The federal judge who in 2016 cleared a constitutional climate case for trial in Eugene has reiterated her position that the youth-led matter should be decided in court. U.S. District Judge Ann Aiken on Monday issued a long-awaited decision that keeps intact the central claims of a lawsuit that asserts the federal government’s policies regarding the use of fossil fuels are contributing to global warming and violating the rights of 21 youth plaintiffs who first sued the government in 2015.
When the California Legislature created the “modern” water rights regulatory system more than a century ago, it focused exclusively on surface water, exempting groundwater from the permitting system. Yet in most watersheds, surface water and groundwater are closely linked. Actions that change one often have an impact on the other. The arbitrary legal divide has made it harder to manage the state’s water. But a recent law and a new court decision have done a better job of connecting surface water and groundwater.
Environmentalists are challenging a court ruling over whether water from the Rio Grande is properly accounted for and being used in beneficial ways as it flows through New Mexico’s most populated region. They say the state’s top water manager needs to do more to reduce use in the Middle Rio Grande Valley, but irrigation officials say they’re already doing the best they can as years of drought have strained resources.
Hemet has filed a federal lawsuit against Dow Chemical and Shell Oil seeking reimbursement for the cost of removing a cancer-causing chemical from the city’s water wells. According to its Sept. 21 suit, the contaminated wells have been tainted by TCP, a “highly toxic substance” used until the 1980s to fumigate soil where crops were grown.
The Hoopa Valley Tribe is suing federal agencies for allegedly failing to reduce the numbers of endangered Coho salmon killed by fisheries in the Pacific Ocean, the tribe announced Wednesday. “Hoopa is making every effort to recover Coho salmon with this lawsuit,” said Vivienna Orcutt, a Hoopa tribal council member.
The LaCroix brand of fizzy water came seemingly out of nowhere in the last few years, propelling its parent company to nearly $1 billion in annual sales and tripling its profits to $149.8 million since 2015. So perhaps it’s natural that the brand would attract hassles, the way noisy parties attract complaints from the neighbors, followed by a knock on the door from the cops. In this world, there’s no gain without pain.
The owners of a Lake Tahoe ski resort in a legal battle with an environmental group over a redevelopment project have failed to persuade a California judge to penalize the conservationists with an order to pay more than $225,000 in attorney bills. Placer County Judge Michael Jones ruled in August against Sierra Watch’s claim the county violated public meeting laws when it approved Alterra Mountain Co.’s expansion at Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows near Tahoe City, California.
The federal government is again asking a judge to suspend proceedings in a climate case scheduled to go to trial in Eugene on Oct. 29. Government attorneys on Friday filed a motion in U.S. District Court in Eugene requesting a stay pending Supreme Court review of the case, which is brought by 21 young people with the support of Eugene nonprofit group Our Children’s Trust.
Pasadena violated state water laws for three years by allowing new homes and commercial buildings to waste water, while failing to file conservation reports with the state resources agency. They also ignored a 25-year-old state law strengthened under the governor’s drought emergency of 2015 that ordered stringent reductions in landscape watering, according to a settlement agreement signed last month.
In a recent decision in litigation over flows and salmon survival in the Scott River system, the California Court of Appeal has ruled that groundwater pumping that diminishes the volume or flow of water in a navigable surface stream may violate the public trust. The public trust does not protect groundwater itself. “Rather, the public trust doctrine applies if extraction of groundwater adversely impacts a navigable waterway to which the public trust doctrine does apply.”
Local agencies that provide water service may impose fees to recover the costs of providing water services. Unlike taxes, which require voter approval prior to adoption, water fees are approved by a local agency’s legislative body. However, under Article XIII D, section 6 of the California Constitution (commonly referred to as Proposition 218), such fees must first overcome majority protest proceedings, where a majority of property owners or customers of record may defeat such fees by filing written protests.
Groundwater depletion is a big problem in parts of California. But it is not the only groundwater problem. The state also has many areas of polluted groundwater, and some places where groundwater overdraft has caused the land to subside, damaging roads, canals and other infrastructure. Near the coast, heavy groundwater pumping has caused contamination by pulling seawater underground from the ocean. But if you wanted to obtain a permit from the state to manage these problems by recharging groundwater, you could be out of luck.
Rep. Jeff Denham, one of the nation’s most vulnerable Republicans, is trying desperately to shut down a state water plan that’s widely disliked in his district. But nothing has worked so far. One thing could: Yet another lawsuit between the Department of Justice and the state of California over the issue.
A federal judge has cleared the way for water transfers from Northern California to the thirsty south San Joaquin Valley, overruling environmentalists who argued the transfers would harm threatened fish.
A Superior Court judge has ordered the Castaic Lake Water Agency, Santa Clarita Valley’s water retailer, to rescind an illegal “special tax” imposed on Santa Clarita Valley water retailers, who passed that rate on to customers.
The Rainbow Municipal Water District, which is the focus of a takeover bid by the larger Fallbrook Public Utilities District (FPUD), has filed a claim against FPUD saying its attempt to absorb Rainbow constitutes a breach of contract.
It looks as if the last oyster may finally be shucked at the Drakes Bay Oyster Co. by the end of December, judging by what both sides in the long legal fight over the future of the farm said in federal court Monday. Then again, maybe not.