DTSC Delays California Green Chemistry Initiative Implementation

Posted by in Green Chemistry on February 1, 2011

Implementation of California’s Green Chemistry Initiative titled “Safer Consumer Product Alternatives” has been delayed indefinitely beyond the January 1, 2011 statutory adoption deadline.  The deadline was established by California Assembly Bill 1879 (Chapter 559, Statutes of 2008).  According to Linda S. Adams, the Secretary of California’s Environmental Protection Agency, the delay is needed “to further vet the programmatic issues that have been brought to our attention via the public comment process.”  The Department of Toxic Substance Control (DTSC), the state agency that is promulgating the regulations, is taking additional time to further review the proposed regulations.  Secretary Adams also requested that the Green Ribbon Science Advisory Panel reconvene to address public comments collected from the previous drafts.  A revised third draft of the regulations was presented in November, 2010 following a public comment period.  The third draft contains substantive revisions to the earlier text, including scaled back manufacturer and retailer compliance requirements that were not well-received by the environmental community.

DTSC Releases Draft “Green Chemistry” Regulations on June 23, 2010

Posted by in Emerging Issues, Green Chemistry on August 6, 2010


On June 23, 2010, DTSC released its anxiously anticipated draft regulations implementing AB 1879, the 2008 Green Chemistry Initiative law intended to “accelerate the quest for safer products.”  California Health & Safety Code section 25252 (AB 1879) requires DTSC to promulgate regulations: (1) identifying and prioritizing “chemicals of concern” in consumer products; (2) establishing methods for analyzing whether safer alternatives may exist to “chemicals of concern” currently used in consumer products; and (3) developing appropriate regulatory responses based on the results of the safer alternatives analyses. The regulations are currently set to take effect Jan. 1, 2011, after being finalized.  The draft regulations are 61 pages long, include numerous definitions and cross-references to other existing regulatory programs, and are generally very complex.  Determining the potential application of these draft regulations to a specific product, and the obligations of any particular commercial entity engaged in the purchase or sale of any such product, requires a detailed review of the regulations.  Nonetheless, we summarize a few of the key provisions below.         


California Supreme Court Holds that Public Entities May Retain Private Counsel on a Contingency Fee Basis to Prosecute Public Nuisance Actions in Certain Circumstances

Posted by in Environmental Litigation on August 3, 2010

COUNTY OF SANTA CLARA et al., Petitioners, v. THE SUPERIOR COURT OF SANTA CLARA COUNTY 2010 Cal. LEXIS 7241 (July 26, 2010)

The California Supreme Court has held that public entities may retain private counsel on a contingency fee basis to prosecute public nuisance actions in certain limited circumstances.  Those limited circumstances exist when fundamental constitutional rights and the right to continue operation of an existing business are not implicated, and so long as the retention agreements allow the government attorneys to retain the power to control and supervise the litigation.


California Supreme Court Upholds Strict Interpretation of CEQA 35-Day Statute of Limitations

Posted by in Environmental Litigation on April 7, 2010


On April 1, 2010, the California Supreme Court held that even if there are alleged flaws in the decision-making process underlying a CEQA notice of exemption (“NOE”) and the project approval, the 35-day time period in which to file a lawsuit challenging the NOE determination still runs from the day the NOE is filed and posted.  The Supreme Court rejected plaintiff’s claims that a NOE can trigger the 35-day limitations period only if it announces a valid project approval, explaining that plaintiff’s argument “runs counter to the principle that limitations periods apply regardless of the merits of the claims asserted, and do not depend on whether a timely action would have been successful. It also contravenes the purpose of notice-based statutes of limitations, as well as the Legislature’s intent–clearly expressed in section 21167(d)–that suits claiming an agency has “improperly determined” a project to be exempt from CEQA must be brought within 35 days after an NOE that complies with CEQA requirements is filed.”  The Court also rejected plaintiff’s claim that the NOE was invalid for failing to identify the name of the retail store being developed, holding that the NOE complied in form and content with CEQA’s requirements.  

Stockton Citizens for Sensible Planning v. City of Stockton, 2010 Cal. LEXIS 2358 (2010)