Articles Posted in Climate Change

Courtroom

Last week, the California Supreme Court ruled to allow the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to continue to work on the cap and trade regulations contained within AB32’s Scoping Plan.

We have brought you the blow-by-blow action in this case (here, here, here, and here), and as we blogged, CARB’s implementation of the Scoping Plan was temporarily halted earlier in the year when the San Francisco County Superior Court ordered CARB to set aside its approval of the plan as it relates to cap-and-trade and complete a more thorough review of alternatives to the plan’s proposed reduction measures. CARB appealed the Superior Court’s substantive decision as well as the injunction halting CARB’s work on the Scoping Plan during the appeal. The Appellate Court granted CARB’s petition for a writ of supersedeas, staying the Superior Court’s Writ of Mandate and allowing CARB to move forward with its cap-and-trade rulemaking while the appeal proceeds. This is the decision that the Suprem

e Court affirmed last Wednesday.

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Testifying before a House subcommittee on Thursday, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa Jackson said her agency would move forward with enforcing the 2008 National Ambient Air Quality Standards(NAAQS) for ground-level ozone, the main component of smog, which, thus far, has been held in abeyance as EPA worked to introduce a more stringent standard. Speaking to Congress for the first time since the White House requested withdrawal of the agency’s proposal to reduce the 8-hour “primary” ozone standard down to a range of 0.060 to 0.070 parts per million (ppm), Jackson indicated implementation of the 2008 standard of 0.075 ppm would be done “in a common sense way, minimizing the burden on state and local governments.” Continue reading

WhiteHouseLast week, the White House announced that it would ask the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to withdraw the proposed rule which would revise the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for ozone, the main component in smog. The proposed rule would have strengthened the 8-hour “primary” ozone standard to a level within the range of 0.060-0.070 parts per million (ppm) (down from the 0.075 ppm standard established in 2008). It also would have established a cumulative, seasonal “secondary” standard within the range of 7-15 ppm-hours. EPA stated that the new rule would ensure that these standards are grounded in science, bringing them in line with the recommendation of the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee, EPA’s panel of science advisors.

The ozone standards are up for reconsideration under the Clean Air Act in 2013 and President Obama stated that he “did not support asking state and local governments to begin implementing a new standard that will soon be reconsidered.” The President confirmed that his decision to halt the rule is tied to the weakened economy, citing “the importance of reducing regulatory burdens and regulatory uncertainty, particularly as our economy continues to recover.”
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PollutingStacksOn Wednesday the California Air Resources Control Board (CARB) unanimously adopted a supplemental environmental analysis of its 2008 Scoping Plan and reapproved the controversial plan itself. The Scoping Plan is a blueprint for how the State will reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2020 as called for in the State’s landmark global warming law, the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (AB 32). The plan includes a range of measures, including the market-based cap-and-trade program, touted by some and reviled by others.

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Polluting StacksOn Monday, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) released a Supplement to the environmental analysis (known as the Functional Equivalent Document) of the 2008 AB 32 Scoping Plan. The Supplement provides CARB’s revised analysis of the alternatives to the greenhouse gas reduction measures proposed in the Scoping Plan, including alternatives to the cap-and-trade program.

The Supplement comes in direct response to a San Francisco Superior Court judge’s ruling against CARB. As we have previously blogged (here, here, here, and here), in Association of Irritated Residents v. California Air Resources Board (a case brought by environmental groups against CARB), the court ruled that CARB violated the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) in its original environmental analysis of the alternatives to the greenhouse gas reduction measures proposed in the Scoping Plan. In its press-release and the Supplement itself, CARB is quick to point out that it “disagrees with the trial court finding and has appealed the decision.” However, CARB decided to revisit the alternatives “to remove any doubt in the matter.”

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CongressWe have previously blogged (here and here and here) about Association of Irritated Residents v. California Air Resources Board. You know… the San Francisco Superior Court case brought by environmental justice groups challenging the California Air Resources Board’s (CARB) environmental analysis of AB 32. We last reported that Judge Goldsmith had issued a final judgment narrowing and clarifying his ruling and that CARB filed an appeal.

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CourtroomWe have brought you blog posts (here and here) about the San Francisco Superior Court case brought by environmental justice groups challenging the California Air Resources Board’s (CARB) environmental analysis of AB 32. As we reported in March, Judge Goldsmith’s final ruling stated that CARB violated CEQA (the California Environmental Quality Act) by failing to adequately consider certain alternatives to the cap-and-trade system CARB was set to implement. However, last Friday, Goldsmith’s judgment was filed with the court and it clarified and narrowed his final ruling.
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USDocEarlier this month, the director of the Sierra Club of California, Bill Magavern, wrote an open letter to Governor Jerry Brown asking that his administration “re-evaluate” the cap-and-trade regulation adopted by the California Air Resources Board (ARB) in December of last year. The cap-and-trade program is one of the strategies being employed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2020, as mandated by AB 32 (known as the “Global Warming Solutions Act”). (But, you already know this since you read our blog ALL the time… right??)

In the letter the Sierra Club criticizes the cap-and-trade program for a number of reasons including the following:
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Top 50 Blog
Launched in the aftermath of the BP Gulf of Mexico oil spill, Greenberg Glusker’s GREENberg bLAWg was recognized, on the one-year anniversary of the disaster, as a “Top 50 Blog 2011” by the LexisNexis Environmental Law & Climate Change Community for its quality coverage connecting the environment and law. The frequently updated postings, found at EnvironmentalLawyerBlog.com, comment on evolving environmental regulations and provide legal insight into such diverse areas as climate change, clean tech, air quality, water quality, green building, environmental litigation, Brownfields, and the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

“Our goal was not to produce another scary law blog. We wanted to speak to a broad audience, including clients and people interested in environmental issues,” said blog Editor-in-Chief and Greenberg Glusker attorney Sedina L. Banks. We are pleased that the blog attracts so many readers, and we are honored by this recognition from LexisNexis.

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USDocAnd the winner is… the American people! We can all give ourselves a (small) pat on the back because the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has just published its 16th annual U.S. greenhouse gas inventory and it shows a decrease of overall emissions during 2009 of 6.1% from the previous year. That means that emissions in 2009 represent the lowest total U.S. annual greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions since 1995.

Now, before you start organizing the ticker-tape parade, you should understand that one of the primary reasons for the decrease was the economic downturn resulting in a decrease in energy consumption across all sectors. Meaning, upon economic recovery (c’mon already), the numbers may increase again. (Besides, the floats in those parades are total gas-guzzlers!)

The other primary reason cited by EPA for the decrease is lower carbon intensity of fuels used to generate electricity. (For more on developments relating to the regulation of GHGs at the state and national levels click here, here and here.)
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