Water

The Trump Administration’s Latest Efforts to Hobble the Clean Water Act

Administration’s New Plan to Eviscerate States’ CWA § 401 Certification Authority Is Flawed Procedurally & Substantively

By now, readers of Legal Planet are well aware of President Trump’s ongoing efforts to rescind the Obama Administration’s “Waters of the United States” rule and replace it with a new federal regulation that dramatically circumscribes federal regulatory authority under the Clean Water Act.  My Legal Planet colleagues and I have previously blogged on this […]

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The Surprising Mr. DeSantis

Florida’s GOP Governor proves unexpectedly pro-environmental.

There was little reason to expect much from Governor DeSantis. The GOP candidate for Governor was expected to be Adam Putnam, the Agriculture Commissioner. Instead, due to Trump’s personal intervention, Ron DeSantis snagged the nomination. DeSantis pledged to “reduce bureaucracy, eliminate unreasonable regulations and crack down on lawsuit abuse.” He called himself the #1 conservative […]

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Making Key Policy Decisions in Advance of Droughts

Part 6 in a Series on Improving California Water Rights Administration and Oversight for Future Droughts

It’s hard to respond effectively to a crisis when you don’t have clearly defined priorities.  This is true for sudden-onset crises, like floods and wildfires, and also for slow-onset crises, like droughts. My recent posts have explored why the State Water Resources Control Board (Board) should develop a contingency-based framework to support its drought decisions […]

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Developing a Decision-Support Framework for Curtailment

Part 5 in a Series on Improving California Water Rights Administration and Oversight for Future Droughts

During a drought, California’s limited water supplies should be allocated transparently, efficiently, and predictably in accordance with the priorities that flow from state and federal law.  But what does this mean in practice? What happens when there is not enough surface water to go around in a watershed?  California water rights law says that certain […]

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Groundwater Recharge in the SGMA Era

California clarifies beneficial use guidelines for recharge projects addressing SGMA undesirable results

Implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) was always going to be tricky. Part of the necessary growing pains of SGMA is determining how the revolutionary statute interacts with traditional tenets of water law. As with any other sweeping legislative change, SGMA does not provide direct answers for every practical question which arises as […]

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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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A Contingency-Based Framework to Support Drought Decision Making

Part 4 in a Series on Improving California Water Rights Administration and Oversight for Future Droughts

In my last post, I outlined actions the State Water Resources Control Board (Board) can take to improve its future drought response capabilities. Our core recommendation is for the Board to bring greater predictability, timeliness, and effectiveness to water rights administration and oversight during droughts by proactively developing a contingency-based framework to support its drought […]

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California Adopts New, Welcome Wetlands Protection Rules

State Fills Void Left By Trump Administration’s Weakening of Federal Wetlands Standards

This week California’s State Water Resources Control Board adopted important new rules to protect the state’s remaining wetlands resources.  Enacted after over a decade of Board hearings, workshops and deliberation, those rules are overdue, welcome and critically necessary.  Their adoption is particularly timely now, given the Trump Administration’s wholesale assault on and erosion of federal […]

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Trump’s “Great Honor” to Fund the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative is a Great Falsehood

Trump Mischaracterizes His Administration’s Attempt to Defund Important Program to Protect Environmental Quality in the Great Lakes

Late last week, Donald Trump promised to fully fund the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, a program of the Environmental Protection Agency that provides resources to address environmental quality issues in the Great Lakes. His hollow promise obscures the fact that the Trump administration has worked hard to dismantle this program through taking away its funding, and […]

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