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Capitol Round-Up: California Threatens New EPA Lawsuit


California is not just opposing the federal government’s reversal of climate change actions, it’s now threatening a lawsuit if the Trump administration doesn’t take new action.

The state is one of thirteen that sent a letter to the EPA Thursday arguing the agency must create new limits on the oil and gas industry.

The Obama administration put rules in place last year to limit methane leaks at new oil and gas facilities. The Clean Air Act generally requires the EPA to follow-up with limits for existing facilities. Instead, the agency has stopped collecting industry data about methane leaks.

In the letter, the states say EPA has six months to draft rules, or they’ll sue.

"Although the claim may have merit in its basic form, getting a court to agree to force the agency to do this on any particular time frame would be a challenge," says Jonathan Cannon, a University of Virginia professor and former EPA attorney.

The EPA has also already suspended the Obama-era methane rules.

The agency declined to comment on the letter.

Politicking At The California Capitol: Allen Vs. Gomez

California’s most recently elected U.S. Congressman is still working at the state Capitol rather than in Washington, and the state’s newest Republican candidate for governor is hammering him for it.

During the Assembly’s most recent round of votes, Republican Travis Allen stood up with an objection, stating that "the California constitution provides that no legislator may hold another office."

Allen was referring to Democratic Assemblyman Jimmy Gomez, who won a Los Angeles Congressional seat four weeks ago but remains in the Assembly. Gomez told the Los Angeles Times that’s partially in case lawmakers needed his help reaching a supermajority on a vote.

Democratic Assemblyman Kevin Mullin defended his colleague’s presence.

"Mr. Gomez was duly-elected and is continuing to serve in this body until he takes an oath for the office to be held in Congress," Mullin said.

Democrats overruled the objection, and only three Republicans supported it. But like Gomez’s delayed entrance to Congress, this callout likely had another motive. Allen just entered the governor’s race.

"The California Democrats, Jerry Brown, all believe they are above the law," Allen said.

It’s a floor speech that could package nicely for the campaign trail.

Ben Bradford

Former State Government Reporter

As the State Government Reporter, Ben covered California politics, policy and the interaction between the two. He previously reported on local and state politics, business, energy, and environment for WFAE in Charlotte, North Carolina.  Read Full Bio 

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