Los Angeles Times – November 16
The California Air Resources Board (CARB) on Wednesday released a scoping plan that outlines how the state intends to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions by the end of the decade and eventually eliminate its carbon footprint. The plan, which will be submitted to CARB for formal consideration in December, is dependent on the widespread adoption of zero-emission vehicles, as the transportation sector remains California’s largest single source of carbon emissions. State officials believe the transition to clean vehicles will lead to lower oil demand and reduced emissions from refineries, the largest source of emissions in the industrial sector. The plan also leans on refineries and cement plants to deploy a technology called carbon capture and storage, which involves capturing smokestack emissions and channeling them underground.
Los Angeles Daily News – November 15
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday created a new county agency aimed at helping local communities affected by climate change and industrial pollution. The Bureau of Environmental Justice and Climate Health, which will be spun off from the county health department, will develop a strategy to tackle pollution that disproportionately affects low-income communities and people of color, officials said. Areas of concern include communities exposed to highway traffic and air pollutants. The agency will collect data and hold industry accountable for environmental degradation or potential public health hotspots, according to Fourth District supervisor Janice Hahn.
San Francisco Chronicle—November 18
California’s Coastal Commission on Thursday approved a desalination plant proposed for the drought-stricken Monterey Peninsula, amid rising controversy over the role desalination should play in addressing statewide water shortages. The project, which would sample seawater off the coast of the city of Marina, Monterey County, spotlighted both the wonder of harvesting freshwater from the ocean and the many issues surrounding the technology, including environmental impact and energy consumption and cost. In the end, the Coastal Commission Board decided that the benefits of a new water supply outweighed the disadvantages of the proposal.
The Orange County Register – November 9th
A federal appeals court has confirmed three oil companies are required to pay the US Environmental Protection Agency nearly $50 million for cleanup costs at the McColl Superfund site in Fullerton. The Nov. 7 Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling upholds a 2021 lower court decision ordering Union Oil Co. of California, Atlantic Richfield Co. and Texaco Inc. to pay the cost of removing 97,100 cubic yards Toxic waste on the 22-acre site to repay site? site. The three mineral oil companies argued in the appeal that the federal government is financially liable for part of the clean-up costs.
Associated Press – November 17
U.S. regulators on Thursday approved a plan to demolish four dams on a California river as part of the world’s largest dam removal and river rehabilitation project, if it goes ahead. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s unanimous vote on the lower Klamath River dams is the latest major regulatory hurdle and biggest milestone for a $500 million demolition proposal that has been championed by Native American tribes and environmentalists for years. The project would restore the lower half of California’s second-largest river to a free-flowing state for the first time in more than a century, and open up hundreds of miles of salmon habitat. The energy generated by the dams provided only 2% of the energy generated by PacifiCorp, which the company says is being replaced by other renewable energy projects.
San Francisco Chronicle—November 10
Three of California’s largest water utilities, including the city of San Francisco, announced Thursday that they have reached a compromise with state regulators in the latest breakthrough in years of efforts to protect the flow of California’s once-great but increasingly overflowing rivers . Tolls on the waterways, where up to 90% of water is pumped to towns and farms, have been exacerbated by the drought, threatening storied salmon and other plants and animals. Under the new voluntary agreements, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission is joining two Central Valley water boards, the Turlock and Modesto Irrigation Districts, to reduce withdrawals and improve wildlife habitat in the Tuolumne River, one of the most depleted rivers in the world State to restore.
Courthouse News Service – November 16
U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar on Wednesday granted requests from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service to allow the Biden administration to consider changes made by the Trump administration to the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA) without a parallel to fight against a trio of lawsuits from environmentalists and state and local governments challenging the 2019 revision of the law. The court left the ESA’s amendments intact for the time being, ruling that they could not be overturned until it had first ruled on the merits of the environmentalists’ claims. The challengers argue that the 2019 changes have significantly weakened the ESA because they allow authorities to consider economic factors when deciding whether to list species for protection under the ESA and they make it more difficult to assign sites protect where there are no endangered wildlife.
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