California Environmental Law and Policy Update - November 15, 2012

Environmental and Policy Focus

California holds cap-and-trade auction of greenhouse gas credit

Los Angeles Times - Nov 15

California environmental officials move ahead with a first-ever auction of greenhouse gas pollution credits despite a last-minute lawsuit filed by the state Chamber of Commerce to invalidate the sale.

Related News:
California’s First Carbon Auction Challenged in Lawsuit

Developer sues Aerojet, others over groundwater contamination

Biz Journal - Nov 13

Developer Angelo K. Tsakopoulos and partners have sued Aerojet and other companies in a continuing dispute over groundwater contamination that they contend prevented their use of groundwater wells and cost them millions of dollars in fees to ensure off-site water was provided to property slated for development, as required by the county.

A Business-Friendly Climate Agenda for Obama's Second Term

Harvard Business Review - Nov 12

According to Environmental Defense Fund's Eric Pooley, there are five steps the president should take to address climate change — from what he says are no-brainer ideas almost everyone can agree on to ambitious items that would require Congressional action. He concludes that none will likely be successful without the active support and participation of the business community.

Alaska's Methane Hydrate Resource Sparks Debate Over Energy And Climate Change

The Huffington Post - Nov 11

A half mile below the ground at Prudhoe Bay, above the vast oil field that helped trigger construction of the trans-Alaska pipeline, a drill rig has tapped what might one day be the next big energy source. The U.S. Department of Energy and industry partners over two winters drilled into a reservoir of methane hydrate, which looks like ice but burns like a candle if a match warms its molecules. There is little need now for methane, the main ingredient of natural gas. With the boom in production from hydraulic fracturing, the United States is awash in natural gas for the near future and is considering exporting it, but the DOE wants to be ready with methane if there's a need.

EPA Official Hopeful On Gas Drilling Study

The Huffington Post - Nov 9

A top official with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is optimistic that a nationwide project examining natural gas hydraulic fracturing and potential drinking water impacts will provide comprehensive guidelines to help scientists and the public identify the key issues to focus on. But the industry said past studies have already shown the process is safe.

GMO labeling efforts change course after California defeat

Reuters - Nov 7

The failure last week of a California ballot initiative that would have mandated labeling of genetically modified foods is not a death knell for those seeking nationwide labeling, U.S. labeling proponents said. New state labeling initiatives are planned for Washington state and Oregon. Beyond that, the action now shifts to Washington, D.C. and efforts to force change at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which has primary regulatory oversight for food and food additives.

Nuclear Regulatory Commission denies request for hearing on San Onofre

San Diego Reader - Nov 9

The federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission shot down a request by environmental group Friends of the Earth to require a public hearing before deciding whether to allow Southern California Edison to resume operations at its troubled San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station.

Calif. coastal panel denies permit for offshore earthquake study near nuclear power plant

The Washington Post - Nov 14

Citing harm to marine life, the California Coastal Commission on Wednesday rejected a utility’s plan to map offshore earthquake faults near a nuclear power plant by firing sonic pulses into the ocean.

Environmental Groups Lose Appeal of EPA 'Gold Mine Rule'

Bloomberg News - Nov 9

A Sierra Club lawsuit seeking tougher Environmental Protection Agency standards on emissions associated with gold mines was rejected by a federal appeals court, which found the agency properly limited its regulation to mercury pollutants. A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington ruled that the EPA wasn’t required to set standards for so-called fugitive emissions while developing the “Gold Mine Rule.”

California OKs Rewards for Smart Water Usage

CourtHouse News - Nov 9

One of California's largest water providers can now reward customers who use the resource efficiently under a new plan approved by the state. California American Water Company's new tiered structure rolls out to customers in Sonoma, Ventura, Los Angeles and San Diego counties as part of a settlement with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). The plan rewards customers who fix leaks, install water-efficient appliances, and avoid over-irrigating their lawns. Under the new structure, customers will pay less for using less water.

New storm water runoff rules could cost cities billions

The Los Angeles Times - Nov 8

Cities in Los Angeles County face spending billions of dollars to clean up urban runoff that washes pollution into drains and coastal waters under storm water regulations approved by the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board.

Pasadena releases Rose Bowl EIR late Friday

Pasadena Star News - Nov 10

With little fan fare - and well after City Hall had closed its doors for the long weekend - officials released an environmental impact report on temporary use of the Rose Bowl by the NFL.

San Francisco Rejects Measure To Study Draining Hetch Hetchy

San Francisco CBS Local - Nov 7

A proposal that could have led to the dismantling of San Francisco’s water system in Yosemite National Park’s Hetch Hetchy Valley was roundly rejected by the city’s voters last week. The measure would have forced the city to formulate a plan to dismantle the dam, constructed in 1923, and improve local water conservation efforts. The plan would have gone before San Francisco voters as a charter amendment in November 2016.

Water rights will likely be key to Golden State fight

Ojai Valley News - Nov 8

If a proposed takeover of the Golden State Water Company’s Ojai service area moves forward, the effort will likely be funneled through a Community Facilities District (CFD).

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