California Environmental Law and Policy Update - February 14, 2013

by Allen Matkins
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Environmental and Policy Focus

Obama picks REI Chief Jewell to head Interior Department

Bloomberg News - Feb 6

President Barack Obama selected Sally Jewell, chief executive officer of Recreational Equipment Inc., to be secretary of the U.S. Interior Department in his second-term Cabinet. If confirmed by the Senate, Jewell will bring to bear an eclectic background as an engineer and as an executive in the banking, energy and retail industries to the job of overseeing 500 million acres of public land.

Work begins on Carlsbad desalination plant

Bloomberg News - Feb 7

After a decade of public controversy and litigation, Poseidon Resources Group, a developer of water infrastructure projects, began site work last month on the Carlsbad desalination plant, the largest of its kind in the Western Hemisphere. When completed in 2016, the facility, located 33 miles north of San Diego, is expected to produce 54 million gallons of drinking water each day from salt water drawn from the Pacific Ocean.

Solar panel makers grapple with hazardous waste problem

Financial Post - Feb 11

While solar is a far less polluting energy source than coal or natural gas when it comes to air pollutant and greenhouse gas emissions, many panel makers are nevertheless grappling with a hazardous waste problem. The industry is creating millions of solar panels each year and, in the process, generating millions of pounds of sludge and contaminated water. To dispose of the material, the companies must transport it by truck or rail far from their own plants to waste facilities hundreds and, in some cases, thousands of miles away.

Environmental groups, unions team up to oppose CEQA reform

The Sacramento Bee - Feb 7

The battle lines are being drawn in the upcoming legislative fight over reform of California's environmental review laws.

Great white shark proposed for endangered listing in California

Reuters - Feb 6

The California Fish and Game Commission voted last week to recommend protection of the great white shark, the world's largest predatory fish, in waters along the Pacific Coast, under the state's endangered species law.

California proposes new fire safety rules to reduce use of toxic flame retardants

Bloomberg BNA Environment, Health & Safety News - Feb 11

A California agency released a proposal on Feb. 8 designed to reduce the use of chemical flame retardants in upholstered furniture.

Fight for Upper Missouri River Breaks reaches 9th Circuit

CourtHouse News - Feb 11

In a case that could have implications throughout the west, including California, environmentalists urged the 9th Circuit to revive their challenge to grazing and development in the Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument in Northern Montana. President Bill Clinton designated the area, which includes 149 miles of the Upper Missouri River, as a National Monument in 2001. The land hosts some of the largest elk and big horn sheep herds in the United States, and three of its sections are designated as "wild and scenic." Litigation under the National Environmental Policy Act ensued after the U.S. Bureau of Land Management approved a management plan that prioritized cattle grazing, oil and gas development, and motorized recreation over conservation. In the litigation, Western Watersheds Project claimed that the Bureau was required to prepare an environmental impact statement about the impacts of grazing before determining it did not cause a significant impact.

Pesticide foes and EPA will mediate claim to ban insecticide

CourtHouse News - Feb 11

A 9th Circuit hearing over a pesticide that allegedly poisons farm workers and children ended with environmentalists agreeing to mediation. Chlorpyrifos is an insecticide used on various crops and golf courses, and as a wood treatment or mosquito hunter. Concerned about its allegedly harmful health effects to humans, the Pesticide Action Network North America and Natural Resources Defense Council sued the Environmental Protection Agency in 2007 to force a ban on the chemical. That federal case is currently stayed in New York pending a writ of mandamus that the groups are seeking in the 9th Circuit.

 

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