Water

Of sewage spills and citizen suits

A sanitary sewer overflow (SSO) spills out from beneath a manhole cover.  Photo: Mystic River Watershed Association, “Sewer overflowing,” www.flickr.com/photos/44914436@
N07/4438382741/.

New Berkeley Law report examines citizen actions addressing sanitary sewer overflows in California

(This post is co-authored with Nell Green Nylen and Michael Kiparsky.) Every day, Californians produce millions of gallons of wastewater. We tend to avoid thinking about what flows down our drains, but how we deal with sewage is a critically important aspect of public and environmental health. Most communities in California rely on an extensive […]

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The Next Justice and the Fate of the Clean Water Act

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A comment by Justice Kennedy reminds us of just how much is at stake.

Every once in a while, we get reminded of just how much damage the conservative Justices could wreak on environmental law. Last week, Justice Kennedy created shock waves with a casual comment during oral argument. In a case that seemed to involved only a technical issue about administrative procedure, he dropped the suggestion that the […]

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The Devil is in the Design: Forming California’s New Groundwater Agencies

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By Dave Owen and Mike Kiparsky

Cross-posting from the Environmental Law Prof Blog. This post was written by Dave Owen and Mike Kiparsky. It is based on a recent report, co-authored with Nell Green Nylen, Holly Doremus, Barb Cosens, Juliet Christian-Smith, Andrew Fisher, and Anita Milman.    Not that long ago, the opening words of one of Joe Sax’s articles described California pretty well. “We Don’t […]

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Lessons From Flint

Flint water

A public-minded researcher discovers serious contamination of drinking water. His efforts to alert local officials are rebuffed. Concerned over how this will affect their reputation and the town’s economy, the authorities sit on the evidence and deny any problems. All the while, trusting people continue to drink unsafe water. While the setting may call to […]

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Reflections on the Coastal Commission’s Implosion

The Implications of the Decision to Fire Charles Lester - and the Decision Not to Explain It

As Rick Frank insightfully discussed earlier this week, the California Coastal Commission has fired its former executive director, Charles Lester. Readers interested in more background information and analysis should read Rick’s post, as well as the excellent reporting by Tony Barboza and others from the LA Times. (And anyone who wants to hear about it […]

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The Flint Lead Crisis

Lead ad

Three Interesting Notes About Lead Regulation and Exposure

At this point, you would need to be a hermit to have missed the news coverage of elevated levels of lead in the drinking water in Flint, MI. (Although even that might not be a valid excuse given an ancient, anonymous Roman hermit described lead poisoning). The short version is: in April 2014 a cash […]

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A Minor Christmas Miracle from Congress

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Somehow, Congress managed to pass a pro-environmental law. Amazing!

Just before Christmas, the NY Times reported that Congress passed the Microbead Free Waters Act of 2015. The law bans nearly invisible small beads that have been added as abrasives to products like toothpaste.  The trouble is that the beads get into waterways, where pollutants like PCBs adhere to their surfaces.  Even more amazingly, the bill […]

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Top 10 Environmental News Stories of 2015

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More goods than bad, but some of each.

Here are the top ten stories, at least as I see them: A Warming World. 2015 will almost certainly be the warmest year on record. This is one more confirmation of recent studies indicating that either there was no climate hiatus or it has ended. Saving Wetlands and Water Bodies. EPA and the Army Corp […]

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How do we move past the yuck factor in potable water reuse?

Source: green-mom.com

This post draws on two recently published articles (here and here) by an international group of collaborators: Christian Binz, Sasha Harris-Lovett, Bernhard Truffer, David Sedlak, and myself, courtesy of the ReNUWIt program.   Potable water reuse is increasingly seen as a potential way to help ease urban water supply challenges. Potable reuse is as it sounds […]

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Climate Actions For Governor Jerry Brown’s Final Term

Climate Actions Report Cover

New report on how California's executive branch agencies can build on climate progress to date

In Paris this month, much of the talk related to California’s successful efforts to date in reducing carbon emissions while growing the economy.  Certainly the state has made significant progress in areas like renewable energy and electric vehicles, and Governor Brown and his administration deserve a lot of credit. But more progress will be needed […]

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