For the second time in the last 4 years, and the seventh since the Clean Water Act was adopted in 1972, the federal government has revised the definition of the term “Waters of the United States” for the purposes of the federal Clean Water Act. The Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers released a proposed rule Tuesday with the new definition. Like each iteration before it, this one will have broad implications for public agencies and private property owners.
Over the next week and a half, the federal government will make its quarterly offering of public lands for sale to oil and gas developers. Absent from the auction block: more than 1 million acres that the Bureau of Land Management pulled from its December sales after a federal judge temporarily blocked the agency from streamlining the leasing process in sage grouse areas (Greenwire, Oct. 24).
A trio of tiny salamanders could stand in the way of a massive $1.4 billion project to raise the height of Shasta Dam. An environmental organization has filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, asking a judge to force the federal agency to make a determination on whether three salamander species living around Lake Shasta should be protected under the Endangered Species Act.
Palm Desert resident Randy Roberts filed a class-action lawsuit against the Coachella Valley Water District on Dec. 3, claiming the cash-rich agency is illegally taxing non-agricultural homeowners and businesses and has diverted more than $60 million to fund projects that often benefit large farmers. … Roberts, a longtime critic of the water district, charges it has violated state voter-approved laws, including Prop. 13 and Prop. 218, and the constitution.
In a victory for landowners and other regulated entities, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously limited the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s discretion when designating critical habitat under the federal Endangered Species Act. In its Weyerhaeuser Co. v. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service decision last week, the Supreme Court held that only “habitat” may be designated as “critical habitat” under the ESA and that FWS decisions regarding whether to exclude a certain area from a critical habitat designation due to economic considerations are subject to judicial review.
While oil companies built seawalls and elevated their oil rigs to protect critical production infrastructure from the rising sea level, they concealed from the public the knowledge that burning fossil fuels could have catastrophic impacts on the biosphere. That’s what citizens and local governments across the United States are asserting in lawsuits against oil, gas, and coal companies.
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.
If the Salinas Valley moves into a fourth year of drought, issues surrounding water are likely to get very, very complicated, an attorney explained to growers and students Thursday at an agricultural technology “clinic” in Greenfield.
The California Supreme Court has agreed to decide an epic battle over whether the state must condemn and acquire parcels on tens of thousands of acres of private property to conduct preliminary testing for Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposal to construct two large water-conveyance tunnels in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.