New law explicitly authorizes State Water Board to require water users to verify their water rights
The California Legislature has enacted and Governor Gavin Newsom recently signed into law SB 389, an important water law reform measure authored by State Senator Ben Allen. California has one of the most antiquated and outdated water rights systems of any Western state. To put it bluntly, California currently faces a 21st century water supply …CONTINUE READING
Climate Change, Water Rights, Environmental Justice & Federalism Issues Highlighted the Ninth Circuit’s Prodigious Environmental Docket This Year
I’ve shared in previous posts my view that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit is–after the U.S. Supreme Court–the most influential court in the nation when it comes to environmental and natural resources law. That’s true for two related reasons: first, the sprawling Ninth Circuit encompasses nine different states (including California) and …CONTINUE READING
Remembering California Water Law Attorney Clifford Lee
Clifford (Cliff) Lee, one of California’s most knowledgable and respected water law experts, died suddenly late last month. His passing leaves a tremendous void in the field of California water law and policy. After earning his undergraduate degree from U.C. Berkeley, Cliff attended law school at U.C. Davis and quickly became entranced by water law. …CONTINUE READING
When former Colorado Supreme Court Justice Gregory J. Hobbs passed away recently, just weeks shy of his 77th birthday, he left a gaping hole in the hearts of many. Not just family and close friends. But people across the Colorado legal community, the broader Western water community, and a far-flung network that includes Berkeley Law …CONTINUE READING
More frequent heat waves. Droughts. Wildfires. The West is getting a glimpse of its future climate.
The western U.S. is staring climate change in the face. Most of the West is experiencing “severe” or “exceptional” drought. We could be heading into the worst drought period in centuries. Major dam reservoirs are down to record low levels. The region is also in the grips of a record-breaking heatwave. We can expect another …CONTINUE READING
Five books with fresh perspectives on environmental issues.
Law reviews make little effort to track new books, unlike other journals in other disciplines . So it’s pretty much hit-or-miss whether you learn about relevant new books. I wanted to share some interesting finds that have crossed my desk, joined a growing pile of unread books, and then slowly left the pile. The subjects …CONTINUE READING
Some issues are perennial, like property rights v. public rights in water.
I suppose most of you, like me, have never heard of the Watuppa Ponds. But in 1888, a battle broke out over the legality of their use to supply drinking water for a nearby city. The issue closely divided Massachusetts’s highest court, and led to a heated debate in the recently launched Harvard Law Review …CONTINUE READING
India’s legal moves on water put Pakistan on edge
A month after India’s move to exert more direct control over Jammu & Kashmir, the Indian state that occupies part of the larger Kashmir region, the country is also now in a position to exert control – in both illegal and legal ways – over important river waters that Pakistan relies upon to sustain people …CONTINUE READING
H.R. 23 Would Preempt California State Water Law & Supersede Federal, State Environmental Statutes
Quite understandably, the attention of the media, environmental organizations and the general public has been focused on the myriad misadventures of the Trump Administration, now rumbling and stumbling through its fifth month. And, as recounted on Legal Planet since mid-January, those contretemps include a great deal of environmental mischief emanating from the Executive Branch. But it …CONTINUE READING
We are very sorry to report the death of David Getches, who was the Raphael J. Moses Professor of Natural Resources Law at the University of Colorado School of Law. His fields were water law, public land law, environmental law, and Indian law. Professor Getches several books on water law and one on Indiana law. …CONTINUE READING