Clean Water Act

U.C. Davis Law School to Host “Clean Water Act at 50” Conference

Interdisciplinary Event Will Assess Landmark Law’s Past, Assess Its Future

On Friday, October 7th, the California Environmental Law & Policy Center at U.C. Davis School of Law will convene a major, day-long conference to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the federal Clean Water Act.  The event will assess the progress the U.S. has made over the past half-century in abating water pollution; focus on some …

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Will the Supreme Court Gut the Clean Water Act?

We’re about to find out in an upcoming case.

What wetlands and waterbodies does the Clean Water Act protect? Congress failed to provide a clear answer when it passed the statute, and the issue has been a bone of contention ever since.  The Biden Administration is in the process of issuing a new regulation on the subject. Normally, you’d expect the Supreme Court to …

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Two FERC Cases and Why They Matter

Last week’s D.C. Circuit cases illustrate why environmental lawyers need to understand FERC.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has been called the most important environmental agency that no one has heard of. At the end of last week, the D.C. Circuit decided two undramatic FERC cases that illustrate FERC’s environmental significance. One involved a bailout to coal and nuclear plants, the other involved water quality. The first …

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The Quagmire of Clean Water Act Jurisdiction

The scope of federal jurisdiction over water bodies and wetlands remains as murky as ever.

The Biden Administration announced on Monday that it would not meet a February target date to issue a revised definition of federal jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act. It still plans to issue a revised definition later in the year. That sounds like a very technical issue. But it actually determines the extent to which …

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The U.S. Supreme Court’s Most Important 2020 Environmental Law Decisions

Clean Water Act, CERCLA, Native American Law and Trump’s Border Wall Lead the List

It’s become customary for critics and observers from many disciplines to publish a wide variety of lists at year’s end, nominating the most important or best movies, music, plays, etc. of the preceding year.  Why not follow that tradition in the fields of environmental law and policy? With that objective in mind, I plan over …

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Trump’s Latest Deregulatory Ploy: Emergency Waivers

Shaky legal authority, poor analysis, dubious benefits. What else is new?

In an Executive Order issued last Thursday, Trump told agencies to use emergency waivers to avoid environmental safeguards. The order is legally shaky and unlikely to accomplish much.  Still, it provided a nice photo op. Maybe he should have signed it in front of a church. I’ll talk later about the specifics, but first I’d …

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Guest Contributors Helen Kang and Deborah Sivas: California Should Lead the Nation in Controlling Agricultural Pollution

Agricultural runoff in California

Protection of Drinking Water and Environmental Quality Demands Strong Action

Agricultural runoff is one of the largest sources of pollution in the nation’s waterways. In recent years, scientific journals and the media have been filled with reports of toxic algae blooms and dead zones near and far: The Everglades, Great Lakes, Gulf of Mexico, Chesapeake Bay, and San Francisco Bay-Delta. Agricultural pollution also threatens public …

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Here Today, Gone to Maui

U.S. Supreme Court Issues Environment-Friendly Ruling in Major Clean Water Act Case

This week the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision in the Court’s most important environmental law case of the current Term: County of Maui v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund.  In a somewhat surprising ruling, the justices rejected both sides’ argument over the scope of government authority to regulate water pollution discharges under the federal Clean Water …

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Why is Newsom vetoing SB 1?

Comparing the Governor’s statements with the text of the bill

The California legislature recently passed SB 1, which would translate into state law a range of federal environmental and worker safety standards that were in place before the inauguration of President Trump to protect against federal roll backs in those areas.  However, Governor Newsom has indicated he will veto SB 1, on the grounds that …

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Sidestepping Regulatory Ossification

The regulatory process can take forever. Here are some possible responses.

Some years ago, Tom McGarity coined the phrase “regulatory ossification” to describe the increasingly slow and cumbersome regulatory system.  Since then, the situation has only gotten worse.  As a recent article by Bethany Davis Noll and Richard Revesz points out, significant regulations take an average of four years to issue, and judicial review adds another …

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