California Environmental Law and Policy Update

Environmental and Policy Focus

Federal agencies release proposed rule on Clean Water Act jurisdiction

Los Angeles Times - Mar 25

On Tuesday, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) proposed a long-awaited rule to clarify the definition of "Waters of the United States," and define the scope of federal Clean Water Act permitting and enforcement jurisdiction. The new draft rule follows two U.S. Supreme Court decisions that led to confusion about which waterways fall under federal regulatory jurisdiction. Under the draft rule, intermittent and rain-dependent streams, as well as wetlands near rivers and streams, could be covered by the Clean Water Act. Inclusion of such streams within federal jurisdiction could significantly impact regulation of waterbodies in the western U.S., since building, dumping, or discharging in those waterways could require a permit from EPA or the Corps if the draft rule becomes final. There will be a 90-day comment period after formal publication of the draft rule in the Federal Register in the coming weeks.

California appeals court rules for Newhall Ranch developer on EIR

Los Angeles Business Journal - Mar 28

The Second District Court of Appeals on Thursday overturned a lower court ruling that had found the environmental review of the planned Newhall Ranch development in the Santa Clarita Valley inadequate. Newhall Land & Farming Co. is seeking to build 20,000 residences and 5 million square feet of office space over more than 2,500 acres along Highway 126 west of the Golden State (I-5) Freeway. The three-judge appellate panel set aside a 2012 decision by a L.A. Superior Court judge, who had ruled in favor of the Center for Biological Diversity and the Santa Clarita Organization for Planning and the Environment, which had alleged that the California Department of Fish and Wildlife should not have approved the development. The appellate court found that the development's EIR adequately addressed all issues, including the amount of greenhouse gases the project would produce.

Bay Area Air District allocates $5 million to reduce truck-related emissions

Trucking Info - Mar 19

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District announced that it will allocate $5 million to fund more of the truck replacement applications received during the recent Goods Movement Program solicitation. The funds will be used to assist Bay Area truck owners in meeting the state’s approaching air quality mandates.

Sun Valley recycler charged with illegal dumping of hazardous waste

Los Angeles Daily News - Mar 25

Criminal charges have been filed against the owner of a Sun Valley recycling company authorities say was illegally dumping toxic materials. Prosecutors allege Jose Guadalupe Romero, 33, oversaw an operation disposing of hazardous waste, including lead, zinc, barium, cadmium, chromium and oil illegally and without permits at JGR Metal Recycling Inc.

Santa Monica moves to close all or part of city's airport

Los Angeles Times - Mar 26

The Santa Monica City Council this week launched an effort to close all or part of the city's airport after July 2015 — a move that could result in years of additional court battles with the federal government. Council members voted 6 to 0 late Tuesday to develop and evaluate a strategy to scale back flight operations, cut the 5,000-foot runway by 2,000 feet and reduce aviation-related services, such as fuel sales and flight schools. The decision also calls for the city to consider converting airport land to low-impact non-aviation uses. Meanwhile, it will continue a legal effort to gain control of the facility, which is subject to federal agreements designed to preserve the 227-acre airport, including its 5,000-foot runway.

 

Topics:  CEQA, Clean Water Act, Environmental Policies, EPA

Published In: Energy & Utilities Updates, Environmental Updates, Zoning, Planning & Land Use Updates

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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