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Privacy Challenge to Transgender Law and Chevron's Potential Fines

By Gabriella Khorasanee, JD on December 20, 2013 11:55 AM

Things are heating up in California -- well, almost. Even after the flames are long gone, the Environmental Protection Agency is still fanning the fires that are the controversy surrounding Chevron's refinery blaze. And, on the eve of a new law taking effect, religious groups have joined together to challenge the law on -- of all things -- privacy grounds.

Chevron and the EPA

If you're in California then you probably remember the refinery fire that resulted in 15,000 people seeking medical treatment, according to Reuters. The latest in the fire's aftermath is a letter from Jared Blumenfeld, the EPA's Western Regional Administrator, in which he declares that the company failed to limit the risk of environmental catastrophe by "repeatedly fail[ing] to follow its own practices, plans, and recommendations."

As a result, the EPA has given Chevron some instructions on how to correct itself, along with possible repercussions. Chevron has 30 days to develop and provide the EPA with a plan that outlines how it will adhere to federal regulations. Not only that, but "any unaddressed violations [are] punishable by a fine of $37,500 per day, per violation," reports the San Francisco Chronicle.

Transgender Law, Bathrooms and Privacy

On August 12, 2013, Governor Brown signed The School Success and Opportunity Act (AB 1266), which allows transgender students to use restrooms for the gender that they identify with, "rather than their biological sex," reports NPR. Slated to take effect on January 1, 2014, the law may be put on hold until November, for a statewide referendum, if religious groups get enough valid signatures on a petition they started.

The campaign, called "Privacy for All Students," has already received 600,000 signatures, with just over 500,000 valid signatures needed. Signatures are being verified so we'll have to wait and see if this will proceed.

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