June 29, 2012
Portola Redwoods SP

Portola Redwoods State Park in San Mateo County, California     Photo: Ron Wolf

Nearly All California Parks to Stay Open

Bill saves 65 of 70 slated to close

California park officials announced Thursday that 65 of the 70 state parks slated to close Sunday due to budget cuts will remain open. The news came after Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill allocating new funds to the park system and the state worked with non-profits and local governments to support 40 parks. "We have re-energized the people who love parks, and they are stepping up and contributing to parks in all sorts of ways," said Ruth Coleman, state parks system director. The other 25 parks would be maintained with the help of private investors. Natural Resources Secretary John Laird said that the state is working to save the last five parks before scheduled closure on Sunday.

Read more about the battle for California's state parks here.


Missile battery     Photo: 2Tales/Flickr

Residents Sue U.K. Over Olympic Missiles

Plans to place them on apartment roofs

Tenants of an east London development are suing the U.K.'s Ministry of Defence to stop it from stationing surface-to-air missiles on their roof during the Olympics. Lawyers for the Fred Wigg Tower claim that the missile emplacements, which are to be staffed 24 hours a day, violate the residents' human rights because the tenants weren't consulted on the plan. "Could the MoD not find any other way of protecting the Olympic village than by putting the lives of hundreds of innocent council tenants at risk by turning their homes into a military battlefield position?" asked Martin Howe, the senior partner of Howe & Co, the firm advising the tenants. The Ministry of Defence said in a statement that they were aware of the pending legal action.

Read more at The Guardian


    Photo: NASA Goddard Photo and Video/Flickr

Obama Declares Colorado Disaster Area

One dead in Waldo Canyon Fire

President Obama declared Colorado a disaster area on Friday, bringing federal aid to battle the wildfire in Colorado Springs, now the most destructive in state history. The Waldo Canyon Fire has killed one person, whose remains were found Thursday in a charred home where two were declared missing. Officials estimate that the conflagration has burned 346 homes and cost $3.2 million to fight so far. The blaze was 15 percent contained by Thursday night, though shifting winds have repeatedly altered the fire's path and made the fight formidable. "I would say it has an obnoxious personality, and I don't like it," Incident Commander Rich Harney said. Army soldiers have built 13 kilometers of fire break in an effort to stop its progress.

Read more at Slate


Coal plant

Coal plant     Photo: Rennett Stowe/Flickr

NY Restricts New Coal Power Plants

Strict CO2 standards prevent construction

New York environmental regulators adopted stringent carbon dioxide emission standards Thursday making it extremely difficult to build new coal plants in the state. Regulators set a CO2 emissions limit of 925 lbs per megawatt-hour for new and expanded fossil fuel-fired plants. The new standard will be difficult to reach unless plants are outfitted with carbon capture and storage systems. In conjunction with a federal appeals court ruling upholding greenhouse-gas-emission rules and increased competition from cheap natural gas, the regulations will stifle the development of new coal plants and may lead to the mothballing of older plants.

Read more at Reuters