Environmental and Policy Focus

U.S. EPA settles case over destruction of rare Central Valley wetlands

EPA - Aug 14

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Justice today announced a settlement with the owners of Anchordoguy ranch for violations of the Clean Water Act that affected more than 80 acres of rare vernal pool wetlands and streams in Tehama County, California. Ranch owners have agreed to pay $795,000 for wetlands preservation and $300,000 in penalties.

Environmental group sues U.S. over Hetch-Hetchy dam

Courthouse News Service - Aug 20

An environmental advocacy group, The Center for Environmental Science, Accuracy, and Reliability, sued the National Park Service, the Department of the Interior, and its top officials, claiming the agencies ignored statutory requirements under the Endangered Species Act and the National Environmental Policy Act, alleging that the Hetch-Hetchy dam project disrupts the natural flow of the Tuolumne River and threatens multiple species of endangered fish.

Ballot measure threatens oil production in Santa Barbara County

Los Angeles Times - Aug 18

A November ballot measure, which would ban "high-intensity petroleum operations" in Santa Barbara County, may, if adopted by the voters, imperil operations such as Pacific Coast Energy's operations in northern Santa Barbara County, which now produce some 3,500 barrels of oil per day.

Long Beach City Council upholds decision on coal exports

Long Beach Press-Telegram - Aug 19

The Long Beach City Council voted 9-0 Tuesday to uphold a June decision by the harbor commission approving a 15-year lease for Oxbow Energy Solutions LLC, led by founder and CEO Bill Koch, and a 20-year renewal lease for Metropolitan Stevedore Co. to use a 5.4-acre site with a coal shed on Pier G south of the Queen Mary. The facilities will be used for export of coal and petroleum coke.

Study: California water allocations far exceed supply

KPBS - Aug 20

Researchers said Tuesday that California has overdrawn its water account and has been draining it for a century. After studying the state's database of water rights allocations, UC Merced Professor Joshua Viers and former UC Davis researcher Ted Grantham, now with the U.S. Geological Survey, found that the allocations exceed the state's actual water supply by five times the average annual runoff and 100 times the actual surface-water supply for some river basins.

S.F. chalks up court win for massive Parkmerced housing development

San Francisco Business Times - Aug 17

A three-judge panel of the California Court of Appeal rejected a legal challenge to Parkmerced, a sweeping redevelopment project that would include 8,900 housing units, offices, and shops near San Francisco State and Lake Merced. The plan, which was approved in 2011, has been tangled in litigation for years. The Court found “substantial evidence” that the proposed Parkmerced project “would not displace substantial numbers of people… the proposed project would not physically disrupt or divide an established community, would not adversely affect the existing character of the vicinity, and in that respect, it would have a less-than-significant impact on land use.”

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