And Now, the next round…

OK, so this post is going to be a little specialized.  It addresses the next round of efforts to make real the notion that Clean Air Matters.

This post picks up mid-stream in a fight that’s been going on since 2006 between a coalition of environmental justice and environmental groups on one hand and the South Coast Air Quality Management District on the other.  For those who have been following this battle over the years, I trust the information below will be of interest.  My point here is not to provide analysis or commentary, but simply to ensure that the facts are  available to those who wish to know.

So, onward……

On December 10, 2009, a coalition of environmental justice and environmental organizations petitioned the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency

to produce a written statement reiterating established law — that rules or laws enacted by the State of California, or any subdivision thereof, are not valid for purposes of meeting requirements of the Federal Clean Air Act (“the Act” or “CAA”) unless and until such rules or laws have received federal approval in a process compliant with the Act, its implementing regulations, the Administrative Procedures Act, and case law.

The South Coast Air Quality Management District wrote to the EPA on December 15, 2009 in response to our Petition requesting:

that EPA allow the District a reasonable opportunity to participate in proceedings involving the petition. We have full responses to each of the arguments raised in the petition. As a first step, I request that EPA develop an appropriate timeline for responding to the Petition that takes due recognition of the complexity of the issues and also of their importance.

Our coalition wrote to the U.S. EPA on December 22, 2009,

We understand that the District has asked for some type of briefing process related to this Petition. We think the Petition presents straightforward procedural issues that the EPA can easily evaluate, but if EPA decides a process is necessary, we are more than willing to participate. We ask only that the EPA maintain the status quo pending the completion of any process it chooses to undertake. Allowing the District to proceed with its announced plan during the process they have requested would effectively deprive us of our requested relief.

While we believe the District’s staff met with the U.E. EPA staff on December 21, 2009, we have not heard anything at all from the EPA since we filed our Petition.  We hold out hope that we will, but absent that…

We started on a separate path.  On December 30, 2009, a coalition of environmental justice organizations filed suit in the Los Angeles County Superior Court challenging the Constitutionality of two new sets of amendment to the California Health and Safety Code.  Those amendments were made through AB 1318 (M. Perez, 2009) and SB 827 (Wright, 2009).  The purpose of those bills was to undo the July 2008 court ruling on the question of whether the effort to create–out of thin air–hundreds of tons per day of pollution emission reduction credits must undergo adequate CEQA review.  (Also, the bills try to undo the February 2007 and the September 2009 rulings on this very same issues, too.)

As the California Supreme Court wrote, quoting a case decided in 1861:

[I]t is difficult to see how the legislature could more palpably invade the judicial department and effectively usurp its functions, than to pass statutes which should operate to set aside or annul judgments of courts in their nature final, and which would otherwise be conclusive on the rights of parties.

That is to say, the enactment of these bills violates the Separation of Powers clause of the California Constitution.  The cornerstone of our government since the founding of the this great Republic.

You can read our Petition here.

Trackback URL

One Comment on "And Now, the next round…"

Hi Stranger, leave a comment:


<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Subscribe to Comments