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 (155 archives)
Fracking has stirred up huge controversy in places like North Dakota and West Virginia. Concerns about environmental damage, sudden development in rural communities, and so on. But it's also created lots of jobs in those places -- and it's generated lots of domestic energy. But some are calling for a moratorium on fracking in California -- something Gov. Jerry Brown has rejected. But there are some new temporary regulations in place. And in parts of state, some say these rules are long overdue. That's particularly true when it comes to concerns over possible impacts on groundwater. KQED Science visited one small town where that's happening, but it doesn't really look like oil country at first glance.
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.