Close-up side shot of hands shows microplastic waste contaminated with the seaside sand. Microplastics are contaminated in the sea. Concept of water pollution and global warming.

California Looks to Expand Regulation of Microplastics and PPD Derivatives

California has begun the public process for a potential regulatory proposal expanding the list of chemicals that may be regulated under its Safer Consumer Products Program (SCP). The California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC), part of the California Environmental Protection Agency, has proposed adding microplastics and para-Phenylenediamine (PPD) derivatives to its Candidate Chemicals List (CCL) in an attempt to control their impact on human health and the environment.

PPD derivatives are a family of chemicals used in a variety of industrial applications. The only PPD derivative …

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Justice Scales and books and wooden gavel

New Ninth Circuit Ruling: City of Berkeley’s Gas Ban Preempted by U.S. Energy Policy & Conservation Act

On Monday, April 18, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a ruling in California Restaurant Association v. City of Berkeley, overturning a lower federal district court’s ruling to revoke the City of Berkeley, California’s ban of natural gas infrastructure in newly constructed buildings.

Berkeley’s prohibition against natural gas was seen as the first city-level law aimed at forcing developers and building owners to switch to building all-electric new buildings. Berkeley’s Ordinance No. 7,672-N.S. was passed unanimously by Berkeley’s City Council in December 2019 …

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truck traffic

EPA Gives California Green Light to Hit the Brakes on Heavy Truck Emissions

California has been pushing hard recently to lose its status as the second-largest contributor of the nation’s greenhouse gases (still comfortably behind Texas.)

In 2020, the California Air Resources Board (“CARB”) enacted the Advanced Clean Trucks (“ACT”) rule, the world’s first zero-emissions commercial truck requirement. Specifically, ACT required large-capacity vehicle (truck) manufacturers to phase out gasoline and diesel trucks, which account for the largest single source of pollution in the world’s fifth-largest economy, by replacing them with ever-larger volumes of vehicles with zero emissions. By …

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Office of the Attorney General

PFAS ALERT: What Happens in California Won’t Likely Stay in California

In what has been earmarked as the largest government enforcement PFAS action to date, California’s attorney general last month filed an historic lawsuit against more than a dozen per-and polyfluoroalkyl substance (PFAS) manufacturers – as well as “John Doe” PFAS manufacturers – seeking equitable and financial relief for purported statewide pollution to the environment and harm its residents.

While there are thousands of PFAS compounds subject to scrutiny, the California AG’s lawsuit seeks damages related to only seven of the more commonly known compounds:  PFOA, …

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Key Corporate Climate Accountability Bill Fails to Pass in California

Despite California’s most recent, two-year legislative session ending on September 1 with a flurry of new bills aimed at fighting global warming getting passed, one noticeable bill failed to pass on the last day. Senator Scott Wiener’s S.B. 260, i.e., California’s Climate Corporate Accountability Act, died on the legislative floor by one vote. Co-authored by Senator Henry Stern, S.B. 260 would have been the nation’s first-ever mandatory requirement for large corporations to disclose their greenhouse emissions.

Had it been enacted, California’s legislation would have set …

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California Implements Legislation to Reduce Plastic Pollution and Extend Producer Responsibility Laws

California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law on June 30 a bill that aims to drastically cut single-use waste in the Golden State by shifting responsibility from consumers to the industry that produces it.  

The legislation, SB 54 — known also as ‘The Plastic Pollution Prevention and Packaging Producer Responsibility Act’ — will apply to almost every type of plastic packing you might see at a California grocery store or big box outlet.  

Acting as an extended producer responsibility law, SB 54 requires all single-use …

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New Report Offers Solutions for Low-Income Californians to Switch to EVs

The Center for Law, Energy, and the Environment (CLEE) at Berkeley Law last month­, in conjunction with the Emmett Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at UCLA Law, ­issued Driving Equity, a new reportaimed at presenting important policy solutions to make California’s switch to electric vehicles more realistic for lower income citizens. Topping their list of priorities was offering more rebates and incentives for lower-income car owners, enhancing funding and groundwork for charging stations, and offering financial assistance to greater outreach for community-based …

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State tort damages loom for companies plausibly connected to climate change

In April, various California communities moved one step closer to holding energy companies liable for damage to public infrastructure allegedly caused by climate change.  The communities claimed this damage occurred due to the companies’ use of and advocacy for fossil fuels despite the companies’ understanding of those fuels’ negative environmental impacts.

Local governments argue that compensation of climate-related infrastructure damage, for which they bear the cost, is a parochial concern belonging in state court. In County of San Mateo v. Chevron, the Ninth Circuit—like …

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California’s Clean Air Act Waiver Targeted in New Lawsuit

Ohio, along with sixteen other states, sued the Environmental Protection Agency on Friday last week, over its March 14, 2022 decision to reinstate a waiver allowing the nation’s most populous state California, under its Advanced Clean Cars Program, to enact tougher vehicle emission standards than those set by the federal government.[1][2]

In 1966, California enacted the nation’s first tailpipe emissions standards in light of its then-severe pollution problems. That was followed in 1970 by the creation of the Clean Air Act, which gave …

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Study Finds Increasing Chemical Exposure in Pregnant Women

A study led by researchers at the University of California San Francisco and Johns Hopkins, and published in Environmental Science & Technology has found widespread exposures to prevalent and understudied chemicals in a diverse sample of pregnant women in the United States. The researchers studied urine samples from 171 pregnant women from California, Georgia, Illinois, New Hampshire, New York, and Puerto Rico who were a part of the National Institutes of Health Environmental influences on Child Health Outcomes (ECHO) Program, and measured for 89 different …

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