California Environmental Law and Policy Update - November 30, 2012

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Environmental and Policy Focus

California's first carbon-credit auction raises $290 million

Los Angeles Times - Nov 20

In California's first auction of greenhouse gas pollution credits, companies paid just a few cents more than the minimum price per ton of carbon, generating almost $290 million from the sale held last week. The State Air Resources Board announced Monday that it sold all 23.1 million allowances available for 2013 at $10.09 each, $0.09 above the minimum price, generating $233.3 million. Additionally, the state sold only 14% of almost 40 million credits available for 2015, which generated an additional $55.8 million.

L.A. County proposes water fee on all parcels to clean up storm water

Daily News Los Angeles - Nov 24

While rainfall can be a welcome sight in the dry Southland, when water hits the region's concrete and blacktop landscape, it can become problematic as untreated storm water or urban runoff. The proposed parcel fee would charge every parcel in Los Angeles County for treatment of storm water. The fee is based on parcel size and the percentage of the parcel covered by hard surfaces.

EPA strengthens water quality guidelines for beaches

Los Angeles Times - Nov 26

The Environmental Protection Agency updated water quality guidelines for the nation's beaches Monday, moving in response to charges that the federal government has not done enough to protect bathers from polluted water.

Obama administration increases 'critical habitat' for northern spotted owl

Oregon Live - Nov 21

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service designated 9.6 million acres of critical habitat for the northern spotted owl, nearly double the last designation in 2008. The acreage in Oregon, Washington and California won't be off limits to logging. But the Service's decision requires heightened federal review of logging projects on lands owned by the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management, which comprises the bulk of the designated land.

State rules for vineyard erosion move toward 2013 adoption

North Bay Business Journal - Nov 26

Proposed state regulations on North Coast vineyard erosion are moving toward draft rules to be considered for adoption in 2013. Through Jan. 2, San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board staff will be taking comments on a draft conditional waiver of waste discharge requirements for vineyard properties in the Napa River and Sonoma Creek watersheds and an associated draft document on environmental effects of the waiver program. Those drafts were released Nov. 16, and the board is set to consider them at a public hearing set for Feb. 13 in Oakland.

Neighborhood groups wary of proposed changes to CEQA review process

San Francisco Examiner - Nov 26

The sponsor of a proposal to amend San Francisco's environmental review process says he hopes to streamline an unpredictable and volatile procedure, but activist groups warn that the measure would reduce public oversight over development. Supervisor Scott Wiener has proposed various changes to San Francisco’s interpretation of the California Environmental Quality Act, a landmark set of environmental rules that can be applied to an array of different development projects.

Large waste-to-fuel project hangs on federal subsidy renewal

North Bay Business Journal - Nov 26

A $40 million project near Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County Airport that would convert agricultural waste such as chicken manure into natural gas, electricity and certified-organic fertilizer has run afoul of the 2013 expiration of a federal renewable-energy incentive said to be crucial to the economics of the venture.

Judge again refuses to block Wal-Mart construction in L.A. Chinatown

Los Angeles Times - Nov 20

Wal-Mart was granted another victory last week when a judge refused to issue an injunction to stop construction of a planned supermarket at Cesar Chavez and Grand avenues in Los Angeles' Chinatown.

Environmental group sues state over San Francisco Bay sand mining report

San Francisco Examiner - Nov 26

An environmental group is suing the State of California over an environmental report that could pave the way for an increase in sand mining in San Francisco Bay, saying the study fails to take into consideration the erosion at Ocean Beach.

Beverly Hills School District files federal suit against Westside subway extension

Beverly Hills Courier - Nov 15

The Beverly Hills Unified School District filed a lawsuit against the Federal Transit Authority under the National Environmental Protection Act, the Transportation Act of 1966, and the National Historic Preservation Act, in an effort to get the federal agency to re-evaluate the final Environmental Impact Statement on the Westside Subway Extension.

Bid to block California high-speed rail work fails

The Fresno Bee - Nov 17

California's proposed bullet train dodged a bullet recently when a judge denied a request to block work on the high-speed rail section between Merced and Fresno.

California Air Board says DWP must control dry lake bed's dust

Los Angeles Times - Nov 20

The California Air Resources Board has ruled that the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power is solely responsible for controlling the dust storms that arise from the dry Owens Lake bed.

BLM approves Mt. Hope mine

Elko Daily Free Press - Nov 24

After six years of review, the Bureau of Land Management has approved Eureka Moly LLC’s Mt. Hope Molybdenum Mine project in central Nevada. The proposed molybdenum mine, to be located about 23 miles northwest of Eureka near U.S. Highway 278, will utilize an open pit mining method and process the mined ore through a flotation and roasting process. The project will include a 230-kilovolt transmission line, a water well field and other mine-processing facilities.

Cooke David D

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