Bloomberg – December 13
The U.S. Supreme Court signaled interest in Bayer AG’s bid to stop thousands of lawsuits claiming that its top-selling Roundup weedkiller causes cancer, asking the Biden administration for advice on whether to hear the company’s appeal in what is potentially a multibillion-dollar case. Bayer is challenging a $25 million award to Edwin Hardeman, a California man who says decades of exposure to Roundup caused his non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Bayer argues that federal approval of Roundup’s label meant Hardeman’s suit — and others like it — couldn’t go forward. This litigation is a test case that could eventually lead to tens of thousands more claims. Bayer said a Supreme Court ruling in its favor would “effectively and largely end” U.S. Roundup litigation.
The San Diego Union-Tribune – December 15
Federal criminal charges are being levelled against three companies for their involvement in the October oil spillage off Orange County’s coast, authorities announced Wednesday. Amplify Energy Corp. is being indicted along with two of their subsidiaries, Beta Operating Co. (and San Pedro Bay Pipeline Co.) for illegally discharging oil through a Huntington Beach pipeline. Federal prosecutors claim that the companies failed over twelve hours to respond to eight alarms from an automatic leak detection system. According to Wednesday’s indictment, approximately 25,000 gallons of crude oil were discharged from a pipeline near Huntington Beach as a result of this allegedly negligent conduct.
Los Angeles Times – December 15
Officials from Nevada and Arizona have reached an agreement with Colorado River officials to significantly reduce their dependence on the river. This problem became more urgent this summer when the federal government declared a water shortage in Lake Mead, an 86-year-old reservoir near Las Vegas. After four months of negotiations, Wednesday’s agreement was signed. It will preserve 1 million acre feet of water in the lake for the next two-years.
SFGate – December 15
California regulators have approved what could be the first major new water storage facility in California for decades amid severe drought. This despite warnings from some that it would lead to the extinction a threatened salmon species and disrupt Native American cultural traditions. The plan is for a new lake to be built in Northern California. It will contain enough water to supply 3,000,000 households with water for one year. The project, which is expected to cost $4Billion to complete, is one of seven water storage projects that can be eligible for public money under a 2014 voter approved bond. Wednesday’s vote by the California Water Commission means the lake — named Sites Reservoir — is eligible for about $800 million in taxpayer money, or about 20% of the project’s estimated cost.
U.S. News & World Report – December 9
Last Thursday, state regulators approved a crackdown on heavy-duty trucks that weigh more than 14,000 lbs. These heavy duty trucks account for 3% of all California vehicles, but more than 50% of all fine particle diesel pollution and nitrogen oxides from mobile sources. These big trucks, as well as those from other states that pass through California, will have to be tested at minimum twice per year to ensure they meet the state’s standards of particulate matter, ozone pollution. Also on Thursday, the California Air Resources Board agreed to ban the sale of new products run by small gas-powered engines, including leaf blowers, lawn mowers, and portable generators — a rule recently mandated by the state’s Legislature.
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