Don’t bend California’s environmental rules for billionaire sports owners or the Olympics

Editorial by The Times Editorial Board : latimes – excerpt

California lawmakers are — again — considering a last-minute bill that would let deep-pocketed developers and favored projects cut corners on the state’s landmark environmental law.

Last week Sen. Steven Bradford (D-Gardena) introduced a bill that was pitched as a way to dramatically speed the construction of transit lines and parking lots needed for the Olympic Games in Los Angeles in 2028. Bradford’s big idea? Exempting the projects from all the studies and public input required by the California Environmental Quality Act. The primary beneficiaries of Senate Bill 789, however, would be the proposed Clippers arena and other projects in Inglewood’s sports and entertainment district… (more)

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Plastic fibres found in tap water around the world, study reveals

By : theguardian – excerpt (includes graph)

Tap-Water

Tap water photo by zrants

Exclusive: Tests show billions of people globally are drinking water contaminated by plastic particles, with 83% of samples found to be polluted

We are living on a plastic planet. What does it mean for our health?

Microplastic contamination has been found in tap water in countries around the world, leading to calls from scientists for urgent research on the implications for health.

Scores of tap water samples from more than a dozen nations were analysed by scientists for an investigation by Orb Media, who shared the findings with the Guardian. Overall, 83% of the samples were contaminated with plastic fibres.

The US had the highest contamination rate, at 94%, with plastic fibres found in tap water sampled at sites including Congress buildings, the US Environmental Protection Agency’s headquarters, and Trump Tower in New York. Lebanon and India had the next highest rates…

How microplastics end up in drinking water is for now a mystery, but the atmosphere is one obvious source, with fibres shed by the everyday wear and tear of clothes and carpets. Tumble dryers are another potential source, with almost 80% of US households having dryers that usually vent to the open air…

Current standard water treatment systems do not filter out all of the microplastics, Mahon said: “There is nowhere really where you can say these are being trapped 100%. In terms of fibres, the diameter is 10 microns across and it would be very unusual to find that level of filtration in our drinking water systems.”…(more)

 

Cadiz Stock Soars 31 Percent After Bill to Stop Water Project Fails

By Howard Fine : capoliticalreview – excerpt

Shares of downtown water company Cadiz Inc. soared 31 percent Tuesday on a double dose of good news: a bill aimed at stopping its desert water project failed to clear a Senate committee late Friday, and a federal agency signaled it may allow the proposal to move forward.

The bill, AB 1000, by Assemblywoman Laura Friedman, D-Glendale, specifically targeted the Cadiz water pumping and transfer project, requiring an additional state agency approval before the project could go forward. It was viewed as a last-ditch attempt by project opponents to block it.

But the bill failed to clear the Senate Appropriations Committee by Friday’s legislative deadline… (more)

In this case the CEQA case was brought by the state against a private party with access to water on private land who wants the right to manage the water resources under its property, and the court ruled against the state.

Environmental Report: Legalization not harmful

By Chris Conrad : theleafonline – excerpt

The Bureau of Cannabis Control announced the conclusion of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) Proposed Program study on September 6, 2017 regarding implementation of Proposition 64, and the news so far is good for the legalization movement.

As the lead agency under CEQA, the Bureau prepared an Initial Study/Proposed Negative Declaration (IS/ND) for its proposed regulatory program. Based on the findings of the IS/ND, the Bureau has determined that the Proposed Program would not have any significant effects on the environment, said Alex Traverso, who works with the BCC. Public hearings will follow…(more)

Map shows which SF neighborhoods are hit hardest by air pollution

 By Rachel Swan : sfchronicle – exceprt (includes map)

Cranes

This zrants photo was taken over a week ago. There were twice as many cranes yesterday.

Black dust cakes the poplar trees in South Park, the San Francisco waterfront neighborhood at the western end of the Bay Bridge…

Congestion — defined as traffic flowing below 35 miles per hour on the city’s freeways — increased from 3.8 percent of the time in 2010 to 5.7 percent in 2015…
A few years ago, Rogers discovered that her gentrifying neighborhood is among the most polluted in the city. SoMa is the locus of San Francisco’s building boom, so people are pouring in and cars are jamming the streets, many of which funnel traffic to and from the Bay Bridge… (more)

The number one factor in the increase in bad air in San Francisco is construction. There are cars all over the city and the freeways are no more jammed than before, although the speeds are slower. If the following is correct, and  “Congestion — defined as traffic flowing below 35 miles per hour on the city’s freeways — increased from 3.8 percent of the time in 2010 to 5.7 percent in 2015.”, the solution would be to speed the freeway traffic up the traffic, not slow it down the way SFMTA is doing by slowing the freeway access road traffic. See the many complaints about Potrero, Van Ness, and Lombard.

This article fails to place much of the blame on the construction zones, even though the largest number of cranes in the sky are in SOMA, and Mission Bay around the Warriors stadium and the medical center, where pollution is highest.

If SB 35 passes and the construction moves west, the bad air will follow. The solid massing of buildings along narrow streets stops the breeze and traps more bad air the same way a mountain does.

Perhaps a new approach to keeping traffic out might be to move the jobs out to where the people live now rather than figuring out how to move the people to the jobs each day. Palo Alto wants to try building less office space. Sounds like a familiar approach SF tried a few years ago. Hope their legislators do a better job of writing the law than ours did wuth Prop M. hint: Use the word “must” not “shall”.

California lawmakers pitch a break from a key environmental law to help L.A. Olympic bid, Clippers arena

By Liam Dillon : latimes – excerpt

California lawmakers introduced legislation Friday to bypass a key state environmental law that would dramatically ease the construction of rail, bus and other transit projects connected to Los Angeles’ bid to host the Olympic Games in 2028.

Under the bill, any public transportation effort related to the city’s Olympics bid would be exempt from the California Environmental Quality Act, the state’s primary environmental law governing development. The law, known as CEQA, requires developers to disclose and minimize a project’s impact on the environment, often a time-consuming and costly process that involves litigation…

The measure, Senate Bill 789, also provides major CEQA relief to help the construction of an NBA arena for the Los Angeles Clippers in nearby Inglewood.

If it passes, the bill would speed transit officials’ attempts to build rail and bus lines in advance of the 2028 Olympic Games while also providing a boost to the arena’s chances at getting completed. Doing so, however, would cut through longstanding regulations that environmentalists and community activists in California have held as sacrosanct to preserving the state’s natural beauty and involving residents in the development process… (more)

Palo Alto set to extend cap on office space and look to make it permanent

: bizjournals – excerpt

Hot startups and established tech companies have long flocked to Palo Alto, but the city said two years ago that it had enough office growth.. (more)

Knowing when to stop is as important. Some of our most stressed metropolitan areas are ready to put the breaks  development. Palo Alto is attempting to preserve housing and make resident happy by limiting job growth. Some San Jose citizens are demanding a housing jobs balance tech expands there. If it works for them. Maybe other cities will try it.

Fourth Appellate District Upholds City of San Diego’s Rejection of Subdivision Project and Related MND

By Donald Sobelman : jdsupra – excerpt

CEQA decisions usually arise in the context of a challenge to a lead agency’s approval of a project and a related CEQA document.  However, in a recent decision, Kutzke v. City of San Diego (2017) 11 Cal.App.5th 1034 (certified for publication on May 23, 2017), the Fourth Appellate District resolved a court action arising from a lead agency’s rejection of a project and its MND, and did so in favor of the lead agency… (more)

Key senator vows to block climate deal that would aid polluters

By Julie Cart : CalMatters – excerpt

An irritated chairman of a state Senate Budget subcommittee says he intends to thwart a recent move by the state Air Resources Board that could give California’s biggest polluters a cushion of more than $300 million.

In a sharp rebuke of the board, Sen. Bob Wieckowski said Thursday that he’ll insert language into next year’s budget bill instructing regulators to reduce the free compensation they’re giving oil refineries and other industries covered under cap and trade, California’s signature climate policy.

Addressing a hearing, the Fremont Democrat read aloud from last week’s CALmatters story detailing the air board’s July meeting, where it unanimously voted to consider abandoning a scheduled reduction in free pollution allowances given to state industries—against the advice of its own staff and outside experts.

The board’s move came on the heels of a much-celebrated deal the Legislature and Gov. Jerry Brown struck to pass legislation extending the state’s cap-and-trade program to the year 2030. The bill’s author acknowledged that the fight to get a two-thirds vote required a number of deals—and that the air board’s later move was one of them.

“It was part of the deal to make sure we could get a (two-thirds) vote to extend the cap-and-trade program,” Democratic Assemblyman Eduardo Garcia of Coachella told CALmatters... (more)

When do the California citizens get to vote come in on these tax deals that will raise the costs of transporting necessary products such as food. Now they want to tax our water? What next? A tax on all citizens who live in the state? A tax to come in and out of the state for releasing carbon dioxide into the air when we breathe?

The attempt to recall Democratic Sen. Josh Newman of Fullerton, backed by a consortium of voters critical of Newman’s vote this year to raise the gasoline tax,  raised the necessary signatures, but, is being threatened by a new bill being formulated to stop it. These are the same people who are removing local rights to determine how our cities and towns are developed by imposing state levels.

RELATED:
Last-minute water tax can’t be justified however worthy the cause
Opinion: Tax water to provide clean water to Californians whose supply is contaminated

Los Angeles arena bill targets CA environmental law

By : constructiondive – excerpt

The Battle of the Bills is raging in Sacramento with little notice or public discourse outside of legal circles.

Dive Brief:  

  • A proposed change to California state law could shorten the timeline for environmental approvals for construction of the Los Angeles Clippers’ new basketball arena complex in Inglewood, CA, according to the Los Angeles Times.
  • The draft bill would require that legal challenges to the proposed venue under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) be resolved in nine months and would also restrict the power of the courts to stop construction based on CEQA violations. The measure would grant the same benefits to a nearby transit hub that is expected to serve Clippers fans and those headed to see Los Angeles Rams and Chargers games at their forthcoming $2.6 billion Inglewood stadium.
  • The team said it will comply with CEQA standards if the arena project comes to fruition, but critics of the potential new law said the Clippers would use it to get around environmental regulations…

Dive Insight:

Another proposed California state law would close the so-called loophole that allowed the Rams’ development team to skirt CEQA during the stadium’s permitting process, according to the Times. Assembly Bill 890, which passed in the California Assembly in June and is making its way through the state Senate, would prevent local governments from allowing projects to skip the environmental review process if developers can collect enough signatures to put them on the ballot…(more)

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