California

California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard: Before the Supreme Court

Will the Justices Choose to Decide the LCFS’s Constitutionality?

You might think that the U.S. Supreme Court, having decided the Utility Air Regulatory Group v. EPA Clean Air Act case on Monday, was done for the current Term when it comes to environmental law and policy. Think again. Today the justices met in conference to decide whether to grant review in a large number of pending …

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California Court Upholds State Water Board’s Broad Authority to Ban Unreasonable Uses of Water

Ruling is Especially Timely, Given California’s Ongoing and Severe Drought Conditions

I recently wrote about a then-pending court case in which California grape growers were challenging the State Water Resources Control Board’s limits on the growers’ diversion of water from California rivers and streams to provide frost protection for their grapes.  That litigation is important because it goes to the heart of the Board’s authority under …

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California, climate change, and 111d

Four things the Golden State will note about EPA’s power plant proposal

Here are four aspects of the 111d proposal of particular note to Legal Planet’s home state. (1) California played a key role in helping to inspire — and to justify as lawful — EPA’s building-blocks approach to setting state goals.  EPA frequently refers to California’s suite of successful greenhouse gas mitigation programs as a partial model for …

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Not nonsensical at all

The main State Capitol columnist for the Sacramento Bee wrote a piece today on whether California should encourage or discourage additional oil development in the state. This has been a major debate politically, with Governor Brown resisting calls by many environmental groups to ban fracking. Brown has noted the potential economic benefits from tapping into …

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Quantifying Environmental Justice (& Injustice) in California–An Update

California Improves an Already-Powerful Environmental Justice Analytical Tool

A year ago, I wrote about an important environmental justice initiative pioneered by the California Environmental Protection Agency and its subsidiary entity, the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment. That 2013 initiative, titled CalEnviroScreen, divided up the State of California by zip code, applied 11 environmental health and pollution factors, assessed each of the state’s …

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As Oil by Rail Gains Momentum, Is California On Track to Protect Human Health and the Environment?

A closer look at the data and key legal issues

California will soon see a surge in the number of trains carrying crude oil into the state, as oil production in North Dakota’s Bakken region and Canada continues to increase, sending more crude to California refineries. Last week, the California Senate Environmental Quality Committee and Natural Resources Committee held a hearing on the safety of …

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California Enacts Emergency Drought Legislation

State Water Rights Reforms a Key Part of the Legislative Package

“Never let a good crisis go to waste.” This adage, attributed to Chicago Mayor and former Obama White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, seems especially apt regarding emergency legislation enacted by California lawmakers and signed into law last weekend by Governor Jerry Brown in response to the worst drought in recorded California history. That …

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Would Californians be Better Off with a Fuel Tax instead of Cap-and-Trade?

Steinberg’s surprising proposal for California climate regulation

Climate regulation drama!  Sen. Darrell Steinberg is floating a proposal that would change California law to take transportation fuels out of the cap-and-trade program, and to enact a new fuels tax instead.  As background, distributors of those fuels are slated to join the cap-and-trade program in 2015, meaning they would need allowances to cover their …

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Wyoming Wind Power and California Electricity

Supporting renewable energy in Wyoming makes political sense

A company wants to build a lot of wind power in Wyoming.  A lot.  3,000 megawatts.  The size of three nuclear reactors.  And ship all of the power to California.  None of it will be used in Wyoming, where electricity primarily comes from coal, and where the state has been strongly resistant to various policies …

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It’s Not Waste, It’s An Ecosystem

Letting rivers flow supports ecosystems and people

One thing that droughts in the West provoke are political battles over water.  The drought that California is currently in is no exception.  Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives have just passed a bill that would – more or less – exempt farmers in the Central Valley from environmental laws like the Endangered Species …

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