William J. Kelly

Loss and Loathing on the Cheney Trail

Illustration by Brian Wilcox A neighbor had warned Lisa Bracken of a strange phenomenon on the trail up to western Colorado’s towering Mamm Mountain. On an April morning, she set off from her home in the small town of Silt, in the shadow of Mamm, to see it for herself......

Oil Slick

A state plan backed by a powerful Sacramento couple to wrest control over oil-refinery expansion from local authorities and centralize it in the state capital is moving through the Legislature and California Energy Commission. The oil industry’s apparent influence over the commission seems to stem from Catherine Reheis-Boyd, executive director......

Clearing the Air

L.A. Marathon founder William A. Burke, whose pro-industry actions as a member of two air-quality boards have raised questions about whether he can separate his own interests from those of the public, has resigned from the California Air Resources Board (CARB). Sources say that Burke announced his resignation in a......

Money in the Lake

A chill wind suspended a cloud of dust over the Owens Valley as the sun rose one recent spring day. “You couldn’t see the mountains,” recalled James Warren, who has spent his life below the towering eastern Sierra Nevada. “The entire valley is drying up.” Now the bill for reversing......

The Well-Oiled Deal

A sickening odor of gasoline hung along Wilmington’s waterfront as people filed out of last week’s meeting with California Energy Commission officials on a state proposal to minimize local say over construction of oil-industry facilities. Vapors from a nearby refinery or tanker ship were a pungent reminder of why residents......

Lord of the Race

Illustration by Jack Black After years of improvements, the air in Los Angeles has started getting dirtier. The decline can be traced to decisions like the one William A. Burke faced in 1994 in his first major test as a new member of the regional air watchdog agency. Environmentalists packed......

Driving Mr. Davis

California motorists will face rising gasoline prices and shortages in the years ahead, but under heavy pressure from the oil industry, Governor Gray Davis’ administration last week sent a report to the Legislature that offers few real solutions to the impending problem. It’s the old story of supply and demand,......

A Chokehold on the Future

After years of slow but steady improvement, the air quality in Los Angeles is getting dangerously worse again, and officials are either unable or unwilling to do enough about it. Already this summer, the region has experienced its first smog alert since 1998, as well as 38 days above the......

Better Than Bush

The obvious message was — well, obvious — at last week’s debate among Democratic presidential contenders. When it comes to the environment: Bush is bad; the Democrats are much better. Tell us something that we don’t know. California has more specific concerns, namely, Which Democrat is most likely to get......

Money in the Lake

A chill wind suspended a cloud of dust over the Owens Valley as the sun rose one recent spring day. “You couldn’t see the mountains,” recalled James Warren, who has spent his life below the towering eastern Sierra Nevada. “The entire valley is drying up.” Now the bill for reversing......