California Environmental Law and Policy Update - August 2014 #3

Environmental and Policy Focus

Governor proposes $6 billion water bond for California

Bloomberg - Aug 6

California Governor Jerry Brown has called on lawmakers to put a $6 billion “no-frills” bond measure on the November ballot, about half the size of a pending proposal, to secure the water supply amid a record drought. Brown’s plan would take the place of an $11.1 billion bond offering, scheduled for a vote in November, approved in 2009 by lawmakers and then-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

California High-Speed Rail bonds revived by appeals court

Bloomberg - Aug 1

The California High-Speed Rail Authority can issue $8.6 billion in bonds to finance the nation’s first bullet train, a state appeals court ruled on July 31, 2014, putting the beleaguered $68 billion project back on track. While the proposed line from San Francisco to Los Angeles still faces several lawsuits, the ruling by a three-judge state appeals court panel in Sacramento removes a substantial roadblock to the project.

Sacramento leaders: risk of oil train explosions needs to be acknowledged

Sacramento Bee - Aug 6

Sacramento area leaders say the City of Benicia is failing to acknowledge the risks of explosions and fires that could happen if the Bay Area city approves Valero’s plan to run crude oil trains through Northern California to its refinery. The Sacramento Area Council of Governments released a draft letter in response to a Benicia report stating that twice-daily rail shipments of 70,000 barrels of crude will pose no significant threat to cities on the rail line, such as Roseville, Sacramento, and Davis.

San Ramon councilman asks for Faria project to be downsized

Contra Costa Times - Aug 4

Developers of the Faria preserve may have to consider scaling back the number of homes they plan there, from 740 to 630, and paring down their inventory of affordable homes to 15 percent, in order to obtain approval from the City of San Ramon. At a special meeting on August 4, 2014, City Councilman Harry Sachs requested such a downsizing be explored. It was the second public hearing called by the City Council to review the controversial project.

Allenco fined $99,000 over toxic emissions

Los Angeles Times - Jul 30

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency last week fined an oil operation in a South Los Angeles neighborhood $99,000 for failing to take steps to prevent release of toxic emissions. Allenco Energy Inc., which owns a 2-acre site in the University Park community near USC, was given 70 days to pay the penalty. The fine follows an EPA investigation into the facility prompted by complaints of noxious odors and related health effects.

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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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