California

Parking versus Housing at UC Berkeley

UC Berkeley faces same dilemma as much of rest of California in addressing the housing crisis

UC Berkeley is not immune to California’s housing crisis. Indeed, as the student newspaper noted, the campus “has housing for 22 percent of undergrads and 9 percent of graduate students – vastly lower than the UC average of 38.1 percent for undergraduates and 19.6 percent for graduate students.” Moreover, soaring housing costs have made it …

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California groundwater management, science-policy interfaces, and the legacies of artificial legal distinctions

By Dave Owen and Michael Kiparsky

One of the many noteworthy features of California’s  Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) is that it requires local government agencies to consider and address the effects of groundwater management upon interconnected surface water. That requirement is an important step towards rationalizing California water management, which has long treated groundwater and surface water as separate resources.  …

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Trump Administration’s Cold Water War With California Turns Hot

Feds’ Curious New Lawsuits Against State Water Board Likely Just the Opening Litigation Salvo

When it comes to California water policy, the federal-state relationship has always been both strained and challenging.  That intergovernmental tension harkens back at least to the Reclamation Act of 1902.  In section 8 of this iconic federal statute that transformed the American West, Congress declared that the federal government “shall proceed in conformity with” state …

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More States Are Finally Following California’s RPS Lead

California has long led the push for renewable energy mandates, and others are catching on

California’s renewables portfolio standard (RPS) is a flagship component of the state’s robust portfolio of climate change policies. The RPS is complex, but the basic concept is simple: state law requires electric utilities to procure a minimum percentage of their retail electricity from qualifying renewable sources under rules set by the California Public Utilities Commission. …

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Governance on the Ground—Evaluating Pesticide Regulation in California

California uses more pesticides than any other U.S. state, primarily because of the large acreage of high value specialty crops. Photo credit: Fotokostic, Shutterstock

In a new study, UCLA and USC researchers find that California state and county officials are falling short in evaluating use of agricultural pesticides.

Editor’s note: a new report from researchers at UCLA and USC provides a systematic review of California’s county-level regulation of pesticides. Read the report, a 4-page summary, and a press release.  It is well known that the law on the ground often looks quite different than the law on the books. California’s pesticide regulatory program …

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A Legislative Response to California’s Housing Emergency: Senator Skinner’s SB 330

How to Make a Good Bill Even Better

(This post is co-authored by U.C. Davis Law School Professor Chris Elmendorf)  Last week, as President Trump harrumphed about the faux emergency on our nation’s Southern border, California State Senator Nancy Skinner introduced a potentially transformative bill that addresses California’s real emergency: the ever-escalating cost of housing in the state’s economically productive metropolitan regions. As …

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Cannabis Research Center

New UC Berkeley Research Center Focuses on Issues Around State Legalization of Cannabis

Over the past couple of years, California has moved into the brave new world of fully legalizing (as a matter of state law) recreational and medical cannabis.  That transition was premised in part on promises that legalization would reduce the negative environmental impacts from illegal cannabis cultivation, and would facilitate the development of a sustainable …

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New report on housing entitlement in LA

Report covers regulatory approvals for residential projects in four LA cities in 2014-16

I’ve blogged previously about work that a team here at UC Berkeley (Moira O’Neill, Giulia Gualco-Nelson, and myself) have been doing on studying land-use regulation, environmental law, and housing production in California, to get a better sense of how regulatory processes may be driving the housing crisis in the state, and eventually to produce specific …

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Save the Monarch!

The plight of California’s iconic butterfly highlights the need to overhaul the state’s endangered species law

The Monarch butterfly is an iconic species for Californians.  And it is heading rapidly towards extinction within the state, as the population counts for the California population this year indicate that butterfly numbers fell 86% in a single year, over a 99% drop since the 1980s, and the size of the population is now small …

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What Does Trump’s “Waters of the U.S.” Rollback Mean for California?

It might not be what you’d think.

Last week, the Trump EPA announced its proposed rule to roll back the Obama administration’s 2015 “Waters of the United States” rule (“WOTUS Rule”).  Early in his tenure, Trump had announced his intent to repeal and replace the WOTUS Rule, and the proposal is, as billed, an attempt to replace the existing WOTUS Rule with …

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