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California Environmental Law & Policy Update
June 8, 2018
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Nestlé to temporarily stop drawing water from San Bernardino National Forest

COURTHOUSE NEWS SERVICE - Jun 6 A coalition of environmental groups, including The Center for Biological Diversity, agreed to a settlement this Wednesday with the U.S. Forest Service that will require the federal agency to decide within 30 days whether to renew the permit that allows Nestlé to extract groundwater from public lands in Southern California’s San Bernardino National Forest to be bottled and sold for its "Arrowhead" line of bottled water. Nestlé has agreed to stop its operations while the agency decision is pending. The suit dates back to 2015, when the environmental groups first filed a suit alleging Nestlé was relying on an expired permit while diverting large amounts of water from the San Bernardino National Forest’s Strawberry Creek.


Hunters Point shipyard soil scandal widens as analysis spots suspect parcels

SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE - Jun 3 According to a newly released analysis by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and two state agencies, almost all of the radioactivity measurements collected by Navy contractor Tetra Tech used to confirm soil safety on four portions of the former Hunters Point Naval Shipyard in San Francisco deemed safe for the city to occupy are “suspect.” Over the past year, the Navy and EPA have found similar problems with soil data in other parcels at the shipyard, a federal Superfund site. This is the first time regulators have discovered evidence of probable fraud at shipyard land that was already turned over to the city. Although the four parcels in question are relatively small, they sit next to a 75-acre tract known as Parcel A, where Lennar Corporation already has built about 300 homes. City health department spokeswoman Rachael Kagan pointed to EPA statements “verifying the health and safety of the Shipyard” and said her department supports “a reevaluation of the Parcel A site” by the state.

California moves closer to banning federal offshore drilling

KQED - May 31 California's Senate and Assembly last week passed nearly identical bills, Assembly Bill 1775 and Senate Bill 834, effectively banning new offshore drilling by prohibiting the State Lands Commission from issuing new leases for oil-related infrastructure in the state's coastal waters. This includes piers, pipelines, and wharves needed for oil and gas development. The proposal also bars current leases from being renewed or modified to support new offshore drilling efforts. This legislation could stand in the way of the federal government’s proposals to expand coastal oil and gas extraction in California by offering new leases. The California legislature is expected to finalize and pass the bills by August.

Shell Oil settles with EPA over hazardous waste violations

SFGATE - Jun 4 Shell Oil has settled with the EPA for hazardous waste violations at the company’s crude oil refinery near Martinez, agreeing to pay a $142,664 civil penalty and make $220,300 in equipment improvements as part of the deal. The initial EPA complaint included Shell Oil’s alleged failure to manage and report hazardous waste materials and failure to determine whether waste at the refinery was hazardous. As a part of the settlement, Shell Oil will also upgrade the area where hazardous materials are managed, develop a plan for sampling storm water to improve water usage, and analyze refinery runoff.

Voters approve $200 million for Salton Sea preservation

NBC LOS ANGELES - Jun 6 California voters approved a ballot measure allowing the state to borrow $4 billion for parks and conservation projects that proponents say will help ensure access to clean drinking water. Proposition 68, one of five statewide measures on the ballot, passed Tuesday with 56 percent of the vote. The measure includes $200 million to help preserve the state's largest lake, the Salton Sea, which has been shrinking due to reductions in inflows.

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