KQED Radio Staff
Science and Environment Reporter
Lauren covers environment and science as a reporter with QUEST - KQED's multiplatform science and environmental series. As part of her day job, she has scaled Sierra Nevada peaks, hunted for newts in the rain, and desperately tried to get her sea legs - all in pursuit of good radio. Originally from the Bay Area, Lauren attended Cornell University and has a background in environmental policy. Before joining KQED, she cruised bunny slopes as a ski instructor in Tahoe, California and ate croissants in France as a travel writer for Frommer's. Her work has appeared on Marketplace, Living on Earth, and NPR's Morning Edition and All Things Considered.
Stories (154 archives)
On Tuesday in Sacramento, Gov. Jerry Brown is expected to sign a historic package of bills setting the stage for state regulation of groundwater use -- if local agencies don't do it first. While the current drought helped move this package of bills through the Legislature, the impact will role out over a number of years.
In the rush to close up this year's session, the state Legislature passed a raft of bills covering everything from a statewide plastic bag ban to Hollywood tax credits. One could be forgiven for failing to notice a trio of bills on groundwater -- but they constitute an earth-shaking shift in California water policy, one of the biggest in decades.
Last year's Rim Fire burned 257,000 acres in and around Yosemite. It was one of the largest fires in California history, and it left a lot of dead trees. Later this week, the U.S. Forest Service is expected to announce it will let logging companies cut down some of those trees. But the decision is controversial.
As reservoir levels dwindle, many regions are pumping water from underground. On the Central Coast, that's causing ocean water to pollute underground aquifers. The seawater is making groundwater unusable for crops like strawberries.
Opponents of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, have pushed for a statewide moratorium on the controversial oil production technique. But those efforts haven't gotten far, so now, activists are taking the fight to the local level. KQED Science reporter Lauren Sommer tells us about several California counties where voters will decide the future of fracking in November