Court temporarily pauses EPA methane emissions rollback
The Hill – September 17
A federal appellate court has temporarily halted a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rule that rescinded Obama-era standards for methane emissions from the oil and gas sector, preventing the rollback from taking effect for the time being. The court emphasized that its stay order “should not be construed in any way as a ruling on the merits.” The EPA rule, issued last month, would eliminate requirements to regulate methane emissions from the production, processing, transmission, and storage of oil and gas. The rule would also rescind standards that regulate the release of volatile organic compounds from these operations. The change is expected to allow an additional 450,000 tons of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, and 120,000 tons of volatile organic compounds to be emitted into the air over a 10-year period.
SCAQMD files lawsuit challenging Port of L.A.’s environmental review of China Shipping terminal
MyNewsLA – September 16
The South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) on Monday filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles County Superior Court challenging the City of Los Angeles' approval of a Supplemental Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the China Shipping Container Terminal at the Port of Los Angeles. The petition alleges that the city violated the California Environmental Quality Act by removing actions to reduce air pollution previously required in the approval of a 2008 EIR and which China Shipping has since refused to implement. Petitioners claim the elimination of these requirements will lead to significantly more emissions, including half a ton more nitrogen oxides per day than contemplated under the previous EIR. The petition also seeks to override the Port’s lease with China Shipping because mitigation measures have not yet been incorporated into China Shipping’s lease and therefore are unenforceable.
Kelly-Moore Paint to pay $1.43 million in illegal dumping settlement
Monterey Herald – September 16
The Kelly-Moore Paint Company must pay $1.43 million for illegally dumping hazardous waste throughout the state, prosecutors announced this Monday. The Alameda County District Attorney’s Office filed the civil action against the company, alleging that from March 2016 to December 2018, Kelly-Moore violated state hazardous waste laws by routinely dumping paint, electronic devices, aerosol products, and other products into company waste bins and disposed of hazardous wastes at landfills not authorized to accept such wastes. The district attorneys of Monterey, Contra Costa, Santa Clara, San Mateo, San Francisco, Placer, San Joaquin, Sonoma, and Yolo counties also joined in the lawsuit. From March 2016 to December 2018, inspectors from the Alameda District Attorney’s Environmental Protection Division and other investigators from district attorney offices statewide went undercover, inspecting trash bins at 29 of Kelly-Moore's 106 stores throughout California.
Water shortages in U.S. West more likely than previously thought
Associated Press – September 16
The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation released models this Tuesday projecting more significant shortages in water supply in Lake Powell and Lake Mead — the reservoirs where Colorado River water is stored —than it projected last spring. Government scientists say that because of below-average runoff, the reservoirs are now 12% more likely to fall to critically low levels by 2025, jeopardizing the steady flow of the Colorado River. The forecast could complicate already-fraught negotiations between Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, and Mexico over future shares of the river, on which more than 40 million people in the American West rely for their water supply.