California Environmental Law and Policy Update - December 2014 #2

Allen Matkins
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Environmental and Policy Focus

California drought-relief bill passes House

SFGate.com - Dec 9

On December 9, the House approved a bill designed to give state and federal agencies authority to move more water in coming months to California’s drought-stricken farm belt. GOP lawmakers used their majority to pass the bill by a 230-182 vote. Six Democratic lawmakers joined Republicans in supporting the legislation. The Senate, however, is not expected to take up the measure before adjourning for the year, resulting in the likelihood that lawmakers will have to start over when re-visiting the issue next year.

Judge orders gate to Martins Beach opened

Courthouse News Service - Dec 8

On December 5, a California judge ordered Vinod Khosla to unlock and open the gate that leads to Martins Beach. San Mateo County Superior Court Judge Barbara Mallach's order was her final ruling on the case that pitted surfers and beachgoers against the wealthy private landowner. Judge Mallach ruled in September that Martins Beach LLC violated the California Coastal Act when it blocked a road that beachgoers had used for decades to get to Martins Beach. Judge Mallach's final judgment affirmed her earlier findings and ordered Martins Beach 1 and 2 LLC to "cease preventing the public from accessing and using the water, beach, and coast at Martins Beach" until the California Coastal Commission and San Mateo County decide on the development permit.

Caltrain takes big step toward $1.5 billion electrification

Contra Costa Times - Dec 4

Caltrain passed a key milestone on December 4 in its $1.5 billion project to electrify its railway, unveiling the final environmental impact report on an ambitious undertaking that will allow the agency to boost ridership, reduce air pollution, and prepare for the arrival of high-speed rail. The agency debuted the report in a presentation to its board of directors, which is expected to approve the document next month. The plan calls for erecting poles and wires above 51 miles of track from San Francisco to San Jose, installing power supplies along the rail corridor, and purchasing a new fleet of trains. Caltrain anticipates construction beginning in 2016 and finishing by 2021.

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