Environment, Parks, Libraries

Celebrating Environmental Stewards

Last year, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors adopted its first countywide sustainability plan, Ourcounty (ourcountyla.org), which is focused around the themes of resilience, sustainability, and equity.  The Plan is the boldest, most comprehensive regional approach to sustainability ever adopted by a county in the United States.

LA County cannot move toward a greener future through government action alone. Throughout the County, residents, businesses, nonprofit organizations, community groups and cities develop and employ innovative initiatives to enhance the region’s sustainability, making communities healthier, more livable, more equitable, economically stronger, and more resilient.

The 2020 “Green Leadership Awards Program” is designed to recognize outstanding community efforts that support sustainability as well as to create opportunities to engage and inspire all of us about the strategies that make every day Earth Day.

The awards were established by the Board in 2008, to promote community involvement in energy and water conservation, environmental sustainability and the preservation of our natural resources. They are open to all County residents, public agencies, businesses, and nonprofit organizations.

Past winners include the Los Angeles Convention Center for their Next Level Sustainability project, the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) for its six-County community outreach and advertising campaign, Go Human Active Transportation, and GRID Alternatives Greater Los Angeles for its Non-Profit Solar Opportunities program.

Applications for the 2020 Green Leadership Awards should be emailed to Greenleadership@lacbos.org by 5:00 p.m. on February 14, 2020. The application can be found at lacounty.gov/greenleadership/ The Green Leadership Awards gathering will be held on April 22, 2020, which is the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day.

Vector illustration – Green Brain

Crenshaw/LAX Line Crosses the 405

For the first time, a train has crossed the 405 between Hindry near LAX and IVY Street in Inglewood. The Metro Crenshaw/LAX Line will extend from the existing Metro Exposition Line at Crenshaw and Exposition Boulevards. The Line will travel 8.5 miles to the Metro Green Line and will serve the cities of Los Angeles, Inglewood and El Segundo as well as portions of unincorporated Los Angeles County. The new Metro Rail extension will offer an alternative transportation option to congested roadways and provide significant environmental benefits, economic development and employment opportunities throughout Los Angeles County. Riders will be able to make easy connections within the entire Metro Rail system, municipal bus lines and other regional transportation services.

The Crenshaw/LAX Transit Project will serve the Crenshaw District, Inglewood, Westchester and surrounding area with eight stations, at:

1. Expo/Crenshaw
2. Martin Luther King Jr.
3. Leimert Park
4. Hyde Park
5. Fairview Heights
6. Downtown Inglewood
7. Westchester/Veterans
8. Aviation/Century

In addition to the alternative transportation option to congested roadways, the project will also provide significant environmental benefits, economic development and employment opportunities throughout Los Angeles County. The project began construction in 2014 and anticipates completion in 2020.

The Crenshaw/LAX Project is one of 12 transit projects funded by Measure R, the half-cent sales tax approved by Los Angeles County voters in 2008.

Board Strengthens Regulations on Oil and Gas Facilities: Drilling No Longer Authorized Without A Permit

Acting on a motion by Supervisors Mark Ridley-Thomas and Hilda Solis, a “Strike Team” has inventoried an estimated 800 oil and gas facilities in Los Angeles County’s unincorporated areas. The Board unanimously called for being proactive in ensuring that existing oil and gas facilities operate safely, as well as for enhancing the regulatory process for future well sites.

When first assembling the team in 2016, Supervisor Ridley-Thomas said, “The objective here is to ensure that these facilities are appropriately and proactively monitored to ensure they are operating in a manner that protects the health and safety of surrounding communities.”

Strike teams assess oil drilling facilities. Photo by Tim Stapleton / LA County Department of Regional Planning Land Use Regulation Division

The 800 oil and gas facilities have been operating with a lack of consistency in permit conditions, and under regulations that vary from project to project.

The first phase of the Strike Team’s work included a site visit and assessment of all facilities within the unincorporated areas. That work is now complete, and the team is now focusing on the second phase of work, which consists of researching and investigating abandoned and orphaned wells, storage facilities, pipelines, and hazardous chemicals with the objective of providing a recommendation to the Board later next year on how to improve regulations over these facilities.

The Strike Team is comprised of representatives from the County Department of Regional Planning, the Department of Public Health, the Fire Department and Department of Public Works.

The Department of Regional Planning was also directed to update the Zoning Code to require a Conditional Use Permit be obtained before drilling new wells in any land use zone across the unincorporated portions of County. This means that the oil and gas facilities will no longer be able to drill “by right”, or without County discretionary approval. The new ordinance is expected to go to the Regional Planning Commission in June 2020, and thereafter to the Board for final approval.

Willowbrook Goes Green with New Solar Panels

The Martin Luther King Jr. Medical Campus is now home to approximately 4,000 solar panels at the top of both parking structures in addition to electric vehicle (EV) charging stations.

These panels are expected to be operational by the end of February 2020 and are anticipated to save the County over $3 million in energy costs over the next 25 years.

Solar panel installation at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Hospital.

The EV charging stations installed on the campus are meant to encourage both patients and employees to drive clean vehicles, which will help reduce fossil fuel use and air pollution. The parking lot solar canopies will also serve as shade structures that keep cars cooler when parked on the top floor of the parking garage.

Last year, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors adopted its first countywide sustainability plan, Ourcounty (ourcountyla.org), which is focused around the themes of resilience, sustainability, and equity.  The implementation of this green infrastructure in Willowbrook is one of many environmentally-sustainable projects happening in the Second District and across the County.

Just down the street, construction is well underway at Magic Johnson Park, where $75 million is being invested in a transformation of the park, which will include a new sustainable-designed community center as well as a water quality project where stormwater will be collected from the surrounding area, cleaned, and used to fill the lake and irrigate the park.