California

Cannabis Research Center

New UC Berkeley Research Center Focuses on Issues Around State Legalization of Cannabis

Over the past couple of years, California has moved into the brave new world of fully legalizing (as a matter of state law) recreational and medical cannabis.  That transition was premised in part on promises that legalization would reduce the negative environmental impacts from illegal cannabis cultivation, and would facilitate the development of a sustainable […]

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Governor Newsom Retreats On High Speed Rail

Revised Merced-Bakersfield vision in “State of the State” speech indicates reluctance to spend political capital

Governor Newsom’s “State of the State” speech today offered an abrupt scaling back of the state’s vision for its signature infrastructure project, high speed rail from Los Angeles to San Francisco: [L]et’s level about high speed rail.  I have nothing but respect for Governor Brown’s and Governor Schwarzenegger’s ambitious vision. I share it. And there’s […]

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New report on housing entitlement in LA

Report covers regulatory approvals for residential projects in four LA cities in 2014-16

I’ve blogged previously about work that a team here at UC Berkeley (Moira O’Neill, Giulia Gualco-Nelson, and myself) have been doing on studying land-use regulation, environmental law, and housing production in California, to get a better sense of how regulatory processes may be driving the housing crisis in the state, and eventually to produce specific […]

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Commemorating a Major Environmental Disaster–One With a Transformative Legacy

1969 Santa Barbara Oil Spill Sparked the Beginning of America’s Modern Environmental Era

This week marks the 50th anniversary of one of the most serious and consequential environmental disasters in American history–the Santa Barbara offshore oil spill of 1969.  On January 28, 1969, an offshore oil rig (Platform A) owned and operated by the Union Oil Company and operating in federally-controlled waters in the Santa Barbara Channel off […]

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Save the Monarch!

The plight of California’s iconic butterfly highlights the need to overhaul the state’s endangered species law

The Monarch butterfly is an iconic species for Californians.  And it is heading rapidly towards extinction within the state, as the population counts for the California population this year indicate that butterfly numbers fell 86% in a single year, over a 99% drop since the 1980s, and the size of the population is now small […]

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2019 California Water Law Symposium Set for February 2nd in San Francisco

This Year’s Edition of the Award-Winning Event Focuses on Groundwater Management

The 15th Annual California Water Law Symposium will convene on Saturday, February 2, 2019. This year’s Symposium venue is the UC Hastings College of the Law in downtown San Francisco. The theme of next month’s Symposium is California groundwater, with a focus on implementation of the state’s landmark 2014 legislation, the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (“SGMA”). The Water Law […]

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New CEQA SB 743 Transportation Guidelines Finally Finalized

Critical revisions will be discussed at March 1st Conference in Los Angeles — register now!

It took five years, but California has finally ditched an outdated and counter-productive metric for evaluating transportation impacts under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). With the guidelines finalized on December 28th, a mere half-decade since the passage of SB 743 (Steinberg) in 2013, the state will ditch “auto delay” as a measure of project […]

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Jerry Brown’s Top Climate Accomplishments

Amazing successes, coupled with unfinished business

Today California inaugurates a new governor, Gavin Newsom, and says goodbye to four-term governor Jerry Brown. Governor Brown made climate change a central issue in his last two terms. Rick already offered an excellent assessment of the governor’s overall environmental accomplishments, so here are (to my mind) his top achievements on the specific issue of […]

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Assessing–and Celebrating–California Governor Jerry Brown’s Environmental Legacy

Governor Brown Easily Ranks as the Top Environmental Governor in State History

Don’t it always seem to go That you don’t know what you’ve got `Til it’s gone         –Joni Mitchell (“Big Yellow Taxi”) On this, the last day of Jerry Brown‘s tenure as California’s governor, it’s appropriate to reflect on Governor Brown’s environmental legacy.  And a most formidable legacy it’s been. Brown has, quite […]

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To Be or Not to Be an Energy Utility

Questioning the continued existence of California’s largest energy utility

What can we do to ensure the safety of the massive electric and natural gas delivery systems that we rely on every day? Eight years after the horrific explosion and fire stemming from one of the Pacific Gas and Electric Company’s (PG&E’s) natural gas pipelines in San Bruno, California, the state’s legislators and utility regulators […]

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