California Environmental Law and Policy Update - September 25, 2013

Environmental and Policy Focus

Proposition 65 Reform Passes Legislature, Heads to Governor's Desk

Sacramento Business Journal - Sep 12

At least one effort to reform the state of California’s requirements for notifying the public of the presence of chemicals in retail and other spaces may succeed this year. Assembly Bill 227, authored by Southern California Democrat Mike Gatto, passed the California Legislature on Wednesday. The measure would overhaul part of Proposition 65, a 1986 voter-approved initiative requiring businesses to post warning signs about the presence of possibly dangerous chemicals, now heads to the desk of Gov. Jerry Brown, who has up to 30 days to sign or veto the bill.

Federal Officials Recommend $453 million L.A. River Restoration Plan

Insurance for Less - Sep 14

After seven years of study, federal officials have recommended a $453 million plan that would restore an 11-mile stretch of the Los Angeles River but leave much of its banks steep and hard to reach, disappointing advocates who hoped for a more ambitious alternative that would allow more public access. The tentative plan selected by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, known as Alternative 13, is the second-cheapest of four options detailed in a much-anticipated feasibility study released Friday. The project would restore 588 acres of habitat along several key points of the river from Griffith Park to downtown.

Why Some Environmentalists Are Against Hydraulic Fracturing Bill

San Francisco Chronicle - Sep 12

Late Wednesday night, when California's state Senate approved a hotly contested bill to regulate hydraulic fracturing and sent it to Gov. Jerry Brown for approval, it did so without the endorsement of some normally supportive environmental groups. The bill authored by State Sen. Fran Pavley provoked opposition not just from members of the oil and gas industry but also from opponents of hydraulic fracturing who had been urging the Governor to ban the practice outright. Language in the bill, they say, could exempt hydraulic fracturing projects from review under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

EPA Empowers CARB For Additional Enforcement

Construction Equipment - Sep 17

In a Regulatory Advisory released on Friday , the California Air Resources Board (CARB) announced that the EPA has granted CARB authorization to enforce all provisions of the In-Use Off-Road Diesel Regulation (Off-Road Regulation). Up until now, only the reporting, labeling, sales disclosure and idling limitations of the rule have been enforced. The authorization CARB received from EPA allows CARB to begin enforcing bans on adding Tier 0 and Tier 1 engines as well as the emission reduction provisions of the Off-Road Regulation.

Dispute Over San Bernardino Water Heads To Court

CourtHouse News - Sep 17

Plaintiffs San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District, the cities of Colton and Rialto, Calif., and West Valley Water District claim that Defendant San Gabriel Valley Water Co., doing business as Fontana Water, has breached decades-old court orders, and pumped up to four times more water from the Rialto-Colton basin than its entitled allotment. The 37-page complaint describes the dispute as rooted in a 1961 decree that determined the amount of water that agencies are permitted to pump from underground water basins in San Bernardino County.

Lawsuit Filed Over Proposed Interpretive Center At Ballona Wetlands

Los Angeles Times - Sep 15

The Ballona Wetlands Land Trust has sued the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to force resolution of a months-long dispute over access to records related to the Annenberg Foundation's proposal to build an interpretive center in a portion of the Ballona Wetlands in Los Angeles.

Arena CEQA Bill Draws Criticism

Sacramento Business Journal - Sep 13

A bill to make the environmental review smoother for a new Sacramento Kings arena is before Gov. Jerry Brown, but environmental groups said signing it would set a bad precedent. The Planning and Conservation League in Sacramento, argues that Senate Bill 743 exemplifies the ability of those with money and influence to obtain legislation specifically designed to advance their own cause or project.