California Environmental Law and Policy Update – 6.02.23 #1 | allen matkins


Bullet Reuters – June 2

Chemours Co., EI DuPont de Nemours, Inc. and Corteva, Inc. said Friday they had reached an agreement in principle to pay $1.19 billion to settle claims they contaminated US public water systems. with perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). Companies are facing thousands of lawsuits across the country over their alleged role in contaminating the environment with PFAS, which have been used for decades in the manufacture of a variety of products, including nonstick coatings such as Teflon. Once finalized, the settlement will be subject to approval by US District Judge Richard Gergel in South Carolina federal court, which oversees multi-district litigation related to PFAS.


Bullet Los Angeles Times – May 25

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) voted May 25 to ban the use of hexavalent chromium, known as “chrome-6,” which is used to restore classic car parts, protect components aircraft and produce a metallic finish for a variety of consumer products. Fumes from the plating process increase the risk of cancer in many disadvantaged communities across the state, according to California regulators. To reduce these health risks, CARB adopted a one-of-a-kind rule for the chrome industry to phase out the use of chromium-6 for decorative purposes no later than 2030 and for essential functions by 2039.

Bullet East Bay Times – May 27

The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Justice are assisting the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the investigation of a November 2022 chemical leak at a Martinez refinery. Meanwhile, the tens of thousands of residents who found a fine white substance coating their cars, porches and outdoor plants over the Thanksgiving holiday await additional information on chemicals they may have been exposed to as a result of the incident. . Shortly after the incident, the Martinez Refining Company said on social media that the ashy sand was a “non-toxic”, “non-hazardous” and “natural” catalyst dust ejected from its facility. But within days, the Contra Costa County Health Department alerted residents that the dust, a byproduct of gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel refined at the facility, actually contained aluminum, barium, chromium, and other dangerous metals.

Bullet Waste Dive – June 2

A new EPA memo clarifies that, when disposed of, most end-of-life lithium-ion batteries “are likely hazardous waste” and can be managed as such until they reach the appropriate recycling or disposal destination. The memo does not change any rules about how batteries are regulated. However, it clarifies that the existing universal recycling and disposal rules for most types of batteries under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) also apply to lithium-ion batteries. The EPA considers many lithium-ion batteries hazardous when disposed of, in part due to their “flammability and reactivity.”

Bullet US News & World Report – May 26

The US government can continue to use aircraft-launched chemical retardants to fight wildfires, even though the practice was found to contaminate streams in western states in violation of federal law, the judge ruled Friday US District Officer Dana Christensen. Judge Christensen concluded that stopping the use of the red mud material could have resulted in further environmental damage from the wildfires. The court agreed with US Forest Service officials who said dumping retardant in areas with waterways was sometimes necessary to protect life and property.

Bullet Court News Service – May 25

A new report from the California state auditor released last Thursday criticizes the Department of Water Resources (DWR) for failing to adequately plan for climate change and for a lack of transparency. State Auditor Grant Parks said DWR’s water supply forecasts are unreliable due to outdated models. For example, the DWR inflow overestimation for Folsom Lake in 2021 caused the local operating district to refrain from diverting about 925 acre-feet of water for storage, the amount used by 2,750 households in one year. DWR says it has a plan to improve its forecasts and that it tested a new model in certain watersheds in 2022, but Parks said the plan doesn’t include accountability mechanisms or specific criteria for determining whether the new model is accurate.

Bullet Waste Dive – May 31

By the end of this year, EPA is expected to issue a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for emissions standards related to municipal solid waste (MSW) incinerators under the terms of a preliminary consent decree filed in the US District Court. US for the District of Columbia in May. 23. Numerous environmental groups sued the EPA in 2022 for its alleged failure under the Clean Air Act to review the rules every five years. The order would require the EPA to finalize a new rule by November 30, 2024. Environmental groups hope the draft order will tighten federal emissions standards for nine pollutants released from 68 MSW incinerators, including sulfur dioxide, dioxins and nitrous oxides.