California Environmental Law and Policy Update - October 18, 2013


Environmental and Policy Focus

Supreme Court to Hear Challenge to EPA Rules on Gas Emissions

New York Times - Oct 18

The Supreme Court on Tuesday agreed to hear a major case challenging Environmental Protection Agency regulations of greenhouse gas emissions from stationary sources like power plants. The case is a sequel to Massachusetts v. Environmental Protection Agency, a 2007 decision that required the agency to regulate emissions of greenhouse gases from new motor vehicles if it found they endangered public health or welfare. Two years later, the agency made such a finding, saying that “elevated concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere” pose a danger to “current and future generations.” It set limits on emissions both from new vehicles and from stationary sources like power plants. States and industry groups challenged the regulations on several grounds. They said the agency’s conclusions about the dangers posed by greenhouse gases were not supported by adequate evidence, that the so-called tailpipe regulations were flawed and that the agency was not authorized to regulate emissions from stationary sources. A three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit last year unanimously rejected the challenges, some on the merits and some on the ground that the parties before the court lacked standing to pursue them.

Hydraulic Fracturing Projects Approved Off Santa Barbara Coast

KCET News - Oct 10

After a media investigation reported that federal regulators approved at least four hydraulic fracturing projects off the Santa Barbara coast without environmental review, the Center for Biological Diversity notified federal agencies that it intends to sue unless the agencies agree to rescind the hydraulic fracturing permits and conduct a full environmental assessment of hydraulic fracturing plans off the California coast.

Pacifica's Environmental Leaders Seek Alternatives to Highway Widening

San Jose Mercury News - Oct 15

Two lawsuits have been filed by members of environmental groups to stop Caltrans' plan to widen Highway 1 between Fairway Park and Rockaway. The first action, against the City of Pacifica, charges that the environmental impact report (EIR) supporting the project conflicts with the city's general plan. The other, against Caltrans, charges that the EIR is inadequate because it does not provide an adequate description of the project and does not establish mitigation monitoring for the project.

Expansion of San Diego Waterfront Convention Center Approved

Los Angeles Times - Oct 10

The California Coastal Commission voted unanimously Thursday to approve an expansion of the waterfront convention center in San Diego. The controversial project pitted the needs of the city's famous Comic-Con convention against those of the NFL Chargers football team. Comic-Con leaders argued that the expansion is vital to keep the summer pop-culture extravaganza from having to leave San Diego in search of a larger venue. The Chargers opposed the expansion and offered an alternative plan for a joint stadium-convention center expansion several blocks from the current center. For a decade, the team has warned that economic pressures could force it to leave San Diego unless it gets a stadium to replace aging Qualcomm Stadium.


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