Water

The Draft Democratic Platform and the Environment

The Democrats are promising bold climate action but not committing to details.

The Republicans have decided not to update their 2016 platform, but the Democrats now have a draft of their 2020 platform. The platform essentially calls for aggressively moving beyond Obama’s actions (and eliminating Trump’s).  For those who are in a rush, I’ll start with the takeaways. Key Points Here are some of the most important aspects …

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Hot Spots

Climate change isn’t uniform. Some parts of the U.S. are seeing conditions that won’t hit elsewhere for decades.

Friday’s Washington Post had a fascinating article about climate change hotspots within the United States.  The largest one was on the Western Slope of the Rockies, which has already seen 2 °C of warming.  The story is a reminder that the impacts of climate change will be global and yet also very much local. Before …

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When does a groundwater recharge project NOT need a water right?

Shows rainwater dripping off the edge of a roof

by Kate Fritz and Nell Green Nylen

Groundwater recharge projects already play an important role in California. That role is about to expand rapidly, as local groundwater managers begin to take more concrete actions to meet their responsibilities under California’s landmark Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA). As we mentioned in our last post, an important part of developing a successful recharge project …

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Election 2020: Three Months till Election Day

The environmental are high: Trump has axed one regulation every two weeks for four years.

Since taking office, Trump has waffled on some issues and shuffled personnel, but on one thing he has held firm: eradicating legal protection of the environment.  His motto seems to be: No Regulation Left Standing. Something to keep in mind, as we head toward Election Day.  That’s three months away, but some states begin early …

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Water right permitting options for groundwater recharge: Avoiding unintended consequences

by Kate Fritz and Nell Green Nylen

Efforts to boost groundwater recharge are critical to making California’s limited, and increasingly volatile, water resources go further. Recharge is playing a growing role in maintaining groundwater as an effective drought reserve and in slowing or reversing the effects of years of unsustainable groundwater pumping. But implementing recharge projects is not easy. Water managers face …

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Planet Earth as Desert Island: “Lord of the Flies” or “Gilligan’s Island”?

Or in more technical terms, the Tragedy of the Commons? Or its inverse?

Lord of the Flies is a memorable novel about a group of English schoolboys who are marooned on a desert island.  They quickly descend into savagery and violence. The book can be seen as a parable of the philosopher Thomas Hobbes’s view that human life in a state of nature is short, nasty, and brutish. But …

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What Did We Know and When Did We Know It?

Nothing about Trump’s environmental policies has been a surprise. He won anyway.

One thing you can say about Donald Trump is that he didn’t hide the ball.  He told us exactly what he would do about the environment. Many people who say they care about climate change or the environment apparently didn’t care enough to come to the polls and vote for his opponent.  People who liked …

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California Appellate Court Upholds Water Board’s Broad Drought Response Authority

Court of Appeal Rejects Water Users’ Legal Challenge to Board’s Emergency Regulations, Temporary Curtailment Orders

California’s Court of Appeal for the Third Appellate District recently upheld the State Water Resources Control Board’s temporary emergency drought response regulations–enacted in 2014-15–as well as related curtailment orders the Board issued to specific water users to implement those regulations.  In doing so, the Water Board rejected a legal challenge agricultural water users brought against …

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Lessons from the DACA Ruling

The Court’s ruling could have important implications for environmental cases.

The Supreme Court’s ruling in Department of Homeland Security v. UC Regents was great news for 700,000 “Dreamers” who would otherwise face deportation. It also has important  implications for administrative law — and for environmental law cases in particular.  Here are three main takeaways. Requiring Reasoned Explanation.  Chief Justice John Roberts reinforced the principle that …

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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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