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2017 Press Releases

Coastal Commission Requires Restoration on the Gaviota Coast

After an extensive process of investigation and negotiation, the California Coastal Commission issued a Cease and Desist Order and Restoration Order concerning the Cojo Jalama Ranches (formerly known as Bixby Ranch).  Over the past six years, the Environmental Defense Center (“EDC”), on behalf of its client, California Native Plant Society (“CNPS”), has been urging strong enforcement in response to the environmentally-destructive and unlawful development activities that occurred on the Ranches, which are known as a biologically diverse and unique stretch of coastal land on the Gaviota Coast.  Because Cojo Jalama Ranches provide habitat for many rare and protected species, including red-legged frog and Gaviota Tarplant, EDC and CNPS tenaciously sought full restoration of the damaged habitats, including restoring oak woodlands, creeks, and native grasslands, and provided support for the Commission to maintain a strong position in its negotiations with the landowners.

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Energy Commission Agrees to Freeze Puente Power Plant Proceedings for Six Months

More than three years into our battle against NRG Energy’s proposed Puente Power Plant, the Environmental Defense Center (EDC) and our clients are disappointed with today’s decision by the California Energy Commission to grant NRG’s request to pause permit proceedings for its project. Since the beginning, NRG has been rushing its application through the Energy Commission proceedings, zealously opposing prior requests by opponents to pause the process in order to fill in large gaps in the project’s environmental review. NRG’s move to now halt the proceedings appears to be an effort to avoid the ultimate denial that the two presiding Energy Commissioners announced they would recommend earlier this month.

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Environmental Groups Oppose NRG Request to Freeze the Puente Power Plant Proceedings and Dodge a Denial

After a three-year battle by residents and advocates to defeat fossil fuel giant NRG Energy’s proposed power plant in the City of Oxnard, NRG filed a motion to suspend proceedings by the California Energy Commission (“CEC”). The motion comes on the heels of a statement issued by CEC Commissioners Janea Scott and Karen Douglas, indicating their intention to deny the Puente Power Project due to its significant environmental impacts and inconsistencies with local and state laws and regulations.

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Energy Commission Expected to Reject the Puente Gas Plant Project in Oxnard

A Committee of the California Energy Commission issued an unprecedented statement late yesterday stating that it will deny the proposed 262 megawatt Puente Power project in Oxnard because of clean energy’s ability to fulfill the region’s energy needs as well as environmental concerns.  This is a major turning point that comes after a three-year battle by residents, advocates, and the City of Oxnard to defeat fossil fuel giant NRG Energy’s proposed gas plant. The proposed rejection of this gas-fired plant marks a turning point in California’s clean energy revolution and marks a trend in re-evaluating the need for gas plants across the state.

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Phillips 66 Dismisses Lawsuit Challenging Denial of Rail Spur Project

Environmental groups rejoiced as Phillips 66 agreed to dismiss its lawsuit challenging the denial of its proposed Rail Spur Project by the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors. The dismissal means that the County’s denial stands, and Phillips will not be able to import heavy tar sands crude by rail car to its refinery near Nipomo in southern San Luis Obispo County. Phillips’ agreement to dismiss its lawsuit came as the company was facing a motion to dismiss from a coalition of environmental groups, as well as the County of San Luis Obispo, based on the fact that Phillips had failed to appeal the County’s denial to the California Coastal Commission.

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Blue Whales & Blue Skies Act Introduced in Congress

A coalition of government agencies and non-profit organizations applaud Congressman Alan Lowenthal, with co-sponsors Congressional Representatives Salud Carbajal, Julia Brownley, and Rohit Khanna, for introducing the Blue Whales & Blue Skies Act today. The Act calls on NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries to create a program to recognize shipping companies for voluntarily reducing speeds in the Santa Barbara Channel region to reduce air pollution, the risk of fatal ship strikes on whales and harmful underwater acoustic impacts.

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EDC COMMENTS ON TRUMP’S PLAN FOR NEW OFFSHORE OIL DRILLING

Today, the Environmental Defense Center (EDC) responded to a threat by the Trump administration to open the Santa Barbara Channel to new offshore oil and gas. While California is excluded from the current Five-Year Leasing Program created under the Obama administration, the Trump administration decided to consider additional areas in a new leasing program that would begin in 2019. This new program could include the Santa Barbara Channel and other areas along the west coast. No new lease sales have occurred in this region since 1984, and EDC will continue our commitment to prevent new leases in the future.

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Environmental Groups Defeat Trump Administration’s Attempt to Dismiss Case on Offshore Fracking and Acidizing

On July 14, the federal court in Los Angeles issued an order ruling that the Environmental Defense Center (“EDC”) and Santa Barbara Channelkeeper (“Channelkeeper”) prevailed against the federal government’s effort to dismiss their case.  In November 2016, the groups filed a lawsuit challenging the failure of the federal government to analyze and disclose the potential risks and impacts caused by fracking and acidizing from offshore oil platforms in southern California, including the Santa Barbara Channel. 

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EDC Selected as Nonprofit of the Year

On Wednesday, June 28, the Environmental Defense Center will be honored as a Nonprofit of the Year at a celebration of California Nonprofits Day at the State Capitol in Sacramento. EDC has been selected by State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson as an exceptional nonprofit organization in her 19th Senate District community. EDC will join nearly one hundred other nonprofit leaders from across the state being honored at the annual California Nonprofits Day event.

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EDC Settles Clean Water Act Case Against Toland Road Landfill

EDC reached a final settlement with the Ventura Regional Sanitation District for alleged violations of the Clean Water Act at the Toland Road Landfill near the City of Santa Paula.  The Toland Road Landfill discharges storm water runoff directly into O’Leary Creek, which flows into the Santa Clara River and ultimately into the Pacific Ocean.  The Santa Clara River is critical to the community’s health and recreation, and is home to numerous endangered species.

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