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California Environmental Law & Policy Update
May 19, 2017

Environmental and Policy Focus

California cracks down on last beachfront sand mining operation in U.S.

San Jose Mercury News - May 16 On Tuesday, the California State Lands Commission issued a demand to the operators of the CEMEX Lapis coastal sand mining plant in Monterey County – the last such plant in the United States – either to obtain permits and pay royalties, or shut down. As part of the permitting process, environmental review of the plant’s operations would be required. The facility, located between Marina and Moss Landing, has been in operation since 1906, and produces an estimated 200,000 to 300,000 cubic yards of sand per year. The plant has been the subject of complaints that it is causing significant erosion of beaches along Monterey Bay.

California Chamber of Commerce appeals cap-and-trade decision

Los Angeles Times - May 15 The California Chamber of Commerce is taking its case against California's cap-and-trade program to the state's highest court. The Chamber is appealing the Third District Court of Appeal’s recent decision upholding the program and rejecting arguments that the program, which requires companies to buy allowances for their greenhouse gas emissions, functions as a tax that must be set aside because it was not approved by a two-thirds vote of the Legislature.

Padre Dam water purification project approved and receives state funding

San Diego Union-Tribune - May 12 Padre Dam Municipal Water District has obtained approval from the State Water Resources Control Board to continue its project for purification of recycled water. When the full-scale project is built, the purified water will either be pumped into Lake Jennings or injected into the Santee groundwater basin before it is withdrawn and treated again prior to distribution as drinking water. Padre Dam serves nearly 100,000 residents in Santee, El Cajon, Lakeside, Alpine and other unincorporated areas in East San Diego County. The project also received a $116 million grant drawn from funds made available by Proposition 1, passed in 2014, which authorized $7.5 billion in bonds for water projects, including $625 million for recycled water projects. 

Trout, salmon, and steelhead facing possible extinction

Sacramento Bee - May 16 According to a new report, released this Tuesday by the UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences and California Trout, nearly 75 percent of California’s 31 native salmon, trout, and steelhead species will be extinct by 2117 unless critical habitat is protected and restored. California’s record-breaking drought that officially ended this winter wreaked havoc on many of the already-struggling fish, which depend on cold water. To save the species, the report stated, regulators must protect rivers least altered by human activity, such as the Smith and Eel rivers on the North Coast. Researchers said other needed efforts include protecting rivers’ cold headwaters, creating better groundwater management, removing problem dams or building fish passageways around them, and using altered landscapes such as flooded rice fields to mimic natural floodplains. 

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