Southland Air Regulators Approve Tougher Emission Rules
Los Angeles Business Journal
Local air quality regulators last Friday adopted a sweeping emission reduction plan that cracks down on industrial polluters, especially local oil refineries. In its 11-2 vote approving the air emission reduction plan, the 13-member South Coast Air Quality Management District board began the phase out of the agency’s 22-year old RECLAIM cap-and-trade program involving 272 industrial facilities throughout Los Angeles and Orange counties and the Inland Empire. RECLAIM has come under increasing pressure from environmentalists who believe it lets polluters off the hook. The Board rejected one proposal to regulate the flow of diesel trucks and other vehicles in and out of the region’s warehouses.
Rains Expose a New Water Problem in California: Storage
Wall Street Journal
Limited storage space in California’s now full reservoirs has meant billions of gallons of fresh water being dumped into the ocean. The recent weeks of rain have shown how limited the storage capacity of the Golden State’s water system is, opening discussions about building the first new reservoirs in the state since the 1970s. Water experts argue that while additional storage is helpful, the primary water problem in the state is conveyance – the ability to move the water to agricultural areas in the Central Valley and to the dense urban areas in Southern California. Without improved conveyance, like the Delta tunnels project, additional storage will do little to help the state resolve its water crisis.
The Environmental Protection Agency has issued a waiver to California for many years to allow the state to have a higher emissions standard than the rest of the country. The Trump Administration is considering not renewing the waiver, placing California’s strict automobile emission limits in limbo, although the administration has not made any move yet to revoke the waiver. No executive administration has tried to revoke an existing waiver under the Clean Air Act.
America’s Infrastructure Was Just Graded a D+ - Here’s What To Do About It
U.S. Chamber of Commerce
The American Society of Civil Engineers released its latest Infrastructure Report Card, a periodic assessment of the condition of the nation’s infrastructure, including roads, bridges, waterways, railways, public transit and more. The findings conclude that America’s infrastructure is in desperate need of repair.
The race to replace Xavier Becerra in Congress is the first test of the post-Trump Democratic Party, an early contest that may expose fractures in a Party looking to regain its edge after a devastating defeat in November. 23 candidates have filed to run to fill the Los Angeles House seat vacated by Mr. Becerra who was appointed California Attorney General last fall. Though the seat is all but sure to remain in Democratic hands, the choice among a large field of candidates, including an establishment favorite and two contenders with Bernie Sanders ties, is unfolding as an early measure of the party’s competing strains, while dismal turnout projections are testing the durability of the Democratic resistance.
Republicans Look to the Future in California
California is the deepest blue of the blue states, with 62 percent of voters casting ballots for Hillary Clinton – more than in any other state. Republicans have been a marginalized minority for decades in the state legislature and state offices. However, some believe that the economic populist message of President Donald Trump may resonate in parts of inland California where a shrinking middle class finds itself at odds with the ruling party over water, climate change, energy, immigration, infrastructure, and housing. “If we didn’t get a wake-up call from what happened in the rest of the country, then shame on us,” David Townsend, a Democratic strategist, told L.A. Times columnist George Skelton. Skelton acknowledged that Democrats have been “paying little attention to the middle class.” So there may be an opening for the Grand Old Party, but one that few are sure they can capitalize on.