Environmental Law

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  1. California extends most ambitious climate change law in US

    From front left, California Senate President pro tempore Kevin de Leon, D-Los Angeles, state Sen. Fran Pavley, D-Agoura Hills, Calif., California Gov. Jerry Brown, Assemblyman Eduardo Garcia, D-Coachella, and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, D-Paramount, are congratulated after the governor signed legislation in Los Angeles on Thursday, Sept. 8, 2016. The law sets a new goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel)   LOS ANGELES (AP) — A decade ago, California vowed to dramatically slash greenhouse gas emissions by 2020. With the nation's most populous state on pace to meet that target, Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday charted a new goal to further cut carbon pollution by extending and expanding the landmark climate change law. It will "keep California on the move to clean up the environment," Brown said in a Los Angeles park before signing a pair of bills that survived heavy opposition from the oil industry, business groups and Republicans. Experts said going forward will be more challenging because the new goal — to reduce emissions 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030 — is considerably more ambitious and many of the easy solutions have been employed. "The long and the short of it is that meeting the goal will require sustained regulatory effort across all sectors of the economy," said Ann Carlson, a professor of environmental law at the University of California, Los Angeles. California is on track to meet the 2020 climate goal that called for reducing emissions to 1990 levels by restricting the carbon content of gasoline and diesel fuel, encouraging sales of zero-emission vehicles and imposing a tax on pollution. The state plans to build on that foundation and ramp up other efforts including increasing renewable electricity use, boosting energy efficiency in existing buildings and putting 1.5 million zero-emissions vehicles on the road, according to the California Air Resources Board, which is in charge of climate policy. Supporters overcame strong opposition from oil companies and other industry interests to pass the legislation a year after business-friendly Democrats in the Assembly derailed an even more ambitious proposal to limit the use of oil in the state. The new law puts "very severe caps on the emission of greenhouse gases in California without requiring the regulatory agencies to give any consideration" to how it will affect the economy and residents, the California Chamber of Commerce said in a statement. Manufacturers in California already have higher energy costs compared to counterparts across the country and setting a new climate goal without providing cost-effective options "contributes to an already challenging business environment for manufacturers," Dorothy Rothrock, president of the California Manufacturers and Technology Association, said in a statement. Since California became a green leader by passing the climate change law a decade ago, the state has seen a flourishing clean-energy industry, said Carlson, the UCLA law professor. "One big accomplishment to date of California climate policy is demonstrating that we can cut greenhouse gases and still achieve impressive economic growth," she said in an email. Brown, a Democrat who has traveled the world promoting greenhouse-gas reduction efforts, issued an executive order last year setting the new 2030 goal. On Thursday, he also signed a companion bill that provides more legislative oversight of the appointed state air resources board and gives aid to poorer areas that lawmakers say have suffered the most harm from climate change. Despite pushing the climate goals through, the centerpiece of the state's effort to combat global warming remains in jeopardy. The law doesn't address the cap-and-trade program, which requires companies that spew greenhouse gases to buy pollution permits that are auctioned quarterly. The funds can be spent only on programs that reduce carbon pollution. After impressive sales early on, the last two permit sales have fizzled, prompting concerns that funding won't be available to continue programs in the long run. With the uncertainty over the cap-and-trade program, the expanded climate change law "is a point on a map, but the roadmap to that point has not been filled in yet," Dan McGraw, a Houston-based carbon analyst with the ICIS trade publication, said in an email.

    Online Articles

    Online Articles

    Fri, 9 Sep 2016

  2. Group suing Pacific General Electric over operation of its Pelton Round Butte hydropower project

    Environmental watchdog organization Deschutes River Alliance has filed a citizen suit against Portland General Electric, claiming the operation of the utility's hydroelectric plants on the Deschutes River are in violation of the Clean Water Act.

    Online Articles

    Online Articles

    Thu, 18 Aug 2016

  3. Coal News: Conservation groups sue over abandoned Alabama mine

    Conservation groups are suing the Birmingham-based Drummond Co. over an abandoned coal mine.

    Online Articles

    Online Articles

    Fri, 2 Sep 2016

  4. BP alters proposals for drilling offshore South Australia

    BP has submitted a second environment plan concerning drilling of two offshore exploration wells in the Great Australian Bight offshore South Australia.

    Online Articles

    Online Articles

    Mon, 22 Aug 2016

  1. EPH moves closer to German coal acquisition but barriers remain

    Online Articles

    Online Articles

    Wed, 24 Aug 2016

  2. Environmentalists, electric utilities eye Richmond coal ash trial

    Central to the case are questions about the scope of the Clean Water Act and whether it applies to tainted groundwater connected to rivers and other surface waters

    Online Articles

    Online Articles

    Tue, 12 Jul 2016

  3. Coal News: Environmentalists, utilities eye Richmond coal ash trial

    An upcoming federal court ruling in Virginia could have far-reaching effects on how energy companies dispose of coal ash waste left over from decades of burning coal. Spurred by high-profile coal ash spills and new federal regulations, utilities are grappling with the disposal of vast amounts of ...

    Online Articles

    Online Articles

    Tue, 12 Jul 2016

  4. Southern Environmental Law Center files notice to sue Progress Energy

    The Southern Environmental Law Center has filed a notice to sue Progress Energy, claiming its Asheville Steam Electric Plant, located in Asheville, N.C., is violating the Clean Water Act.

    Blogs

    Blogs

    Fri, 25 Jan 2013

  5. Energy Update: Energy bill prospects dim in dispute over drilling, drought

    Congressional efforts to approve the first major energy bill in nearly a decade are in jeopardy amid a partisan dispute over oil drilling, water for drought-stricken California and potential rollback of protections for the gray wolf and other wildlife.

    Online Articles

    Online Articles

    Mon, 6 Jun 2016

  6. Virginia Hearing Examiner Endorses Doswell's 340-MW Gas Peaker Project

    A Hearing Examiner at the Virginia State Corporation Commission issued a May 3 report recommending approval of a December 2015 application from Doswell Limited Partnership to construct a 340-MW facility in Hanover County, Virginia.

    Online Articles

    Online Articles

    Wed, 4 May 2016

  7. Oil and Gas News: Oil company to pay fines over 3 Atchafalaya oil spills

    Federal prosecutors say a Lafayette-based oil company has agreed to pay more than $700,000 in fines in connection with three crude oil spills in the Atchafalaya River basin.

    Online Articles

    Online Articles

    Mon, 25 Apr 2016

  8. Oil pipeline opponents say local bans will derail project

    Environmental groups are citing a provision in a 107-year-old transportation law in trying to derail an oil pipeline project from upstate New York to New Jersey.

    Online Articles

    Online Articles

    Tue, 5 Apr 2016

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