“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 […]
Is It Time to Consider Restoring Yosemite's Hetch Hetchy Valley?
December 19th marks a sad event in American environmental history. It was 100 years ago today that President Woodrow Wilson signed the Raker Act, authorizing the City of San Francisco to build a dam that would flood the Hetch Hetchy Valley in Yosemite National Park in order to deliver water supplies to San Francisco. Contemporary […]
What Makes for Successful Social Movements, Especially in Environmental Politics?
Environmentalists celebrate the campaign to save Mono Lake as one the iconic triumphs in US environmental history. As well they should. But why did it succeed? It’s a critical question not just for environmentalists, but for any scholar or member of social movements. In a previous post, I have suggested that the identity of the […]
Low Impact Development (LID) or green infrastructure can be used to improve water quality in urban environments through the use of swales, bioretention basins, permeable pavement, and other approaches to managing stormwater. However, there can be challenges to actually putting green infrastructure in place. Max Gomberg and I recently published an Op-Ed in the San […]
New Emmett Center report recommends top ten solutions for marine plastic debris
Ever wonder where the plastic crap that we generate winds up? Much of it ends up in the oceans. An estimated 20 million tons of plastic litter enter the ocean each year, much of it from land debris but also coming from fishing and aquaculture operations, shipping, and other marine sources. The stuff takes a really […]
Every year, Ecology Law Quarterly publishes its Annual Review of Environmental and Natural Resource Law. The latest version is now available at ELQ’s web site. Check out these articles from the issue. You’ll find they cover a tremendous amount of ground in a way that is both educational and entertaining. And at the ELQ site […]
Court rules that EPA must decide if new water quality standars are needed to protect the Gulf of Mexico
Cross-posted at CPRBlog. A US District Court in Louisiana recently ruled, in Gulf Restoration Network v. Jackson, that EPA must decide whether it has to impose new water quality standards for nutrient pollution in the Mississippi River watershed. Although that might seem far afield from the Supreme Court’s greenhouse gas emissions decision in Massachusetts v. […]