California Environmental Law and Policy Update - April 11, 2013

by Allen Matkins
Contact

Environmental and Policy Focus

Court rules CEQA streamlining provision unconstitutional

CourtHouse News - Apr 3

A section of a California law aimed at streamlining construction projects by moving jurisdiction to the appellate courts is unconstitutional, a state judge ruled Friday. Ruling from the bench, Judge Frank Roesch of Alameda County Superior Court struck down Public Resources Code 21185 of Assembly Bill 900, which modified the review process for certain projects under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law AB 900 and its companion bill SB 292, which proposed the building of a massive football stadium in downtown Los Angeles, on Sept. 27, 2011. Both bills took effect last January. AB 900, the Jobs and Economic Improvement Through Environmental Leadership Act, creates a fast-track judicial review process meant to get major construction projects off the ground sooner.

Northern District Court rules that BLM violated NEPA in Monterey shale oil leases

CNBC - Apr 9

Federal land managers violated a key environmental law when they auctioned off the rights to drill for oil and gas on 2,500 acres of prime public lands in Monterey County, home to one of the largest deposits of shale oil in the nation, a judge ruled. U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul Grewal said in a ruling posted Sunday that the Bureau of Land Management should have conducted a comprehensive environmental review of the potential impacts caused by fracking before accepting bids for the drilling rights, in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act.

LADWP lake plan stirs up mixed reactions

Inyo Register News - Apr 6

Mixed reviews are coming in for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s proposal to develop a workable plan for long-term dust and habitat control on Owens Lake. Interested individuals and organizations have said the LADWP’s proposal is a way to end controversial dust control decisions on the lake while cutting water use (which could mean more water for the Owens Valley). Others say the department’s move is simply a way to cut through bureaucracy and get work done. Still others say the LADWP is developing its own plan as a way to access groundwater on the lake and circumvent the Master Plan Committee, comprised of more than a dozen members, and develop a plan that will serve its needs while ignoring those of other members. The LADWP announced last week that it planned to take the work done by the Master Plan Committee and draft a long-term plan for the lake that would meet the department’s needs and those of other member agencies, something the first draft plan, which was released in 2011, failed to do.

SF lawmaker hits speedbump in CEQA reform

San Francisco Examiner - Apr 8

Supervisor Scott Wiener’s effort to change how The City handles an environmental appeals process was slowed down Monday as a competing measure is being introduced. The proposed changes to the appeals process related to the California Environmental Quality Act, commonly called CEQA, have sparked tensions at City Hall, creating divisions among labor unions, community groups and housing advocates, and filling up supervisors’ inboxes with hundreds of emails from residents on both sides of the conflict. Developers complain about the unpredictability and endless battles in the existing process, while neighborhood activists worry proposed changes would diminish their influence.

Southern California begins drafting own air rules for fracking

Ohio Drilling - Apr 6

In the absence of statewide regulations for hydraulic fracturing, Southern California air-quality officials have enacted their own reporting rules for the controversial extraction process driving the country's oil and gas boom. On Friday, the governing board of the South Coast Air Quality Management District adopted a rule that requires oil companies to notify the air agency 10 days to 24 hours before beginning drilling operations, including "fracking," which involves injecting large volumes of chemical-laced water and sand deep into the ground to break apart rock and release oil. That notice, including the location of the well, will then be posted on the agency's website . Under the new rule, companies are also required to disclose all the chemicals they use, a provision that sparked opposition from oil industry trade groups and Halliburton, one of the world's largest oil field service companies and a pioneer of hydraulic fracturing.

Judge dismisses some environmental concerns for Santa Margarita Ranch project

San Luis Obispo Tribune - Apr 4

After more than three years of legal wrangling over the environmental impacts of developing an agricultural residential cluster on 3,778 acres of the Santa Margarita Ranch, a tentative ruling by Judge Jac A. Crawford is somewhat of a split decision in the ranch owners’ favor. Although several environmental issues will have to be addressed before building permits can be issued, Judge Crawford dismissed the bulk of other environment-oriented concerns.

Utility pole preservative OK, court rules

SF Gate - Apr 9

Pacific Gas & Electric and Pacific Bell did not need clean-water permits before coating thousands of utility poles with a powerful, government-approved wood preservative that can wash into Bay Area waterways, a federal appeals court has ruled. The Ecological Rights Foundation claimed pentachlorophenol from the poles has caused harmful pollution of the bay and other waters since the U.S. Environment Protection Agency approved its use in 2008. The foundation said the two utilities should have sought permits from regional water boards that can impose limits on water-borne pollutants. But the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco said the preservative's use on poles is not covered by the Clean Water Act, which requires permits for discharges of industrial pollutants into waterways, or by another federal law regulating pollution by solid wastes.

US judge rejects Chevron subpoena of advocacy group in Ecuador case

CNBC - Apr 3

A U.S. judge has rejected efforts by Chevron Corp to secure documents from a California environmental advocacy group in a fraud case related to a $19 billion award for rainforest pollution in Ecuador. Magistrate Judge Nathanael Cousins on Wednesday quashed Chevron's subpoena for a deposition and documents from Amazon Watch, which the group's own lawyer described as the U.S. oil company's "sharpest critic." The subpoena was related to a case scheduled to go to trial on Oct. 15 in which Chevron accuses Ecuadorean residents, their lawyers and advisers of fraud in obtaining a multi-billion dollar judgment from a local court. Cousins said he had to weigh the free speech rights of Amazon Watch under the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment against the possibility of Chevron uncovering evidence for its case.

Written by:

Allen Matkins
Contact
more
less

Allen Matkins on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
Sign up using*

Already signed up? Log in here

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Privacy Policy (Updated: October 8, 2015):
hide

JD Supra provides users with access to its legal industry publishing services (the "Service") through its website (the "Website") as well as through other sources. Our policies with regard to data collection and use of personal information of users of the Service, regardless of the manner in which users access the Service, and visitors to the Website are set forth in this statement ("Policy"). By using the Service, you signify your acceptance of this Policy.

Information Collection and Use by JD Supra

JD Supra collects users' names, companies, titles, e-mail address and industry. JD Supra also tracks the pages that users visit, logs IP addresses and aggregates non-personally identifiable user data and browser type. This data is gathered using cookies and other technologies.

The information and data collected is used to authenticate users and to send notifications relating to the Service, including email alerts to which users have subscribed; to manage the Service and Website, to improve the Service and to customize the user's experience. This information is also provided to the authors of the content to give them insight into their readership and help them to improve their content, so that it is most useful for our users.

JD Supra does not sell, rent or otherwise provide your details to third parties, other than to the authors of the content on JD Supra.

If you prefer not to enable cookies, you may change your browser settings to disable cookies; however, please note that rejecting cookies while visiting the Website may result in certain parts of the Website not operating correctly or as efficiently as if cookies were allowed.

Email Choice/Opt-out

Users who opt in to receive emails may choose to no longer receive e-mail updates and newsletters by selecting the "opt-out of future email" option in the email they receive from JD Supra or in their JD Supra account management screen.

Security

JD Supra takes reasonable precautions to insure that user information is kept private. We restrict access to user information to those individuals who reasonably need access to perform their job functions, such as our third party email service, customer service personnel and technical staff. However, please note that no method of transmitting or storing data is completely secure and we cannot guarantee the security of user information. Unauthorized entry or use, hardware or software failure, and other factors may compromise the security of user information at any time.

If you have reason to believe that your interaction with us is no longer secure, you must immediately notify us of the problem by contacting us at info@jdsupra.com. In the unlikely event that we believe that the security of your user information in our possession or control may have been compromised, we may seek to notify you of that development and, if so, will endeavor to do so as promptly as practicable under the circumstances.

Sharing and Disclosure of Information JD Supra Collects

Except as otherwise described in this privacy statement, JD Supra will not disclose personal information to any third party unless we believe that disclosure is necessary to: (1) comply with applicable laws; (2) respond to governmental inquiries or requests; (3) comply with valid legal process; (4) protect the rights, privacy, safety or property of JD Supra, users of the Service, Website visitors or the public; (5) permit us to pursue available remedies or limit the damages that we may sustain; and (6) enforce our Terms & Conditions of Use.

In the event there is a change in the corporate structure of JD Supra such as, but not limited to, merger, consolidation, sale, liquidation or transfer of substantial assets, JD Supra may, in its sole discretion, transfer, sell or assign information collected on and through the Service to one or more affiliated or unaffiliated third parties.

Links to Other Websites

This Website and the Service may contain links to other websites. The operator of such other websites may collect information about you, including through cookies or other technologies. If you are using the Service through the Website and link to another site, you will leave the Website and this Policy will not apply to your use of and activity on those other sites. We encourage you to read the legal notices posted on those sites, including their privacy policies. We shall have no responsibility or liability for your visitation to, and the data collection and use practices of, such other sites. This Policy applies solely to the information collected in connection with your use of this Website and does not apply to any practices conducted offline or in connection with any other websites.

Changes in Our Privacy Policy

We reserve the right to change this Policy at any time. Please refer to the date at the top of this page to determine when this Policy was last revised. Any changes to our privacy policy will become effective upon posting of the revised policy on the Website. By continuing to use the Service or Website following such changes, you will be deemed to have agreed to such changes. If you do not agree with the terms of this Policy, as it may be amended from time to time, in whole or part, please do not continue using the Service or the Website.

Contacting JD Supra

If you have any questions about this privacy statement, the practices of this site, your dealings with this Web site, or if you would like to change any of the information you have provided to us, please contact us at: info@jdsupra.com.

- hide
*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.
Feedback? Tell us what you think of the new jdsupra.com!