California Environmental Laws and Policies Update – March 2022 #2 | Allen Matkins
M Live – March 9
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Tuesday released a memorandum to direct billions of dollars in water infrastructure spending that will go to local communities across the United States through various state revolving funds. The agency directed states to ensure that disadvantaged communities, which struggle with disproportionately higher pollution and environmental health risks, receive a fair share of funds. The EPA wants states to evaluate and possibly revise project definitions, criteria and ranking systems to align with requirements of the Infrastructure Act, which says nearly half the money for some programs to improve drinking water, sewage treatment and other needs will go to disadvantaged communities. in the form of grants and forgivable loans.
Associated Press – March 9
Tuesday’s failure of an ExxonMobil proposal to make thousands of truck trips a year to central California to transport oil from now-idle offshore platforms has heightened attention on an even dispute. larger: the construction of a pipeline across the state to transport the crude. The company’s plan was to send up to 24,820 tankers a year on Coastal Route 101 and State Route 166 for seven years or until the pipeline was repaired or replaced. In a 3-2 vote, the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors rejected the plan, denying the company a crucial step in its hopes to resume production on the trio of several-year-old rigs. decades. ExxonMobil said trucking was the only option to get crude to markets until a pipeline becomes available.
Reuters – March 9
The U.S. EPA on Wednesday reinstated California’s ability to set its own zero-emission vehicle sales mandate and tailpipe emissions limits, reversing a 2019 decision under the Trump administration. The agency said it was finalizing a decision to reinstate a Clean Air Act waiver to California that was first granted in 2013. The EPA is also rejecting a Trump-era decision to prohibit other states from adopting California’s tailpipe emission standards.
The Bakersfield Californian – March 4
Kern County launched the environmental review process for a California carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) project last Friday, marking the first time such a project has been reviewed in the state. The review will focus on a plan by local oil producer California Resources Corp. aimed at collecting carbon dioxide from various industrial sources and burying it in depleted oil reservoirs using half a dozen injection wells 26 miles southwest of Bakersfield in the ‘Elk Hills. Although the oil industry has increasingly embraced CCS as a means of removing greenhouse gases from the atmosphere, environmental groups remain skeptical, in part because the facilities require large amounts of energy and the transport of CO2 over long distances.
Courthouse News Service – March 7
The city of Los Angeles has entered the legal fray over banned polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, joining other California cities in suing Monsanto on the grounds that the chemicals contaminated the city’s water sources. Although PCBs, listed by the EPA as a probable human carcinogen, were banned in the United States in 1979, their presence persists in a variety of older products, including electrical equipment, caulks, paints and cleaning products. sealing, and, according to the city, they continue to pollute rivers, lakes and streams. A Monsanto spokesperson said in a written statement that the company believes the lawsuit is “without merit.”
Stockton Record – March 9
A San Joaquin County pesticide spraying company was negligent when its helicopter pilots let the toxic chemicals drift over residents, including onto a Lodi school, a judge ruled Tuesday. Alpine Helicopter Service, Inc. broke the law by carelessly releasing the harmful chemicals on at least five occasions between 2014 and 2020, according to the San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office. The drift of pesticides is prohibited by the food and agricultural code. Civil penalties and the terms of a permanent injunction against the defendants will be determined during the second phase of the trial.
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