Category: Air

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How Due Process Will Wither and Die under California’s New Air Contaminant Law: AB 1132 Authorizes Air Districts to Shut Down Facilities Without a Hearing

Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 1132 (“AB 1132”) into law on August 7, 2017.  The bill, authored by Democratic Assemblymember Cristina Garcia, adds Section 42451.5 to the Health and Safety Code which authorizes air districts to issue interim orders for abatement pending an abatement hearing for non-vehicular sources of air pollution.  The South Coast … Continue Reading

Senate Bill Proposes Major Market-Based Remodel of Cap-and-Trade Program

California’s cap-and-trade program withstood a battle in court, and now the Legislature is proposing changes to the controversial program.  Senator Bob Wieckowski (Democrat – District 10), Chair of the Environmental Quality Committee, has authored Senate Bill 775 (“SB 775”) which would extend the cap-and-trade program to 2030 with modifications.  The existing cap-and-trade program, established under … Continue Reading

CARB Wins Again on Cap-and-Trade, But Is It Really in Any Danger of Losing?

As the sands shift on federal climate change policy, California’s cap-and-trade program survives to fight another day.  Yesterday, a California Court of Appeal upheld the program because it does not impose a tax subject to the two-thirds supermajority vote requirement under Proposition 13.  The Court also affirmed the California Air Resources Board’s (CARB) authority to … Continue Reading

California to Thwart Trump’s Rollback of Federal Environmental Protections, Including Waters of US Deregulation

Newton’s Third Law apparently not only applies in physics, but in politics as well.  Last week, the California Senate leadership unveiled the “Preserve California” legislative package to oppose the rollback of federal environmental protections by President Trump and the GOP-controlled U.S. Congress.  The package included California State Senate Bill 49, aka the “California Environmental Defense … Continue Reading

Three Air Quality Regulatory Actions Ripe for Litigation in 2017

Which air quality regulatory actions are most likely to see noteworthy litigation activity in 2017? My colleagues Krista McIntyre and Rachel Cox are guest-blogging today with commentary on key areas we’re watching: the Clean Power Plan, Boiler MACT and Methane Rule. All eyes are on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals for a decision on the enforceability of the … Continue Reading

New Law Takes Aim at GHG Associated with California’s Water Sector

The recent wave of climate change legislation in California also included a new and not particularly well-known law aimed at curbing greenhouse gas (“GHG”) emissions associated with water use. SB 1425 will create a voluntary registry to track the water sector’s energy use and GHG emissions. According to Senator Pavley, the author of SB 1425, … Continue Reading

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA ENVIRONMENTAL UPDATE #2

This is the second update on environmental regulatory and legal developments in Los Angeles and adjacent counties, as well as the Southern San Joaquin Valley. We welcome your comments and feedback. South Coast Air Quality Management District: *Continued Report on New Management: Wayne Nastri, once an SCAQMD Governing Board Member, former USEPA Region IX Regional … Continue Reading

Southern California Environmental Update #1

This is the first update on environmental regulatory and legal developments in Los Angeles and adjacent counties, as well as the Southern San Joaquin l Valley.  Let us know what you think.  Your comments on this Update will be considered for inclusion in future updates. South Coast Air Quality Management District *New Management:  The Governing … Continue Reading

Clean Up Green Up—Supplemental Use Districts—more regulation for three LA City Neighborhoods

On June 4, 2016, the City of Los Angeles rolls out its much-discussed Clean Up Green Up (CUGU) pilot program for three communities: Boyle Heights, Wilmington and Pacoima. Ordinance 184246, approved by Mayor Garcetti on April 22, 2016, adds new rules to the City’s Planning and Zoning Code and Building Code. CUGU is controversial. Communities … Continue Reading

Updates to CEQA Guidelines for Transportation Impacts Analysis Under SB 743

On January 20, 2016, the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research (“OPR”) released a revised draft of thresholds for measuring transportation impacts under the California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”). These draft thresholds are designed to promote the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions (“GHG”) pursuant to its mandate under Senate Bill 743 (Steinberg, 2013). The initial draft was released for review in August 2014. OPR’s revised draft is fundamentally similar to its initial draft. In particular, under both drafts, the focus of a project’s transportation impacts analysis under revised Guidelines would shift from analyzing the project’s potential to increase traffic delays to the project’s effects on GHG emissions by focusing on vehicle miles traveled (“VMT”). The CEQA Guidelines have always focused a project’s potential transportation impacts analysis on the project’s potential to increase traffic delays by analyzing the project’s level of service (“LOS”). … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Limits Clean Air Act “Nonattainment Fees” in California’s San Joaquin Valley

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals capped a saga of over seven years on June 18 by extending its March 11, 2015 ruling in support of alternatives to imposing hefty fees on individual companies which have complied with the law, but happen to do business in California’s Central Valley or South Coast. Environmental groups challenged … Continue Reading

U.S. Supreme Court Curtails EPA’s Power to Regulate Greenhouse Gases under Clean Air Act

This morning, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a surprising decision in Utility Air Regulatory Group v. Environmental Protection Agency on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) authority to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act (CAA).  The Supreme Court has held that EPA cannot regulate stationary sources under the CAA Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) … Continue Reading

California’s Nine Energy Policy Goals with 2020 Target Date

By Ryan R. Waterman, Parissa Ebrahimzadeh What does California have planned for the year 2020? An ambitious collection of energy related goals. Stoel Rives attorneys Ryan Waterman and Parissa Ebrahimzadeh explore nine California energy policy goals in an article entitled “California’s “Magic” Number: Nine Goals for 2020 and Where We May Go From There,” published … Continue Reading

Governor Brown Outlines Budget Priorities for CalEPA and Natural Resources Agency

Governor Brown released a summary of his proposed 2014-2015 budget this week, including details on proposed environmental protection and natural resources spending.  The Governor’s budget provides $3.6 billion in funding for the California Environmental Protection Agency, including $3.1 billion in State funds and $54 million from the General Fund.  Proposed funding of CalEPA programs include:  $850 million … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Holds California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard is Constitutional on its Face

This week, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued its decision in Rocky Mountain Farmers Union v. Corey, ruling on the constitutionality of California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS).  The Court of Appeals reversed the District Court’s holdings in large part, in particular finding that the LCFS does not on its face violate the dormant … Continue Reading

New Lawsuit Challenges California’s Cap and Trade Auctions

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) is facing another legal challenge to its cap and trade program – Morning Star Packing Co. v. California Air Resources Board (Sacramento Superior Court case no. 34-2013-80001464, filed April 16, 2013).  A coalition of twelve companies, trade associations, and individuals filed the new lawsuit on Tuesday, challenging the legality … Continue Reading

South Coast Air Quality Management District Schedules Fifth Working Group Meeting on Proposed Rule 1304.1, Comment Period on Notice of Preparation of Environmental Assessment Open until May 8

The South Coast Air Quality Management District has scheduled its fifth working group meeting on the District’s proposed Rule 1304.1 for May 8, 2013.  The proposed Rule would impose substantial new fees for the replacement or repower of electrical generating facilities within the District, by charging developers who obtain air emissions offsets from the District’s … Continue Reading

South Coast Air Quality Management District Holds Third Rule 1304.1 Working Group Meeting

The South Coast Air Quality Management District held its third working group meeting yesterday for the District’s proposed Rule 1304.1.  The proposed Rule would impose substantial new fees on developers repowering electrical generating facilities within the District, which encompasses Orange County and parts of Los Angeles, Riverside, and San Bernardino Counties.  Under the proposed Rule, … Continue Reading

California Air Resources Board Issues Results of Quarterly Cap and Trade Allowance Auction

On February 19, 2013, the California Air Resources Board held its second auction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emission allowances for its Cap and Trade Program.  This was the first quarterly auction for 2013; the first auction was held November 14, 2012.  All ‘covered entities’ – GHG emitters regulated under Cap and Trade – were eligible … Continue Reading

Stoel Rives Publishes Primer on the Basics of California’s Cap and Trade Program

California’s Cap and Trade Program is now a reality. Businesses needs answers to questions arising from this complex program. Now that the State of California has held its first auction of carbon allowances under the Program and the initial compliance period of 2013-2014 is now underway, Stoel attorneys Michael Mills, Tom Henry and Allison Smith … Continue Reading

D.C. Circuit Rejects EPA’s Transport (Cross-State Air Pollution) Rule

Yesterday, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a decision in EME Homer City Generation, L.P. v. EPA that rejects the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s approach to regulating upwind pollution from coal- and natural gas-fired power plants, among other sources. The so-called Transport Rule, also known as the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, had sought to … Continue Reading

D.C. Circuit Upholds EPA Greenhouse Gas Rules

Yesterday, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a decision in Coalition for Responsible Regulation v. EPA, upholding the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s approach to the regulation of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions against claims from a variety of interests.  The opinion addressed challenges to three EPA rulemakings:  (1) the agency’s “Endangerment Finding,” where it determined … Continue Reading

California Oil Producers Agree to Share Fracking Information

Several members of the Western States Petroleum Association have agreed to share information about their fracking operations in response to the California Department of Conservation’s request for operators to report to a disclosure registry, FracFrocus (see May 8, 2012 post).  Many, including Occidental Petroleum Corp. and XTO Energy/ExxonMobil, have already posted to the website, which … Continue Reading

Injunction on California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard Lifted Pending Appeal

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has lifted an injunction that prevented the California Air Resources Board (CARB) from enforcement of the state’s low carbon fuel standard (LCFS), pending appeal of a lower court decision enjoining the LCFS.  In December 2011, a federal district court found the LCFS in violation of the dormant commerce clause, … Continue Reading
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