It was a great exam question (at least I thought so — you’ll have to ask my Environmental Law and Policy students if they agree): does the disposal of treated wastewater from a municipal wastewater treatment plant into the ground through injection wells located a short distance from the ocean require an NPDES permit under […]
Constitutional Issues, Water Law, Native American Rights Dominate Court’s Environmental Docket
Happy New Year! As we move into 2018, let’s take a look back at the most significant environmental law decisions issued by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in 2017. Conventional wisdom is that the second most important federal court in the nation (after the U.S. Supreme Court) is the D.C. Circuit […]
CEQA, Climate Change, Cannabis & Regulatory Takings Top the Justices’ Environmental Docket
As 2017 comes to a close, let’s take a moment to assess the California Supreme Court’s most significant environmental law decisions of the year. There are a large number of decided cases to choose from: as has been true over the past decade, in 2017 the California Supreme Court devoted a substantial portion of its […]
Clean air. Clean water. We receive these public goods every day without payment.
Each day we receive benefits free of charge: the air we breathe, the clean, unpolluted water we depend on, the climate we live in. We get those regardless of whether we pay taxes or how much or how little we consume. In short, from the view of any one individual, these are freebies, gifts from […]
Lucas v. South Carolina Coastal Comm’n has had surprisingly little impact, despite fears at the time.
Lucas v. South Carolina Coastal Commission was the high-water mark of the Supreme Court’s expansion of the takings clause, which makes it unconstitutional for the government to take private property without compensation. Lucas epitomized the late Justice Scalia’s crusade to limit government regulation of property. The decision left environmentalists and regulators quaking in their boots, […]
California Regulators Can and Should Adopt Strong State Wetlands Protection Rules
For the past year, an overriding concern of many Californians has been whether and how state legislators and regulators can fill the environmental law and policy gap left by a Trump Administration that is in the process of reversing a host of Obama-era environmental rules and that has otherwise largely abandoned the field of environmental […]
Michael Kiparsky and Christian Binz
As we have written previously, potable water reuse (recycling water to augment water supplies) is a promising way to diversify urban water supply portfolios. Direct potable water reuse (DPR), the injection of highly purified wastewater into drinking water systems, is among the newest, and most controversial, methods for augmenting water supplies. DPR is garnering increasing […]
Governor Brown Should Veto Ill-Conceived Bill That Would Undermine State Water Board’s Enforcement Authority
Overall, the California Legislature had a most productive year when it comes to environmental issues. It extended until 2030 the cap-and-trade program that’s a centerpiece of the state’s ongoing efforts to reduce California’s aggregate greenhouse gas emissions. It passed the mis-named “gas tax” legislation, which not only provides funding to rebuild California’s once-proud but now […]
Professors Argue Fifth Circuit Decision Upsets Federal/State Court Balance, Will Prevent States from Relying on Their Own Laws to Protect Important Natural Resources
Last month, more than two dozen law professors from around the country filed a friend-of-the-court brief with the U.S. Supreme Court, urging a fresh look at a lower court decision with sweeping implications for the balance of power between states and the federal government. The issue is vital to Louisiana because it affects whether oil and gas […]
Houston failed to learn a key lesson from Katrina about the need to prepare for catastrophic flooding.
The torrential rain in Houston would have caused bad flooding no matter what. There’s no question about that. But it’s also true that Houston’s flood control efforts have been badly managed. Houston failed to learn a key lesson from Katrina: the most important disaster response is done years in advance through risk mitigation. Not only […]