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California Environmental Law & Policy Update
October 5, 2018
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U.S. Supreme Court declines appeal in California beach access suit over Martins Beach

REUTERS - Oct 1 The U.S. Supreme Court handed a victory to proponents of open access to California’s coastline on Monday, declining the appeal of Sun Microsystems co-founder Vinod Khosla to keep a popular beach near Half Moon Bay locked behind a gate as his exclusive property. The Court’s denial leaves intact a state appellate decision requiring Khosla to apply for a California Coastal Commission permit to restrict public entry to Martins Beach in San Mateo County. Had the petition for review been granted, it would have thrown into question a long-established principle of coastal management in California. The state’s constitution and the California Coastal Act generally guarantee public access to all 1,100 miles of California’s shore from the mean high-tide line of a beach to the water’s edge. According to his lawyer, Khosla now intends to apply for the required permit to restrict access.


California defies Trump administration on climate change with new car emissions rules

THE MERCURY NEWS - Sep 28 The California Air Resources Board (CARB) last Friday approved a regulation that will require automakers to comply with the state's strict rules on greenhouse gas emissions in order to sell cars in the state, beginning in 2021. The vote solidifies the state’s opposition to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's plans to relax tailpipe emissions standards and force California to accept the new national regulations. As of 2009, the state and federal governments essentially compromised on regulations to gradually scale back carbon emissions, year by year, on new cars. Despite that compromise, California also retained the right to impose more stringent rules under the federal Clean Air Act, a right EPA seeks to revoke. Automakers, who say dealing with multiple standards would be a logistical nightmare, had urged CARB to postpone the decision while the state is still talking to the Trump administration about a compromise.

Governor Brown signs bill limiting time for environmental challenges to A’s and Clippers’ arena projects

LOS ANGELES DAILY NEWS - Sep 30 Governor Jerry Brown on Sunday signed Assembly Bill 987, which limits to nine months the timeframe within which lawsuits, including appeals, can be pursued to challenge the new Inglewood basketball arena for the Los Angeles Clippers. According to the governor, the bill "allows the Inglewood project to qualify for expedited judicial review if it meets certain standards, including providing traffic reduction benefits and achieving a net zero greenhouse gas emissions standard.” Without the legislation, challenges under the California Environmental Quality Act—which requires developers to disclose and reduce environmental effects of their projects—could delay the project for years. The governor also approved a similar measure, Assembly Bill 734, for the potential new ballpark for Major League Baseball’s Oakland Athletics.

Del Mar omits managed-retreat approach from sea-level rise plan

THE SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE - Oct 3 Del Mar city officials agreed this week to submit a sea-level-rise plan to the California Coastal Commission that omits a state-mandated managed-retreat approach. Such approach could require removal of coastal protection devices such as seawalls and rock revetments, along with homes, roads, and other threatened structures, away from the advancing sea. Without an approved sea-level-rise plan, Del Mar could become ineligible for millions of dollars in federal grants for sand replenishment efforts and disaster relief or prevention efforts. The Coastal Commission could also deny permits requested by the city or private residents to build or replace seawalls and other development projects.

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