California Environmental Law & Policy Update - April 2015

Allen Matkins
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Environmental and Policy Focus

Governor Brown issues executive order requiring statewide mandatory water restrictions

Allen Matkins - Apr 3

Responding to severely depleted water supplies and a record low snowpack at just 5% of historical averages, on April 1, 2015, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. issued an Executive Order, effective immediately, ordering mandatory actions to reduce water usage by 25% statewide from 2013 levels, increase enforcement to prevent water waste, and streamline government review of and response to drought-related measures. The Governor's order, and forthcoming regulations to implement its provisions, will significantly impact commercial, industrial and institutional property owners, real estate developers, agricultural interests, and water suppliers, as well as provide opportunities for those developing cutting-edge water efficiency technologies.

Water district in Kern County sues over carcinogens at the tap

Courthouse News Service - Apr 1

On March 30, the East Niles Community Services District sued Dow Chemical, Shell Oil, and others, alleging that they discharged trichloropropane (TCP) to the public water system. The District serves parts of unincorporated Kern County, rural farmland outside of Bakersfield, and parts of Bakersfield itself. According to the District, the community's drinking water is contaminated with highly toxic TCP, a byproduct of the manufacturing of soil fumigants used from the 1940s to the late 1980s to kill tiny worms that infest plant roots.

Oakland clears path for Coliseum City development

Contra Costa Times - Apr 1

The Oakland City Council late Tuesday passed several key environmental and planning measures for its Coliseum City proposal, laying the groundwork for the Raiders, or any other developer interested in the massive project, to finally step forward and show their commitment. The council first certified an environmental report for the 800 acres surrounding the city's three sports teams' venues at the Coliseum complex north of Interstate 880 in East Oakland. The council then voted to accept a specific plan for the development and re-zone the area to fit its optimal vision for the site: three new sports venues, 5,750 homes, and nearly 8 million square feet of urban retail and office space with convenient access to BART and Interstate 880.

Pollution from China taking high route to Central Valley, study says

Sacramento Bee - Mar 31

Authors of a new study performed at UC Davis conclude that a significant amount of the air pollution in California’s Central Valley originates from coal-fired power plants, factories, and other sources in China. According to the report, the pollutants travel high above the Pacific Ocean and over Northern California’s coastal range before accumulating in the skies above the Valley to form ozone.

Groups battle over Carlsbad power plant

U-T San Diego - Apr 1

A proposal for replacing nuclear energy in Southern California with a new natural gas plant at Carlsbad is pitting energy giants NRG and Sempra Energy against environmental groups, including the Sierra Club and National Resources Defense Council. State utility regulators could vote as soon as next week on a contract between New Jersey-based power plant operator NRG Energy and Sempra Energy subsidiary San Diego Gas & Electric that would underwrite construction of a new power plant at Carlsbad in response to the early retirement of the San Onofre nuclear plant in 2013.

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