California

Are Transit Strikes Bad for the Environment?

Banning public transit strikes might help the environment

Even if you’re not from the Bay Area, you’ve probably heard about the labor troubles at the Bay Area Rapid Transit system (BART) – the rail system that is one of the largest public transit providers here in the Bay Area in terms of passengers.  Hundreds of thousands of commuters use the BART system on …

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California Headed for Record Drought: Will Critically-Needed Reforms Follow?

Confronting a Looming Environmental Disaster

The Sacramento Bee’s fine environmental reporter, Matt Weiser, yesterday reported on a looming, major drought facing California and its regional neighbors. The figures aren’t pretty.  A persistent high-pressure front stretching over the Gulf of Alaska and most of the Northern Pacific has diverted the normal fall and winter storm track away from California and other …

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An Unhappy Anniversary for Hetch Hetchy

Is It Time to Consider Restoring Yosemite’s Hetch Hetchy Valley?

December 19th marks a sad event in American environmental history.  It was 100 years ago today that President Woodrow Wilson signed the Raker Act, authorizing the City of San Francisco to build a dam that would flood the Hetch Hetchy Valley in Yosemite National Park in order to deliver water supplies to San Francisco. Contemporary …

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With Utility Power Purchases, Does the Environment Matter?

When does the approval of a contract trigger environmental review?

If an electric utility asks regulators to approve a contract to purchase power from someone else’s power plant, should the regulators consider the environmental implications before saying yes or no? Of course they should. But let me ask the question again, using a bit of California legalese: Does a decision by the California Public Utilities …

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A Bad Hollywood Ending for Smart Growth — What’s the Sequel?

Judge rules the downtown plan for transit-oriented growth is fundamentally flawed

Smart growth advocates are lamenting a judge’s decision yesterday to toss out the environmental impact report (EIR) on Hollywood’s years-in-the-making plan for higher-density growth around the city’s subway stops.  Hollywood is one of the few communities in California willing to increase growth around transit stops and along transit corridors, and the demand for housing and …

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Why Did the Mono Lake Campaign Succeed?

What Makes for Successful Social Movements, Especially in Environmental Politics?

Environmentalists celebrate the campaign to save Mono Lake as one the iconic triumphs in US environmental history.  As well they should.  But why did it succeed?  It’s a critical question not just for environmentalists, but for any scholar or member of social movements. In a previous post, I have suggested that the identity of the …

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What are California Legislators Thinking About Cap-and-Trade?

CA Senate Hearing at UCLA Focuses on Ways to Spend Auction Revenue

Today, UCLA’s Emmett Center and IOES hosted a hearing of the Senate Select Committee on Climate Change and AB 32 Implementation with Senators Pavley, Correa, de Leon, deSaulnier, Lieu, and Assemblymember Bloom attending.  The hearing featured testimony on climate science, on AB 32 implementation, and on opportunities to invest revenue from the state’s cap-and-trade auctions in ways that …

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California High Speed Rail Slowed by Court Decisions

Judge rules the train needs a new business plan and project-level environmental review

California Superior Court Judge Michael Kenny dealt two setbacks to high speed rail yesterday that are likely to delay the project significantly.  First, Judge Kenny ruled that the state committee that approved the disbursement of bond money for the project acted without sufficient evidence to justify the disbursal.  California law empowers the High-Speed Passenger Train …

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UC Berkeley / UCLA Law Report on California Renewable Energy Policies Beyond 2020

Joint law school report will be discussed at a lunchtime forum today at UCLA Law

California is among the world’s leaders in deploying renewable energy, with the state on pace to meet its target of achieving 33% of its energy from renewable sources like the sun and the wind by 2020. But the success may ironically be contributing to a stalled in-state market for more renewable power. Given the amount …

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State Releases New Fracking Regulations Amid SB 4 Criticism, Controversy

DOGGR also wades into CEQA while environmental community questions wisdom and effects of new State law

California’s Division of Oil, Gas & Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) has released its proposed regulations governing hydraulic fracturing pursuant to Senate Bill 4, controversial legislation signed into law this September. DOGGR’s November 15 public notice begins its formal rulemaking process and marks the start of a 60-day public comment period for the new rules. DOGGR also …

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