California Environmental Law and Policy Update - November 25, 2013

by Allen Matkins

Environmental and Policy Focus

California releases new regulations for hydraulic fracturing

San Jose Mercury News - Nov 22

California’s Division of Oil, Gas & Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) has released proposed regulations governing well stimulation techniques including hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking. Senate Bill 4, which was signed into law in September, required DOGGR to prepare the proposed implementing regulations. Under the proposed regulations, oil companies would have to test groundwater and notify landowners before using hydraulic fracturing or other well stimulation techniques. While the proposed regulations would not go into effect until 2015, DOGGR plans to issue emergency regulations that would govern well stimulation activities from January 2014 until the effective date of the final regulations.

New $1.2 billion federal plan calls for restoration of Marin, Bay Area wetlands

Marin News - Nov 18

Wetland areas in Marin, including Hamilton Field, Bel Marin Keys, Novato, and Gallinas creeks, should be restored, according to a 50-year plan released late last week by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS). FWS's plan estimates the cost to recover key endangered species around the bay and finish ongoing wetlands restoration projects at $1.2 billion between now and 2063. Federal officials and environmentalists who rolled out the plan said it offers a clear overview for politicians to help raise the money that will be needed in the decades ahead to turn old hay fields in the North Bay, salt evaporation ponds in the South Bay and other bayfront lands from Richmond to Redwood City back into wetlands for fish, birds and wildlife.

Metal plating firm ordered to remove hazardous waste

Los Angeles Times - Nov 12

A judge has ordered Electro-Forming, a metal plating company in Richmond, California, to remove and safely dispose of large quantities of hazardous waste, including cyanide, after state officials argued that it poses a health threat to nearby residents. In March of this year, investigators from the Department of Toxic Substances Control served a search warrant on the company and found a host of problems, including cyanide being stored near highly acidic solutions, which, if accidentally mixed, could form a deadly gas, according to the papers filed to support the issuance of the court order. That investigation followed a former employee’s report of improper hazardous materials disposal by the company. Contra Costa County Superior Court Judge Judith Craddick gave Electro-Forming 14 days to dispose of some wastes and 30 days for others.

Toxic waste seems to vanish naturally from Palos Verdes Shelf

Los Angeles Times - Nov 17

Decades after industrial waste dumping turned part of Southern California's seafloor into a toxic hot spot, scientists have dredged up a mystery. Chemicals found in the ocean off the Palos Verdes Peninsula seem to be mysteriously dissipating without active remediation. Samples taken from the sediment suggest that more than 100 metric tons of the banned pesticide DDT and industrial compounds known as polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, have vanished from one of the country's most hazardous sites, almost a 90% drop in just five years. In response to the discovery, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has suspended its planned cleanup efforts and ordered a new round of tests to be completed over the next year.


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Allen Matkins

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