California Environmental Law and Policy Update - December 5, 2012

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Environmental and Policy Focus

 

Oral arguments in stormwater cases before the Supreme Court prompt early reactions

Law Professors Environmental Law Blog - Dec 4

On Monday, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in Decker v. Northwest Environmental Defense Center, a Clean Water Act case involving forest roads and stormwater runoff. Yesterday, it heard argument in Los Angeles County Flood Control District v. Natural Resources Defense Council, another stormwater case, this one involving urban stormwater runoff.

EPA rule complicates runoff case for Justices

New York Times - Dec 3

During the oral argument in the Decker case, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. expressed his displeasure over a last-minute action by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that was calculated to address the legal issues before the Court.

EPA faces legal action on carbon emissions

Aviation Brief - Nov 28

A policy reform group plans to issue a notice on Wednesday informing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that it will file a lawsuit to force the agency to use federal rules to cap and charge for carbon emissions from the transportation sector. The Institute for Policy Integrity, affiliated with New York University Law School, said it is acting because U.S. fuel efficiency standards are not stringent enough.

EPA adopts water pollution rules for Florida

Boston Globe - Nov 30

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will adopt a combination of state and federal water pollution rules for Florida after a lengthy court fight with environmental groups that favored the federal version, agency officials said late Friday.

Protected green sturgeon habitat upheld

SF Gate - Nov 30

A federal judge on Friday upheld habitat protections for the green sturgeon, a threatened species, in the Sacramento River, Bay Area waterways and coastal waters from Monterey Bay northward, rejecting challenges from the building industry.

EPA bans BP from new federal contracts

Los Angeles Times - Nov 28

The Obama administration has temporarily banned the energy giant BP from new federal contracts, citing the company's "lack of business integrity as demonstrated" by the April 2010 Gulf of Mexico disaster.

LAX runway separation plan advances, over groups' objections

Los Angeles Times - Dec 2

A controversial plan to separate the two northern runways at Los Angeles International Airport by 260 feet advanced last week when airport staff recommended the proposal for further environmental review over other runway options.

UC Santa Cruz expansion on hold over water supply

SF Gate - Nov 28

A long-planned campus expansion at UC Santa Cruz has hit a snag in a state appeals court, which says the city should not have approved the plan without considering alternatives that would drain less water from its dwindling supply.

San Diego approves desalination plant water purchase agreement

Bloomberg News - Nov 30

San Diego’s regional water authority approved a contract to purchase all the output of a seawater desalination plant with an estimated price tag of almost $1 billion that has yet to be built in nearby Carlsbad.

Huntington Beach desalination debate heats up again, this time over costs

The Orange County Register - Nov 29

The drama that is desalination in Huntington Beach is heating up again. For this round of the battle between environmental groups and Poseidon Resources, Inc., the argument is over rates and how much they will go up. Several local environmental groups, including Orange County Coastkeeper, Residents for Responsible Desalination and the Surfrider Foundation, say a desalination project planned for Huntington Beach could mean significant cost increases for ratepayers, and they are looking to Poseidon's Carlsbad project to draw this conclusion.

What can L.A. do about climate change? UCLA report lays out plan

Daily News - Dec 3

Billed as L.A.'s "first comprehensive environmental sustainability plan," the goal of the 85-page report is to bring attention to environmental issues during the upcoming mayoral and City Council election debates, researchers said.

San Francisco's landfill contract thrown out amidst legal challenges

San Francisco Examiner - Nov 29

A lucrative garbage contract approved last year in a deal to transport San Francisco’s waste 130 miles away to a Yuba County landfill has been trashed amid three lawsuits alleging improper bidding and inadequate environmental review. Facing these legal battles, San Francisco and its garbage hauler, Recology, signed an agreement Monday to terminate the 10-year, $112 million contract, which was approved by the Board of Supervisors in a 9-2 vote. The contract termination effectively ends the lawsuits.

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