California Environmental Law and Policy Update - January 31, 2013

by Allen Matkins

Environmental and Policy Focus

California defeats lawsuit against cap-and-trade program

Bloomberg News - Jan 28

A San Francisco superior court judge rejected a legal challenge to implementation of the State's greenhouse gas emissions cap-and-trade program. In the lawsuit, two environmental groups charged that the provisions of program regulations intended to ensure that greenhouse gas emissions offsets used by emitters to comply with their emissions caps were "additional" – that is, not already legally required – were not stringent enough, thereby compromising the integrity of the program. The court's rejection of this claim clears the path for the ongoing implementation of this landmark program.

Court says EPA overestimates biofuels production

Boston Globe - Jan 25

A federal appeals court has ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency is overestimating the amount of fuel that can be produced from grasses, wood and other nonfood plants in an effort to promote a fledgling biofuels industry.

California proposes to list BPA as a Proposition 65 reproductive toxin

Consumer Product, Health, Safety & Environmental Regulations Blog - Jan 25

The California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment is proposing listing bis-phenyl A (BPA) as a reproductive toxin under Proposition 65. BPA is a chemical found in a wide variety of products made from clear hard plastics.

Environmental Groups sue Kern County over wind farm

CourtHouse News - Jan 28

Kern County and environmentalists filed opening briefs in a CEQA battle in Kern County Superior Court over a proposed 300-megawatt wind farm. The lawsuit is one of many nationwide in which environmentalists claim that clean energy wind farms pose their own threats to the environment. This lawsuit involves a plan by North Sky River Energy to build up to 116 wind turbines on 13,535 acres of privately owned land northeast of Tehachapi in the southern Sierra Nevadas. The environmental groups arrayed against the County in this lawsuit are Sierra Club, the Center for Biological Diversity, and Defenders of Wildlife.

City of Carson files suit against Shell Oil over leaking USTs

CourtHouse News - Jan 28

The City of Carson, California, filed a lawsuit against Shell Oil Company, alleging that Shell knowingly let developers build homes above three underground tanks that have leaked oil and carcinogenic chemicals into a neighborhood where more than 1,000 people live. In the same action, filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court, Carson, a city of 93,000 in the Los Angeles metroplex, also sued owners and developers of the Carousel neighborhood, alleging fraudulent concealment, negligent misrepresentation, trespass, unjust enrichment and a dozen other counts.

Study says Altamont Pass turbines killing fewer birds

San Francisco Chronicle - Jan 28

A new study says that 50 percent fewer birds are being killed by wind turbines along the Altamont Pass east of San Francisco since 2005, following a push by environmentalists and government officials that threatened the future of the wind turbines in the area.

State Sen. Michael Rubio plans to take on CEQA

The Sacramento Bee - Jan 28

State Sen. Michael Rubio says he first wondered if something was wrong with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), California's environmental review law, during his days as a Kern County supervisor, when he saw it used to slow wind and solar projects he considered green by their very nature. Now, just more than two years into his Senate term representing a large swath of the southern Central Valley, he is taking a lead role in an effort to rewrite CEQA, putting him front and center in one of the most complicated and controversial policy issues in Sacramento this term.

Written by:

Allen Matkins

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