The California Attorney Generals Latest Settlement: ConocoPhillips Company Agrees to Offset Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Expanded Refinery
By A. Catherine Norian and Zachary R. Walton
On September 11, 2007, just three weeks after announcing his landmark settlement with the County of San Bernardino, California Attorney General Brown announced that his office has reached a pre-litigation settlement with ConocoPhillips Company that requires the oil company to offset certain greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the expansion of its oil refinery in Contra Costa County in Northern California. Attorney General Browns steady focus on forcing projects emitting, or causing the emission of, large quantities of GHGs to quantify their overall GHG emissions may set a standard in California for assessing and mitigating GHG emissions. Through actual or threatened litigation under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), the Attorney General is also forcing the regulated community to undertake GHG reduction measures well before the California Air Resources Board (CARB), charged by AB 32 (the California Global Warming Solutions Act) with adopting and enforcing regulations to reduce GHG emissions from targeted sources, has been able or required to act, and without any assurance that their measures will be credited under AB 32.