Water

State regulation of environmental harms on federal lands

California Supreme Court case indicates substantial authority for states to act

Sean has already reported on the recent Rinehart decision by the California Supreme Court, in which the Court concluded that a state law imposing a temporary moratorium on the use of suction dredge equipment in California waterways was not preempted by federal mining law.  Here, I just want to add to Sean’s excellent summary by …

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Dueling California Drought Relief Bills Debated on Capitol Hill

Stark Differences Emerge Between Competing House and Senate Bills

What can and should the federal government do to assist the State of California in weathering the worst drought in recorded state history? While the U.S. House of Representatives is embroiled in a chaotic political debate over selection of a new House Speaker, the more deliberate consideration of new legislation continues apace in the Senate. …

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California and Other Western States See Barriers to Protecting Streams

A new report highlights twelve western states’ efforts to restore stream flows using environmental water transfers

Unnaturally low flows in rivers and streams throughout the western United States have threatened fish and other aquatic species for decades. But restoring flows has proved a significant and complex challenge. A recent report prepared for the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation by Stanford University’s Water in the West Program documents twelve western states’ efforts …

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California Governor Jerry Brown: Environmental Saint or Sinner?

Brown’s National & International Environmental Reputation Disputed by Some California Environmentalists

California Governor Jerry Brown has had a most eventful 2015, especially when it comes to environmental policy.  He started the year fresh from an overwhelming election victory last November, earning him an unprecedented fourth term as California’s chief executive.  Brown began 2015 by declaring a state drought emergency and becoming California’s “educator-in-chief,” repeatedly warning state …

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Could a Riparian Conservation Network increase the ecological resilience of public lands?

A new article suggests river corridors could leverage existing policies to build habitat connectivity

As we try to protect biological diversity for the future, a perpetual challenge is ensuring that the strategies we adopt today will continue to work in the face of changing conditions. How can we design conservation approaches that will be resilient in the face of environmental challenges that will only become more severe in coming years? …

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A Water Rights Database For California’s Future

A proposal to modernize information for management of water resources

In April, a group of us (Richard Roos-Collins, Michael Kiparsky, Nell Green Nylen, Michael Hanemann, and Holly Doremus) wrote a document arguing for the need to develop a more complete and functional source of legal information on California’s water rights. Since then, this proposal has been circulated widely among the California water community. In the spirit of …

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CEQA and the Drought

Republicans are using the drought as an argument for CEQA exemptions

One thing that the deep drought in California has prompted is more discussion of water storage projects like dams. Part of that discussion has been arguments that environmental review pursuant to CEQA should be “streamlined” for water storage projects. A bill to streamline environmental review for two dam projects died in the Assembly this year. …

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More on the Governor’s war on lawns

The Executive Order misses some golden opportunities for the Golden State to get a handle on agricultural water use

As you no doubt know by now, on April Fools’ Day Governor Brown issued an executive order relying on his emergency powers to impose new statewide restrictions on water use. As has been widely noted in the media (for example by the L.A. Times and Sacramento Bee) and by our own Jonathan Zasloff, Executive Order …

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Why Did Conservatives Support Saving Mono Lake?

The Skillful — and Lucky — Alliance Between Locals and Environmentalists

A little more than a year ago, I asked how the Mono Lake Campaign succeeded.  I had previously suggested that a principal cause of the Mono Lake Committee’s success was the enemy: the arrogant, bullying, and reactionary Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. Everyone in the state “knew” that Los Angeles had “stolen” its …

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Rain-Free January Portends Continued California Drought of Increased Severity

Severe Reduction in Sierra Snowpack Another Sign That State’s Worst Drought Just Gets Worse

January 2015 ends with a most dubious distinction: it’s been the driest January in recorded California history.  That’s especially bad news, considering that January has traditionally been the wettest month of the year in the Golden State. According to National Weather Service and California Department of Water Resources (DWR) statistics, the alarming precipitation figures for Northern …

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