Archive for the ‘Federal Regulations’ Category

UCLA Extensions is hosting some great Public Policy seminars over the next few months. I’m defenitly going to try and make a one of two of them (note, they aren’t free, but they do have some scholarships for recent graduates). Click here for more information or to register. Here are the seminars: 

Successful CEQA Compliance: A Step-by-Step Approach – Feb 5 & 6:

Speakers:  Ron Bass, AICP, JD, Regulatory Compliance Specialist with ICF Jones & Stokes, a west coast consulting firm specializing in environmental planning and natural resources management.  Margaret Moore Sohagi, JD, President, The Sohagi Law Group, PLC, a Los Angeles-based law firm representing public agencies.

Planning Commissioners Traning – Feb 12:

Speakers: Kevin G. Ennis, Shareholder, Richards, Watson & Gershon, Los Angeles California. Rick Cole, City Manager of Ventura, Ventura California. Robert Garcia, Executive Director, The City Project. Acquanetta Warren, Deputy Public Works Director, Public Works Department, City of Upland

Water Law & Policy – Feb 20:

Speakers: Scott S. Slater, Shareholder, Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, Los Angeles, California, author California Water Law and Policy. Russell McGlothlin, Associate, Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, Los Angeles, California, co-author of the California Groundwater Management Handbook.

Mello-Roos and Special Financing: 2009 Update on Issues and Practices – Feb 27: 

Speakers: Check web site for speakers

CEQA and Climate Change – Mar 5: 

Speakers: Ron Bass, JD, AICP, Senior Regulatory Specialist, ICF Jones & Stokes, a west coast consulting firm specializing in environmental planning and natural resources management. Margaret Moore Sohagi, JD, President of The Sohagi Law Group, PLC, a Los Angeles-based law firm representing public agencies. 

The Subdivision Map Act: An Introduction and 2009 Update – Mar 6: 

Speakers: M. Thomas Jacobson, AICP, JD, Professor of Environmental Studies and Planning, Director of the Institute for Community Planning Assistance at Sonoma State University. Larry Wiener, JD, Partner, Richards, Watson & Gershon, Los Angeles, specializing in land use law, infrastructure financing, and CEQA.

Designing & Implementing Effective Zoning Ordinances – Mar 26: 

Speakers: Bruce Jacobson Principal, Jacobson & Wack, a consulting firm specializing in comprehensive zoning ordinance preparation.  Ron Pflugrath has over 35 years of varied urban planning experience, including positions with California cities and consulting firms.

Also interesting: A new lecture series being presented by UCLA Extensions and RAND Corp, called “More than a Soundbite: stimuLAte” – This event is on Mar 9, and is much less expensive than the other events (only $35). The topic of the first of the four programs in the series is “Challenges of the Gulf Region” focusing on Iran and Iraq.

Click here for more information or to register.


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Thank You Contributor: Mara Elana

This week, researchers at California State University-Fullerton released a study that assesses the potential economic benefits that could be achieved by meeting the federal standards for air pollution in the South Coast and San Joaquin Valley Air Basins. According to findings, the California economy loses about $28 billion annually ($1,250 per person per year) in the South Coast Air Basin due to premature deaths and illnesses linked to ozone and particulates matter. In December, the California Air Resources Rule will vote on an On-Road Diesel Rule which will direct the owners of approximately 300,000 diesel-powered trucks, buses and other vehicles to replace or retrofit their engines to meet the strict emission standards required of new trucks. The rule supports several ways to clean up dirty diesel: retrofitting with an affordable control device (particulate filters); repowering (replacing old engines with newer cleaner ones); and replacing old vehicles.

The Benefits of Meeting Federal Clean Air Standards in the South Coast and San Joaquin Valley Air Basins is available at: http://business.fullerton.edu/centers/iees/reports/Benefits_of_Meeting_Clean_Air_Standards_11-13-08.pdf

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The California League of Conservation voters will be holding a great panel discussion on November 6th focused on the “Impact of the November Election on Environmental Policy.” I went to this event last year, and while the topic was different, the formate was the same, and it was really a super informative event.

This years speakers include: * John Chiang – California State Controller * Shiela Kuehl  – California State Senator * Ted Lieu – California State Assemblymember * David Allgood – League of Conservation Voters * Andy Lipkis – Treepeople * Jonathan Parfrey – Green LA * MC’d by Frank Mottek of KNX Newsradio.

When: November 6th
Where: Milken Institute in Santa Monica

For more information, or to RSVP click here: LINK

See you there!

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White Roof Technology, We Knew it Was Good, But not THIS GOOD – LA Times
From the article: “Globally, roofs account for 25% of the surface of most cities, and pavement accounts for about 35%. If all were switched to reflective material in 100 major urban areas, it would offset 44 metric gigatons of greenhouse gases, which have been trapping heat in the atmosphere and altering the climate on a potentially dangerous scale. That is more than all the countries on Earth emit in a single year.” Is it just me, or is this author confusing “ACTUAL HEAT” for “Heat trapping gases”? It’s slightly confusing.

California Environmentalists Sue U.S. over Slashing of “Indicator Species” List – LA Times
The enviros contend the forest service is looking to boost logging activities.

Trucking Association Denied Injunction Over LA Ports Clean Truck Program – LA Times

Book Review: Thomas Friedman’s Call to Arms for an American-Led Green Revolution – NY Times

To Win the Presidential Race, It Takes Energy – USA Today
Short but sweet article discussing some of the energy policy differences between the presidential candidates.

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Hydrogen has really been gaining some ground these days. Most recently, the Department of Energy just earmarked around $15 million for research focused on extended the driving range of a hydrogen powered fuel cell vehicle. Something I didn’t realize,  was that hydrogen fuel cells are generally getting around 180 miles to the tank (doesn’t specify size of tank), which isn’t very good compared to 350 range achieved by gas powered cars (how incredible is oil!? If only we didn’t have to worry about running out…) This announcement (as the article also points out), comes on the heels of another major announcement coming from the fed: “DOE earmarks $130 Million in funding for research on fuel cell technologies

All of this news, including the recent release of the Honda Clairity, and the installation of a hydrogen pump in nearby west la, makes me think about a short conversation I had in 2005 with the then President of Ballard Power Systems (one of the largest fuel cell manufacturers in the US). I caught up with him after he briefed the Senate Energy and Narutal Resources Committee Energy Subcommittee on the state of fuel cells, and hydrogen as a vehicle fuel. In the presentation, he reviewed the state of fuel cell technologies at the time, and summarized his statements with the following comments: “we know what the technical challenges are, we have multiple technology paths that we are pursuing, and we are confident that we can meet or exceed the DOE targets by 2010.”  After the meeting, I spoke with him briefly, and i asked him “seriously, do you honestly think we will have HYDROGEN CARS BY 2010? Honestly? (my skepticism clearly got the best of me).” He confidently said, “I’m sure of it.” I didn’t believe him at the time, but i’m slowly coming around 😉 Let’s get those puppies on the road!

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Land Trusts have been all over the news lately, and trying to grasp just exactly what these trusts are all about, has been a somewhat rigorous process. The first major news item was a major deal signed up at the Tejon Ranch. In May, a coalition of environmental groups and the Tejon Ranch Co. (a public company, with the largest contiguous landholding in CA), reached an agreement which I believe goes something like this: In return for the Tejon Ranch Co. preserving around 240,000 acres of its property through a land trust, (or by allowing the public to purchase a share of this total), we environmental groups, do hereby promise not to sue you for developing the additional 30,000 acres with an estimated 26,000 homes.

Most recently, there was a bizarre transfer of 1,200 acres of land from (now bare with me, OC politics is very foreign to me), the County, to a DEVELOPER’S LAND TRUST!? Huh? The developer, Rancho Mission Viejo, says it plans on preserving the land as open space. Of course, there is a twist. Rancho Mission Viejo has been outspoken in its support for a toll road proposed by the Orange County toll road agency; The same toll-road, which was recently blocked by the Coastal Commission. Also, it turns out that most of the elected officials, including those who pushed this land transfer, are also toll road proponents. To be honest, I don’t fully know what this all means in terms of the progressing the toll-road issue, but it would seem to me to be some kind of power play to possibly maneuver bargaining chips for a possible follow up attempt to get this toll-road project moving. Very strange.

Forever-ever? As a side note, all this talk about land trusts got me thinking about their “perpetual” nature, and their seeming conflict with a the well established rule against perpetuities, a common law rule in property law which prevents the property owner from “distributing and controlling his assets for too long a period of time after his death.” Essentially, it stops me from buying a piece of property, putting an easement on it which says “this land must only be used as a golf course, forever, no matter what, even if in the future nobody plays golf, and even if there is no water left to keep-up the lawn.” Eventually, by whatever the local jurisdictions rule is against perpetuities, the easement will essentially die out. This has created some discussions amongst scholars, about how lands subject to conservation easements (land within a land trust), can ever be reclaimed for other uses should circumstances change, and the public no longer derives a benefit from the land being conserved (for example: a piece of land conserved specifically for a particular butterfly, that eventually goes extinct). For those interested in the legal aspects of this question, be sure to check out this Harvard Environmental Law Review article by Nancy McLaughlin, which attempts to develop a line of reasoning for future courts to use should they find the need modify or extinguish a stale conservation easement.

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In May, the World Bank reported that the carbon market more than doubled in value last year to $64-billion from $31-billion in 2006. Credits representing some three billion tons of CO{-2} emissions traded hands, mainly involving European Union Allowances (EUAs) or Certified Emission Reductions (CERs). The latter credits are generated by energy projects in some 68 developing countries, and are certified by the United Nations to involve emissions reductions that would not have happened without financing from the credits.

Here in the US, a cap and trade is developing at a slower pace. Nonetheless, the New York Mercantile Exchange’s (NYMEX) recently started its Green Exchange by offering products based on European markets. But it is also developing futures and options that will reflect a regulated, market-based system now being implemented for utilities in the U.S. Northeast by eight states. Of course, the biggest opportunity will come if, as expected, the U.S. federal government passes a national cap-and-trade system.

NYMEX is also planning on developing products based on the Western Climate Initiative – led by California with membership by B.C. and Manitoba. At this point, the Western Climate Initiative, a collaboration by the Governors of seven states and three Canadian provinces, is scheduled to release a proposed design of the carbon trading system by August 2008.

A carbon credit system is an efficient way to buy time before new technologies can be introduced. Supporters argue that a regional system offers more environmental and economic benefits than a California only initiative –- such as the California Air Resources Board’s recently released draft road map for implementing the state’s landmark 2006 global warming law.

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