California Environmental Law & Policy Update - December 2017 #3

by Allen Matkins
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Trump to open the door for oil drilling off U.S.’s East Coast

Bloomberg - Dec 11 The Trump administration is preparing to unveil an expansive offshore oil plan that would open the door to selling new drilling rights in Atlantic waters, according to sources familiar with the plan. President Donald Trump ordered the U.S. Department of the Interior to write the plan with the aim of auctioning oil and gas drilling rights off the U.S. East Coast, which former President Barack Obama had ruled out. The Interior Department’s coming draft proposal, an initial milestone in replacing the Obama-era plan, dovetails with the oil industry’s push for new places to drill, said sources who asked not to be identified before a formal announcement. Trump’s proposal would span the years 2019 to 2024, replacing the Obama plan, which runs through 2022. While most U.S. waters are technically open for oil and gas development, the activity can only take place on leases granted pursuant to the government’s five-year plan.

California's cap-and-trade program may generate more than $8 billion by 2027, report says

Los Angeles Times - Dec 11 Although California’s cap-and-trade program was designed to combat climate change, a new analysis predicts it could also provide significant cash — as much as $8 billion in a decade’s time — for state and regional programs. The report issued this Tuesday by the independent Legislative Analyst’s Office projects a wide range of revenue generated by the sale of permits for companies to emit greenhouse gases beyond a state-ordered emissions cap. The analysis warns that annual cap-and-trade revenue beyond 2020 is “highly uncertain,” and offers a possible range from $2 billion in 2018 to almost $7 billion in 2030 — the final year of the program under legislation Gov. Jerry Brown signed in July. The most recent auction of emission permits brought in more than $800 million.

California Attorney General sides with Oakland in coal ban

East Bay Times - Dec 8 State Attorney General Xavier Becerra filed a brief in support of the City of Oakland’s July 2016 ordinance banning the storage and handling of coal and petroleum coke in city limits. The city ordinance effectively killed plans to transport the ore through a planned terminal near the Port of Oakland, on a portion of the former Oakland Army Base land. The city based its findings on research that found such a facility would pose a serious health risk to both workers at the terminal and West Oakland residents, who already suffer from high levels of asthma and other respiratory illnesses. The terminal’s developer, Phil Tagami, is challenging the ordinance. Trial is scheduled to begin in January 2018.

San Diego water-rights lawsuit ends after 66 years

San Diego Union-Tribune - Dec 12 After 66 years of litigation and more than 50 years of settlement talks, the Fallbrook Public Utility District board of directors voted unanimously Monday to end the water dispute with the U.S. government over Santa Margarita River water rights. In 1951, the government sued Fallbrook, claiming that the United States was entitled to the water flowing to the ocean through the Marine Corps base. The courts agreed. Fifteen years later, the ruling was modified on appeal, and Camp Pendleton and Fallbrook were directed to work together to develop a physical solution to share the water. After 50 years of negotiations, the Department of Justice, at the request of the Department of the Navy, last month signed off on a comprehensive plan involving Camp Pendleton piping groundwater extracted from the base to Fallbrook, providing Fallbrook with a local water source and reducing its expenditures on imported water from Northern California.

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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