California Environmental Law and Policy Update – May 2021 # 4 | Allen Matkins
The Bakersfield Californian – May 24
California oil regulators last Friday released a draft rule this would ban hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as hydraulic fracturing, as well as certain other well stimulation techniques, by January 1, 2024. The rule would implement Governor Gavin Newsom’s statement a month ago that the controversial practice will shut down statewide within three years. California’s geological energy management division said on Monday the rule would not affect oilfield sewage disposal, cyclic steam, steam flooding or water flooding – locally common techniques. which, like hydraulic fracturing, involve subterranean injections but which are not intended to create channels in the rock. formations so that oil can flow to the surface.
Courthouse Press Service – May 27
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Thursday announced a plan to rewrite changes made by the Trump administration last year that eroded local authority over waterway protection under article 401 of the law on water purification. This law, enacted by Congress in 1972, gave tribes and states the power to stop federal projects that could pollute nearby streams, rivers, lakes and wetlands. However, the EPA led by former President Donald Trump has reduced the contribution of local governments to these projects. In 2020, the agency finalized a revised rule to speed up obtaining permits for projects such as oil and gas pipelines. The EPA says its review of the 2020 rule will give stakeholders and members of the public an opportunity to provide information that can inform the development of a new rule.
NPR – May 25
The Biden administration plans to open up the California coast to offshore wind development, ending a long-standing standoff with the Department of Defense, which is using parts of the area for training and testing operations. . The move adds momentum to the administration’s goal of achieving 100% carbon-free power generation by 2035, and comes just weeks after the approval of the country’s first large-scale offshore wind farm. country off the coast of New England. The deal identifies two ocean sites off California’s central and northern coast with the potential for installing massive floating wind turbines that could produce 4.6 gigawatts of electricity, enough to power 1.6 million homes . A potential auction for offshore wind sites could take place in mid-2022, but project managers will still have to negotiate concerns about the potential impact on California’s fishing industry and shipping canals, as well. than any environmental concerns regarding sensitive ecosystems.
La Colline – May 24
The United States Supreme Court, in a unanimous decision on Monday, supported Guam’s proposal to pursue the additional environmental cleanup costs of the United States government for the dumping of hazardous waste by the United States Navy into the territory’s Ordot landfill. . The decision, written by Justice Clarence Thomas, overturned a lower court ruling that found that a 2004 settlement between the United States and Guam over Clean Water Act claims had properly “resolved Guam’s liability. For the dump for triggering a claim for “contribution” under the federal Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) against the United States, which would have been time barred. The Supreme Court ruling now clarifies that, unless an underlying regulation itself is based on CERCLA, it does not give rise to a request for a CERCLA contribution. Instead, the settling party can bring a CERCLA “cost recovery” action against a third party, which would be governed by the limitation period applicable to such actions. Guam can now sue the United States for CERCLA cost recovery, Monday’s ruling
Yahoo! News – May 26
Bayer said on Wednesday it would examine the future of its Roundup and other glyphosate-based weedkillers in the U.S. residential market. The statement follows U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria’s rejection of Bayer’s $ 2 billion proposal to settle future claims that the herbicide causes cancer in return for placing limits on new lawsuits. The company had pledged $ 9.6 billion in June to settle about 125,000 claims and lawsuits from Roundup users who already alleged the product was the cause of their non-Hodgkin lymphoma. However, given that Roundup remains in the market and there is a 10 to 15 year lag between exposure and onset of symptoms, Bayer also potentially faces years of future complaints from people. who use glyphosate on their lawns and farms. The rejected settlement was intended to settle these future claims.
Los Angeles Times – May 22
For more than two decades, transportation officials in Southern California have been considering how to widen the I-710 freeway to cope with increased traffic, but they face obstacles ranging from lack of funding opposition from community groups to increased pollution and relocations that would mainly burden adjacent areas. -income communities. The project now faces another, potentially even greater, complication. The U.S. EPA told Caltrans and Metro officials that the expansion would increase heavy diesel freight travel, increase vehicle emissions, and violate federal Clean Air Act standards – even with the incorporation of a proposed program to reduce emissions from trucks. In response, citing concerns about environmental justice, local and state transportation officials said they now plan to scrap the expansion effort and start over with an entirely new approach.