Water

Registration Opens for 2015 Yosemite Conference–The Nation’s Top Environmental Law Event

Yosemite brochure

This Year's Yosemite Conference Promises to Continue a Tradition of Excellence

Registration is now open for the 2015 edition of the State Bar of California’s Environmental Law Conference at Yosemite.  That conference, held each fall, is unquestionably the premier environmental law-related event in California.  I would go so far as to argue that it’s actually the top such program in the entire United States. The Yosemite Conference […]

Continue Reading

California Governor Jerry Brown: Environmental Saint or Sinner?

Gov. Brown in Rome, July 2015, Associated Press

Brown's National & International Environmental Reputation Disputed by Some California Environmentalists

California Governor Jerry Brown has had a most eventful 2015, especially when it comes to environmental policy.  He started the year fresh from an overwhelming election victory last November, earning him an unprecedented fourth term as California’s chief executive.  Brown began 2015 by declaring a state drought emergency and becoming California’s “educator-in-chief,” repeatedly warning state […]

Continue Reading

The Coal Mining Stream Buffer Rule Evokes Firestorm of Protest. #getagrip

mountainrunoff

Political polarization has gotten to the point where there would be immediate denunciations if the President issued a proclamation honoring apple pie. Another intrusion into consumer choice, besmirching those who prefer cherry and pumpkin!  Another blatant overreach by an out-of-control, incipient tyrant!  Not only is every executive action accompanied by loud resistance, but the same explosion of […]

Continue Reading

Tragedy of the Commons–California Drought-Style

Garrett_Hardin

State Farmers Planting New Almond Orchards Despite Critical Water Shortages

Traveling through California’s drought-striken San Joaquin Valley repeatedly over the past year, I’ve been surprised and disheartened to see that Valley farmers continue to convert their agricultural fields to newly-planted almond orchards.  (My anecdotal observations have been confirmed by various recent press accounts.)  This development is a striking, current example of Garrett Hardin’s Tragedy of […]

Continue Reading

Sacramento Judge Halts California Regulator’s Efforts to Impose Water Cutbacks

Court Rules Water Board's Administrative Process Violates Water Users' Due Process Rights

A Sacramento judge has thrown a wrench into the California State Water Resources Control Board’s efforts to impose water cutbacks on several of the state’s senior water rights holders.  In a July 10th order, Superior Court Judge Shelleyanne Chang ruled that the Water Board’s administrative process, designed to implement drought-based water reductions, violates the due […]

Continue Reading

Could a Riparian Conservation Network increase the ecological resilience of public lands?

Mississippi

A new article suggests river corridors could leverage existing policies to build habitat connectivity

As we try to protect biological diversity for the future, a perpetual challenge is ensuring that the strategies we adopt today will continue to work in the face of changing conditions. How can we design conservation approaches that will be resilient in the face of environmental challenges that will only become more severe in coming years? […]

Continue Reading

A Water Rights Database For California’s Future

eWRIMS_screenshot

A proposal to modernize information for management of water resources

In April, a group of us (Richard Roos-Collins, Michael Kiparsky, Nell Green Nylen, Michael Hanemann, and Holly Doremus) wrote a document arguing for the need to develop a more complete and functional source of legal information on California’s water rights. Since then, this proposal has been circulated widely among the California water community. In the spirit of […]

Continue Reading

Drought and the Supreme Court

Sam Fox School Distinguished Alumni Awards S13

Does the Court's Decision in the Raisin Case Imperil Water Management?

When I first read Rick’s writeup of the Supreme Court’s decision in USDA v. Horne, concerning the federal government’s Depression-era system of “marketing orders” that required farmers to set aside a percentage of their raisin crop in a government-controlled account, I was worried about water. And that’s not just because I always worry about water. Horne turned on […]

Continue Reading

CEQA and the Drought

Republicans are using the drought as an argument for CEQA exemptions

One thing that the deep drought in California has prompted is more discussion of water storage projects like dams. Part of that discussion has been arguments that environmental review pursuant to CEQA should be “streamlined” for water storage projects. A bill to streamline environmental review for two dam projects died in the Assembly this year. […]

Continue Reading

Hail to the Chief: John Roberts and the WOTUS Rule

He's Big In Beijing

Roberts virtually bemoaned the lack of a rulemaking. Now he's got what he wanted.

The government issued a long-awaited Waters of the United States rule (WOTUS for short).  No doubt there will be much gnashing of teeth about the issuance of the rule — a very safe bet since the gnashers of teeth got going long before the rule was actually issued.  But one person who should be happy […]

Continue Reading