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2015 Press Releases

Lawsuits Challenge Federal Government’s Refusal to Disclose Information on Southern California Oil Pipelines

Conservation groups today filed two lawsuits in federal court, one against the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration and the other against the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, for refusing to release information concerning inspections and other oversight of oil pipelines located in southern California, including Plains Pipeline, LP Line 901, which spilled more than 140,000 gallons of crude oil at Refugio State Beach in May 2015. According to the lawsuits, PHMSA and BSEE failed to disclose information requested pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act, which requires federal agencies to provide requested information within 20 working days. To date neither agency has provided any responsive records to the Environmental Defense Center and Santa Barbara Channelkeeper several months after receiving the requests.

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Environmental Group Achieves Settlement With Federal Government to Protect Endangered Steelhead

A federal court has approved settlement of an Endangered Species Act case brought against the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation  by watershed and fish advocacy organization California Trout, represented by the Environmental Defense Center.  The settlement requires among other tasks, that Reclamation complete long-delayed repairs to the watering system that releases water into Hilton Creek, a tributary of the Santa Ynez River below Bradbury Dam, for the benefit of endangered Southern California steelhead (Oncorhynchus mykiss) (“steelhead”).

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Clean Water Act Enforcement Action Initiated Against Electroplating Facility on Santa Clara River

The Environmental Defense Center and Keller Rohrback L.L.P. notified global coating company General Magnaplate of EDC’s intent to sue the company for allegedly operating its electroplating facility in violation of the federal Clean Water Act. The notice letter alleges that the facility is illegally discharging storm water containing pollutants, including zinc and aluminum, into the Santa Clara River, less than two miles from where the River flows into the Pacific Ocean.  The Santa Clara River, southern California’s last naturally free-flowing major river, is critical to the communities’ health and recreation, and is home to numerous endangered species.

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EDC Submits Letter on Behalf of 28 Environmental Groups Urging Increased Safety Requirements Prior to Restarting Plains’ Oil Pipelines

The Environmental Defense Center sent a letter on behalf of twenty-eight environmental organizations to the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, urging the agency to implement increased safety requirements prior to restart of the pipeline responsible for the May 19, 2015 Plains All American Pipeline Oil Spill off the Santa Barbara coastline near Refugio State Beach. 

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Federal Judge Upholds Protections for Southern Sea Otters

In a major victory for threatened southern sea otters, U.S. District Court Judge John F. Walter on Friday issued a ruling denying a challenge by some fishing organizations to a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) decision that has restored protections for sea otters in Southern California.  Environmental Defense Center, The Otter Project and Los Angeles Waterkeeper intervened in the case on behalf of the FWS.

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EPA Agrees to Revisit Rules for Polluted Runoff by Next Year

A federal court has approved a settlement in which the Environmental Protection Agency will update its national regulations for stormwater runoff, one of the nation’s largest sources of water pollution, by November 2016. The EPA agreed to the deadline after the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Environmental Defense Center filed a lawsuit last year to force the agency to act, more than a decade after a federal court had first ordered EPA to do so.

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Environmental Defense Center Hires New Marine Conservation Program Director

The Environmental Defense Center announced that it has hired Kristen Hislop as its Marine Conservation Program Director. Ms. Hislop will take on a suite of issues, continuing EDC’s efforts to protect endangered whales from fatal ship strikes, reduce air pollution at sea and onshore, educate the community about marine protected areas, as well as identify and develop projects to address emerging ocean issues.

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EDC & CA Sportfishing Protection Alliance Settle Case Against Salvage Yard Protecting Salinas River

California Sportfishing Protection Alliance (“CSPA”) and the Environmental Defense Center (“EDC”) reached a final settlement with A-1 Metals & Auto Salvage to eliminate polluted storm water run-off from its Paso Robles facility.  The settlement resolves CSPA and EDC’s case alleging violations of the Clean Water Act for the facility’s discharges of harmful levels of pollutants such as copper, iron, and lead into the Salinas River, home to numerous endangered species and important for human health and recreation. 

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