The California Legislature, in the waning hours of its 2014 session, enacted legislation creating a first-ever statewide system of groundwater management. The three-bill package (SB 1168 [Pavley]; SB 1319 [Pavley]; and AB 1719 [Dickinson]) is expected to be signed into law by California Governor Jerry Brown before the end of this month, and will take […]
Where Do Property Rights Come From?
Although it is never fun to do new class preparation, I like teaching new classes because it forces me gives me the opportunity to learn new material and new areas of law. So it is this semester, when I will teach water law for the first time. In this case, not only have I learned […]
The Public Trust Doctrine Gives California Regulators the Authority to Monitor Groundwater Pumping
A couple of weeks ago, Rick reported that California might finally be ready to institute some form of statewide groundwater regulation. (The original California Water Act regulating surface water is now more than 100 years old, and when it was enacted, many observers thought that groundwater regulation was just around the corner: hey, what’s a century […]
Will Conserving Water Contribute to Global Warming?
All of us (except Republicans and adherents of Movement Conservatism) know that climate change is dangerous for rising temperatures, but also because of its effects on other natural resources. Most significantly, it is hardly news that increasing and variable temperatures will reduce, for example, the Sierra snow pack and cause greater evaporation, eventually leading to […]
Prospects Good for Passage of Landmark Groundwater Legislation
California, which prides itself as being a national and international leader in so many areas of environmental policy, lags woefully behind other jurisdictions when it comes to at least one subject area: groundwater regulation. Alone among the Western states in the U.S., California lacks any statewide system of groundwater regulation and planning. (Until a few […]
Guess what: he's no friend of the environment.
Yesterday I posted a confused discussion of Paul’s environmental views. (Probably due to brain lock from spending too many hours puzzling over the numerical examples in EME Homer!) I wanted to replace it with a clearer description of his views, so I pulled it from the website. Let’s try this again. This first thing to know about Senator Paul is […]
California trial court rules that public trust doctrine applies to pumping that reduces flow in a navigable waterway
If you follow California water law or environmental law, you probably have been aware that the Environmental Law Foundation has been pursuing a public trust claim based on groundwater pumping that affects the Scott River. Last week they gained a victory at the trial court level, with a ruling that endorses the principle that groundwater […]
D.C. Circuit upholds Enhanced Coordination Process, refuses to review agency guidance
The D.C. Circuit has rejected a challenge to consultation procedures developed by the EPA and Corps of Engineers for reviewing mountaintop removal mining permits and to EPA’s guidance for reviewing permits issued by the Corps or state permitting agencies. Because it rests on standard administrative law, the decision shouldn’t merit comment. But it does, because […]
The grassy Quad is emblematic of university life. But its days may be numbered.
When I picture a university, I immediately envision the quad: an area of grass and trees surrounded by campus buildings, like the photo from one of America’s oldest universities accompanying this post. But those beautiful lawns may need to go. That would be a bit sad, and not just because the students could lose a place to […]
Ruling is Especially Timely, Given California's Ongoing and Severe Drought Conditions
I recently wrote about a then-pending court case in which California grape growers were challenging the State Water Resources Control Board’s limits on the growers’ diversion of water from California rivers and streams to provide frost protection for their grapes. That litigation is important because it goes to the heart of the Board’s authority under […]