California Environmental Law and Policy Update - February 7, 2013

Environmental and Policy Focus

Solar development absorbing California farmland

The Huffington Post - Feb 2

There's a land rush of sorts going on across the nation's most productive farming region, but these buyers don't want to grow crops. They want to plant solar farms. With California mandating that 33 percent of electricity be generated from renewables by the end of the decade, there are 227 proposed solar projects in the pipeline statewide.

Vast oil reserve may now be within reach, and battle heats up

New York Times - Feb 3

In the hills above Fellows, California, wells are tapping crude directly from what is called the Monterey Shale, which could represent the future of California’s oil industry — and a potential arena for conflict between drillers and the state’s powerful environmental interests. Comprising two-thirds of the United States’ total estimated shale oil reserves and covering 1,750 square miles from Southern to Central California, the Monterey Shale could turn California into the nation’s top oil-producing state and yield the kind of riches that far smaller shale oil deposits have showered on North Dakota and Texas.

Arizona sues U.S. EPA over coal power plant emissions

Reuters - Feb 4

The State of Arizona has filed a challenge in federal court to proposed EPA regulations that would require power companies to install controls on nitrogen oxide emissions from three coal-fired power plants. The intent of the regulations is to reduce air pollution in three national parks located in Arizona, including Grand Canyon National Park.

Outgoing EPA chief convinced Obama serious on climate change

Reuters - Feb 4

Even the departing chief of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Lisa P. Jackson, was surprised when the president cited the threats posed by climate change so prominently in his inaugural address. Yet, with Congress polarized and otherwise focused on budgetary issues, lawmakers appear unlikely to consider comprehensive climate change legislation during Obama's second term. For that reason, the next EPA administrator is likely to continue Jackson's approach, using the endangerment finding and other administrative avenues to further target greenhouse gas emissions, such as those from the country's coal-fired power plants.

SCAQMD votes to increase environmental oversight of Ports in LA and Long Beach

Daily News Los Angeles - Feb 1

Over the objections of officials at Los Angeles and Long Beach harbors, a regional air quality board moved Friday to increase its environmental oversight at the nation's largest port complex. By a vote of 8-3, the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) board advanced a so-called "backstop measure" that would kick in only if the ports don't meet their own emission-reduction goals. Officials with both ports had argued that they could control their pollution levels without regulatory intervention.

California sues BP and Arco, alleges violations at gas stations

Los Angeles Times - Feb 4

California Atty. Gen. Kamala D. Harris has filed a civil lawsuit against BP West Coast Products, BP Products North America Inc. and Atlantic Richfield Co., accusing them of violating state laws on hazardous materials and hazardous waste.

Nevada high court rejects tribe's effort to block water rights grant

Nevada Appeal Politics & Government - Jan 31

The Nevada Supreme Court has rejected the Pyramid Paiute tribe's attempt to block the state's issuance of water rights to the Tahoe-Reno Industrial Park complex. The tribe filed suit after TRI Water and Sewer and Tahoe Regional Commercial Center applied for and were granted groundwater from the Tracy Segment Hydrographic Basin by Nevada's state water engineer, claiming the grant would impair the tribe's Truckee River water rights.

Sierra Club opposes San Francisco parking space proposal

San Francisco Examiner - Feb 4

Developers of residential projects would be able to exceed parking caps by adding spaces designated only for car sharing, under an ordinance that advanced out of committee Monday. While the proposal was praised by supervisors on the board’s Land Use and Economic Development Committee, others called the ordinance a wrongheaded approach to tackling the adverse environmental impacts associated with cars.


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