Biden administration to roll back rule on clean air regulations
CNBC – May 13
The Biden administration on Thursday moved to roll back the so-called Benefit-Cost Rule, adopted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under former President Trump. The Benefit-Cost Rule made it more difficult for EPA to justify the adoption of stringent emissions standards. Under President Biden, EPA’s position is that the rule imposed restrictions on the methodology for conducting cost-benefit analyses in Clean Air Act rulemaking without explaining why those restrictions were necessary. The agency also said the restrictions would limit the EPA's "ability to use the best available science in developing Clean Air Act regulations," a move it argued is "inconsistent with economic best practices."
California expands drought emergency to large swath of state
Associated Press – May 10
Governor Gavin Newsom on Monday expanded the drought emergency declaration to a large swath of the state while seeking more than $6 billion in multiyear water spending. Newsom’s emergency declaration now includes 41 of California’s 58 counties. His proposed water spending includes $1.3 billion for drinking water and wastewater systems, with priority to be given to such projects in smaller and poorer communities. Another $200 million would go to repair canals damaged when the ground beneath them sank as a result of continued heavy pumping of groundwater supply wells.
Tesla will pay $750,000 fine, build microgrid system to settle air quality violations
The Mercury News – May 7
Tesla must pay a $750,000 penalty and install a solar roof and battery project in a community with poor air quality as part of a settlement with the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, officials said last Friday. The settlement involves over 33 alleged air quality violations dating back to 2015 at Tesla's Fremont factory, including exceedances of emission limits and installation or modifications of equipment without proper permits. The microgrid system will be installed in one of the communities prioritized under the district's "Community Health Protection Program."
South Bay residents and officials call for faster action on Tijuana-San Diego sewage problem
The San Diego Union-Tribune – May 9
EPA officials said last week they have started an environmental review process for 10 infrastructure projects intended to address recurring sewage spills from Tijuana that pollute the South Bay shoreline. They also approved a pilot project for a rapid test that will measure bacteria levels in the water. The agency is asking the public to submit comments on the projects by May 20. The agency plans to use the $300 million allocated under the 2019 U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement for the projects, which includes building a water-diversion system north of the border.