Environmental and Policy Focus
BNA - Dec 12
California's Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) has announced plans to add trichloroethylene (TCE) to the list of reproductive toxicants under the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, better known as Proposition 65. Under Prop 65, the state must maintain a list of chemicals known to cause cancer, birth defects or reproductive toxicity. Businesses must provide clear warnings whenever the public is exposed to an unsafe level of a listed substance. TCE is used as an industrial solvent and is found in several consumer products, including paint removers and adhesives.
L.A. Biz Journal - Dec 5
Days after a judge in Sacramento placed another major obstacle in the way of California’s proposed bullet train project, a regulator in Washington, DC, has withheld approval for a 114-mile section of the train’s route. According to a report by Bloomberg, the California High-Speed Rail Authority sought early approval for construction on the rail line from Fresno to Bakersfield, but the federal Surface Transportation Board denied that request, saying an environmental review had not been completed for the land in question.
San Jose Mercury News - Dec 5
Critics and many political observers might see California's bullet train project as nearly dead, but state officials expressed the view last week that the train project is still proceeding at full speed. Under siege following court rulings, the chairman of the state's High-Speed Rail Authority said the state still plans to break ground as early as next month on the largest public works project in California history. Others, however, say the Rail Authority is downplaying the significance of the recent setbacks.
Daily Republic - Dec 3
Solano County has extended a moratorium on new, large-scale commercial solar- and wind-energy projects in rural areas for another 10 months with the stated goals of protecting Travis Air Force Base and farming. Last week, the Solano County Board of Supervisors approved this extension by unanimous vote for the utility-scale renewable energy projects. It also issued a ban on new wireless communication towers more than 200 feet tall. Supervisors on Nov. 5 passed an urgency law putting the ban in place for 45 days, the longest term possible at the time. They have discussed extending the ban in increments, as allowed under state law, until the county completes land use studies. Base officials have expressed concern about the prospect of 400-foot-tall wind turbines being built in this military airfield area. They also have concerns about the glare and potential radar interference from large commercial solar wind farms.
Los Angeles Times - Dec 11
A judge has dealt a serious setback to Los Angeles' efforts to bring larger development to parts of Hollywood, saying a new zoning plan is "fatally flawed" and should be rescinded by the City Council. In a 41-page tentative ruling issued this week, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Allan J. Goodman said city leaders failed to comply with the state's environmental law when they approved an update to the Hollywood Community Plan, which maps out rules for growth and development. The plan sought to allow construction of larger buildings in some parts of Hollywood, particularly near transit stops. The Hollywood community plan was approved in June 2012 and allowed for the construction of taller buildings on Sunset and Hollywood boulevards west of the 101 Freeway. Supporters described the new plan as a visionary document that would allow Hollywood to complete a 20-year transformation into a bustling center of jobs, residential towers and public transportation. Critics warned that the resulting growth would snarl notoriously bad traffic and destroy views for those who live in Hollywood's hillsides. They also said the neighborhood did not have the proper infrastructure to support the increase in population.