California Environmental Law & Policy Update 9.29.23

Allen Matkins


Macy’s ordered to pay $1.6 million for unlawful hazardous waste disposal at California stores

Bullet Desert Sun – September 23

Macy’s has been ordered to pay $1.6 million for environmental violations across its 98 California stores to settle a lawsuit filed by district attorneys from 25 California counties and two city attorneys. Macy’s “illegally disposed of hazardous waste in regular trash bins and illegally transported it to local landfills, which are not permitted to receive such waste products,” according to the Riverside County District Attorney’s office. The hazardous waste included batteries, electronic devices, and ignitable liquids.


Justice Department targets eBay for alleged unlawful sales of pesticides and devices to evade emissions controls

Bullet Associated Press – September 27

The U.S. Justice Department filed a civil complaint on Wednesday against eBay, claiming the company unlawfully distributed or sold at least 23,000 pesticides that were unregistered, misbranded, or for restricted use, and sold, offered for sale, or caused the sale of more than 343,000 aftermarket devices designed to evade motor vehicle emissions controls.

Martinelli’s among companies to settle with EPA over chemical safety violations

Bullet KSBW – September 26

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced settlements with two Watsonville-based companies, Del Mar Food Products Corp. and S. Martinelli & Co., over their use and handling of anhydrous ammonia, a toxic substance used in the refrigeration of food and beverages at production facilities. The settlements will resolve claims of Clean Air Act and Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act violations. In a 2021 investigation, EPA found that S. Martinelli & Co. failed to design and maintain a safe workspace, and failed to minimize the consequences of an accidental ammonia release, while Del Mar Food Products Corp. did not provide appropriate measures to minimize risks in the operation of its refrigeration systems.

Air regulators threaten Southern California warehouses with fines

Bullet Los Angeles Times – September 20

Southern California air regulators announced on September 20 that they will launch a sweeping enforcement initiative aimed at large warehouses that have allegedly resisted complying with a first-of-its kind pollution reduction program adopted by the South Coast Air Quality Management District in 2021. That program requires large warehouses to offset air pollution emissions from the truck traffic they attract by taking a range of actions, such as installing solar panels or using zero-emission yard trucks, or paying a fee in lieu of such actions. Only 45% of the 1,019 affected facilities submitted their compliance reports by the initial March 2023 deadline.

ExxonMobil loses bid to truck millions of gallons of crude oil through Central California

Bullet U.S. News & World Report – September 27

ExxonMobil lost a bid this Wednesday to truck millions of gallons of crude oil through Central California — a crucial part of its efforts to restart offshore oil wells that were shut down in 2015 after a pipeline leak west of Santa Barbara caused the worst coastal spill in 25 years. A federal judge refused to overturn a 2022 decision by the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors that denied ExxonMobil’s request to use trucks to carry crude from the three wells due to concerns over the effect on local traffic and the potential for spills and accidents. Meanwhile, a separate proposal to replace the pipeline remains under review by regulators.

California is engaged in the world’s largest dam removal project

Bullet NBC News – September 20

A series of massive California dams that block off the Klamath River will no longer exist by this time next year, and the river will run freely again. The Iron Gate Dam, which opened in 1964 as the last of four 200-foot high dams that regulate the flow of the river and time releases for the local water supply in Northern California, is now part of the world’s largest dam removal and river restoration project. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the governing body responsible for maintaining the National Inventory of Dams, has flagged 76% of existing U.S. dams as having “high hazard potential,” a FEMA designation “for any dam whose failure or mis-operation will cause loss of human life and significant property destruction.”

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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