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Appeals Court Rules Californi-missions Standards Can Stay High

It all started in the early 40’s, when the smog was so bad in California that visibility was measured in city blocks, and people suffered from nausea, stinging eyes, and difficulty breathing. By the 50’s, the California government had shut down some refineries and smoke-stack power plants, but the smog persisted. Finally, chemists discovered that some of California’s most famous and hallowed assets were combining with California’s disproportionate share of gas-powered cars to create the problem; the ubiquitous ‘golden’ sunshine was reacting with the compounds …

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New California Bill Aims to Restore Local Governments’ Ability to Limit or Ban Certain Oil and Gas Extractions

As reported to our readers in August 2023, the California Supreme Court in Chevron U.S.A., Inc. v. County of Monterey, (2023) Cal. LEXIS 4349, struck down a Monterey County initiative that would have banned oil and gas drilling and imposed stiff restrictions on oil and gas developments in the county. The decision brought an end to nearly 7 years of litigation concerning Chevron’s San Ardo Oil Field with its over 530 million in estimated ultimate recovery of oil is California’s eight-largest oil field.

A new …

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California Air Resources Board Receives Legal Challenge to the State’s New Climate Disclosure Laws

Last week, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) was named as a defendant in a new U.S. District Court, Central District of California lawsuit challenging California’s two new climate disclosure and financial reporting laws introduced late in 2023 — Senate bills SB 253 and SB 261.

The case is Chamber of Com. Of the U.S. v. Calif. Air. Res. Bd., C.D. Cal., No. 2:24-cv-00801, complaint 1/30/20. The basis for plaintiffs’ lawsuit claims the two new laws unconstitutionally require disclosure by qualifying public and privately held …

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California not just dreamin’ about expanding Prop. 65 product-notice requirements

If a company makes, distributes, or sells consumer products—including food products—containing chemicals that might turn the leaves brown, proposed amendments to California’s Proposition 65 may saddle it with additional warning-notice requirements. Affected companies should respond not only by preparing to update their relevant product warnings, but also submitting comments on the state’s rulemaking while they still can.

Proposition 65 requires businesses with 10 or more employees to provide a “clear and reasonable” warning of possible exposure to the 900+ chemicals California has determined to cause …

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Pollution Factory Smoke in Air with Sky Bad for the Environment

California Enacts First of Its Kind Legislation Requiring Climate Emissions Information

Earlier this month, California Gov. Gavin Newsom enacted into law two bills, both of which will — for the first time in any U.S. state — require large companies doing business within the state to release a wide array of climate emissions information. Specifically, on October 7, Newsom signed into law Senate Bills (SB) 253 and SB 261, which affect both private and public businesses and their accountability towards what carbon footprint they are making in the state and their climate-related financial risks.

These new …

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California Supreme Court Holds Local Ordinance Banning Oil and Gas Drilling Preempted by State Law

Last week, the California Supreme Court, in a rare unanimous ruling, struck down a Monterey County voter-approved local initiative that would have banned oil and gas drilling and imposed severe restrictions on oil and gas development in the county. In the court’s view, the local ordinance is preempted by state law and was struck down. The decision came in the case of Chevron U.S.A., Inc. v. County of Monterey, S271869.

By way of background, back in 2016, Project Monterey Club, a local environmental …

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UCLA’s Environmental Law Clinic Weighs in on Berkeley Gas Case with New Amicus Brief

Following up on our April 21 post, the UCLA Environmental Law Clinic recently filed an amicus brief in the California Restaurant Association v. Berkeley litigation, joining multiple other governmental and non-governmental organizations asking the Ninth Circuit to take another look at its April 17 decision. The Ninth Circuit’s decision effectively overturned a lower federal district court’s ruling that revoked the City of Berkeley’s 2019 ban of natural gas infrastructure in newly constructed buildings. 

Authoring the brief were seven law professors from across the …

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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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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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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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