California Environmental Law and Policy Update - March 7, 2013

by Allen Matkins

Environmental and Policy Focus

Little unity over California's cap-and-trade program

Reuters Environment News - Mar 4

As legal challenges are swept aside and implementation proceeds, California's landmark carbon cap-and-trade program remains controversial, with some industry critics attacking its anticipated impact on job growth, and some clean energy proponents saying it has positioned the state as a global leader in tackling climate change.

California cancels carbon permit reserve sale after no bids

Bloomberg News - Mar 4

California cancelled a supplementary sale of carbon permits scheduled this week after receiving no expressions of interest from factories and power stations, the state emissions market administrator said.

Obama names McCarthy to top EPA post

Bloomberg BNA - Mar 7

President Obama's selection on March 4 of Gina McCarthy to be the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's next administrator drew compliments from both environmental advocates and industry sources, who described her as a pragmatist who listens to all interest groups. McCarthy, the agency's assistant administrator for air and radiation, has overseen some of the most stringent air regulations in recent history, and while industry groups have not always supported the rules, they acknowledge she has been open to hearing their concerns.

Peninsula cities lose initial CEQA lawsuit against High Speed Rail Authority

The Almanac - Mar 1

An effort by Peninsula cities to stop California's high-speed-rail project came to a screeching halt this week when a Sacramento County judge upheld the California High-Speed Rail Authority's environmental-review process for the highly controversial project.

California urged to integrate energy policies

SF Gate - Mar 5

California has adopted so many different policies to change the way we generate and use energy that the state now needs to figure out how they all fit together and how much they'll cost. That's one of the central messages of a new report that surveys clean-tech executives in California. The report, issued by the Advanced Energy Economy business group, argues that looming problems could stymie the growth of the clean-energy economy that California officials have worked so hard to nurture.

Williams, Jackson introduce legislation to boost regulations for fracking

Noozhawk - Feb 25

Two Central Coast legislators have introduced bills to protect the drinking water supply and bring more regulation and oversight to the oil and gas extraction process known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

Butte Environmental Council and other groups raise concerns over proposed California fracking regulations

Gridley Herald News - Feb 28

The Butte Environmental Council has submitted comments on the California Department of Conservation’s proposed regulations for state-wide hydraulic fracturing. The council's letter cites 10 points of concern with the presented regulations.

Firms sue to keep California from adding BPA to 'blacklist'

Los Angeles Times - Mar 1

A coalition of chemical companies is suing the State to stop an additive commonly found in food containers from being included in the state's list of substances that cause birth defects. The lawsuit by the American Chemistry Council, filed in Sacramento County Superior Court on Friday, seeks to prevent the state's Environmental Protection Agency from placing new restrictions on the use of Bisphenol A, or BPA, a chemical agent widely used to protect aluminum food cans from corrosion and to strengthen plastic bottles, toys and containers.

Central Valley irrigation fight dries up in the 9th

CourtHouse News - Mar 1

Farmers in California's Central Valley do not have an unqualified right to all the irrigation water they want, the 9th Circuit ruled Friday. The San Luis Unit Food Producers and several farmers accused the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation of having lately favored the protection and restoration of fish and wildlife over their irrigation needs in its operation of the San Luis Unit of the Central Valley Project.

9th Circuit likens anti-whaling group to "pirates"

The Oregonian - Feb 26

A federal appeals court panel has branded a Northwest anti-whaling group "pirates," ordering a halt to attacks on Japanese whalers in Antarctic waters. The majority opinion of the three-judge panel continues an earlier injunction ordering Sea Shepherd Conservation Society activists to stay at least 500 yards away from Japanese whaling ships.

Sacramento County sued over Cordova Hills development OK

The Sacramento Bee - Mar 4

The Environmental Council of Sacramento and the Sierra Club have sued Sacramento County over its approval of the Cordova Hills development on the eastern edge of the county.

Court of Appeals to re-hear claims to protect the Delta Smelt

CourtHouse News - Mar 5

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit decided last week to conduct an en banc rehearing of claims that renewing dozens of water-supply contracts in California's Central Valley will hurt the delta smelt. The Delta smelt, a tiny fish native to the San Joaquin and Sacramento Rivers Delta Estuary, was declared endangered in 1993 and has been a source of much water-related controversy in the region for years. In the present suit, the National Resources Defense Council, Friends of the River and other groups challenged the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation's 2005 renewal of 41 contracts - 28 of them for 40-year terms and 13 for 25-year terms. The groups claimed that the Bureau had failed to consult with wildlife officials before renewing the contracts, and that the contracts jeopardize the very existence of the fish.

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Allen Matkins

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