Regulatory policy

California Environmental Laws and Policies Update – July 2022 #4 | Allen Matkins

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Ball Associated Press – July 20

The US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) on Wednesday rescinded a Trump administration policy weakening the agency’s authority to identify lands and waters where declining animals and plants could benefit from government protection. A previous policy measure prevented the USFWS from designating areas as critical habitat if there would be a greater economic benefit to developing them. In a 48-page document explaining the rule’s withdrawal, the agency said the overturned rule gave outside parties an “outsized role” in determining areas needed to preserve endangered species while undermining authority. of the USFWS.


Ball Marin Independent Journal – July 21

Marin County’s 15-year battle over whether to limit development along San Geronimo Creek to protect endangered fish may be over. The County Board of Supervisors gave final approval on Tuesday to a series of regulations, including the creation of a Stream Conservation Zone, which will prohibit new construction within 35 feet of the creek and its tributaries. , including ephemeral streams. The decision was welcomed by the Salmon Protection and Watershed Network (SPAWN), which sued the county over the issue in 2007 and filed several related lawsuits afterward. The Marin County Community Development Agency worked with SPAWN to create the regulations, and SPAWN has pledged to drop its lawsuits once they are in place.

Ball CBS News – July 15

The National Water Resources Control Board has proposed a $17million fine against the owners and operators of a warehouse where a massive industrial fire caused the smell of hydrogen sulfide to emanate from the estuary of the Dominguez Canal last year. The penalty, if approved, could be the heaviest the Commission has ever imposed. The South Coast Air Quality Management District determined that the odors, which were causing debilitating health issues for some South Bay residents, were caused by pollutants, including alcohols, released from the warehouse. The owners and operators of the warehouse were found liable for violating the Clean Water Act and the Porter-Cologne Water Quality Control Act in connection with the spill related to the burning of more than 6 million gallons of polluted water, including hazardous substances, in the estuary of the Dominguez Canal.

Ball Sonoma Index-Tribune – July 20

The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors will consider new standards for well permits at its Aug. 9 meeting in response to a 2018 California Court of Appeals ruling requiring the protection of rivers and other “resources.” of public trust”. The decision requires licensing agencies to mitigate the impact of wells on public trust resources in waterways, such as the Russian River, including impacts on habitat and wildlife. The proposed amendment to the county’s wells ordinance would create new guidelines for the county’s assessment of the environmental impacts of drilling new wells or replacing old ones. The ordinance may affect approximately one-third of well permit applications submitted to the county, and new wells may be subject to additional fees and new equipment requirements depending on the proposal.

Ball The Mercury News – July 19

The Regional Water Quality Board for the San Francisco Bay Area announced a settlement with the East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD), which operates a wastewater treatment plant at Point Isabel in Richmond. , in California. The settlement, which includes an $816,000 civil penalty, is the result of EBMUD’s release of 16.5 million gallons of partially treated sewage into San Francisco Bay during the “Atmospheric River” storm in last October. During this storm, workers at one of EBMUD’s three overflow plants ran out of a key chemical, sodium bisulfite, which is used to remove chlorine from sewage before it is dumped in the bay. High levels of chlorine can be toxic to fish and other aquatic organisms.

Ball CBS8 – July 15

The San Diego Unified School District wants the cities of La Mesa and National City to help pay to monitor an old landfill located under Bell Middle School. The Mesa, National City, and San Diego County reportedly disposed of trash at the landfill from 1962 to 1967. Vents are located throughout the school’s athletic field to release methane gas from the decaying trash buried in below, with a flare in place to burn gas. In 2004, San Diego Unified sued to recover the costs of cleaning up and monitoring the landfill. After years of litigation, San Diego County agreed to pay $950,000 to dismiss the lawsuit and release it from any past or future claims.

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