What a difference a drought makes. Once upon a time, a fundamental attribute of home ownership in California and the American West was an expansive, verdant lawn surrounding private homes, townhouses and apartment complexes. Indeed, some communities have historically imposed permit conditions or adopted local ordinances mandating the inclusion and maintenance of lush, healthy lawns […]
Millions of people are in the path of rising seas. The time for action is now.
The NY Times has run a series of articles in the past few days dealing with disaster issues. Taken together, they highlight the urgency of government action to protect populations in harm’s way. One article dealt generally with the threat posed by sea level rise. Miami is something of a poster-child for these problems, given its […]
The Environmental Protection Agency today issued a proposed new rule that seeks to clarify exactly how far the federal government’s jurisdiction reaches in requiring permits for the dredging and filling of wetlands. In doing so, President Obama’s EPA is responding directly to Chief Justice John Roberts’ lament in his concurring opinion in Rapanos v. United […]
Congress apparently just couldn't resist restoring subsidies for coastal homeowners.
The President has now signed an important modification of the flood insurance program. The changes are hard to understand, in part because the bill changed an earlier 2013 law that itself amended the basic statute. So you have to work through the whole sequence to see what is going on. Before I go into more […]
Rand Paul's plan to cut wetlands protection and make enforcement against polluters impossible.
Rand Paul recently won a big victory in the straw poll held by CPAC,the Conservative Political Action Conference. In the environmental area, his signature measure is the Defense of Environment and Property Act. On its surface, the goal of the law is to cut back on federal jurisdiction over wetlands. The bill would drastically cut back […]
Visionary environmental advocate will be sorely missed, long remembered.
[Posted on behalf of all Legal Planet authors at Berkeley Law.] It is with great sadness that we share the news of the passing of Joseph L. Sax, James H. House and Hiram H. Hurd Professor of Environmental Regulation (Emeritus) at Berkeley Law. Joe was our hero, our teacher, our mentor, our colleague, our friend. […]
State Water Rights Reforms a Key Part of the Legislative Package
“Never let a good crisis go to waste.” This adage, attributed to Chicago Mayor and former Obama White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, seems especially apt regarding emergency legislation enacted by California lawmakers and signed into law last weekend by Governor Jerry Brown in response to the worst drought in recorded California history. That […]
Letting rivers flow supports ecosystems and people
One thing that droughts in the West provoke are political battles over water. The drought that California is currently in is no exception. Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives have just passed a bill that would – more or less – exempt farmers in the Central Valley from environmental laws like the Endangered Species […]
Increased attention to fracking off the California Coast; what our state agencies can do about it
As prior blog posts and reports have detailed, hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) has been occurring onshore in California for decades, yet without full disclosure to the public or state regulatory agencies. Recently, new reports of offshore fracking in both California and federal waters have surfaced, showing that fracking has also been underway off the coast for […]
What would the shake-up mean for those who currently lack affordable access to safe drinking water?
A shake-up of California’s struggling Drinking Water Program is in the works. What follows is a little history, context, and a few thoughts on what it will likely mean for drinking-water stakeholders—in particular those who have the hardest time accessing safe drinking water. A history of problems for the Drinking Water Program Last April, Jonathan […]