Thursday, March 25, 2010

'Fault that could eat L.A.' runs beneath Whittier Narrows location of proposed Discovery Center

Would you situate a multimillion-dollar building intended to be used by tens of thousands of people -- including children -- each year in a liquefaction zone sitting atop "the fault that could eat L.A."?

That appears to be exactly what the San Gabriel River Discovery Center Authority intends to do with its controversial project.

A story at last Saturday reported that the March 16 Pico Rivera earthquake occurred on the Puente Hills thrust fault, which stretches from the Puente Hills through downtown Los Angeles and "is capable of producing a devastating, magnitude 7.5 quake."

This is the same fault, described by a USGS seismologist as "the fault that could eat L.A., that experts believe produced the 1987 Whittier Narrows earthquake, which killed eight people.

The Web site also provides a good map showing the location of both quakes just about in the center of the fault area -- which turns out to be the same spot where one finds the Whittier Narrows, the location for the proposed Discovery Center.

An additional risk factor is that the Discovery Center would be located in a liquefaction zone, a high risk area in which "liquefaction occurs when an earthquake jars loosely compacted, moist earth, causing the soil to lose its stability, often becoming gelatinous."

The authority's choice to approve the Discovery Center apparently before adequately identifying and disclosing seismic hazards is part of the Friends lawsuit against the authority and the project. (You can find a link to the lawsuit here.)

I find it incredibly troubling that the authority insists on proceeding with the Discovery Center when everything seems to argue against the project, such as:
  • Earthquake and flood hazards of the proposed location
  • Community opposition to the project
  • Likely damage to habitat and wildlife
  • Inability to secure private or foundation funding
Perhaps its too broad a statement to claim that the whole authority is 100 percent behind the project. At last Monday's RMC board meeting, when the board voted to approve RMC funds to defend against the lawsuit, one board member asked if any of the other authority member agencies were contributing money.

Nope. Just the RMC.

It looks to me like three out of four of the member agencies are either unwilling or unable to pay their fair share.

So much for their "full support" of the Discovery Center.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Act locally this weekend: San Gabriel HS e-waste collection; yard sale for Montebello Hills effort

A couple of events this weekend are giving people in the San Gabriel Valley opportunities to take concrete steps to help the environment.

The San Gabriel High School PTSA is hosting a free e-waste collection 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday in the school's south parking lot at 801 S. Ramona St. in San Gabriel.

For more information, call (626) 308-2352.

And the Sierra Club's Montebello Hills Task Force is having its spring fundraiser yard sale 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The location is 337 N. 19th St. in Montebello.

The yard sale goes on, rain or shine.