11:44 am
Tue December 9, 2014

Free home energy tips as we head into the winter months

Credit Empower Central Coast

It's now December. With cooler temperatures on the way and larger energy bills along with them. However, you have access to a service that can help you make efficiency upgrades to your home and it's totally free. Learn more about the EmPower program in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties and how it could potentially save you money.

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3:14 pm
Thu December 4, 2014

Lawsuit aimed at federal government over fracking in the Santa Barbara Channel

Platform Gail in the Santa Barbara Channel
Credit Flickr member Ken Lund

An environmental group took the first step toward suing the federal government on Thursday, over fracking in the Santa Barbara Channel.

The Center for Biological Diversity filed a notice of intent to sue the U.S. Interior Department for violating federal law in regards to offshore fracking approvals.

The group says the government did not evaluate how the enhanced oil extraction practice may pollute local waters, nor its effects on marine wildlife prior to issuing the approvals to oil companies. 

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5:22 pm
Mon November 24, 2014

State Water Board says Santa Maria River is 'highly toxic'

Oso Flaco Lake and other estuaries fed by the Santa Maria River are sensitive habitat areas affected by toxic levels of pesticide runoff from surrounding agriculture in the Santa Maria Valley.
Credit Flickr member Rennett Stowe

A new survey by the State Water Board shows the Santa Maria River is highly toxic—and has been for years with some of the highest readings in the state for certain chemicals.

Bryn Phillips is an environmental toxicology specialist with UC Davis who has been working on this ongoing project. He says an increase in pyrethroid pesticide levels is cause for concern.

Recently the river was designated with a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) restriction.

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6:41 pm
Thu November 13, 2014

Plastic bag ban expands in Santa Barbara starting Friday

Credit Flickr member Taber Andrew Bain

Santa Barbara's ban on plastic bags steps up a notch Friday to include smaller grocery stores, pharmacies and convenience stores. The initial portion of the ban that went into effect back in May only included larger supermarkets and major drug chains of 10,000 square feet or more. 

Customers can still buy a paper bag for 10 cents if they forget to bring a reusable shopping bag.

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6:36 pm
Thu November 13, 2014

Air pollution control measures don't appear to be working at Oceano Dunes

The Oceano Dunes, Calif.
Credit Randol White - KCBX News

Projects to reduce the amount of air pollution caused by particulates coming from the Oceano Dunes don't appear to be working. Testing shows the number of days with poor air quality on the Nipomo Mesa held steady, despite the addition of sand fencing and hay bales.

California State Parks spent more than a million dollars on the projects this past spring.

Larry Allen is the Air Pollution Control officer for San Luis Obispo County. He believes the problem can be fixed without putting an end to vehicle access on the dunes, but says some action needs to be taken.

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7:08 pm
Fri November 7, 2014

State Senator hosts public meeting to prepare for climate change

Credit Live Stream: Climate Change Impacts on Critical Infrastructure

State Senator Hannah-Beth held a public hearing in Santa Barbara earlier today to address Climate Change and Emergency management.

The hearing was designed to discuss the risks associated with climate change and what's left to be done. Panels of experts presented Climate Change reports and examined how climate change has already affected California.

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1:12 pm
Thu October 30, 2014

SLO County Air Polution Control District on Climate Change and local air quality

Brian Reynolds talks with representatives from the Air Pollution Control District of San Luis Obispo County about climate change, also about our local air quality, what affects it, and what each of us can do to improve it.

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3:08 pm
Fri October 3, 2014

Carbon Shock

Broadcast date: 09/29/14

Journalist Mark Shapiro investigates the economic disruption caused by climate change. At the heart of the challenges we face is how to establish a price for carbon.

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3:31 pm
Wed September 24, 2014

Elfin Forest natural area on Morro Bay turns 20 this Saturday

San Luis Obispo County's El Moro Elfin Forest in Los Osos.
Credit Flickr member Kevin Cole

San Luis Obispo County's Elfin Forest natural area will celebrate its 20 year anniversary on Saturday, September 27.

The 90 acres of preserved land sits on the southeastern shore of Morro Bay adjacent to Los Osos and Morro Bay State Park. It was created by the local group Small Wilderness Area Preservation (SWAP) and now includes a combination of County and State park lands.

SWAP's chair, Ron Rasmussen, says the natural area got its name based on oddly-shaped native trees.

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5:43 pm
Mon September 22, 2014

Unusual items among tons of trash collected on Central Coast beaches

Volunteers in Santa Barbara County during Coastal Clean-Up Day
Credit Project Clean Water Facebook Page

The Central Coast numbers for this weekend's Coastal Clean-up Day are starting to come in and Santa Barbara County looks like it had an increase in the number of volunteers and trash collected.

Project Clean Water says more than a thousand people came together Saturday at sites county-wide, collecting roughly 4,800 pounds of trash and recyclables. 

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6:17 pm
Thu September 18, 2014

Thousands of volunteers expected to hit Central Coast beaches this Saturday

Avila Beach is one of several Central Coast locations where there are organized cleanup efforts taking place September 20th.

This Saturday, September 20, is the 30th annual International Coastal Cleanup Day. Several organized efforts are taking place along the beaches of Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo and Monterey Counties.

In California alone last year it's estimated more than 70,000 people collected nearly a million pounds of trash.

Eben Schwartz is the marine debris manager for the California Coastal Commission. He says the Central Coast plays a big role in those numbers.

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5:42 pm
Tue September 16, 2014

Central Coast counties get portion of $2.8 million environmental judgement against national retailer

Credit Flickr member Mike Mozart

A Monterey County judge ordered Tuesday the parent company of T.J. Maxx, Marshalls and HomeGoods to pay $2.8 million in penalties related to environmental violations.

A total of 38 California counties sued the Massachusetts-based corporation known as TJX Companies for dumping hazardous pollutants at its stores throughout the state.

Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce Dudley says the settlement "marks a victory for the environment and should also serve as a strong message to other companies and individuals that engage in illegal disposal practices."

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What are the health impacts of climate change?
6:00 pm
Fri September 5, 2014

Climate Change and Health

Broadcast date: 9/11/2014

Climate change is threatening the health and well-being of our communities. Locally, increased temperatures are impacting our environment and the Central Coast is experiencing severe drought and reduced air quality. These changes to our environment have the potential to greatly impact our health.

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6:16 pm
Wed September 3, 2014

Several Central Coast Costco stores part of EPA settlement

Costco stores in Oxnard, Goleta, Santa Maria, and Salinas will be updating their refrigeration systems under a new settlement with the EPA.
Credit Flickr member Chris Potter

Several Costco stores along the Central Coast will soon need to update their refrigerator systems under a company settlement with the Environmental Protection Agency.

Costco will pay $335 million in penalties for federal Clean Air Act violations and will fix refrigerant leaks, among other improvements, the agency said in a media release.

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6:20 pm
Tue September 2, 2014

San Luis Obispo moves forward with possible Styrofoam ban

San Luis Obispo City Council members are considering a ban on food containers like this, as well as other forms of polystyrene.
Credit Flickr member playerx

San Luis Obispo city staff will move forward with plans on how to implement a Styrofoam use ban, should the council vote to approve one down the road.

A special one hour public meeting of the City Council was held Wednesday afternoon. Several members of the public spoke in favor of banning Styrofoam—or polystyrene—at the meeting.

City leaders described it as a "study session." Four out of the five city council members agreed to direct staff to continue working on the issue.

Councilman John Ashbaugh supports the strongest possible version of a ban.

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