California

Bay Area Tries to Screw the Poor

Peripheral Canal cartoon

It’s bad enough when folks from the Bay Area pretend that they are smarter and more sophisticated than everyone else. It’s bad enough that they trash southern California (inaccurately) for “stealing” its water from the Owens Valley while enjoying water from the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir. But trying to undermine environmental justice while pretending to be […]

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Los Angeles Heat Waves, Electricity Use and Climate Change

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It is 102 degrees in Los Angeles as I write this.  Not in the San Fernando Valley or in the communities east of Los Angeles whose temperatures are regularly several degrees higher but in downtown Los Angeles.  We’re in record heat territory and way above historical averages.  But temperatures aren’t the only records that are […]

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Groundwater Management Lite for California

New State Groundwater Legislation a Key Step Forward, But No Immediate Fix or Long-Term Panacea

The California Legislature, in the waning hours of its 2014 session, enacted legislation creating a first-ever  statewide system of groundwater management.  The three-bill package (SB 1168 [Pavley]; SB 1319 [Pavley]; and AB 1719 [Dickinson]) is expected to be signed into law by California Governor Jerry Brown before the end of this month, and will take […]

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Cleaning The Grid With “Second Life” Electric Vehicle Batteries

UCSD "second life" EV battery demonstration project.  Courtesy of UC Regents/Rhett S. Miller.

Register now for a webinar on the forthcoming UCLA/UC Berkeley Law report, next Friday from 10-11am

As California faces an increasing need for more energy storage to integrate variable renewables and provide other grid services, used electric vehicle batteries could be a critical – and inexpensive – part of the solution. Sales of electric vehicles in the United States are heading toward a quarter million, with 100,000 of those purchases in […]

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Some lessons from l’affaire Tesla

There has been a lot of commentary over the decision by Tesla to make its multi-billion dollar investment in a new battery factory in Nevada, rather than California. There have been some criticisms that California did not do enough to lure Tesla here, and/or that its business climate is not supportive enough for investment, including […]

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Kashkari’s Unworkable Environmental Review “Reform” Plan

California Republican gubernatorial candidate Neel Kashkari

Net zero buildings for everyone?

In last night’s California gubernatorial debate, Republican candidate Neel Kashkari proposed a major reform to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), which requires environmental review of new projects. But rather than gutting CEQA completely, a la State-Senator-turned-Chevron-lobbyist Michael Rubio, Kashkari proposed to give all projects the same breaks that the Sacramento Kings received in last […]

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Why Tesla’s Nevada Gigafactory Could Be Bad For The Environment, Compared To A California Site

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Electric vehicle pioneer to announce its siting decision today

Some California environmentalists may be celebrating now that Tesla has apparently decided to build its $5 billion “gigafactory” in Nevada instead of California. Lawmakers here had toyed with the idea of weakening the state’s signature environmental law, the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), to help expedite review on the factory and therefore encourage Tesla to […]

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Misleading Attacks On California’s New Transportation Analysis Under CEQA

A little less of this, please

Big Law Firm Holland & Knight Misrepresents New State Guidelines

Last year, the California legislature passed badly needed reform to change how agencies evaluate a project’s transportation impacts under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).  The Governor’s Office of Planning and Research (OPR) was tasked with coming up with new guidelines for how this analysis should be done going forward.  As I blogged about, the […]

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Closely Confined Chickens, Interstate Conflict & the Dormant Commerce Clause

Is Proposition 2, California's Pioneering Animal Welfare Law, Unconstitutional?

Last week witnessed a most interesting constitutional showdown between sovereign states in U.S. District Court in Sacramento.  At issue is animal welfare legislation California has enacted both at the ballot box and through its elected representatives.  The enemy combatants are a coalition of midwestern states led by Missouri, aligned against the State of California, with […]

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Transit-Oriented Projects In California Won’t Be Penalized For Traffic Impacts Anymore

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Governor's Office Releases New Environmental Review Guidelines

Back in 2013, there was significant discussion about reforming the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), with the business community and its attorneys arguing that CEQA is nothing more than a litigation tool for opponents of new projects. Some environmentalists and labor unions countered that CEQA is necessary for decision-makers to adequately assess the environmental impacts […]

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