Plans for a public power agency and the renewable energy projects that could sprout with it appear to have scrambled politics in Sonoma County.
A major political battle is brewing in Sacramento over California’s landmark environmental law referred to mainly by its acronym, CEQA, with some powerful Democrats urging an overhaul of the regulations.
Sonoma County supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to scale back controversial rules designed to protect endangered fish and regulate how grape growers use water from the Russian River for frost protection. The board eliminated rules that would have required vineyard and orchard operators to monitor and report their water diversions from the river, its tributaries and nearby groundwater.
Opponents of a proposed asphalt plant near Petaluma have challenged the project’s approval in state appellate court.
The Petaluma City Council decision to spend about $10,000 trying to prevent an asphalt plant from opening on its outskirts commits it to a legal battle that may cost many times that, although it won’t bear the cost alone.
Petaluma’s City Council voted 6-1 on Monday night to continue its legal fight against the Dutra Materials asphalt plant after two local groups pledged $10,000 to help fund the battle. The money should cover about half the city’s costs to appeal a ruling by Superior Court Judge Rene Chouteau, who dismissed a lawsuit challenging the asphalt plant. Did the City Council make the right decision to appeal the ruling?
A Sonoma County judge has dismissed the lawsuit challenging approval of the Dutra Materials asphalt plant, the controversial land use project slated for 38 acres south of Petaluma. Judge Rene Chouteau dismissed all claims brought against the county, Dutra and its business partners by the City of Petaluma, a group of five nonprofit groups and several individuals.
UPDATE 5:45 PM: Lowe’s has dropped out of a Petaluma development that would have given the city its only home improvement warehouse store and perhaps captured millions of dollars in sales tax spent in other cities. “Essentially the clock ran out on a project that could have broken ground in 2010,” said Marko Mlikotin, a spokesman for the project’s developer. But it also reopens the door for a Friedman’s Home Improvement store to return to Petaluma.
Flooding, traffic relief and the effects of development will be major issues as Petaluma begins a report on a long-planned Rainier Avenue cross-town connector.