California Environmental Law and Policy Update - December 20, 2012


Environmental and Policy Focus

California oil land auction draws widespread criticism

The Huffington Post - Dec 12

The federal government auctioned off nearly 18,000 acres of oil leases on prime public lands last week in Central California, home to prized vineyards, several endangered species and one of the largest deposits of shale oil in the country. Eight different groups – including oil companies – bid for the leases involving 15 parcels of land up for auction in rural stretches of Monterey, San Benito and Fresno counties.

New air pollution standards restrict soot particles

Los Angeles Times - Dec 14

The Obama Administration announced a new air pollution standard Friday that is intended to bring about a 20% reduction in microscopic particles of soot emitted by coal-fired power plants and diesel vehicles that contribute to haze and respiratory ailments.

Air Resources Board approves carbon offset registries

Biz Journal - Dec 17

Two non-profit organizations were approved Friday as offset registries by the California Air Resources Board. American Carbon Registry of Sacramento and Climate Action Reserve of Los Angeles are carbon offset programs that have stringent standards for project validation. They will help evaluate the validity of carbon offsets under California’s cap-and-trade regulation.

EPA revises enforcement guidance on tenants under CERCLA

Southern Brownfield Report - Dec 18

EPA has issued revised enforcement Guidance regarding the treatment of tenants under the CERCLA Bona Fide Prospective Purchaser (BFPP) provision. This guidance discusses the potential applicability of the BFPP provision to tenants who lease contaminated or formerly contaminated properties, and how the Agency intends to exercise its enforcement discretion to treat certain tenants as BFPPs under CERCLA.

Environmental groups agree that EPA may postpone power plant guidelines proposal until April

Bloomberg BNA Environment, Health & Safety News - Dec 12

Four environmental groups announced Dec. 11 that they have agreed to give the Environmental Protection Agency four months beyond its upcoming Dec. 14 deadline to propose wastewater effluent guidelines for coal-fired power plants.

EPA finds contamination at former rocket test site

US News & World Report - Dec 12

Lingering radioactive contamination exists at a former rocket test lab outside of Los Angeles that was the site of a partial nuclear meltdown, federal environmental regulators said last week.

California dumping hazard claims cost Walgreens $16M

CourtHouse News - Dec 14

Walgreens will pay $16.57 million to settle claims that it illegally dumped hazardous waste and confidential patient records in the trash, a California judge ruled.

Judge rules Friant Ranch must study more impacts

Fresno Bee - Dec 14

A Fresno County judge on Friday put the brakes on the proposed Friant Ranch development in the foothills northeast of Fresno, ruling that an environmental review did not take into account how 5,000 new residents would affect Lost Lake Park and the San Joaquin River.

UC Davis olive center to look at ways to reduce wastewater

Biz Journal - Dec 14

The University of California Davis Olive Center and the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service together have been awarded a grant to develop innovative ways to reduce the amount of wastewater produced by the olive oil industry.

U.S.-backed project threatens Australia's Great Barrier Reef, environmentalists say

CourtHouse News - Dec 13

The U.S. Export-Import Bank illegally supplied $2.95 billion for a "massive fossil fuel project" that could pollute Australia's Great Barrier Reef and the hundreds of species that depend on it, environmentalists claim in court. The Center for Biological Diversity, Pacific Environment, and Turtle Island Restoration Network sued the Export-Import Bank of the United States, in Federal Court. The environmentalists claim the bank supplied the funding despite the lack of mandatory biological assessments and environmental impact surveys.


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