Valero, the nation’s largest oil refiner, wants to start using trains to bring crude oil to its Bay Area refinery. But the project is raising concerns about congestion, safety and air pollution in the East Bay city of Benicia – and the connection it may have to Canada’s controversial tar sands.
Despite the state’s push toward renewable energy, most Californians can’t choose solar power at home — perhaps they rent, don’t have roofs with good exposure to the sun, or can’t afford solar panels. But a bill moving through the state legislature may soon provide a way for more people to jump on board the clean energy bandwagon.
There are more than 1,400 dams in California. When the earliest of them was built, the goals were clear: store water, control floods and generate electricity. Since then, new priorities have been added, such as protecting endangered species, which makes relicensing the dams a very pricey and lengthy process.
Powerlines crisscross the Yuba River, just below the New Colgate Powerhouse.
This story aired on The California Reporton June 19, 2012, the last of a four-part series about the connection between water and energy in California. I also co-wrote two graphicillustrations explaining how they’re connected, and oversaw the production of the multimedia and interactive features for the series.