Environmental and Policy Focus

Appellate court upholds environmental work for high-speed rail via Pacheco Pass

Fresno Bee - Jul 24

State appeals justices on Thursday upheld a lower court's approval of an environmental impact report that selected the Pacheco Pass between Gilroy and Los Banos as the preferred corridor for high-speed trains between the Bay Area and the San Joaquin Valley. The Peninsula communities of Atherton and Palo Alto had alleged that the revised report for the Bay-Valley section failed to satisfy CEQA standards. The High Speed Rail Authority defended the report but also argued that CEQA did not apply at all because the project is subject to federal oversight. The Court of Appeal upheld the report as compliant with CEQA, but rejected the Authority’s argument that CEQA is inapplicable.

California halts injection of hydraulic fracturing wastewater into ground

Scientific American - Jul 21

Officials with California’s Division of Oil and Gas and Geothermal Resources issued cease-and-desist orders to seven energy companies requiring an emergency shut-down of 11 oil and gas wastewater injection sites and a review more than 100 others in the state's Central Valley, based on concerns that companies may have been pumping hydraulic fracturing wastewater fluids into drinking water aquifers, posing a “danger to life, health, property, and natural resources."

Madera County's Gunner Ranch development clears major hurdle

Fresno Bee - Jul 21

The 20-year-old Gunner Ranch residential and commercial project in Madera County hit a milestone on Monday when its final environmental impact report was approved. The Madera County Board of Supervisors, in a 4-1 vote, paved the way for developer Richard Gunner to take the next step in developing a nearly 3,000-home community along Highway 41 near Children's Hospital Central California.

Superior Court hears closing arguments in case over public access to Martin's Beach

Los Angeles Times - Jul 16

A San Mateo County Superior Court judge heard closing arguments last week in the latest battle over access through private land to a public beach. Among the questions raised: whether a private property owner can be compelled to provide public beach access just because his predecessor did, and whether the California Coastal Commission is within constitutional bounds when it negotiates for such access in exchange for coastal development permits.

State finds pot grow site diverting water from endangered salmon stream

KCET - Jul 21

A creek containing the state's southernmost run of the federally endangered coho salmon has been diverted for an illegal pot grow, reports the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, which raided the grow site along with the Santa Cruz and Santa Clara county sheriffs' departments. The grow site, on the banks of San Vicente Creek near Bonny Doon in Santa Cruz County, may have been taking as much as 1,400 gallons of water a day from San Vicente Creek.

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