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California Environmental Law & Policy Update
August 3, 2018
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Trump administration to freeze fuel-efficiency requirements in move likely to spur legal battle with states

THE WASHINGTON POST - Aug 2 The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced plans Thursday to freeze fuel-efficiency requirements for the nation’s cars and trucks through 2026 — a massive regulatory rollback likely to spur a legal battle with California and other states, and create potential upheaval in the nation’s automotive market. The proposal represents an abrupt reversal of the findings that the government reached under President Barack Obama, that fuel-efficient vehicles would improve public health, combat climate change and save consumers money without compromising safety. EPA's new plan also would revoke California’s long-standing legal waiver, granted by EPA under the Clean Air Act, to set its own tailpipe restrictions. California Gov. Jerry Brown and Attorney General Xavier Becerra, joined by 19 other state attorneys general, vowed to fight the proposed plan. The Trump administration will accept public comment on its latest proposal for 60 days and hold public hearings in Washington, Detroit, and Los Angeles regarding the plan.


House Minority Leader Pelosi calls for federal investigation into San Francisco Shipyard cleanup

SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE - Jul 31 House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi issued letters last Friday to the inspectors general for the U.S. EPA and the Navy calling for an investigation into the cleanup of the former Hunters Point Naval Shipyard in San Francisco, a billion-dollar redevelopment project recently marred by criminal convictions and allegations of fraud. Until now, scrutiny of the project, a federal Superfund cleanup, has focused on alleged fraudulent conduct by Tetra Tech, the Navy’s main cleanup contractor at the shipyard. But Pelosi is seeking a broader probe into potential failures by the Navy, which owns the shipyard, and the U.S. EPA, which regulates the site, to examine whether they had provided the appropriate level of oversight with respect to lead-contaminated water and radioactive waste.

A week after visit to New Melones, Department of Interior critiques state water plan

THE MODESTO BEE - Jul 28 In an 8-page letter delivered last Friday to State Water Resources Control Board Chair Felicia Marcus, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke criticized California’s proposed water allocation plan, saying it would “cripple the Central Valley’s economy, farms and community.  Earlier in July, the Board had issued a final proposal that would require 40 percent of unimpeded flows from February to June on the Tuolumne, Stanislaus, and Merced Rivers, which are tributaries into the San Joaquin River that feeds the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.  The requirement, which the Board adopted to save the Delta’s failing ecosystem, angered farmers, politicians, and others throughout the Valley.

Cooks Collision reaches $1.5M settlement for hazardous materials handling

THE SACRAMENTO BEE - Jul 31 A statewide auto body shop has agreed to pay $1.525 million in civil penalties and other fees following an investigation started in Sacramento over improper disposal of hazardous materials. The settlement between Cooks Collision and 15 California counties was announced on Monday. The judgment wraps up a case that began in 2013 when undercover investigations found that the auto body repair shop was illegally disposing of hazardous industrial waste in trash containers in Sacramento County, according to the Sacramento District Attorney’s office. Among other things, the settlement requires Cooks Collision to contribute $150,000 to fund a Chico State University research project on recycling vehicle repair byproducts and using plant-based alternatives to petroleum-based strippers and solvents.

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