times. Green Builders Find that Location Matters

Reminds of this great quote–What is the use of a house if you haven’t got a tolerable planet to put it on?  ~Henry David Thoreau

I’m guest blogging for Ecoangeleno, I will eventually figure out how to create my own profile. For now, I’m going to play around on this site (thank you Daniel for letting me write here).

Environment Now, a private Southern California foundation, recently unveiled its new Speaker Series. Each month, the series highlights an author, researcher, or activist working on precedent setting environmental issues.  Last Wednesday featured research done by Los Angeles Sustainability Collaborative Fellow, Clement Lau, on freeway cap parks. A large crowd attended Clement’s presentation and participated in discussion on the four cap parks proposed for the Los Angeles region–Hollywood Central Park, PARK 101, and two smaller cap parks in Santa Monica. The environmental health impacts of placing parks above freeways needs to be studied, but the idea certainly makes one think outside the box. Environment Now’s upcoming speakers include the following. All events are open to the public.

February 23, 2011 5:30pm-7:30pm

Laura Cunningham, Environmental Activist, Artist, and Author

Ms. Cunningham will be giving a presentation about her new book, “A State of Change: Forgotten Landscapes of California.” Based on over twenty years of research, travels and sketching throughout the state, “A State of Change” provides an unforgettable view of the abundance and diversity of life that was once found in California’s landscapes, and offers inspiration for the current efforts to restore these ecosystems. This beautiful book was just released in November and it is already appearing on lists of the best books of 2010, and was recently highlighted as a recommended holiday gift book by the San Francisco Chronicle.

April, 2011 5:30pm-7:30pm

Economic Roundtable Researchers

Economic Roundtable researchers will present their forthcoming report entitled, “Water Re-Use: Los Angeles’ Emerging Job Sector.”  The Economic Roundtable is a non-profit, public benefit corporation organized to conduct research and implement programs that contribute to the economic self-sufficiency of individuals and communities.  Researchers investigated the industry contribution, economic impact, and employment growth trends in the water re-use sector.

Be sure to RSVP to: wjenkins@environmentnow.org

The Solid Waste Association of North America’s (SWANA) conference, “Thinking Outside the Blue Box: The Road to Zero Waste” will be held on February 16 – 17, at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles.
The conference will include technical sessions discussing a variety of zero waste related topics and issues, keynote presentations, and a robust trade show. To learn more about the conference visit:
http://www.thinkingoutsidethebluebox.com/

From the LA Times: California air regulators approve carbon-trading plan

“The cap-and-trade system will limit emissions from 600 major industrial plants in the state, starting in 2012. Firms could buy pollution offsets from timber companies that preserve carbon in forests.”


I wanted to bring everyone’s attention to a new briefing recently completed by Clement Lau, a recent LA Sustainability Collaborative fellow. In his report titled, “Urban Freeway-Cap Park Policy Briefing,” Clement provides an update on the status of the various proposed projects around the region (such as the the Hollywood Freeway Central Park), and provides a detailed review of the various environmental, policy and public health issues associated with these projects. Here is a summary of what is discussed in this briefing:

Briefing Summary
Cap parks, also referred to as highway or deck parks, are parks built over segments of freeways that are below grade. Four major cap park proposals are currently being considered in the Los Angeles region, including the Hollywood Central Park, PARK 101 in downtown, and two smaller cap parks in Santa Monica. This policy briefing paper is intended to help policy makers, environmental advocates, and the general public to better understand cap parks, and the associated environmental and public health issues. Specifically, this paper offers a background onthe shortage of public parks in the Los Angeles region, discusses the pros and cons of cap parks, studies four examples of cap parks built elsewhere, describes current cap park proposals, and addresses the barriers and constraints to implementing cap parks in the Los Angeles region.

Check out the report, it’s a really fantastic review of what’s going on with freeway park-caps and the issues involved with these projects.