California Environmental Law and Policy Update - October 2014 #3

Allen Matkins
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Environmental and Policy Focus

Environmental groups fight Southern California tar sands oil project

Courthouse News Service - Oct 13

Kern County illegally approved expansion of a local refinery that will let it transport and process 70,000 barrels of crude oil a day, environmentalists claim in court. The Association of Irritated Residents, the Center for Biological Diversity, and the Sierra Club sued the Kern County Board of Supervisors and the Kern County Planning and Community Development Department on October 9 in Superior Court. Alon U.S.A. Energy, of Texas, and its subsidiary Paramount Petroleum Corp. are named as real parties in interest. The lawsuit challenges Kern County's approval of an oil refinery and rail project that the environmental groups claim will further harm air quality in the San Joaquin Valley and present risks of a derailment of tankers of crude oil.

Environmental group and Richmond storage company reach agreement to prevent pollutants from entering bay

Richmond Confidential - Oct 15

San Francisco Bay Keeper, an environmental group, reached an agreement on Friday with Levin-Richmond Terminal Corporation, a storage company it sued two years ago for allegedly violating the Clean Water Act by discharging pollutants into San Francisco Bay. The settlement requires the Richmond-based firm to better manage and clean up pollutants, including coal, petroleum coke, oil and grease, and transmission fluids, at its facility along the Lauritzen and Santa Fe channels, on the Richmond waterfront. Levin-Richmond, a major shipping terminal, will invest $1.4 million to install equipment and undertake other activities to reduce its discharges into the Bay.

Countdown to dismantling San Onofre

San Diego Union-Tribune - Oct 13

Heavy work on dismantling the San Onofre nuclear plant may be just three months away. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission intends to set in motion the 90-day countdown for major decommissioning activities by confirming receipt of detailed plans for the project, known as a “post-shutdown decommissioning activities report,” from San Onofre operator Southern California Edison. The utility company wants to restore most of the Navy-owned site in northern San Diego County during the next 20 years, a relatively quick schedule. The federal government allows up to 60 years for decommissioning to allow high-level radiation to dissipate.

California high court clears way for more bullet train work

Los Angeles Times - Oct 16

The California Supreme Court on Wednesday cleared the way for further construction of the state's $68-billion bullet train when it declined to hear an appeal filed by Central Valley opponents of the controversial project. Other financial and pending legal challenges could still pose problems for the massive undertaking. But California High Speed Rail Authority officials said the high court action was a key victory that would allow them to move beyond preliminary work on the first 130-mile section of Central Valley track.

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