California Environmental Law and Policy Update - December 12, 2012

by Allen Matkins

Environmental and Policy Focus

Looking ahead: Obama's second term environmental policy

Los Angeles Times - Dec 8

Obama's second term is unlikely to feature sweeping legislation on pollution or climate change. Upcoming EPA decisions on emissions limits could be a sign of what to expect.

Judge: San Diego transportation plan fails to consider California's climate policy, greenhouse gas emissions

89.3 KPCC - Dec 5

A Superior Court judge has ruled that a regional transportation plan in San Diego failed to take into account greenhouse gas emissions and how to limit them over several decades, as required under state law. Judge Timothy B. Taylor’s ruling against the San Diego Association of Governments, or SANDAG, is the first time a court has weighed in on California’s controversial requirement that planners spell out ways to cut greenhouse gases, which contribute to global warming.

California Air Board rejected 66% of bids for greenhouse gas allowances in November auction

Bloomberg News - Dec 6

The California Air Resources Board reported that companies seeking greenhouse gas emissions allowances under the state’s new cap-and-trade program offered an average $15.60 a ton for emissions allowances in a state auction in November. The price exceeds a preliminary figure of $13.75 a ton issued last month for all submitted bids because some offers were subsequently rejected for violating purchasing and holding limits or bid guarantees, the state Air Resources Board said on its website. The state disqualified 66 percent of companies’ offers from the auction, according to Bloomberg’s calculation of the data provided by the state.

Debate over air quality impacts of oil and gas drilling

The Huffington Post - Dec 10

In the Colorado mountains, a spike in air pollution has been linked to a boom in oil and gas drilling. A thousand miles away on the plains of north Texas, there's a drilling boom, too, but some air pollution levels have declined. Opponents of drilling point to Colorado and say it's dangerous. Companies point to Texas and say drilling is safe. The answer appears to be that drilling can be safe or it can be dangerous. Industry practices, enforcement, geography and even snow cover can minimize or magnify air pollution problems.

Del Mar Fairgrounds master plan lawsuit settled

Del Mar Times - Dec 7

The 22nd District Agricultural Association, the cities of Solana Beach and Del Mar and the San Dieguito River Park Joint Powers Authority have settled a lawsuit over the environmental impact report for the Del Mar Fairgrounds master plan.

Court refuses to dismiss Clean Water Act suit against Pittsburgh Water & Sewer Authority

CourtHouse News - Dec 7

The Pittsburgh Water & Sewer Authority cannot dismiss Citizens for Pennsylvania's Future's claim that a $15 million Corbett-funded redevelopment project violates the Clean Water Act, a federal judge ruled. The lawsuit stems from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection's September 2004 decision to issue a permit to the Pittsburgh and its Water & Sewer Authority (PWSA), authorizing the discharge of stormwater from small municipal separate storm sewer systems (MS4s) into the Monongahela, Allegheny, and Ohio Rivers.

Ski areas face $1 billion risk from warming climate, groups say

Bloomberg News - Dec 6

Colorado ski areas, like Beaver Creek, suffer financial losses during poor snow seasons, such as last winter. The winter sports industry contributes more than $12 billion a year to the U.S. economy. Declines in snowfall because of global warming are shortening the winter ski season in the U.S. and harming the economy, according to a report from two environmental groups.

Washington Post opinion piece: How much can the EPA cut carbon emissions? It depends on the courts.

The Washington Post - Dec 7

Congress isn't likely to do much about global warming anytime soon. So if the Obama administration wants to set a national policy on greenhouse-gas emissions, it will have to lean on the Environmental Protection Agency.

L.A. County asking property owners to support stormwater runoff tax

Daily News Los Angeles - Dec 6

Property owners throughout most of Los Angeles County are deciding the fate of a proposed ballot measure that would ask property owners to pay for projects to boost the local water supply and reduce the pollution that flows into local rivers and beaches.


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