President Donald Trump this Tuesday signed into law the “Great American Outdoors Act,” which will provide $9.5 billion over the next five years to repair roads, restrooms, trails, and campgrounds at 419 national parks and other public lands, funded by existing royalties on oil, gas, coal, and renewable energy. The Act will also guarantee $900 million per year to the Land and Water Conservation Fund in perpetuity. Congress created the fund in 1964, which is used to buy new park land and maintain local parks as a way for outdoor conservation and recreation to keep pace with a growing population.
A California company that produces Crystal Geyser bottled water was sentenced this Wednesday to three years’ probation and ordered to pay a $5 million fine for illegally storing and transporting hazardous waste from its Sierra Nevada facility, federal prosecutors said. CG Roxane LLC pleaded guilty earlier this year to mishandling arsenic filtered out of its spring water at a plant in Olancha, resulting in the discharge into Southern California sewers of about 23,000 gallons of water with arsenic concentrations above the hazardous waste limit, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles said in a statement. District Judge Dolly M. Gee also ordered the company to implement a program within three months to improve its compliance with environmental laws.
The Los Angeles City Attorney's Office this week filed criminal charges against Allenco Energy for allegedly failing to comply with an order issued last year by the California Geologic Energy Management Division requiring the firm to properly abandon deteriorating oil wells at its South Los Angeles site. The state had ordered Allenco to plug wells and decommission the drill site, which would permanently close the inactive facility. The misdemeanor charges also target Allenco Chief Executive Clifford E. Peter Allen and company Vice President Timothy Parker. Allenco had agreed to suspend operations at the site nearly seven years ago, after federal and local investigations were launched and an environmental team touring the site was sickened by toxic fumes.
Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) sued the California Energy Commission (CEC) in a bid to prevent it from carrying out a policy that would limit natural gas use and promote building electrification. SoCalGas’s complaint, filed in Orange County Superior Court, alleges that the CEC failed to fulfill its legal obligation to report on the benefits of natural gas use. The Sempra Energy subsidiary also accused the CEC of improperly establishing an anti-gas policy that undermines lawmakers' intent to preserve the fuel's role in California's energy mix. SoCalGas took the action as the CEC is poised to determine whether it will take up statewide building electrification standards in its latest update to California's energy code. The lawsuit also takes place against the backdrop of tightening state climate policy, including laws that require the state to draw 100% of retail electricity from renewable and zero-carbon sources by 2045 and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40% below 1990 levels by 2030.