Topic: Regulations — California and Federal

Overview

Regulations — California and Federal

In general, regulations are rules or laws designed to control or govern conduct. Specifically, water quality regulations under the federal and state Clean Water Act “protect the public health or welfare, enhance the quality of water and serve the purposes of the Act.”

Aquafornia news U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

News Release: Reclamation releases water reliability in the West report

The Bureau of Reclamation released a summary report providing an assessment of climate change impacts to water uses in the West, including adding a new set of West-wide information based on paleohydrology. The Water Reliability in the West – 2021 SECURE Water Act Report discusses changes and innovative actions across the eight basins identified in the SECURE Water Act.

Aquafornia news The Guardian

One-third of US rivers have changed color in recent decades, research finds

Rivers may seem like immutable features of the landscape but they are in fact changing color over time …The overall significance of the changes are unclear and could reflect various ways in which humans are impacting the environment, said lead author John Gardner, an assistant professor of geology and environmental science at the University of Pittsburgh. One stark example from the study of rapid color change is Lake Mead along the Colorado River.

Aquafornia news Water Education Foundation

Announcement: Foundation resources help you understand groundwater’s vital role in California
Special report on groundwater coming soon

To help you learn more about the importance of groundwater, the Water Education Foundation has an array of educational materials on this vital resource. And next week, the Foundation’s online magazine, Western Water news, will publish a special report examining how two local groundwater agencies are taking different approaches to achieve sustainability in the San Joaquin Valley, one of the most critically overdrafted regions in the state.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

Friday Top of the Scroll: California water operations among Biden agency review plans

California’s tussle with federal authorities over water operations will get a second look under the new administration of President Joe Biden. The 46th president plans to sign a number of executive orders, including one that instructs agency heads to review actions taken under President Donald Trump that “were harmful to public health, damaging to the environment, unsupported by the best available science, or otherwise not in the national interest.” On the list for both the departments of Commerce and Interior is a review of new biological opinions adopted in 2019 governing water delivery in California. 

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Aquafornia news Somach Simmons & Dunn | Attorneys at Law

Blog: Sacramento Superior Court rejects State Water Board’s attempt to apply Water Quality Control Plan to waters not covered by the Clean Water Act

The Sacramento County Superior Court recently issued a final decision in San Joaquin Tributaries Authority v. California State Water Resources Control Board, finding that the State Water Resources Control Board (State Board) is not authorized to adopt a state-level water quality control plan for waters that are not classified as waters of the United States. As a result, the State Board is prohibited from applying the Water Quality Control Plan for Inland Surface Waters and Enclosed Bays and Estuaries of California (Inland Surface Waters WQCP) to wetlands that do not meet the federal definition of waters of the United States.

Aquafornia news Environmental Defense Fund

Blog: After decades of inequity, this woman is bringing long-overlooked voices to California’s land and water decisions

Vicky Espinoza is on a mission. Vicky is passionate about making sure rural, low-income communities and small-scale farmers have a say in land-use and water-management decisions in the San Joaquin Valley. 

Aquafornia news Sierra Sun Times

California Attorney General Becerra joins multistate effort to hold polluters accountable under the clean water act

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra on Monday, as part of a 12-state coalition, submitted comments to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) arguing that its new draft guidance misinterprets the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in County of Maui v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund… In the comment letter, the coalition argues that the EPA’s draft guidance tips the scales in favor of polluters by providing them with additional arguments to avoid regulation under the Clean Water Act, contravenes the purpose of the Act, and conflicts with the Court’s decision in County of Maui.

Aquafornia news KQED

Here’s how Newsom’s proposing to spend $4.1 billion on the climate and environment

The $227 billion budget proposed on Friday by Gov. Gavin Newsom includes $4.1 billion in spending on a suite of environmental initiatives meant to fight climate change, gird California against devastating wildfires, reduce smog, and bolster the adoption of clean vehicles on the state’s roads.

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Aquafornia news Pacific Institute

Blog: Water recommendations for the Biden administration

With so much going on in the world right now, why should water be a priority for the Biden administration? The fact is that water challenges in the U.S. are severe and worsening. In November, we hosted a webinar on our recommendations for the next administration, taking audience questions on topics ranging from the nation’s outdated infrastructure to the threat to national security from rising international conflict over water. Read on for our answers to some of these questions.

Aquafornia news Tahoe Daily Tribune

Nevada environmental agency funds water projects in Tahoe

The Nevada Division of Environmental Protection announced that $1 million in Clean Water Act grant funds provided by the U.S Environmental Protection Agency will be used to complete 11 projects, including two in Lake Tahoe, to reduce “nonpoint source pollution” and improve water quality across the state.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: A wish list for water collaboration with the Biden‒Harris administration

Cooperation between California and the federal government was at a low ebb over the past four years. With a new administration in the nation’s capital, what should be top water priorities for collaboration between the state and the federal government? The PPIC Water Policy Center recently discussed this issue with a diverse group of experts.

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Aquafornia news Agri-Pulse

California’s water wars serve as a ‘bellwether’ for Colorado River negotiations

After three decades of water wars in Southern California, policy experts hope a new era in collaborative management will offer inspiration for the ongoing and complex negotiations over Colorado River allocations amid a historic and deepening drought. “Those lessons need to catapult us forward,” said Patricia Mulroy, former head of the Southern Nevada Water Authority, during the fall meeting for the Association of California Water Agencies in December. “These states, these constituencies, these communities cannot afford for these discussions to crater. Failure is not an option.”

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Aquafornia news Bureau of Reclamation

News release: Reclamation finalizes M&I water rate-setting policy

Today, the Bureau of Reclamation announces the finalization of the Municipal and Industrial Water Rate-setting Policy for Central Valley Project water contractors. This accomplishment provides agreement between CVP contractors, Reclamation, and the Department of the Interior regarding the recovery of the CVP cost for M&I water users.

Aquafornia news Center for Biological Diversity

News release: Lawsuit launched to protect 11 species kept on waiting list by Trump administration

The Center for Biological Diversity filed a formal notice of its intent to sue outgoing Interior Secretary David Bernhardt for delaying protection for 11 species that have been identified as warranting endangered status but placed on a candidate list instead. The species that have been kept waiting for protection are the monarch butterfly, eastern gopher tortoise, Peñasco least chipmunk, longfin smelt, Colorado Delta clam, three Texas mussels, magnificent ramshorn snail, bracted twistflower and northern spotted owl.

Aquafornia news Vox

Why the American West is fighting for water protections

Since the Clean Water Act passed in 1972, the assumption has been that all waterways are protected from pollution… But the Trump administration has managed to successfully chip away at environmental protections in the US, including actions like 2020’s implementation of the Navigable Waters Protection Rule. The rule redefined which waterways are under the jurisdiction of and protected by the Clean Water Act, omitting many wetlands and non-perennial water sources, which means some areas of the country are impacted more than others. 

Aquafornia news JD Supra

Blog: EPA muddies the water on permitting discharges to groundwater ‎and what the Biden administration will likely do about it

The EPA did issue a draft guidance memorandum relating to the County of Maui decision, notice of which was published in the Federal Register on December 10, ‎‎2020. However, instead of clarifying the seven criteria stated by the Court in County of ‎Maui or the application of those criteria, the EPA took seven and half pages to state ‎three truisms and added an additional criteria not stated in the Court’s decision ‎bringing the total number of factors to consider in determining whether a discharge to ‎ground water is the functional equivalent of a discharge to navigable waters to eight.

Aquafornia news State Water Resources Control Board

News release: Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board appoints Mike Plaziak to executive officer

Michael Raymond Plaziak, a water program expert and geologist with a wide range of experience in water issues in both the military and public sector, has been appointed executive officer of the Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board. Plaziak, who has been serving as acting executive officer at the Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board, stepped into his new role Dec. 14. He replaces former long-time executive officer Patty Kouyoumdjian, who retired Aug. 21.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: Four water stories to watch in 2021

Now that the calendar has flipped to January 2021, it’s time to say goodbye to the mess of the past year, yes? … The pandemic’s economic dislocation continues to reverberate among those who lost work. Severe weather boosted by a warming climate is leaving its mark in the watersheds of the Southwest [including the Colorado River]. And President-elect Biden will take office looking to undo much of his predecessor’s legacy of environmental deregulation while also writing his own narrative on issues of climate, infrastructure, and social justice….Litigation over toxic PFAS compounds found in rivers, lakes, and groundwater is already active. Lawsuits are likely to continue at a brisk pace…

Aquafornia news Cox Castle & Nicholson

Blog: Court rules against California’s wetlands regulatory program

The Sacramento Superior Court delivered a serious blow to California’s regulatory program for the protection of wetlands and other waters of the State. The State’s wetland protection program (commonly known as the “Procedures”), which became effective in May, was intended to create a regulatory structure to fill the gap left by recent Trump administration regulations that dramatically narrowed Federal wetland protections.  Ironically, the court’s order prohibits the State of California from applying the Procedures to any waters other than those already protected by Federal law, thus leaving in place the very regulatory gap that the Procedures were intended to fill.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Bernhardt’s ‘plan for 1,461 days’ and one remarkable year

Interior Secretary David Bernhardt started off 2020 empowering his most controversial public lands deputy, a move that a federal judge later deemed “unlawful.” He’s ending the year in quarantine, having tested positive for COVID-19. In between these bleak-sounding bookends, the 51-year-old Bernhardt rewrote how the Interior Department works. While the results get mixed reviews, and in some cases may get erased by the incoming Biden administration, 2020 was undeniably consequential for the department.

Aquafornia news AgNet West

Critical habitat definition and exclusions finalized under ESA rules

A new habitat definition has been finalized by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the National Marine Fisheries Service. The final rule dictating how a habitat is determined will be used for identifying critical habitat under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The updated definition will go into effect in 2021. There had previously not been a clear and decisive definition outlining what is to be considered a habitat under the ESA.

Aquafornia news Colorado Springs Gazette

Monday Top of the Scroll: Colorado River management may change under Biden administration

The new Biden administration could take action on the Colorado River that would go well beyond the president-elect’s term in office. The week of Dec. 14, the seven states that are part of the Colorado River Compact began the first step for renegotiating guidelines that will decide how much water the three lower basin states and Mexico will get from Lake Mead, on the Arizona-Nevada border, and from Mead’s source, the Colorado River.

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Aquafornia news Office of the Attorney General

News release: Attorney General Becerra continues to challenge Trump administration’s unlawful assault on the Clean Water Act

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra joined a coalition of 15 attorneys general in filing an amicus brief in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts in support of a lawsuit by environmental organizations challenging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers rule redefining “waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act.

Aquafornia news Vanguard Law Magazine

Alf W. Brandt – California State Assembly: His water world runneth over

Water—it’s an issue that can be all-consuming for a lawyer, and for much of Alf W. Brandt’s career it seemed that way. Some geo-pundits believe the next major war will be fought over water, not oil. At the very least, its use or misuse can divide even the most civil community. Which shouldn’t be the case, Brandt emphasizes while taking on a philosopher’s tone during an autumn interview with Vanguard.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Friday Top of the Scroll: Biden picks Haaland, a Native American, to head Interior

President-elect Joe Biden will nominate Deb Haaland, the freshman representative from New Mexico, to lead the Interior Department, making history by selecting the first Native American to oversee the agency that manages millions of acres of federal land and the Bureau of Indian Affairs, according to a person familiar with the decision.

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Aquafornia news NPR

Trump loosens water efficiency rules for showerheads, washers, dryers

The U.S. Department of Energy has finalized two new rules that offer a win to President Trump in his personal crusade to roll back water efficiency standards on appliances like showerheads. Trump frequently has bemoaned what he views as insufficient water pressure with newer appliances. The new rules, announced Tuesday, loosen water regulations on showerheads and for washers and dryers. The Trump administration heralded the standards as a victory for the “quality of life” of Americans.

Aquafornia news Meeting of the Minds

Blog: Building resilience & addressing inequities in small, underperforming drinking water systems

California has many small systems compared to other states. However, California has about the same percentage of underperforming small systems with problems delivering safe water as most other states. Thus, the lessons learned from characterizing and solving the problems in California may be transferable to other regions, nationally and internationally.

Aquafornia news The Washington Post

AQUAFORNIA BREAKING NEWS: Rep. Deb Haaland to be first Native American interior secretary

President-elect Joe Biden has tapped Deb Haaland, a Democratic congresswoman from New Mexico, to serve as the first Native American interior secretary in a historic pick for a department that oversees the country’s vast natural resources, including tribal lands.

Aquafornia news New Times San Luis Obispo

What lurks beneath: PG&E and water board reach draft settlement over water flushed back into ocean from Diablo Canyon power plant

PG&E has agreed to pay $5.9 million to a local nonprofit as part of a tentative settlement between the company and water regulators that resolves a long-running investigation into Diablo Canyon Power Plant and its cooling system’s impact on the marine environment. The draft settlement is the result of more than 20 years of investigation and monitoring at the nuclear power plant site. 

Aquafornia news Water Tech Online

California company to pay $390k fine for Clean Water Act violations

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently announced that a California manufacturing company will pay $390,000 for violations of the Clean Water Act. Parker-Hannifin of Oxnard was found to be improperly discharging wastewater from its membrane and filter manufacturing facility into the City of Oxnard’s sewer system. As part of this settlement, Parker-Hannifin will spend approximately $510,000 on equipment upgrades at its facility.

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Blog: Quest for water in the Kern River continues

The steady drumbeat of support to get more water flowing in the Kern River through Bakersfield continued Tuesday at the State Water Resources Control Board. During the public comment portion of the meeting three speakers from Bakersfield and Kern County’s political realm urged board members to finally hear — and grant — a decade-old petition by the City of Bakersfield to appropriate water on the river to run through the heart of town.

Aquafornia news Arizona Public Media

Arizona unveils draft legislation to create surface water protections

The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality is seeking public feedback on its draft legislation to establish a set of regulations to protect surface water statewide. The changes implemented by the Trump administration earlier this year dramatically curtailed the list of waters that fall under the Clean Water Act, excluding a vast number of streams, washes and creeks from federal pollution protection. Importantly for arid Arizona, ephemeral waters – those that only flow after rain or snow – are no longer protected.

Aquafornia news U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

News Release: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and NOAA Fisheries finalize regulatory definition of habitat under Endangered Species Act

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service have finalized a regulatory definition of the term “habitat” that will be used for designating critical habitat under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The definition is part of the efforts of the Trump Administration to balance effective, science-based conservation with common-sense policy designed to bring the ESA into the 21st century. 

Aquafornia news E&E News

New contenders emerge for Biden’s EPA administrator

The Washington parlor game has revved up as more candidates are in the mix to be President-elect Joe Biden’s EPA administrator. Mary Nichols, the outgoing chair of the California Air Resources Board, has been considered a top contender for Biden’s EPA administrator. She, however, has faced opposition from Republicans as well as from environmental justice groups in her state.

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Aquafornia news Coachella Valley Water District

Press Release: Estrada reappointed to California’s Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund advisory group

Cástulo Estrada, vice president of the board of directors of Coachella Valley Water District, has been reappointed to the Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund Advisory Group, as announced by the State Water Resources Control Board.

Aquafornia news JD Supra

Blog: EPA’s Clean Water Act groundwater guidance says little, will likely be rescinded

EPA’s recent draft guidance memorandum on applying the Supreme Court’s decision in County of Maui v. Hawai’i Wildlife Fund provides little clarity for determining when a release to groundwater is the “functional equivalent” of a direct discharge such that it requires an NPDES permit. Instead, the guidance largely stresses how the Maui decision did not fundamentally change permitting under the Clean Water Act, while explaining how permit writers might consider system design and performance in assessing functional equivalence.

Aquafornia news The Appeal-Democrat

Yuba Water to meet with State Water Board regarding issues in lawsuit

Representatives from the Yuba Water Agency plan to meet with members of the State Water Resources Control Board to discuss certain requirements imposed by a recent water quality certification that is expected to cost the agency anywhere from $500 million to $1 billion to implement in order to continue operations along the Yuba River, which resulted in Yuba Water filing a lawsuit in both state and federal court in November.

Aquafornia news SF Gate

State water officials levy $6.4m fine against luxury resort

The company behind a luxury resort and residential project near Healdsburg is facing a $6.4 million fine over dozens of alleged water quality violations involving streams that feed into the Russian River, according to state water officials. 

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Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Monday Top of the Scroll: Feds defend permanent water contracts to benefit agriculture

Defending the decision to give farm irrigation districts permanent access to low-cost, federally pumped water in California, a Justice Department lawyer urged a federal judge to flush a Native American tribe’s lawsuit against the endless entitlements. The Hoopa Valley Tribe sued the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation in August, claiming the Trump administration’s conversion of 14 time-limited contracts for Central Valley Project water into permanent deals violated a host of federal laws. 

Aquafornia news The Hill

EPA guidance may exempt some water polluters from Supreme Court permit mandate

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Tuesday released a draft guidance that interprets a Supreme Court decision in a way that may exempt some facilities from needing permits to pollute groundwater. The EPA’s new draft guidance says that whether a pollution discharge into groundwater should be considered a “functional equivalent” depends on “what happens to the discharged pollutant over that time and distance traveled” to the regulated body of water.

Aquafornia news San Mateo Daily Journal

Feds, Cargill appeal Redwood City salt pond ruling

Seeking to overturn a federal district court determination that the Cargill salt ponds in Redwood City are covered by federal Clean Water Act protections, the Environmental Protection Agency under the Trump administration and Cargill Inc. representatives filed appeals to the ruling this week. 

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Will water unite us?

Shortly after the networks called the 2020 presidential race for Joe Biden, a list of four priorities appeared on the president-elect’s transition website. Certain observers noticed a common thread — an undercurrent, if you will — that knitted these priorities together: water. Water, which washes hands during the pandemic. Water, which is needed for factories to produce goods, farms to grow crops, and cities to reboot. Water, which has sometimes been denied to communities of color or delivered in polluted form. And water, which is how a warming planet will wreak much of its havoc.

Aquafornia news E&ENews

Trump’s ‘QAnon of water projects’: destined for death?

The Trump administration made a splash last month announcing it was moving ahead with enlarging one of California’s largest dams to provide the drought-stricken state’s farmers more water. But state officials and conservationists have another message for the outgoing administration: Not so fast. The Bureau of Reclamation on Nov. 20 finished its environmental review of raising the 600-foot Shasta Dam in Northern California by 18.5 feet. It would be the Trump administration’s largest water infrastructure project…

Aquafornia news State Water Resources Control Board

News release: Aquatic toxicity plan will upgrade protections for fish, other aquatic life

The State Water Resources Control Board approved a comprehensive plan to ensure lab testing and analysis for toxicity in waterways are completed using the same protocols and standards statewide. This will help address toxicity in California’s waterways and significantly improve protections for fish and other aquatic life.

Aquafornia news Bay Nature

California commits to 30% by 2030 — what does that mean?

On October 7 California Governor Gavin Newsom ordered the state to create a new California Biodiversity Collaborative and conserve 30 percent of its land and coastal waters by 2030. Now comes the hard part: figuring out which 30 percent of California, and making it clear what it means to truly “conserve” it.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Transition: Meet Biden’s water experts

Several former Obama EPA and Interior Department officials on President-elect Joe Biden’s transition team bring with them deep expertise in water policy that could come in handy as the incoming administration plots policy goals and actions to undo Trump administration rollbacks.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Audit of CalGEM says California oil regulators issued improper permits

California oil regulators ignored their own regulations and issued improper permits for hundreds of new wells last year, according to an audit … finalized this week. … The audit was requested after stories in The Desert Sun revealed that CalGEM employees used so-called “dummy” folders to approve new injection wells for several oil companies that do risky steam injection.

Aquafornia news Ridgecrest Daily Independent

Council, IWVGA agree on recycled water

If an options agreement between the [Ridgecrest] City Council and Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority comes to fruition, recycled water from the city’s wastewater facility could help balance the groundwater basin… Both the council and the groundwater authorities at their respective meetings last week approved the option agreement between the two parties for recycled wastewater.

Aquafornia news Redding Record-Searchlight

Groups bash Trump administration report on raising height of Shasta Dam

While Republican members of Congress praised the most recent step toward approving raising the height of Shasta Dam, fishing and environmental groups criticized it as the illegal actions of a “lame duck federal agency.”

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Aquafornia news California Sportfishing Protection Alliance

Blog: CSPA opposes Turlock and Modesto Irrigation Districts’ petition for waiver of Clean Water Act

Joining a growing list, Turlock and Modesto Irrigation Districts filed a Petition with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission asking that the commission find that the State of California has waived certification under the Clean Water Act. … The Districts are seeking a new FERC license for two hydropower projects on the Tuolumne River, the Don Pedro Project and the La Grange Project.

Aquafornia news Voice of San Diego

Pipeline plan takes a small step forward (with some drama)

Things got a little wild at the San Diego County Water Authority meeting last week when its 36 directors argued over whether they should spend more money studying a controversial $5 billion pipeline to the Colorado River. Outrage after leaders apparently skipped over female directors waiting to add comments during a discussion period sparked some to change their vote on the matter.

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Tribes battle agencies, old policies to restore fire practices

By burning and brushing, nurturing important plants and keeping lands around their homes clear of dead brush and debris, Native peoples carefully stewarded the lands to sustain the biodiverse ecologies California is known for. Their work resulted in a richly productive landscape that provided food and habitat for not only humans but many land, air and water animals. That included the salmon, a staple of tribes in the West for millennia. All that changed when California became a U.S. state in 1850.

Aquafornia news Monterey County Weekly

State water penalty kicks in as Cal Am misses deadline on desalination plant construction

A recent exchange of letters between a public utility and a state water authority highlights the continued stalemate in the effort by the Monterey Peninsula to develop a new water supply and end the overdrafting of the Carmel River.

Aquafornia news NBC San Diego

Homeowners can apply for rebates to transform their landscape

Residents in the San Diego County Water Authority’s service area can apply to get a rebate of $3 for every square-foot of lawn they replace with drought-tolerant plants.

Aquafornia news Orange County Breeze

California Water Commission hosting water conveyance workshops in December, January

As it explores a potential state role in funding conveyance projects, the Commission seeks public input on criteria for assessing resilience, public benefits of conveyance, and financing mechanisms. The workshops are not associated with the proposal to improve conveyance through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg CityLab

Harvesting rainwater in a desert city

In September, Tucson declared a climate emergency, setting the ambitious goal of going carbon neutral by 2030. The desert city has gradually implemented policies over the past decade to further rainwater harvesting with the aim of bolstering conservation, lowering water bills and creating more green spaces.

Aquafornia news Water Finance & Management

EPA receives 67 new requests for WIFIA financing

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has received 67 letters of interest in response to the agency’s 2020 Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act Notice of Funding Availability. A total of $9.2 billion was requested this year — the largest amount ever requested through the WIFIA program.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: Trump environmental war against California ran deep. Here’s how Biden changes everything

It will take months if not longer for the new administration to substitute its own environmental regulations for Trump’s rules on air, water, land stewardship and other issues. Meanwhile, groups aligned with the Trump administration plan on continuing their fight.

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Aquafornia news GVWire.com

Look up: Helicopter will dangle electromagnet array over valley this week

If you look up into [San Joaquin] Valley skies this week and see a large, oddly shaped device hanging from a helicopter, don’t be alarmed. It’s part of a research project to map underground water supplies. Beginning Monday, flyovers are expected in areas west and south of Fresno – including Fowler, Kingsburg, Lemon Cove, Orange Cove, Orosi, Parlier, Piedra, Reedley, Sanger, Selma, Woodlake.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Video: Building a water-resilient California

What are key California water priorities for the coming year, in light of ongoing disruptions from the pandemic, the recession, lingering drought, and a record-breaking fire season? The PPIC Water Policy Center brought together three panels of experts to discuss possibilities at our annual water priorities conference.

Aquafornia news Action News Now

Lake Oroville needs and safety assessment released

The Department of Water Resources recently published a summary report of a comprehensive needs assessment of safety at Oroville Dam. It comes after the reconstruction of the spillways that were damaged and failed in 2017.

Aquafornia news Sonoma Index Tribune

Sanitation district error leads to tax bill overcharge

Property owners in the Sonoma Valley generally receive property tax bills in early October, which includes a lengthy list of percentages levied for various bonds, and direct charges for district fees such as fire, health care and the Sonoma Valley County Sanitation District. But for the third time in seven years, said Sonoma resident Scott Pace, that sanitation district charge has been inaccurate.

Aquafornia news Western Water

Monday Top of the Scroll: Milestone Colorado River management plan mostly worked amid epic drought, review finds

Twenty years ago, the Colorado River’s hydrology began tumbling into a historically bad stretch. … So key players across seven states, including California, came together in 2005 to attack the problem. The result was a set of Interim Guidelines adopted in 2007… Stressing flexibility instead of rigidity, the guidelines stabilized water deliveries in a drought-stressed system and prevented a dreaded shortage declaration by the federal government that would have forced water supply cuts.

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Aquafornia news Paradise Post

Paradise Irrigation District request for FEMA funds on Reservoir B gains state support

The Paradise Irrigation District was told on Thursday morning that the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services agreed that the district’s request that its Reservoir B Replacement project qualifies for Federal Emergency Management Agency funding as it relates to the Camp Fire. The reservoir was damaged in the fire.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

How to comment on sustainable groundwater plans in Madera

After decades of new and deeper wells, degraded water quality and groundwater level declines, residents in the [Madera] area have a chance to influence how local groundwater will be managed and used for decades to come — and the deadline to participate is quickly approaching.

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Conservationists challenge ‘destructive’ Central California dam project

A proposed dam in California’s Central Valley is billed as a vital agricultural resource. But conservationists say it would also flood important cultural and recreational sites for surrounding communities and destroy wildlife habitat.

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Aquafornia news Action News Now

Sacramento River salmon restoration will continue with new $10M federal grant

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation has provided a $10 million grant to Chico State and its partners to re-establish juvenile salmon and salmonid habitats along the Sacramento River.

Aquafornia news Somach Simmons & Dunn

Blog: Is third time the charm for Klamath dam removal project?

On Nov. 17, California, Oregon, PacifiCorp, and the Yurok and Karuk Tribes announced a new agreement with the Klamath River Renewal Corporation to reaffirm KRRC’s status as dam removal entity and provide additional funding for the removal of four hydroelectric dams on the Klamath River. The agreement is the latest development in a decade-long effort…

Aquafornia news San Joaquin Valley Sun

Westlands celebrates habitat restoration following third straight year of finding zero Delta Smelt

Westlands Water District announced Wednesday that it recently completed the Lower Yolo Restoration Project, which restored the habitat for fish and other wildlife species in part of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. … The land had been previously used for cattle grazing, and now it has transformed into tidal marsh, riparian and upland buffer habitat. 

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Aquafornia news U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

News release: Trump administration finalizes Shasta Dam raise plan to increase water storage for Californians and the environment

The Trump Administration Thursday released the Shasta Lake Water Resources Investigation Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement to increase water storage capacity in the Shasta Lake reservoir by 634,000 acre-feet,

Aquafornia news New Times San Luis Obispo

SLO County removes 37,000 acres from Paso groundwater pumping moratorium

Fewer properties over the Paso Robles Groundwater Basin will be subject to severe water restrictions after the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors voted on Nov. 17 to revise the basin’s “area of severe decline,” eliminating roughly 37,000 acres.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

Federal water rule expected to stay murky through Biden term

A Biden administration won’t be able to untangle the legal and regulatory “mess” under part of the Clean Water Act that determines which streams, wetlands and other waters get federal protection, legal scholars and litigators say.

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Aquafornia news Dredging Today

Malibu Creek project one step closer

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District and its partner, the California Department of Parks and Recreation, Angeles District, are one step closer on a project to restore Malibu Creek’s ecosystem after receiving support from the Corps’ top brass.

Aquafornia news Ceres Courier

Opinion: Sacramento fiddles while 31.7% of California is lacking in water supply

Two key projects that the bond measure was passed to help fund, Sites Reservoir and Temperance Flat Reservoir, have stalled. Without the public breathing down their neck in a severe drought, the state has managed to treat the reservoirs as back burner issues.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Historic deal refreshes plans for major dam removal

America’s largest dam removal project has been brought back to life with a new agreement among California, Oregon, tribes and a utility owned by billionaire Warren Buffett. The decadeslong effort to remove four dams on the Klamath River in Northern California that have had a devastating impact on salmon runs had appeared in danger following an unexpected July regulatory order.

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Aquafornia news Napa Valley Register

Environmental group threatens to sue St. Helena over groundwater extraction

Grant Reynolds, a director of Water Audit California, delivered a letter to the city on Monday criticizing its use of the Stonebridge wells for municipal use and “a pattern of exercising no discretion” in issuing permits for new wells.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Agencies unite to fight troublesome mussels

The Trump administration Wednesday announced a newly strengthened team effort to combat invasive mussels.

Aquafornia news The Washington Post

U.S. Forest Service finalizes rule that minimizes public say in logging and roadbuilding in forests

The rule change, which goes into effect Thursday, gives Forest Service officials authority to use loopholes called categorical exclusions to bypass NEPA requirements. Categorical exclusions are projects deemed to have no environmental impact, and as the rule is written, they can be applied across the nearly 200 million acres of forest that the Forest Service manages…Forests are a source of drinking water for more than 150 million people.

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Aquafornia news GVWire.com

Zero Delta smelt found in latest search; new habitat hopes to change that

An annual search for a tiny endangered and contentious fish in the sprawling California Delta has once again come up empty. The state’s annual Fall Midwater Trawl found no Delta smelt in September’s sampling of the critical waterway. … Hoping to reverse the trend, Westlands Water District and the California Department of Water Resources announced completion of a Delta habitat restoration project on Wednesday.

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Aquafornia news CalMatters

Thursday Top of the Scroll: Well water throughout California contaminated with ‘forever chemicals’

In the weeks before the coronavirus began tearing through California, the city of Commerce made an expensive decision: It shut down part of its water supply. Like nearly 150 other public water systems in California, the small city on the outskirts of Los Angeles had detected “forever chemicals” in its well water.

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Aquafornia news State Water Resources Control Board

News release: Years-long struggle for safe water to end at Coachella Valley elementary school

Children and staff at Westside Elementary School in Thermal have had to rely on bottled water due to issues from an aging well. But change is here. Thanks to a $880,155 grant from the Safe and Affordable Funding for Equity and Resilience (SAFER) program, a consolidation project recently broke ground, granting Westside Elementary access to the Coachella Valley Water District and a reliable source of clean water.

Aquafornia news E&E News

House Democrats aim to resurrect PFAS package

House Democrats are working to reintroduce major legislation targeting toxic chemicals singled out by President-elect Joe Biden as a priority for his administration.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: California, Oregon will take over dams on Klamath River – and tear them down

Gov. Gavin Newsom and his Oregon counterpart signed a landmark deal Tuesday to take control of four aging dams targeted for removal on the Lower Klamath River, an agreement designed to push the controversial $450 million plan over the finish line. … The agreement “ensures that we have sufficient backing” to get the four dams demolished, said Chuck Bonham, director of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

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Aquafornia news Water Finance & Management

Senators propose level EPA funding for 2021, no WIFIA cuts

The U.S. EPA’s water infrastructure financing programs would be in line for approximately level funding next year under a plan for FY21 appropriations released by Senate Republicans last week. … The Republicans’ proposal would provide EPA with just under $9.1 billion next year, roughly in line with the agency’s FY20 appropriation.

Aquafornia news E&E News

How Biden could undo Trump’s water regulations

The incoming Biden administration is widely expected to undo President Trump’s regulatory rollbacks on a range of water rules including stream and wetland protections, drinking water contamination, and the permitting of controversial energy and flood projects.

Aquafornia news Water & Wastes Digest

Benefits bubble up: Wastewater treatment

Bear Republic Brewing Company started by trucking three 6,000-gallon trucks of waste from the Cloverdale brewery location to a facility in Oakland roughly 90 miles away one-way. This solution was simply unsustainable for many reasons, and Bear Republic eventually partnered with Cambrian Innovation to install two anaerobic reactors on site.

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Aquafornia news The Mendocino Voice

Groundwater agency discusses how to manage future of Ukiah Valley Basin

Plans to regulate groundwater for the first time ever in the Ukiah Valley Basin are moving forward. And though the details are wonky and a little esoteric, the results could affect water and ag policy for years to come. Last week, the Ukiah Valley Basin Groundwater Sustainability Agency discussed how their mammoth project of sustainably managing the groundwater is coming along.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: New laws address water affordability and wildfire risks

The COVID-19 pandemic and related economic turbulence forced the state legislature and Governor Newsom to make tough decisions this year about which issues to prioritize and which to sideline. … Despite the challenging circumstances, several high-priority bills covering safe drinking water and wildfire risk reduction were enacted.

Aquafornia news Santa Ynez Valley News

Surveyors take to air to see underground over Santa Ynez River Valley Groundwater Basin

A helicopter making low-level passes over the Santa Ynez Valley towing a large hexagonal frame is using a technology first developed in World War II to peer as far as 1,400 feet below the surface to map the groundwater basin.

Aquafornia news Klamath Falls Herald & News

What a Biden Administration could mean for Klamath water

The last three administrations have been active in Klamath Basin issues regardless of political party. Negotiations for a basin-wide agreement began under the Bush Administration and continued under the Obama Administration until faltering in the House of Representatives — though each president’s approach has varied. Dan Keppen, executive director of the Family Farm Alliance, said Biden’s experience in the Obama Administration could prove an asset, if he brings a similar approach.

Aquafornia news E&E News

On climate, Biden urged to follow the ‘California agenda’

California sees itself as a national leader in the fight against climate change, especially during the Trump administration. Now, postelection, green advocates see the state as a guidebook President-elect Joe Biden can follow.

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Aquafornia news Marysville Appeal-Democrat

Yuba Water files lawsuit against State Water Resources Control Board

The Yuba Water Agency is in the process of applying for a new license to continue its hydroelectric operations along the Yuba River, but agency leaders say some requirements issued by the State Water Resources Control Board threaten the effort by making it too costly. The agency filed lawsuits in state and federal court Friday to essentially vacate the state board’s requirements to obtain what is called a water quality certification.

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Aquafornia news Ridgecrest Daily Independent

Council to talk agreement with Indian Wells Groundwater Authority for recycled water

The Ridgecrest City Council Nov. 18 will discuss entering into an agreement with the Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority regarding treated wastewater. … The agreement would be for five years, during which the city would provide for sale to the IWVGA available recycled water produced at its wastewater treatment plant upon 30-day notice to the city.

Aquafornia news Malibu Times

Army Corps of Engineers signs off on Rindge Dam removal

Removal of the 90-year-old Rindge Dam from Malibu Canyon — a long-anticipated, multi-million-dollar project — moved a crucial step closer to reality on Friday, Nov. 13, when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced the project’s report was signed and sent to Congress for funding.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Bernhardt order gives states veto authority over Land and Water Conservation Fund

A new order from Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, published Friday afternoon, would, among other things, essentially give state and local jurisdictions veto power over how communities spend and match grants through the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which funds access to recreation in states and federal land acquisitions.

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Aquafornia news Politico

Friday Top of the Scroll: How California will shape U.S. environmental policy under Biden

“Probably water allocation and climate change would be the two big pivots and increased opportunity for collaboration between California and the federal government after 4 years of conflicts and really outright warfare,” said Rick Frank, a former California chief deputy attorney general. He is now a professor at UC Davis law school.

Aquafornia news Somach Simmons & Dunn

Blog: Court determines plaintiff not required to exhaust administrative remedies in Proposition 218 challenge

The Court of Appeal for the Second Appellate District recently ruled that a plaintiff challenging the method that a special district uses to calculate rates in a judicial action need not first present her evidence at the Proposition 218 public hearing regarding an increase in the rates.

Aquafornia news The Business Journal

Farmers donate money to help dairy in fight with city

The Tulare County Farm Bureau presented a check for $65,000 to Ben Curti and Tessa Hall of Curtimade Dairy to assist in their legal fees as they defend against accusations of groundwater pollution from the city of Corcoran…

Aquafornia news Stanford Bill Lane Center for the American West

Blog: Central Valley communities struggle for drinking water: Q&A with Felicia Marcus

As chair of the California State Water Resources Control Board, Felicia Marcus had to confront the issue directly. Marcus, who is now the William C. Landreth Visiting Fellow at Stanford’s Water in the West program, headed the EPA’s Southwest Region under President Bill Clinton. … Here are her answers about what has been done and what still needs to be done to untangle the physical, financial and political barriers blocking fair access to clean drinking water in California.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Overlooked Army Corps rulemaking would shrink federal stream protections

The Army Corps of Engineers … is considering another rule change that would also shrink federal protection of small streams, ecologists and lawyers say. The Corps said in its proposal it is acting in response to the president’s order to review regulations that burden energy development. Some of the proposed changes will have essentially the same consequence as the Trump administration’s contraction of the Clean Water Act…

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Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

California is making progress on safe water for all, but work remains

A first-of-its kind law set up a new fund and program to improve access to safe and affordable drinking water in communities like East Orosi. … But according to a new report from the state’s Legislative Analyst’s Office, the road ahead is long — and expensive.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

What is the state’s role in financing conveyance projects?

On July 28, Gov. Newsom issued the final water resilience portfolio which calls for actions to meet California water needs through the 21st Century. Specifically, Action 19.4 directs the Water Commission to assess the state’s role in financing conveyance projects that could help meet needs in a changing climate. At their October meeting, commissioners began the work set out for them in the portfolio…

Aquafornia news Tahoe Daily Tribune

Opinion: Recognizing the spirit of collaboration

The creation of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency 50 years ago challenged us to bring people together to pull this majestic lake back from the brink. Today, TRPA is the backbone for 80 organizations and thousands of property owners working toward the common goals of clean water, a healthy watershed and resilient communities.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

DWR study finds no ‘unacceptable risks’ at Oroville Dam

A 19-month study of the safety of the Oroville Dam project has found no “unacceptable risks.” The Department of Water Resources released its Comprehensive Needs Assessment on Oct. 30, and notes its findings generally agree with those of an Independent Review Board and a regular five-year review by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission…

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Aquafornia news Eureka Times-Standard

Water district, tribe discuss service deal for Trinidad hotel project

The Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District agreed on Thursday to send a draft of an agreement to the Cher-Ae Heights Indian Community of the Trinidad Rancheria to pursue a feasibility study for an extension of water service. The tribe made the request after the California Coastal Commission deemed the tribe’s water supply inadequate for the proposed multi-story Hyatt hotel at the Cher-Ae Heights Casino.

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Madera groundwater plan accepted by state

The public can finally get a look at how Madera officials plan to correct severe groundwater over pumping and replenish aquifers in that area. For some farmers, that correction will mean pumping limits of up to 50 percent from what’s allowed today.

Aquafornia news American Rivers

Blog: What the Biden victory means for our rivers and clean water

We’ve identified five priorities for the Biden-Harris administration and Congress in our 2021 Blueprint for Action. While some of these priorities can be accomplished by the new administration itself, many will require congressional action.

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Aquafornia news Legislative Analyst's Office

Report: Expanding access to safe and affordable drinking water in California

Despite federal and state water quality standards, over one million Californians currently lack access to safe drinking water. This is primarily because these residents receive their water from systems and domestic wells that do not consistently meet those established standards….Our review finds that SWRCB has shown positive progress in its initial year of administering the Safe and Affordable Drinking Water (SADW) Fund and implementing SB 200. 

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

Biden’s EPA Expected to pass limits on some ‘forever chemicals’

The EPA under a future Biden administration is expected to quickly move to set regulations on “forever chemicals” in water and other areas, but not to restrict the entire group of thousands of the substances, attorneys said in recent interviews.

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Aquafornia news Inkstain.net

Blog: The Colorado River Basin’s Tanya Trujillo named to Biden Interior transition team

Tanya’s a New Mexican, former chief counsel to the New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission, and current member of the commission. She served as a legislative aide to New Mexico Sen. Jeff Bingaman, in Interior in the Officer of Water and Science, and as executive director of the Colorado River Board of California.

Aquafornia news California Fisheries Blog

Blog: May-September Delta water temperature standard needed

To protect smelt and salmon, there need to be reasonable water temperature standards in the Delta. The existing water temperature standard in the lower Sacramento River above the Delta is 68oF, but managers of the state and federal water projects pay it almost no heed.

Aquafornia news Reuters

Calif. county sues Dow Chemical, Shell over TCP pollution

Dow Chemical Company and Shell Oil Company have been hit with a lawsuit by the central California county of Madera alleging they knowingly polluted Madera’s drinking water wells by manufacturing and selling fumigants, used in agricultural fields, laced with a toxic chemical.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Sentinel

Thursday Top of the Scroll: Metropolitan board advances major recycled water project

The Metropolitan Water District board voted to begin environmental planning work on what would be one of the largest advanced purified wastewater treatment plants in the world. Metropolitan officials said the approval marks a significant milestone for the Regional Recycled Water Program…

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Aquafornia news Napa Valley Register

Napa County moves idea of a single water agency to future talks

Napa County has achieved a degree of peace – at least for now – over big ideas involving water governance and how possible changes might affect farmland preservation. Some finessing of language paved the way for the Local Agency Formation Commission of Napa County (LAFCO) to adopt a Napa Countywide Water and Wastewater study.

Aquafornia news Patch.com

St. Helena implements emergency water-use restrictions

Water-use restrictions went into effect Nov. 1 for residents and businesses in the city of St. Helena, where a water shortage emergency has been declared.

Aquafornia news Long Beach Press Telegram

Plan in works to keep Long Beach’s Alamitos Bay circulating for water quality

A decade ago, the State Water Resources Control Board decreed that electricity providers had to stop using water to cool their generating plants. … But fulfilling that edict could cause water quality in Alamitos Bay to go very bad very quickly.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Answers for private well, drinking water questions in Fresno

Private wells in the central San Joaquin Valley are at risk of water quality issues, failing equipment and declining groundwater supplies. To help residents address these concerns, The Fresno Bee contacted public officials, water advocates and other experts to answer frequently asked questions about common issues.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

California’s climate agenda likely to get big boost from Biden — look for reversal of Trump policies

California’s war with Washington over the environment will soon come to an end. … President-elect Joe Biden has pledged to act quickly to restore and strengthen dozens of protections on public lands, water and wildlife. In addition, California’s efforts to fight climate change will no longer face hurdles put up by the White House, which has downplayed the global threat.

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Aquafornia news Medford Mail Tribune

Opinion: The message is clear: We must manage our resources better

Why are our food producers, including many century-old family farms with 100-year-old water rights, facing a shortage of water? Because we drain Oregon’s largest lake to artificially increase water supply in California.

Aquafornia news Western Water

A Colorado River leader who brokered key pacts to aid West’s vital water artery assesses his legacy and the river’s future

Managing water resources in the Colorado River Basin is not for the timid or those unaccustomed to big challenges. … For more than 30 years, Terry Fulp, director of the Bureau of Reclamation’s Lower Colorado Basin Region, has been in the thick of it, applying his knowledge, expertise and calm demeanor to inform and broker key decisions that have helped stabilize the Southwest’s major water artery.

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Aquafornia news American Water Works Association

Blog: AWWA offers PFAS updates on research, drinking water evaluation and treatment

AWWA has released three new resources about per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) to support water systems’ information needs and ability to educate the public and policy makers about issues related to PFAS in drinking water.

Aquafornia news Malibu Times

A statewide response to sea level rise

The California Coastal Commission has been issuing policy guidelines for sea level rise for the last six years. … The commission is now taking the first steps toward rethinking some of its current policies and looking at the state as a whole, realizing that one size does not fit all when it comes to ways of adapting to sea level rise.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

Trump leaves unfinished business in environmental litigation

Clarity on which wetlands and waterways count as “waters of the U.S.” or WOTUS, subject to federal oversight, has been elusive for years. … Trump officials’ narrow definition … is facing lawsuits in a half-dozen federal courts. New litigation is guaranteed if Biden officials attempt to revert to the Obama-era rule or craft their own program.

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Aquafornia news E&E News

Drinking water: Experts distrust the tap, but prefer it to bottles

There could be lead in your tap water. There could be PFAS in your bottled water. Microplastics might be in both. Do you choose neurotoxic heavy metals or carcinogenic “forever chemicals”? That’s the predicament facing Americans every time they take a drink of water. … There are no EPA or FDA standards for microplastics in drinking water, though California decided to start monitoring for microplastics by 2021.

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Aquafornia news Santa Clarita Valley Signal

Opinion: Protect our groundwater recharge

Recently the Santa Clarita Planning Commission approved a project that would qualify as “backward planning”: planning that pays no attention to modern issues, instead using methods long abandoned by others. To me, as a member of the local Groundwater Sustainability Advisory Committee, the worst of these is the plan to concrete a portion of Bouquet Creek along with the groundwater recharge areas on the property.

Aquafornia news Grand Junction Sentinel

River managers turn eyes to new Powell-Mead deal

A 2007 deal creating guidelines governing how Lake Powell and Lake Mead are operated in coordination isn’t scheduled to expire until 2026. But water officials in Colorado River Basin states are already beginning to talk about the renegotiations that will be undertaken to decide what succeeds the 2007 criteria.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Cal Am re-files desal project application with Coastal Commission

California American Water has re-filed its desalination project permit application less than two months after withdrawing it on the eve of a special Coastal Commission meeting. While the company made changes to its desal project proposal in the re-filed application, it has not yet met with Marina city officials to resolve the issues prompting the city to oppose the project.

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Aquafornia news Chemical & Engineering News

1,4-dioxane: Another forever chemical plagues drinking-water utilities

Water monitoring data collected in 2010–15 show that more than 7 million people in the US across 27 states had utility-supplied tap water that had detectable 1,4-dioxane, according to the Environmental Working Group. The problem of 1,4-dioxane pollution isn’t unique to the US. However, the US situation reveals a number of regulatory barriers. There is no federal limit on 1,4-dioxane in drinking water. And getting it out of water is challenging.

Aquafornia news Valley Voice

Opinion: The view from Westlands: Voluntary agreements

Voluntary agreements have been proposed as a collaborative, modern and holistic alternative to the State Water Resources Control Board’s staff proposed update to the Bay-Delta Water Quality Control Plan. … Westlands and other public water agencies are eager to reengage in the process to finalize the voluntary agreements, as they offer the best path forward for California water.

Aquafornia news Valley Voice

California water board orders mandatory solution to East Orosi water situation

After more than a decade of East Orosi residents struggling without clean drinking water, the State Water Board on Tuesday took a huge and critically necessary step by issuing a mandatory consolidation order for a neighboring district to connect East Orosi to safe water, ushering in the long-overdue promise of safe drinking water for the marginalized Tulare County community.

Aquafornia news AgNet West

Water board enforcement actions being taken on dairies

Dairy producers will need to be mindful of enforcement actions from the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board. Paul Sousa of Western United Dairies said enforcement typically occurs during the rainy season. Enforcement actions have been taken on six California dairies.

Aquafornia news Association of California Water Agencies

Blog: Coalition requests CA Supreme Court depublish opinion addressing Prop. 218 ratemaking process

ACWA and a coalition of local government associations filed an amicus curiae letter on Tuesday with the California Supreme Court requesting depublication of a recent state appellate court opinion addressing the responsibilities of a plaintiff prior to challenging the rates of a utility in court.

Aquafornia news Northern Nevada Business Weekly

Norwegian company secures financing for industrial-scale salmon farm in rural Nevada

Raising salmon in the desert seems like an unlikely mission, but that is exactly what Norwegian-based West Coast Salmon AS intends to do. The company announced in early October it had secured a first round of financing for a land-based Atlantic salmon farm facility south of Winnemucca near the Humboldt/Pershing County line.

Aquafornia news Livermore Independent

Accusations and denials arise over bond sale plans for Delta tunnel

A declaration suit filed in Superior Court in Sacramento by attorneys for some of the leading environmental groups in America accuses the California Department of Water Resources of trying to prevent anyone in California from filing a court action challenging the bonds after the bond sales are underway.

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Aquafornia news AgAlert

Opinion: State must fulfill promise of Proposition 1 water bond

Storage projects partially funded by Proposition 1 should help the state balance the swings in precipitation that characterize the California climate… Yet, six years after the bond’s passage, the water storage projects that will benefit from Proposition 1 likely remain at least a decade away from becoming operational.

Aquafornia news AgAlert

Farms work on nitrate control requirements

Local leaders, farmers and others in the Central Valley report additional progress in addressing salinity in surface water, and salt and nitrates in groundwater, in compliance with a program adopted last fall by the State Water Resources Control Board.

Aquafornia news Klamath Falls Herald & News

Klamath Irrigation District court case continues

Recent legal testimonies assert that the Oregon Water Resources Department has not taken exclusive charge of stored water in Upper Klamath Lake, despite court orders requiring it do so.

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Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

U.S., Mexico sign Rio Grande water agreement

Mexico is obligated under a 1944 treaty to deliver to the United States a set amount of water from the Rio Grande and its tributaries over a five-year period. … The last-minute agreement signed Oct. 21 settles the conflict. Mexico will transfer ownership of water stored in two border reservoirs to the United States to make up the deficit.

Aquafornia news San Bernardino City News

Opinion: Water district adopts reforms for sustainability

After months of meetings and thoughtful review, the West Valley Water District Board of Directors today adopted 10 major reforms crafted with staff and vetted by department managers that will deliver increased transparency, accountability and savings for ratepayers.

Aquafornia news The Aggie

Opinion: Trump Administration is trying to raise Shasta Dam, again

The Bureau of Reclamation has once again proposed raising Shasta Dam, which is already the largest reservoir in California, after several proposals in the past decade. Each time, it has faced fierce public opposition from state government, environmentalists, locals and Native Americans.

Aquafornia news YourCentralValley.com

1-day-a-week outdoor water schedule begins in Fresno

The City of Fresno will start its one-day-a-week outdoor water use schedule on Nov. 1 – and will remain in place through March. Outdoor watering is considered watering areas such as lawns, gardens, pools, and other items requiring irrigation or hoses.

Aquafornia news Napa Valley Register

The Napa River was an ‘open cesspool’ for a century, then NapaSan came along

Napa Sanitation District is marking a county-transfiguring anniversary—it formed 75 years ago to turn the Napa River from an “open cesspool” with raw sewage into a water recreation draw. Signs of success abound.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Erin Brockovich issues call to action

Erin Brockovich, the longtime California water advocate, called for people around the country to “show up” to their local governments and demand cleaner water, speaking at a National Press Club event Friday.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Public water buyout EIR certified

In a critical step for the proposed public takeover of California American Water’s Monterey-area water system, the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District’s board of directors on Thursday night certified the final environmental impact report for the effort.

Aquafornia news Spectrum 1 News

Environmental groups torn over fight for Ballona Wetlands

Many who oppose the restoration project say it includes a plan to install new infrastructure adjacent to the wetlands. “The last thing we need when we are in a crisis of climate change is to build new fossil fuel infrastructure,” said representatives for The Sierra Club Ballona Wetlands Restoration Committee. And who is investing in fossil fuel use? SoCalGas owns a natural gas facility adjacent to the wetlands.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Enviros and industry fight feds in Supreme Court FOIA case

Should the public have access to documents that show why the federal government changed its stance on the impact an EPA rule would have on vulnerable species? That’s the question the Supreme Court will set out to answer Monday in the case Fish and Wildlife Service v. Sierra Club, which deals with a Freedom of Information Act request for documents underpinning a 2014 rule for cooling water intake structures at power plants.

Aquafornia news National Law Review

FERC declaratory order finding waiver of California Section 401 authority challenged in Ninth Circuit

The California State Water Resources Control Board and a group of environmental organizations each have filed a petition for review with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit of FERC orders finding that the Water Board waived its authority under section 401 of the Clean Water Act to issue a water quality certification in the ongoing relicensing of Merced Irrigation District’s Merced River and Merced Falls Projects.

Aquafornia news PBS NOVA

Toxic synthetic “forever chemicals” are in our water and on our plates

Launched in a post-World War II chemical boom, PFAS have slowly made their way into water systems around the country. They flow through reservoirs and faucets and bleed into aquifers and irrigation systems that sustain crops and livestock that end up on our plates.

Aquafornia news Santa Cruz Sentinel

‘It’s gone to the ground’: Big Basin Water Co. struggles to recover from fire

If plastic pipes or tanks are melted, or even just heat up, or loose pressure, drinking water can become contaminated. In the case of Big Basin Water Co., the system lost water pressure and much of its infrastructure was destroyed. That triggered the State Water Resources Control Board and the Big Basin Water Co. to put a Do Not Drink, Do Not Boil water advisory into effect.

Aquafornia news Community Water Center

Blog: State Water Board orders mandatory solution for Central Valley community denied clean water for years

After more than a decade of East Orosi residents struggling without clean drinking water, the State Water Board on Tuesday took a huge and critically necessary step by issuing a mandatory consolidation order for a neighboring district to connect East Orosi to safe water, ushering in the long-overdue promise of safe drinking water for the marginalized Tulare County community.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Ex-official blows whistle on Army Corps’ dam program

Judith Marshall joined the corps’ Portland office in 2011 to manage several projects, including the agency’s 13 dams in the Willamette River Basin. She quickly learned the corps was out of compliance with several major environmental laws for virtually all of them. She got nowhere when she raised her concerns to her supervisors. Then she was harassed and bullied. Now Marshall is blowing the whistle.

Aquafornia news Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board

News release: Garden Grove industrial facility penalized $1.14 million for soil, groundwater contamination

Cham-Cal, operator and owner of a facility in Garden Grove that manufactures commercial truck accessories, used and stored tetrachloroethene (PCE) in its vapor degreasing operation, resulting in repeated discharges of the suspected cancer-causing contaminant to soil and groundwater on industrial property owned by Western Avenue Associates.

Aquafornia news Pacific Institute

Report: Solutions for underperforming drinking water systems in California

California passed the Human Right to Water in 2012, acknowledging that every resident has a right to safe, clean, and affordable drinking water. Both large and small water systems struggle to provide safe drinking water; however, small systems face the greatest challenges.

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Friday Top of the Scroll: California slammed over ‘blank check’ for Delta tunnel project

Lobbing another hurdle at California’s $16 billion plan to tunnel underneath the West Coast’s largest estuary, environmentalists on Thursday sued to freeze public funding for the megaproject championed by Gov. Gavin Newsom. Led by Sierra Club and the Center for Biological Diversity, a familiar coalition of critics claim the cash-strapped state is pursuing a “blank check” for a project that isn’t fully cooked.

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Aquafornia news E&E News

Army Corps banks on wetland data EPA deemed ‘unreliable’

When the Trump administration finalized a key water rule last year, EPA said it considers current federal wetlands inventory data unreliable. The Army Corps of Engineers apparently didn’t get the memo.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Delta watermaster breaks down water use in the Delta, addresses implementation of reduced reliance on the Delta

At the Oct. 22 meeting of the Delta Stewardship Council, Delta Watermaster Michael George gave a detailed presentation on estimating water use in the Delta… He also discussed implementation of the state’s policy of reducing reliance on the Delta and provided updates on the preparations for the next drought…

Aquafornia news Pasadena Now

Pasadena’s 2019 water quality consumer report showing promising results

Pasadena’s tap water has met all drinking water quality standards set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and those set by the California Department of Public Health.

Aquafornia news AgAlert

Judge backs farm groups in water-quality lawsuits

Environmental groups’ challenges to agricultural waste discharge requirements for the eastern San Joaquin River watershed have been denied by a judge in Sacramento, which a California Farm Bureau Federation attorney described as a legal victory for affected farmers and for farmers statewide.

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Historic move: Fresno River rights to be decided

If all you’ve ever seen of the Fresno River is through Madera as you drive over it on Highway 99, you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s just a weed-infested, shopping cart collector rather than a real river. But there’s a lot to this unobtrusive waterway, which just made history as the first river in 40 years about to go through a rights settlement under the State Water Resources Control Board.

Aquafornia news Brookings

Not dried up: US-Mexico water cooperation

For weeks, a water dispute between the Mexican government and Mexican farmers and between the United States and Mexico was brewing and escalating. October 24 was the deadline by which Mexico was supposed to have provided the United States with all of the water from the Rio Grande it owes the United States every five years. But this year’s expected water delivery set off months-long protests…

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Temperance Flat Reservoir project status update

At the October meeting of the California Water Commission, Aaron Fakuda representing Temperance Flat Authority and Bill Swanson, Principal Engineer with Stantec discussed the project’s status with the Commission.

Aquafornia news AgInfo.net

Engage with your local groundwater sustainability agency

The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, or SGMA, was a landmark legislation whose effects will be felt over the decades that it is phased into implementation. With the long time horizon it may be easy for some to lose sight of what’s happening now.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: Setting aside environmental water for the San Joaquin River

Protecting the health of California’s rivers, estuaries, and wetlands has been the grandest—and perhaps thorniest—of the many challenges facing the state’s water managers. The San Joaquin River watershed, the state’s third largest and an important water source for irrigating farmland in the San Joaquin Valley, epitomizes this challenge. Yet California is making progress here, bringing a glimmer of hope.

Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: Oilfield wastewater slowly gains value in agriculture

For decades it’s been done on a relatively small scale near Bakersfield, and recent studies confirm it doesn’t threaten crop safety. So why aren’t more local oil producers giving farmers the briny water that comes up from the ground along with oil? In a word, money.

Aquafornia news Ridgecrest Daily Independent

Could recycled water help balance the basin?

If all goes according to plan, recycled water from the city’s planned $45 to $60 million wastewater treatment facility may be used to help balance the Indian Wells Valley groundwater basin as mandated by the state’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act.

Aquafornia news The Catalina Islander

Edison to seek water rate increase

Catalina Island’s water utility wants to significantly increase the rate it charges water users. This won’t happen immediately. The process is long and technical. Visitors to Catalina may not know it, but Southern California Edison provides water services to the island.

Aquafornia news CalMatters

Opinion: Here’s the challenge of implementing historic groundwater law

I can see clearly the challenge ahead for implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Actcal act because I now have first-hand experience with the kinds of water disputes that can arise when the local parties involved are not given a chance to work things out collaboratively.

Aquafornia news U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

News release: EPA approves tribes’ authority to develop water quality standards, issue air permits

Last week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency approved applications to develop water quality standards by the Cabazon Band of Mission Indians, the Shoshone-Paiute Tribes of the Duck Valley Indian Reservation, Karuk Tribe, Quartz Valley Indian Reservation, San Carlos Apache Tribe, and Yerington Paiute Tribe. This decision comes in the form of approvals of requests by the tribes for “treatment in a similar manner as a state” (TAS) under the federal Clean Water Act.

Aquafornia news Eureka Times-Standard

Local tribes, fishermen, conservationists call on Warren Buffet to undam the Klamath

Members of local tribes, fishermen and conservationists are calling on Warren Buffett to undam the Klamath. People across the country joined members of the Karuk, Yurok, Klamath and Hoopa Valley tribes on Friday for a day of action to get the attention of Buffett, the owner of Pacific Power and the Klamath River dams…

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Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

What has the Trump administration meant for water?

The desire for crystal clean water is one that the president repeats frequently, even dating to his 2016 presidential campaign. Immaculate water, he has also said. Clear water. Beautiful water. But the focus on appearances is superficial, according to a number of water advocates and analysts. Revisions to environmental rules that the administration has pursued during the first term of the Trump presidency will be detrimental to the nation’s waters, they said.

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Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Friday Top of the Scroll: California’s landmark groundwater law falls short, advocates say

Advocates and researchers warn that the way many local agencies have interpreted the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act overlooks the needs of disadvantaged communities who rely on groundwater for their drinking water. Many are concerned that households and communities could see their wells go dry in the coming years, leaving them without access to safe and affordable drinking water.

Aquafornia news Lost Coast Outpost

Klamath residents, Yurok tribal members to participate in ‘day of action’ targeting Pacificorp over dam removal

Virtual rallies will be held Friday at the utility’s headquarters in Portland and in Buffett’s hometown of Omaha, Neb., according to a Save California Salmon news release. A rally will also be held in Seattle, home of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the top shareholder in Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway conglomerate. Berkshire Hathaway Energy is PacifiCorp’s parent company.

Aquafornia news The Beach Reporter

Report gives California an ‘A’ grade for coastal protection

Most states are doing a mediocre job – and some even a poor one – of managing shorelines and preparing for sea-level rise, according to a new study by the Surfrider Foundation. California, on the other hand, is a “shining example” and has excelled in responding to changes along the coast, earning the only “A” grade in the nation — but the report found there are still areas that need improvement…

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

New reservoir in Stanislaus County clears a hurdle

Del Puerto Water District directors approved a final environment study Wednesday on a 82,000 acre-foot reservoir near Patterson. … The reservoir is proposed to increase reliability of water deliveries to thirsty farms and improve management of groundwater. The project in a canyon just west of Patterson has stirred debate. It would inundate part of scenic Del Puerto Canyon and raises fears the dam near Interstate 5 could fail, flooding the city of 23,000.

Aquafornia news KQED News

Not just fracking: Cut all oil drilling in California, says key lawmaker

California lawmakers need to create a package of legislation that limits multiple kinds of oil drilling, not just hydraulic fracturing, if they want to respond effectively to the world’s climate crisis, says state Sen. Henry Stern, D-Los Angeles, who chairs the Natural Resources and Water Committee.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

BPA added to California toxic chemical list despite challenge

California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment can list bisphenol A under the state’s Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act despite challenges regarding the lack of evidence of its harm to humans, a state appeals court said Monday.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: How water justice groups view groundwater sustainability planning

Over-pumping of groundwater has caused domestic wells to go dry in the San Joaquin Valley. Yet many of the first round of plans prepared to comply with the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) do not yet propose ways to address this problem. We explored groundwater planning with three members of the environmental justice community—Angela Islas of Self-Help Enterprises, Justine Massey of the Community Water Center, and Amanda Monaco of the Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability.

Aquafornia news AgAlert

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Groundwater: Desert valley plan could price farms out of business

Two lawsuits against a Kern County groundwater sustainability agency show the potential implications for agriculture and other businesses with historic, overlying water rights….”It’s one of the first groundwater sustainability plans we’re seeing that could wholly restrict agriculture in a water-poor area, while ignoring overlying rights and preferring other, non-agricultural users in the basin,” [the California Farm Bureau Federation's Chris] Scheuring said.

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Locals speak up for the Kern River at the State Water Board

A slew of Bakersfield locals told board members how much an actual, wet river means for residents. Speakers asked board members to make the Kern a priority and finally allocate unappropriated water on the river that has been in limbo at the board for the past 10 years.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Board could approve study on new dam in Stanislaus County

The Del Puerto Water District is set to vote Wednesday on approving a final environmental impact study on a much-disputed storage reservoir in western Stanislaus County. … According to proponents, the reservoir storing up to 82,000 acre-feet will provide more reliable water deliveries to farmers south of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta… Water pumped from the nearby Delta-Mendota Canal would be stored behind the dam.

Aquafornia news CalMatters

Newsom to be sued over fracking permits

A national environmental organization is preparing to sue Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration for issuing new fracking permits, including six approved on Friday, Kassie Siegel, director of the Center for Biological Diversity’s Climate Law Institute, said Tuesday.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Trump says he ‘freed’ showers and sinks. He didn’t

President Trump has added a false claim to his pitch to “suburban women” — maintaining that his administration already has delivered on his promises to speed up dishwashers and improve sinks and showers. … But no new products are on the market because of changes, and no proposals have fully made their way through the regulatory process.

Aquafornia news CalMatters

Opinion: Eastern Coachella Valley residents urge the state for action on the Salton Sea

On Sept. 30, we sent a letter to state officials requesting that restoration projects coming out of the Salton Sea Management Program consider impacts on nearby communities. We hope those officials will share in our vision of reforestation and green spaces around the Salton Sea, see the benefits of such projects in addressing the sea’s deteriorating environmental conditions, and act with the same urgency.

Aquafornia news Water Finance & Management

Opinion: Resetting the mission for WIFIA

The WIFIA Loan Program recently announced that it has reset the interest rates on two undrawn loan commitments originally made in mid-2018. The fixed rate on a $135 million loan to Orange County Water District and a $614 million loan to San Diego Public Facilities Financing Authority (PFFA) were reset downward from about 3.1 percent and 3.3 percent, respectively, to around 1 percent… Is this a big deal?

Aquafornia news The Guardian

Groundbreaking study finds 13.3 quadrillion plastic fibers in California’s environment

The report from UC Santa Barbara found that in 2019 an estimated 4,000 metric tons – or 13.3 quadrillion fibers – were released into California’s natural environment. The plastic fibers, which are less than 5mm in length, are primarily shed when we wash our yoga pants, stretchy jeans and fleece jackets and can easily enter oceans and waterways.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

Wildfire smoke can spread toxics to water, soil, and elsewhere

Wildfires leave behind more than scorched earth and destroyed homes: Rising smoke plumes can contain chemicals that disperse not only into the air but in soil, water, indoor dust, and even wildlife. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), a class of more than 100 chemicals that can cause cancer and other ailments, is one of those ingredients.

Aquafornia news Association of California Water Agencies

Blog: ACWA delivers roadmap to achieving voluntary agreements to state officials

ACWA on Oct. 15 submitted “A Roadmap To Achieving the Voluntary Agreements” to Gov. Gavin Newsom and top members of his Administration that calls on the state to take the necessary steps to re-engage on Voluntary Agreements regarding the Sacramento-San Joaquin Bay-Delta and its tributaries.

Aquafornia news CBS San Francisco

Major earthquake retrofit work complete at Lake Merced pump station

It all started with a 2002 state law demanding quake-resilient water delivery. Nearly $5 billion later, San Francisco has retrofit the system from Hetch Hetchy to the city, just now crossing the finish line on the shore of Lake Merced.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Final public water buyout EIR released

The report analyzes the environmental effects of Monterey Peninsula Water Management District’s proposed buyout and operation of the 40,000-customer Cal Am-owned system within the district boundaries, including the proposed 6.4-million-gallon-per-day desalination plant and infrastructure

Aquafornia news The Hill

Opinion: Crystal clean water? Not if Trump can help it

For most of the past 48 years, the Clean Water Act produced dramatic improvements in the quality of our nation’s rivers, lakes and coastal waters. … Unfortunately, the Trump administration’s unrelenting rollback of clean water protections is stalling progress toward fixing these problems and endangering a half-century’s worth of gains.  

Aquafornia news Lake County News

Rep. Garamendi comes out against Scott Dam removal

Congressman John Garamendi, who represents the northern half of Lake County, on Friday submitted a formal comment to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission opposing removal of Scott Dam on the Eel River at Lake Pillsbury and demanding that Lake County have an equal seat at the table for determining the future of Potter Valley Project and the lake.

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