Category Archives: Environmental

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EU Carbon Trading System Wins Parliament’s Support

Today the European Parliament approved a proposal to delay the issue of 900 million emissions allowances (each representing the right to emit one metric ton of carbon dioxide or greenhouse gas equivalent, or CO2e). The purpose of the measure is to ease supply pressure in the European Union Emissions Trading System (EU-ETS), which has been trading CO2e allowances … Continue Reading

Recent Federal and International Developments Good for California Cap and Trade

Plans announced by the White House today (June 25) show a credible pathway to meet targets pledged by the President pursuant to the Copenhagen Accord (reduction of greenhouse gas emissions 17% below 2005 levels by 2020). Relatedly, last month the Obama administration increased the assumed social cost of greenhouse gas emissions used for cost-benefit analysis … Continue Reading

Can California Cap and Trade if Brussels Stumbles?

By Jeffrey Rector  Last week, the European Parliament rejected a proposal to reduce the quantity of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions allowances in order to fix a supply-demand imbalance in the European Union Emissions Trading System (EU ETS). Some view this as the beginning of the end of the European Union’s ten-year carbon cap-and-trade experiment. A … Continue Reading

What Will It Cost for California to Save the World? California Conducts its First Greenhouse Gas Cap-and-Trade Auction

By Whitney Hodges, Randy Visser & Olivier Theard  The landmark Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (“AB 32”) tasked the California Air Resources Board (“ARB”) with reducing greenhouse gas (“GHG”) emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. In adopting a scoping plan assembling a number of differing, but complementary, GHG reduction strategies, the ARB included a “cap-and-trade” program as one … Continue Reading

Flame Retardant Commonly Used in Furniture Added to Proposition 65 Chemical List

By Meredith Jones-McKeown The chemical commonly known as “TDCPP” or “Tris” [Tris(1,2-dichloro-2-proply) phosphate)] is commonly used as a flame retardant in home furnishings (couches, chairs, pillows, and ottomans) as well as automotive products (seat padding, overhead liners, foams, and infant car seats). In October 2011, California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) listed TDCPP … Continue Reading

Revising Flammability Standards to Reduce Flame Retardants in Furniture

By Heather Zinkiewicz On June 18, 2012, Governor Brown directed the Bureau of Electronic and Appliance Repair, Home Furnishings and Thermal Insulation (“Bureau”) to recommend changes to California’s four-decade-old flammability standard for upholstered furniture. Specifically, Governor Brown is seeking to reduce toxic flame retardants in furniture while still providing fire safety. Toxic flame retardants are … Continue Reading

Comment Period to Close On Petition to FDA for Mandatory Labeling of All Foods Produced Using Genetic Engineering

By Robert Uram On March 27, 2012, the comment period will close on a petition filed by the Center for Food Safety that calls for the FDA to issue new regulations requiring labeling of all foods produced using genetic engineering (GE). Docket No. FDA-2011-P-0723 (Filed October 12, 2011). Unlike many other developed countries – such … Continue Reading

Recent Water and Pesticide Regulatory Guidance

By Heather Plocky The State Water Board has recently released two documents: a "Citizen’s Guide to Working with the California Water Boards” and "Annual Budget Pre-Approval Frequently Asked Questions.” The Department of Pesticide Regulation ("DPR”) has recently released "A Guide to Pesticide Regulation in California.” These documents clarify and explain certain water and pesticide regulations, … Continue Reading

Proposition 65 Private Party Settlement Guidance Provides Clarity and a Limitation on Releases in the Public Interest

By Heather Plocky In January, the Attorney General released a guidance document that details what the state will and will not approve in future private Proposition 65 lawsuit settlements[1]. This guidance provides clarity to both plaintiffs and businesses and is intended to limit the scope of any “public interest release” that plaintiffs can offer.… Continue Reading

Governor Brown Signs Two Bills Intended to Protect Children From Toxic Exposures

By Olivier Theard In an effort to protect children (and, to a lesser extent, adults) from toxic exposure, California has banned the use of the controversial chemical Bisphenol A (BPA) in baby bottles and sippy cups, and has eliminated certain loopholes in the existing ban on lead and cadmium in jewelry. These laws follow earlier … Continue Reading

Carbon Dioxide Emissions Not Subject to Federal Common Law Nuisance Claims

American Electric Power Co., Inc. v. Connecticut (June 20, 2011, No. 10-174) __ U.S. __ By Robyn Christo & Micah Bobo In the battle over climate change, the Supreme Court once again set an important precedent in American Electric Power Co., Inc. v. Connecticut (“American Electric Power”). In an 8-0 decision written by Justice Ginsburg … Continue Reading

U.S. Supreme Court to Review Two Cases With Potentially Significant Consequences for Wetlands and Waterways

By Keith Garner The U.S. Supreme Court recently decided to hear two environmental cases in its 2011-2012 term, which begins in October. The two cases will have consequences for waterbodies that may be subject to the public trust and for property owners and facilities operators who are given administrative compliance orders under federal environmental laws.… Continue Reading

Reliance on Statutory Requirements to Mitigate Environmental Impacts Proper Under CEQA

Oakland Heritage Alliance v. City of Oakland (May 19, 2011, A126558) __ Cal.App.4th __ By Maria Pracher & Robyn Christo In this case, the Court of Appeal for the First Appellate District rejected all of petitioner’s arguments regarding the adequacy of the seismic impact analysis and mitigation measures in a revised Environmental Impact Report (“EIR”) prepared … Continue Reading

Superior Court’s Injunction Preventing California’s Cap and Trade Program Has Been Stayed…Right?

By Randolph C. Visser and Whitney Hodges Until recently, Association of Irritated Residents v. California Air Resources Board proceeded along the litigation path as smoothly as any environmental challenge might. However, things took an unexpected twist last week that has left unanswered questions and many spectators baffled.… Continue Reading

Municipalities Are Responsible For Discharges Of Stormwater Regardless Of The Ultimate Source Of Pollution

Natural Resources Defense Council v. Los Angeles County, United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, Case No. 10-56017 (March 10, 2011) By Elizabeth Anderson The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held that environmental groups were entitled to summary judgment after presenting evidence that the Los Angeles County Flood Control District ("District") had illegally … Continue Reading

California Court Issues Tentative Ruling Enjoining AB 32 Implementation

By Whitney Hodges On January 21, a San Francisco Superior Court issued a proposed decision that could significantly delay the implementation of the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (“AB 32”). In Association of Irritated Residents, et al. v. California Air Resources Board, Case No. CPF-09-509562, the Court held that the California Air Resources Board (CARB) failed … Continue Reading

Under CERCLA, “Owner” Means Owner When Cleanup Costs Are Incurred, Not When Reimbursement Is Sought

California Dep’t of Toxic Substances Control v. Hearthside Residential Corp., No. 09-55389 (9th Cir. July 22, 2010) By Betsy McDaniel and Adam Bailey On July 22, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held that under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act ("CERCLA," commonly referred to as the "Superfund" law), the owner of a … Continue Reading

2nd Circuit Allows Public Nuisance Suit Against Greenhouse Gas Emitters

Connecticut v. American Electric Power Company Inc., ____F.3d ____, No. 05-5104 (2nd Cir. 2009) By James Rusk States and private plaintiffs may sue utility operators under the federal common law of nuisance to abate carbon dioxide ("CO2") emissions that contribute to global warming, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals held this month. Although the 139-page opinion appears … Continue Reading

U.S. Supreme Court Holds Superfund’s Traditional Joint and Several Liability and Arranger Liability Have Their Limits: Bar May Be Lowered For Demonstrating Apportionment Liability

By Randolph C. Visser, Jeffrey W. Forrest, & Michael Hansen On May 4, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its 8 to 1 decision in the much anticipated case of Burlington Northern & Santa Fe Railway Co., et al v. United States et al. (556 U.S.___ (2009)), which challenged the traditional notion of joint and several … Continue Reading

California Budget Plan Will Delay Off-Road Diesel Emissions Regulations

On February 19, 2009, California legislators ended a three-month-long stalemate and passed a budget designed to meet the $41 billion budget shortfall through 2010. A major provision in the bill package adopted as part of the proposed budget would delay the retrofitting of heavy diesel equipment, which would save the construction industry millions of dollars … Continue Reading

What You Need To Know About SF’s Green Building Ordinance

By Misti Schmidt and Aaron Foxworthy On August 4, 2008, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom signed a new Green Building Ordinance (“Ordinance”) into law, amending the existing Building Code by inserting Chapter 13C. The goal of the Ordinance is to reduce the city’s carbon emissions to 20% below 1990 levels by 2012. The Ordinance aims … Continue Reading

Loss of Power? AQMD rules Designed to Spur Development of Newer, Cleaner Electrical Power Plants Recently Vacated in LA Superior Court

By Olivier Theard Summary Two new rules promulgated by the South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD) that were designed to encourage development of newer, cleaner electric power plants by replacing older, more-polluting ones were recently vacated in a case pending in the Superior Court in Los Angeles.  The court decided that, in implementing the … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Says EPA Must Regulate Marine Discharges, Including Ballast Water

Northwest Environmental Advocates, et al. v. United States Environmental Protection Agency (July 23, 2008, 9th Cir. Case Nos. 03-5760, 06-17187, and 06-17188) __ F.3d ___ By Misty Calder Plaintiffs Northwest Environmental Advocates, San Francisco Baykeepers, and The Ocean Conservancy (“plaintiffs”) challenged a regulation originally promulgated by the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) in 1973 exempting certain … Continue Reading

EPA Releases Advance Notice Of Proposed Rulemaking Regarding Regulation Of Greenhouse Gas Emissions Under Clean Air Act

By Olivier Theard On July 11, 2008 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s April 2007 decision in Massachusetts v. EPA, 549 U.S. 497 (2007).  In Massachusetts, the Court ruled that greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and hydrofluorocarbons) satisfy the … Continue Reading
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