Air Resources Board mandates big increase in zero-emission trucks
Los Angeles Times – June 25
The California Air Resources Board (CARB) last week approved the nation’s toughest clean-air mandate on trucks, adopting a rule mandating sales of zero-emission (electric) medium-duty and heavy-duty commercial trucks beginning in 2024, with 100,000 to be sold in California by 2030 and 300,000 by 2035. The objectives of the mandate are to reduce conventional air pollutant emissions and contribute to achievement of 40 percent reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 levels by 2030 and 80 percent from 1990 levels by 2050. Environmentalists, health advocates, climate action supporters, and others voiced strong support at an online hearing before the vote, as did electric bus manufacturers. Representatives of traditional truck manufacturers, 95 percent of whose products are powered by diesel fuel, opposed the mandate and suggested it will be impossible to meet CARB’s timeline.
EPA to end relaxed enforcement of pollution reporting due to COVID-19
McClatchy DC – June 29
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will end a temporary policy, adopted in March, that relaxed monitoring and reporting requirements on pollutants due to the coronavirus. The policy will be terminated by the end of August. Democratic lawmakers, several states, and the agency’s inspector general all criticized the policy, warning that it would lead to increased pollution and decreased monitoring. They also expressed concern that the policy did not have a clear end date.
Supreme Court declines to hear border wall challenge
The San Diego Union-Tribune – June 29
The Supreme Court this Monday declined to review a district court order dismissing a lawsuit challenging the construction of 145 miles of steel-bollard walls along the border in Arizona, California, New Mexico, and Texas. At issue in the case was a a federal statute allowing the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security to waive other federal law as necessary to facilitate the swift construction of physical barriers at the border. A coalition of environmental groups argued unsuccessfully that the waiver law violates the Constitution’s separation of powers.
Environmental groups file petition to protect Quino checkerspot butterfly
KPBS – June 29
The Center for Biological Diversity and Endangered Habitats League filed a joint petition to the California Fish and Game Commission on Monday to protect Quino checkerspot butterflies — now found only in southern San Diego County and southwestern Riverside County — under the California Endangered Species Act. According to the petition, the Quino checkerspot, once one of the most common butterflies in Southern California, has lost more than 75 percent of its historic habitat, and, despite protection since 1997 as an endangered species under the federal Endangered Species Act, it remains at risk due to continued habitat destruction and fragmentation, climate change, nitrogen pollution, invasive species and lack of enforced protections.