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California Environmental Law & Policy Update
April 13, 2018
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Metropolitan Water District agrees to major contribution toward Delta tunnels project funding

THE SACRAMENTO BEE - Apr 11 The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD) voted Tuesday to cover two-thirds of the cost of building the controversial $16.7 billion Delta tunnels project. MWD’s agreement to finance $10.8 billion of the project's total cost was a critical step for a project that had struggled to obtain funding, but there are still a few more hurdles before construction begins. The biggest barrier is a water-rights hearing that began in 2016 before the State Water Resources Control Board. Its members, all appointed by Governor Jerry Brown, must decide whether the tunnels project is allowed to divert water from the Sacramento River at a location near Courtland, which is where the tunnels would begin. The hearings are expected to conclude in June. CEQA lawsuits are another barrier, with at least 58 opponents of the tunnels, including Sacramento-area governments, fishing groups, and a Native American tribe, all having filed suit to block the project.


Environmental group releases reports of additional falsified soil sampling results at San Francisco Shipyard site

SAN FRANCISCO BUSINESS TIMES - Apr 9 According to reports of documents released by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), an environmental advocacy group, falsification of soil samples from the former Hunters Point Naval Shipyard, San Francisco's largest development, could be much worse than previously reported. In late January, the U.S. Navy, which is charged with environmental cleanup of the former shipyard, disclosed that almost half of the results of laboratory analysis of soil samples taken from a 408-acre portion of the property were falsified. However, this week, PEER released documents, said to have been obtained from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), indicating that up to 97 percent of the reported results are unreliable or false.

White House seeks to speed reviews of major infrastructure projects

REUTERS - Apr 9 The Trump administration announced on Monday a new effort to speed environmental reviews for major infrastructure projects, a White House official said. According to the “One Federal Decision” memorandum, “one lead federal agency will be responsible for navigating major infrastructure projects through the entire federal environmental review and permitting process.” The lead agency for a project will develop a single Environmental Impact Statement and sign a single record of decision, and will seek written agreement from other agencies at key points. The memorandum also calls for quick resolution of interagency disputes.

California Air Resources Board sues Trump administration over repeal of anti-pollution rule

LOS ANGELES TIMES - Apr 10 California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and the California Air Resources Board have sued the Trump administration in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to challenge the repeal of a policy that requires major sources of air pollutants, including oil refineries, to take permanent action to reduce their emissions, officials announced Tuesday. The lawsuit targets a policy change by the U.S. EPA that would no longer require major polluters to install and operate equipment to minimize the release of hazardous substances.

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