Salmon Population Report

New research shows that several of the region’s salmon populations are bumping into temperature limits.  This includes the: Chinook salmon in California’s Central Valley and in the Columbia and Willamette River basins; Coho salmon in parts of Northern California and Oregon; and sockeye salmon that reach the Snake River Basin in Idaho.  All of these […]

Auto Makers Compromise with California Air Resources Board

At the end of July, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) reached a compromise with Ford Motor Company, Volkswagen AG, Honda Motor Company LTD., and BMW of North America to voluntarily increase fuel efficiency standards from 35 miles per gallon to approximately 50 miles per gallon by 2026.  This represents an average increase of 3.7% […]

Small Fuel Retailers File Suit over E15 Gasoline Rule

The trade association Small Retailers Coalition filed a petition with the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals on August 6, 2019. The petition challenges the Trump administration’s decision to allow the sale of gasoline blends containing up to 15% ethanol all year, instead of seasonally. The petition highlights tensions between corn interests and oil interests, as […]

Third District Court of Appeal Upholds Department of Conservation Program EIR Studying Hydraulic Fracturing and other Well Stimulation Activities.

In the unpublished opinion Center for Biological Diversity v. California Department of Conservation, Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources et al. (2019 WL 2133616), the Third District Court of Appeal upheld a program EIR prepared by the Department of Conservation to consider the environmental effects of well stimulation treatments, such as hydraulic fracturing. The […]

EPA: Landfill Emissions Guidelines and Performance Standards

Under the Obama administration, the EPA finalized the Emissions Guidelines and New Source Performance Standards rules to address changes in the landfill industry since prior rulemaking in 1996.  The EPA was supposed to approve plans from states related to the implementation of the emissions guidelines and create a federal plan but the Trump administration has […]

California considers: When can a utility be held responsible for wildfire?

California’s Commission on Catastrophic Wildfire Cost and Recovery recently released a draft report recommending that California change its current liability standards relating to when utilities can be held responsible for wildfires. The report was called for by SB 901 which was enacted last year to address the escalating danger that wildfires present to California residents […]

EPA to Evaluate Cost of New Regulations

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler recently signed a memorandum directing staff to develop plans to reform the process of evaluating the costs and benefits of new regulations. Wheeler specifically instructed the agency’s offices governing water, land, and air quality to identify ways to make the process of evaluating the costs and benefits […]

Private Rights of Action to Cleanup Superfund Sites

Companies may be exposed to unexpected Superfund site cleanup costs beyond those agreed to in deals with the government. The Supreme Court granted review of a Montana Supreme Court’s decision that residents can sue BP America Ltd. for costs related to cleaning up their properties, even though the company already settled with the U.S. Environmental […]

EPA to Audit Itself

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) internal watchdog announced on June 13, 2019, that it will audit the EPA’s permitting process for a planned $1 billion Minnesota copper and nickel mine in order to determine whether the EPA complied with Clean Water Act (CWA) requirements and National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) regulations.  The EPA’s […]

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