California’s Secretary of State has certified 12 ballot measures (“propositions,” in California election parlance) to appear on the state’s November 6, 2018 general election ballot. Many of those propositions–indeed, fully half of the dozen measures with which state voters will be confronted this fall–involve important environmental policy and legal questions. I’ll write in greater detail […]
Standards for levees, seawalls, and other infrastructure urgently need attention.
The federal government is responsible for responding to major floods and runs the federal flood insurance program. It also has millions of dollars of its own infrastructure at risk from floods. Yet the government is failing to deal effectively with flood risks before the fact. Let’s begin with the levees that are the main defense […]
Can Congress prevent state and federal courts from hearing WaterFix lawsuits?
The journey of California’s proposed delta tunnels project (also known as California WaterFix) has been anything but straightforward and already faces a slew of ongoing legal challenges.[i] Last week, Congress added a different kind of twist when the proposed Department of Interior budget for FY 2019 was introduced in the House Appropriations Committee. The relevant […]
It’s been eight months. What’s happened since the storm?
Hurricane Harvey made landfall in the U.S. on August 25, 2017. That probably seems like ancient history to many Americans who live outside the area. The storm has certainly dropped out of the national media. It’s not easy to find information about how storm recovery is proceeding. But here’s where I could find. Let’s start […]
New article in Nature Sustainability tracks global payments for ecosystems services
In the early 1990s, New York City began paying for land management in the Catskills watershed to ensure safe drinking water for the city, avoiding the cost of building an expensive water treatment plant. New York City provides just one example of a growing number of programs – called payments for ecosystem services (PES) – […]
Michael Kiparsky and Alida Cantor
Water data has become quite a hot topic in California, and rightly so: throughout the state, decision-makers desperately need better information to guide their efforts to better manage this resource. Recent legislation has gotten us to the starting line, but how well new data platforms ultimately serve water management will depend on clear thinking and […]
Maui County can’t evade permitting requirements by sending wastewater to injection wells hydrologically connected to ocean waters
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 […]
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, […]