ECM ROUNDUP: LOCAL AND STATEWIDE NEWS

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January 27, 2016 (San Diego's East County) -- East County Roundup highlights top stories of interest to East County and San Diego’s inland regions, published in other media. This week’s top “Roundup” headlines include:

LOCAL

STATE

For excerpts and links to full stories, click  “read more” or scroll down.

LOCAL

East County business owner duped in utility scam (10 News)

An East County businessman wants to warn everyone in San Diego County about an elaborate phone scam targeting San Diego Gas & Electric customers. Dave Landman, owner of the Jacumba Hot Springs Spa and the De Anza Springs Resort, considers himself a pretty good businessman.

Who’s planning a religious resort in Mission Valley? (U-T)

San Diego televangelist Morris Cerullo, widely known for his overseas healing crusades and the occasional legal skirmish, is now hoping to cement his spiritual legacy with the help of hologram-filled catacombs, a 20-foot tall wailing wall and an interactive Biblical museum.

‘Lucky life’ lotto winner dies after becoming a millionaire (NBC)

La Mesa resident Kevin Boson won $3.2 million with a lucky Scratchers ticket in spring 2014, but never had time to spend his winnings.

Local cities asked to back spent nuclear fuel bill (U-T)

Bill would allow the removal of fuel from San Onofre to temporary facility

State Probing Experimental Hubbs Fish Breeding Program That’s Spawned Deformities, Mixed Results (Voice of SD)

 The Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute is trying to build a massive fish farm off the San Diego coast.  A smaller Hubbs effort to breed white seabass has spawned fish that have horns, deformed hearts or are blind.  The state is now auditing the whole program.

Federal Authorities Do Little To Punish San Onofre Over Closure (KPBS)

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission never fined San Onofre plant operator Southern California Edison for failing to disclose it knew in 2006 that the steam generators it installed could have potential flaws.

State Accountability Scarce Four Years After San Onofre Leak (KPBS)

This month marks the fourth anniversary since the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station leaked radiation, leading to the plant's premature shutdown. So far, Southern California Edison has mostly escaped accountability for that incident despite revelations that the company knew the equipment was flawed before it was installed.  

STATE

Saudi Arabia is buying up California farmland (Water Deeply)

California's urban water conservation regulations are likely to get a lot looser in 2016, according to a draft of the rules released by the State Water Resources Control Board. Meanwhile, why is a giant Saudi Arabian dairy farming company buying up farmland in California? (Related: Saudi Arabia is buying up farmland in US Southwest)

Porter Ranch: Regulators approve comprehensive abatement order over massive gas leak (Los Angeles Times)

Regulators on Saturday approved a comprehensive abatement order that requires Southern California Gas Co. to take immediate steps to contain a massive natural gas leak in Porter Ranch, permanently shut down the damaged well, establish a leak detection system and conduct an independent health study.

Porter Ranch ‘climate disaster’ shows need for national fracking ban: Sanders (Los Angeles Times) 

As the ongoing Porter Ranch disaster shines a spotlight on the dangers of aging natural gas infrastructure around the country, presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and environmental experts are now arguing that the leaking well serves as "yet another example of the urgent national need to transition away from fossil fuels."

"The Porter Ranch gas leak is a climate disaster," Sanders said in a tweet on Thursday, after being asked about the situation at a town hall meeting at Southern New Hampshire University.

In California, A Treasure Hunt For Gold Rush-Era Fruit And Nut Trees (NPR)

The search is on for heirloom varieties planted at homesteads and coach stops in the late 1800s. The resilient trees, still productive despite long neglect, could prove valuable at a time of drought.

Leaking L.A. County Methane Well Under Stress (KPBS)

The well that has been gushing climate-changing methane into the sky was operated by Southern California Gas Co. in a way that is legal but risky, some well experts say.

California Regulators Order Company To Permanently Close Leaking Gas Well (NPR)

A well on the outskirts of LA has been spewing natural gas into the air for months. Once it's sealed off, regulators say, it can never be tapped again. Other new restrictions are also being imposed.

Exclusive: California gas leak spotlights shoddy regulation of aging storage wells (Reuters)

 Long before a natural gas storage well sprung a disastrous leak near Los Angeles, California, utilities and national industry groups were raising alarms about the danger of aging underground storage infrastructure.