California Environmental Law and Policy Update - October 2014

Allen Matkins
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Environmental and Policy Focus

California becomes first state to ban plastic bags

SFGate.com - Sep 30

Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill Tuesday that makes California the first state in the nation to ban single-use plastic bags. Many cities and counties in the state already have plastic bag bans in place, including San Francisco, San Jose and Los Angeles County. With the governor signing SB270 by Senator Alex Padilla, D-Pacoima, grocery stores and pharmacies statewide must phase out the use of such plastic bags by July 2015. A year later, convenience stories and liquor stores will no longer be allowed to distribute single-use plastic bags. SB270 provides $2 million in competitive loans to help plastic bag manufacturers convert their operations to produce reusable bags.

Governor Brown rejects redevelopment replacement, approves related measure

Silicon Valley Business Journal - Sep 30

Governor Jerry Brown rejected a proposal on Monday that would have breathed new life into the abolished redevelopment agencies by creating authorities capable of financing community-supported infrastructure projects. However, the governor also signed legislation that reforms an economic development tool known as infrastructure financing districts, which are similar to the former redevelopment agencies in that they use property-tax growth to fund infrastructure. The difference is that infrastructure financing requires a public vote, which local governments say have historically undermined its viability.

Wind farm plan rebuffed over eagle impacts

San Diego Union-Tribune - Sep 29

Prospects may have dimmed for a major new wind farm 60 miles east of San Diego after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service rejected a permit to address fatal collisions between golden eagles and spinning turbines. Seizing on the spurned permit application, the San Diego County-based environmental group Protect Our Communities has accused the Bureau of Indian Affairs and its parent agency, the Interior Department, of violating federal bird protection laws in authorizing construction of the Tule Wind power plant, in a lawsuit filed this week in U.S. District Court in San Diego.

Governor Brown signs two environmental disclosure bills

Bloomberg Businessweek - Sep 25

Governor Jerry Brown signed bills requiring companies to make new disclosures about train shipments of crude oil through the most populous U.S. state and about water used in energy production. The transport law mandates that carriers release information about the movement and characteristics of crude oil and other hazardous materials to state and local agencies, so they can prepare emergency responses in case of accidents. A second bill requires oil producers to provide the state with more information about water used in processes such as water flooding and steam injection, which are designed to increase the flow of thicker oil from the ground.

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