California Environmental Law & Policy Update - March 2016 #3

by Allen Matkins
Contact

Environmental and Policy Focus

Bill would limit communications with California Coastal Commission

Santa Barbara Independent - Mar 23 State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson announced plans to introduce a bill banning any private communication between lobbyists and members of the California Coastal Commission—known as “‘ex-parte’ communications”—as a way to counter “the perception of backroom deal making.” Jackson said the highly controversial Coastal Commission vote six weeks ago to terminate executive director Charles Lester without explanation has precipitated serious political blowback and intense public distrust. Jackson's bill, SB 1190, would require any deliberations by the Commission to take place on the dais and in the public eye. Her bill would also ban members of the Commission from privately lobbying staff to alter their reports. Most other pending bills addressing this issue require a two-thirds majority for passage because they amend the state’s fair political practices law. Jackson’s bill does not, and would need only a simple majority to win approval.

Federal Bureau of Reclamation offers 30 percent water allocation to San Joaquin Valley contractors

Fresno Bee - Mar 18 The drought is certainly not over, but the federal Bureau of Reclamation was optimistic enough to offer water suppliers in the San Joaquin Valley 30 percent of their contract allocations this year, up from zero percent the past two years. The allocation affects the amount of water available for farming and urban interests on the east side of the San Joaquin Valley, particularly benefitting the City of Fresno, which stands to receive about 18,000 acre-feet of water under the allocation. The cities of Orange Cove and Lindsay, along with Madera County, are the other communities that will benefit from the allocation, which some expect to be increased. The allocation includes 261,400 acre-feet to the San Joaquin River Restoration Program for the rest of 2016 based on the San Joaquin River Restoration Settlement. In a statement, the Bureau said it “anticipates making the initial allocation announcement for the entire Central Valley Project later this month after the full effect of storm systems that moved through Northern California earlier in March are taken into account.”

New dispute erupts over Sacramento Delta tunnels project

Sacramento Bee - Mar 22 The San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority, a powerful San Joaquin Valley farm water agency, in a filing on Monday demanded that two members of the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB)—board chair Felicia Marcus and board member Tam Doduc—be disqualified from a crucial hearing scheduled for early May on Governor Jerry Brown’s $15.5 billion plan to build two huge tunnels beneath the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. The disqualification request is based upon a statement included in a procedural ruling last month in which Marcus and Doduc, the presiding officers in the hearing, said the SWRCB intends to require that, once the tunnels are built, water flows through the Delta would “be more stringent” than what is currently mandated. The comment raised red flags throughout the community of water contractors south of the Delta, who would have to agree to pay for the tunnels project. If more water is required to flow naturally through the Delta, it potentially would leave less water available to be sent through the tunnels and on to the San Joaquin Valley and Southern California. Various state and federal agencies and the State Water Contractors urged that the ruling be revised or rescinded, but in a follow-up order issued in March, the presiding officers denied prejudging the issue and said their prior ruling “should not be considered a final determination." Marcus and Doduc now have the responsibility for deciding whether they should be disqualified from the proceeding, although it is possible the entire five-person board could consider the issue.

Lumber Liquidators settles with California Air Resources Board

Reuters - Mar 22 Lumber Liquidators Holdings Inc. has reached a $2.5 million settlement with the California Air Resources Board, the state's clean air agency, to resolve an inquiry into the company's laminate flooring products sourced from China. The agency concluded its review with no formal finding of violation or admission of wrongdoing by Lumber Liquidators, the company said in a regulatory filing on Tuesday. A March 2015 segment on CBS’s “60 Minutes” cited tests that indicated the company was selling flooring with excessive levels of formaldehyde, a known carcinogen. Several investigations and lawsuits are ongoing and could be bolstered by a revised report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which showed the company's China-sourced laminates were three times more likely to cause cancer than Lumber Liquidators initially had reported. The company stopped selling laminates sourced from China in May 2015.

Nestlé’s water permit to undergo federal environmental review

Los Angeles Times - Mar 18 The U.S. Forest Service last week said it will require a thorough environmental review of Nestlé Waters North America's (Nestlé) long-expired permit to draw water from the San Bernardino Mountains for its Arrowhead brand. The move comes after environmental groups sued the Forest Service over Nestlé's withdrawal of millions of gallons of water from the west fork of Strawberry Creek under a permit that expired more than 25 years ago. Environmental groups say the creek branch provides a crucial east-west connection between watersheds in an area inhabited by imperiled species of birds, snakes, fish, and frogs. The lawsuit alleged that the Forest Service has allowed Nestlé and previous pipeline operators to continue transporting water—for about four miles through boreholes and tunnels to a storage tank—without undertaking the stringent environmental review required under the National Environmental Policy Act. The Forest Service opened a 45-day public comment period last Friday for its consideration of the permit. Nestlé's permit would be re-issued for five years if it passes review, the Forest Service said. In the interim, the company may continue its water operations.

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.

© Allen Matkins | Attorney Advertising

Written by:

Allen Matkins
Contact
more
less

Allen Matkins on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
Sign up using*

Already signed up? Log in here

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Privacy Policy (Updated: October 8, 2015):
hide

JD Supra provides users with access to its legal industry publishing services (the "Service") through its website (the "Website") as well as through other sources. Our policies with regard to data collection and use of personal information of users of the Service, regardless of the manner in which users access the Service, and visitors to the Website are set forth in this statement ("Policy"). By using the Service, you signify your acceptance of this Policy.

Information Collection and Use by JD Supra

JD Supra collects users' names, companies, titles, e-mail address and industry. JD Supra also tracks the pages that users visit, logs IP addresses and aggregates non-personally identifiable user data and browser type. This data is gathered using cookies and other technologies.

The information and data collected is used to authenticate users and to send notifications relating to the Service, including email alerts to which users have subscribed; to manage the Service and Website, to improve the Service and to customize the user's experience. This information is also provided to the authors of the content to give them insight into their readership and help them to improve their content, so that it is most useful for our users.

JD Supra does not sell, rent or otherwise provide your details to third parties, other than to the authors of the content on JD Supra.

If you prefer not to enable cookies, you may change your browser settings to disable cookies; however, please note that rejecting cookies while visiting the Website may result in certain parts of the Website not operating correctly or as efficiently as if cookies were allowed.

Email Choice/Opt-out

Users who opt in to receive emails may choose to no longer receive e-mail updates and newsletters by selecting the "opt-out of future email" option in the email they receive from JD Supra or in their JD Supra account management screen.

Security

JD Supra takes reasonable precautions to insure that user information is kept private. We restrict access to user information to those individuals who reasonably need access to perform their job functions, such as our third party email service, customer service personnel and technical staff. However, please note that no method of transmitting or storing data is completely secure and we cannot guarantee the security of user information. Unauthorized entry or use, hardware or software failure, and other factors may compromise the security of user information at any time.

If you have reason to believe that your interaction with us is no longer secure, you must immediately notify us of the problem by contacting us at info@jdsupra.com. In the unlikely event that we believe that the security of your user information in our possession or control may have been compromised, we may seek to notify you of that development and, if so, will endeavor to do so as promptly as practicable under the circumstances.

Sharing and Disclosure of Information JD Supra Collects

Except as otherwise described in this privacy statement, JD Supra will not disclose personal information to any third party unless we believe that disclosure is necessary to: (1) comply with applicable laws; (2) respond to governmental inquiries or requests; (3) comply with valid legal process; (4) protect the rights, privacy, safety or property of JD Supra, users of the Service, Website visitors or the public; (5) permit us to pursue available remedies or limit the damages that we may sustain; and (6) enforce our Terms & Conditions of Use.

In the event there is a change in the corporate structure of JD Supra such as, but not limited to, merger, consolidation, sale, liquidation or transfer of substantial assets, JD Supra may, in its sole discretion, transfer, sell or assign information collected on and through the Service to one or more affiliated or unaffiliated third parties.

Links to Other Websites

This Website and the Service may contain links to other websites. The operator of such other websites may collect information about you, including through cookies or other technologies. If you are using the Service through the Website and link to another site, you will leave the Website and this Policy will not apply to your use of and activity on those other sites. We encourage you to read the legal notices posted on those sites, including their privacy policies. We shall have no responsibility or liability for your visitation to, and the data collection and use practices of, such other sites. This Policy applies solely to the information collected in connection with your use of this Website and does not apply to any practices conducted offline or in connection with any other websites.

Changes in Our Privacy Policy

We reserve the right to change this Policy at any time. Please refer to the date at the top of this page to determine when this Policy was last revised. Any changes to our privacy policy will become effective upon posting of the revised policy on the Website. By continuing to use the Service or Website following such changes, you will be deemed to have agreed to such changes. If you do not agree with the terms of this Policy, as it may be amended from time to time, in whole or part, please do not continue using the Service or the Website.

Contacting JD Supra

If you have any questions about this privacy statement, the practices of this site, your dealings with this Web site, or if you would like to change any of the information you have provided to us, please contact us at: info@jdsupra.com.

- hide
*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.