California targets diesel trucks, ships for biggest pollution reductions in over a decade
Los Angeles Times – August 27
The California Air Resources Board this Thursday adopted its biggest pollution-cutting regulations in more than a decade, establishing stringent new emissions standards for heavy-duty diesel trucks and measures to reduce pollution from ships docked at ports. The new standards would reduce allowable emissions of nitrogen oxides from new trucks 90% by 2027 and increase the number of ships that, while docked in port, must either shut down their auxiliary engines and plug into shore-based electricity or reduce pollutant emissions in their exhaust. Diesel trucks and cargo ships are among the largest air pollution sources in California, emitting nearly one-third of smog-forming nitrogen oxides and more than one-quarter of diesel particulate matter in the state.
BLM aims for California drilling auction by year-end
Reuters – August 18
The U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) plans to hold a sale of oil and gas leases in California before the end of the year, in what would be the first drilling auction in the state since 2013. In anticipation of the auction, the BLM this Wednesday published an environmental review for seven parcels covering 4,330 acres that it plans to offer in or adjacent to existing oilfields in Kern County, it said in a statement. The state is expected to oppose the BLM's efforts to move forward with the drilling auction. The public may submit comments on the BLM's environmental review by Sept. 25.
California and U.S. Forest Service agree to thin millions of acres of state forests
Enterprise-Record – August 24
California state officials signed a major agreement last week with the federal government that aims to reshape how forests are managed for years to come to help minimize the risk of wildfires. Under the plan, the state Natural Resources Agency and the U.S. Forest Service will use brush clearing, logging, and prescribed fires to thin out 1 million acres a year – an area larger than Yosemite National Park – by 2025, which is roughly double the current rate of thinning. The agencies also committed to drawing up a 20-year plan by 2021 to identify which areas of the state will get priority for thinning projects. In order for the plan to succeed, environmental regulations will need to be streamlined and more uses will need to be found for millions of tons of dead brush and small trees that will be removed.
South Pasadena sues Dow Chemical and Shell over TCP contamination
MyNewsLA – August 26
South Pasadena sued Dow Chemical and Shell Oil in federal court in Los Angeles this Wednesday, accusing the companies of contaminating the city’s water supply with 1,2,3-trichloropropane, or TCP, a toxic chemical found in pesticides the companies once made from the 1940s through the 1980s and used on land in the vicinity of South Pasadena's wells. The city alleges the companies knew or should have known that TCP is toxic and renders drinking water unsafe. The city seeks to recover undetermined damages and costs associated with cleaning the wells.
University of California campuses to phase out single-use plastics
The Mercury News – August 26
The University of California (UC) on Monday announced an aggressive policy to phase out single-use plastics at its 10 campuses and five medical centers over the next two years. The plan calls for an end to the use of plastic bags, straws, and utensils at UC retail and food establishments and a switch to reusable plates, cups, and food containers. The sale and distribution of plastic beverage bottles are to be phased out by 2023. California Public Interest Research Group, a public interest advocacy group, collected more than 12,000 student signatures in its push for the policy.