Environmental and Policy Focus

Supreme Court rejects Ninth Circuit ruling on County of L.A. storm water discharges

CourtHouse News - Jan 7

The County of Los Angeles should not have been held liable for transporting polluted water that flows from a river down concrete-lined portions of the same river and back into the river, the Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday.

Federal judge halts major Lake Tahoe ski resort expansion

South Lake Tahoe Daily News - Jan 8

Regional conservation groups are celebrating a federal judge's 114-page ruling to send a proposed Sierra ski resort expansion back to the drawing board, a decision viewed by local government and the project's developer as a minor roadblock in a years-long, multimillion-dollar effort to upgrade a major portion of land off Lake Tahoe's West Shore.

Lawsuit seeks to stop Rose Bowl Stadium from temporarily hosting NFL

NBC Los Angeles - Jan 5

A group of neighborhood associations and residents in Pasadena has filed a lawsuit attempting to block city plans to offer the Rose Bowl as a temporary home to an NFL team that moves to Southern California while a permanent stadium is finished. Announced Friday, a day after it was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court, the lawsuit challenges an environmental report approved by the Pasadena City Council that was the first step to bringing a team to the Rose Bowl, currently home to only college football.

Judge stops EPA from limiting nonpollutants

CourtHouse News - Jan 7

The government cannot regulate the degree to which nonpollutants, even those that arguably act as pollutant surrogates, flow into polluted bodies of water. On that basis, a federal judge ruled that EPA could not adopt a TMDL (total maximum daily load) to limit storm water flow rates as a surrogate for sediment concentrations.

EPA chief set to leave

New York Times - Dec 27

Lisa P. Jackson is stepping down as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency after a four-year tenure that began with high hopes of sweeping action to address climate change and other environmental ills but ended with a series of rear-guard actions to defend the agency against challenges from industry, Republicans in Congress and, at times, the Obama White House.

EPA's fracking study may dodge water contamination frequency issue

The Huffington Post - Jan 6

An ongoing U.S. Environmental Protection Agency study on natural gas drilling and its potential for groundwater contamination has gotten tentative praise so far from both industry and environmental groups. But a 275-page progress report was released in December and, for all its details, shows that the EPA doesn't plan to address one contentious issue — how often drinking water contamination might occur.

EPA lax on states in Bush-era soot rules, court says

Bloomberg News - Jan 4

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency gave states too much flexibility in meeting soot standards, a federal court said in a ruling that could force some states to increase pollution-control efforts. The EPA applied the wrong section of the Clean Air Act, relying on general implementation standards instead of particle-specific requirements, U.S. Circuit Judge Karen Lecraft Henderson said in an 18-page opinion, which evaluated guidelines issued by the environmental agency in 2007, during the administration of President George W. Bush.

EPA withdraws cadmium rule

Environmental Leader - Jan 8

The EPA has withdrawn a controversial rule governing the reporting of cadmium and cadmium compounds, admitting the regulation had caused serious confusion and uncertainty.

Name change: California Department of Fish and Wildlife

Los Angeles Times - Jan 2

The California Department of Fish and Game has become the California Department of Fish and Wildlife as a result of a new law written by U.S. Rep.-elect Jared Huffman (D-Calif.).