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.”
The federal government and the state of California seem to love suing each other, and have done so dozens of times in the past two years without causing anyone much damage. But President Donald Trump is now threatening to sue the state over control of water. This could harm a lot of people, because water is the source of the most contentious and enduring battles in America’s largest state.
President Donald Trump’s memorandum on western water, which ordered federal agencies to look for ways to remove regulatory burdens on federal water projects, has caused waves in California. But what will it actually do? … The USA TODAY Network in California asked experts on California water, farming and environmental issues to break down what’s known at this point.
President Donald Trump on Friday ordered the government to speed up environmental reviews and streamline regulations that he says are hindering work on major water projects in California and other Western states. Trump signed a memorandum aimed at helping the Central Valley Project and the California State Water Project in California, the Klamath Irrigation Project in Oregon and California and the Columbia River Basin system in the Pacific Northwest.
In 1983, a landmark California Supreme Court ruling extended the public trust doctrine to tributary creeks that feed Mono Lake, which is a navigable water body even though the creeks themselves were not. The ruling marked a dramatic shift in water law and forced Los Angeles to cut back its take of water from those creeks in the Eastern Sierra to preserve the lake.
Now, a state appellate court has for the first time extended that same public trust doctrine to groundwater that feeds a navigable river, in this case the Scott River flowing through a picturesque valley of farms and alfalfa in Siskiyou County in the northern reaches of California.
The EPA is pushing back its timetable for repealing a landmark Obama-era waters jurisdiction rule by at least four months, a move that could prolong the confusion about how and where to implement it in the interim.
The Environmental Protection Agency plans to dissolve its Office of the Science Advisor, a senior post that was created to counsel the E.P.A. administrator on the scientific research underpinning health and environmental regulations, according to a person familiar with the agency’s plans.
Despite pleas for immediate action from Michigan and New Hampshire residents who live in communities with PFAS-contaminated groundwater, officials from multiple federal agencies testified at a U.S. Senate subcommittee hearing that regulatory responses and health studies will take years to complete.
Hundreds of California farmers rallied at the Capitol on Monday to protest state water officials’ proposal to increase water flows in a major California river, a move state and federal politicians called an overreach of power that would mean less water for farms in the Central Valley. … Environmentalists and fishermen offered a different take on the other side of the Capitol to a much smaller audience.
The Fish and Wildlife Service today [July 27] killed an Obama administration environmental mitigation policy that aimed to improve or, at a minimum, maintain the status of affected natural resources when considering permits and projects. The much-anticipated rollback of the “net conservation gain” goal also includes restoring an overall mitigation policy from the Reagan administration.
The Department of the Interior issued a blistering attack against the state’s proposed water grab, saying it would “cripple the Central Valley’s economy, farms and community.” The comments late Friday afternoon came a week after Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke visited Don Pedro and New Melones reservoirs at the request of Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Turlock.
The lawyer nominated to run the Superfund toxic cleanup program is steeped in the complexities of restoring polluted rivers and chemical dumps. He spent more than a decade on one of the nation’s most extensive cleanups, one involving Dow Chemical’s sprawling headquarters in Midland, Mich.
[California Atty. Gen. Xavier] Becerra is still awaiting a judgment on a lawsuit that challenged the Trump administration over the repeal of restrictions on hydraulic fracturing oil extraction, known as fracking, on federal lands. … Another legal challenge was filed against the EPA over its suspension of the 2015 Clean Water Rule aimed at protecting lakes and streams from pollutants. The court has not yet ruled in that case.
The U.S. drinking water standard for nitrate was set decades ago at a level to prevent infant deaths. But recent research suggests that the standard, decided in 1991, is out of date. Scientists are accumulating evidence that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s nitrate limit may need to be lowered because it does not account for potential long-term health damage, including the risk of cancer, that harms people into their adult years.
The Department of the Interior announced Thursday controversial plans to roll back core provisions of the Endangered Species Act, a move aimed at reducing the burdens of such safeguards on landowners, industry and governments.
The Trump administration on Wednesday eased rules for handling toxic coal ash from more than 400 U.S. coal-fired power plants after utilities pushed back against regulations adopted under former President Barack Obama. … U.S. coal plants produce about 100 million tons annually of ash and other waste, much of which ends up in unlined disposal ponds prone to leak.
Democratic lawmakers joined scores of scientists, health providers, environmental officials and activists Tuesday in denouncing an industry-backed proposal that could limit dramatically the scientific studies the Environmental Protection Agency considers in shaping protections for human health.
Less than two weeks after state regulators announced sweeping new water allocation limits, the GOP-controlled House is expected this week to pass spending legislation that would block federal funding for that allocation plan. It also includes measures that would bar legal challenges to major water infrastructure projects in the state.
Conservative groups and jurists, including U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, have long advocated restricting the latitude of the Environmental Protection Agency and other federal agencies to set rules and regulations, beyond what Congress has specifically authorized. They may have that chance this fall.
Andrew Wheeler, the new acting chief of the Environmental Protection Agency, signaled a more inclusive approach at the agency, telling staffers roiled by months of ethics allegations against his predecessor, “You will find me and my team ready to listen.” … When President Donald Trump called him last week about the job change, the president told him to “clean up the air, clean up the water, and provide regulatory relief,” Wheeler said.
In all, the Trump administration has targeted at least 45 environmental rules, including 25 at EPA, according to a rollback tracker by Harvard Law School’s energy and environment program. The EPA rule changes would affect regulation of air, water and climate change, and transform how the EPA makes its regulatory decisions.
Bowing out after months of scandals, Scott Pruitt is turning the Environmental Protection Agency over to a far less flashy deputy who is expected to continue Pruitt’s rule-cutting, business-friendly ways as steward of the country’s environment. … EPA Deputy Administrator Andrew Wheeler, a former coal industry lobbyist, will take the helm as acting administrator starting Monday.
Sixty percent of California’s developed water supply originates high in the Sierra Nevada mountains. Our water supply is largely dependent on the health of our Sierra forests, which are suffering from ecosystem degradation, drought, wildfires and widespread tree mortality.
We headed into the foothills and the mountains to examine water issues that happen upstream but have dramatic impacts downstream and throughout the state.
GEI (Tour Starting Point)
2868 Prospect Park Dr.
Rancho Cordova, CA 95670.
Imposing new regulations on an existing industry comes with challenges, and in Humboldt, environmental concerns are among them. Earlier this month, the environmental nonprofit Friends of the Eel River, which works to protect fisheries and watersheds in the region, filed a lawsuit against Humboldt County’s Board of Supervisors.
The Trump administration’s ideas for revamping which agencies are tasked with certain energy and environmental responsibilities – such as managing the nation’s fisheries and flood infrastructure – are part of a broader reorganization plan that calls for sweeping changes such as merging the Labor and Education departments.
The Trump administration, after heavy lobbying by the chemical industry, is scaling back the way the federal government determines health and safety risks associated with the most dangerous chemicals on the market, documents from the Environmental Protection Agency show.
In his [Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt] first address to career employees last year he told the gathered room at the EPA, “Regulators exist to give certainty to those that they regulate. Those that we regulate ought to know what we expect of them, so that they can plan and allocate resources to comply.” He’s cited this in his efforts to delay, repeal or roll back the Clean Power Plan, the Waters of the U.S. Rule, and a string of other measures.
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke yesterday huddled with more than two dozen conservation group leaders, including some of his staunchest critics, in his latest bid to generate both ideas and support for his ambitious departmental reorganization plans. … Also in attendance were Deputy Secretary David Bernhardt; Susan Combs, the acting assistant secretary for fish, wildlife and parks; and Greg Sheehan, the principal deputy director of the Fish and Wildlife Service (Greenwire, March 30).
Spurred by drought and a major policy shift, groundwater management has assumed an unprecedented mantle of importance in California. Local agencies in the hardest-hit areas of groundwater depletion are drawing plans to halt overdraft and bring stressed aquifers to the road of recovery.
Western Water writer Gary Pitzer explored how California water regulators are trying to address the impacts on water quality and supply from this newly regulated industry, how federal officials are approaching it and what other states that have legalized marijuana have done. And he addressed the question that remains on many minds: Will growers that have operated in the shadows for years accept the new regulations or shrug them off as too burdensome.
The Trump administration launched an attack on the science behind many of the nation’s clean air and clean water rules, announcing a proposal Tuesday that would in effect prevent regulators from considering a wide range of health studies when they look at new regulations.
A decision by California’s largest water supplier on April 10 ended months of uncertainty over its role in the funding of California Water Fix, the state’s plan to build new water conveyance infrastructure in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. … Financing is not the only issue that needs to be addressed. There is still a long list of regulatory and legal hurdles the project needs to clear.
For decades, cannabis has been grown in California – hidden away in forested groves or surreptitiously harvested under the glare of high-intensity indoor lamps in suburban tract homes.
In the past 20 years, however, cannabis — known more widely as marijuana – has been moving from being a criminal activity to gaining legitimacy as one of the hundreds of cash crops in the state’s $46 billion-dollar agriculture industry, first legalized for medicinal purposes and this year for recreational use.
As we continue forging ahead in 2018 with our online version of Western Water after 40 years as a print magazine, we turned our attention to a topic that also got its start this year: recreational marijuana as a legal use.
State regulators, in the last few years, already had been beefing up their workforce to tackle the glut in marijuana crops and combat their impacts to water quality and supply for people, fish and farming downstream. Thus, even if these impacts were perhaps unbeknownst to the majority of Californians who approved Proposition 64 in 2016, we thought it important to see if anything new had evolved from a water perspective now that marijuana was legal.
Battlefronts fell along party lines at a Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing yesterday about whether EPA should regulate pollutants that make it to surface water via groundwater. … The hearing was the first since EPA requested public comment on whether it should regulate such pollutants earlier this winter. The input is due by May 21.
Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt, who has been methodically weakening air pollution rules over the past year, is now taking control of key decision-making on the protection of streams and wetlands from the agency’s regional administrators, an internal memo shows. At issue is something known as “geographic jurisdiction,” agency speak for which bodies of water do, or do not, fall under the Clean Water Act.
New state rules adopted in March allow purified water to be sent right from sewage treatment plants to drinking water reservoirs, but Sacramento area residents shouldn’t expect to be swimming in or drinking water that recently swirled through local sewers any time soon.
The Environmental Protection Agency is considering a major change to the way it assesses scientific work, a move that would severely restrict the research available to it when writing environmental regulations. Under the proposed policy, the agency would no longer consider scientific research unless the underlying raw data can be made public for other scientists and industry groups to examine.
Joaquin Esquivel learned that life is what happens when you make plans. Esquivel, who holds the public member slot at the State Water Resources Control Board in Sacramento, had just closed purchase on a house in Washington D.C. with his partner when he was tapped by Gov. Jerry Brown a year ago to fill the Board vacancy.
Esquivel, 35, had spent a decade in Washington, first in several capacities with then Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., and then as assistant secretary for federal water policy at the California Natural Resources Agency. As a member of the State Water Board, he shares with four other members the difficult task of ensuring balance to all the uses of California’s water.
For fishery regulators, it is official: The Sacramento River’s fall-run Chinook salmon are “overfished.” … Now, as regulators discuss drastically shortening this year’s fishing season to reduce pressures on the population, embittered fishers are contesting the overfished status.
The State Water Resources Control Board’s proposal to impose permanent conservation rules – such as prohibiting hosing down driveways, watering lawns less than two days after it rains and washing a car without attaching a shut-off nozzle to the hose – ran into a cascade of opposition.
California is well behind the curve on groundwater regulation. With a few exceptions, groundwater extraction has never been regulated in the state or even monitored with any precision. However, a 2014 law, the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA), at last will require groundwater basins in the state to reverse longstanding overdraft problems.
As Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt jetted around the country last year, regularly flying first or business class at hefty taxpayer expense, his stated mission was often a noble one: to hear from Americans about how Washington could most effectively and fairly enforce the Clean Water Act.
On February 20, California’s State Water Resources Control Board postponed a decision on the adoption of new statewide regulations meant to curb wasteful water practices. The regulations would make permanent some rules California enacted temporarily during the recent drought, which ended last year.
With nearly half the state back in drought, California’s water regulator held a contentious hearing in Sacramento on Tuesday on whether to make permanent the temporary water bans enacted by Governor Jerry Brown during the 2014-2017 drought. The board announced it will revisit the proposed measures in March while it makes some minor revisions to the draft proposals.
A proposal to make California’s drought-era water restrictions permanent could allow the state to chip away at long-held water rights in an unprecedented power grab, representatives from water districts and other users told regulators Tuesday.
Recognizing California’s increasing propensity for parched weather — this winter being no exception — state water officials are planning to resurrect many of the temporary water restrictions that were enacted during the recent five-year dry spell and make them permanent.
To ensure that tap water in the United States is safe to drink, the federal government has been steadily tightening the health standards for the nation’s water supplies for decades. But over and over again, local water systems around the country have failed to meet these requirements.
The State Water Resources Control Board is expected to adopt regulation coming before the board on Feb. 20 that would make it a crime to commit any of seven wasteful water practices — from lawn over watering to street median irrigation. Those rules would take effect April 1.
Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt said the Trump administration is “righting the wrongs” of President Barack Obama by reversing a host of regulations designed to “weaponize” the agency and punish the fossil fuel industry.
California’s attorney general sued the Trump administration yet again Wednesday, this time for rolling back a fracking rule that the state says is designed to protect public health and the environment. The suit challenges the federal Bureau of Land Management’s move against the rule that requires drilling companies to disclose what chemicals they’ve used for fracking.
Perhaps it is unsurprising that the White House still hasn’t filled this job: San Francisco is not an inviting place for the Make America Great Again administration. But the administration’s effort to fill one of its most important environmental jobs — chief of the Environmental Protection Agency’s headquarters for California and the rest of the Pacific Southwest — keeps going sideways.
In its first act to shield California from the Trump administration’s repeal of regulations, the state’s water board has prepared its own rules protecting wetlands and other waters. The proposed new rules, scheduled for a vote by the board this summer, could insulate the state from President Donald Trump’s executive order to roll back the reach of the Clean Water Act.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will replace Obama-era carbon and clean water regulations and open up a national debate on climate change in 2018, part of a list of priorities for the year that also includes fighting lead contamination in public drinking water.
President Trump delivered an economic victory lap during a speech to farmers on Monday in which he vastly overstated the size of the tax cuts passed by Congress late last year and played up a rollback of regulations on American businesses. … The president drew thunderous applause by celebrating the reversal of a regulation known as the Waters of the United States, which many rural landowners had opposed.
At a state briefing on environmental rules that await growers entering California’s soon-to-be-legal marijuana trade, organic farmers Ulysses Anthony, Tracy Sullivan and Adam Mernit listened intently, eager to make their humble cannabis plot a model of sustainable agriculture in a notoriously destructive industry dominated by the black market. … Complying with water laws alone would mean daily record-keeping, permit applications, inspections and more, state officials said.
The Interior Department is working on possible Endangered Species Act changes, in a move that alarms environmentalists but could gratify Westerners and others unhappy with the current law. While the details and timing remain under wraps, Interior officials made public their general intentions as part of the Trump administration’s Unified Agenda issued Thursday.
For months, staffers in the Office of Water had been in help-desk mode, fielding calls from states implementing a federal rule that set new limits on water-borne pollution released by coal-fired power plants. The rule on what is known as “effluent” had been hammered out over a decade of scientific study and intense negotiations involving utility companies, White House officials and environmental advocates.
The head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency pledged that lead regulations will be a prominent feature of the agency’s work in 2018 — but that work will take longer than anticipated. The agency expects that a revision to federal rules that are designed to reduce the risk of lead in drinking water will be published in draft form in August 2018, a seven-month delay from a timetable announced this summer.
Laura Bliss turned to Joan Didion today to help make sense of Santa Anas, and fires, in our beloved Southern California: For all the praise of its “perfect weather,” L.A. is often seen as a city created in defiance of the laws of nature. …
President Donald Trump’s administration announced Friday that it won’t require mining companies to prove they have the financial wherewithal to clean up their pollution, despite an industry legacy of abandoned mines that have fouled waterways across the U.S.
The city of San Diego recently cleared a major legal hurdle in its effort to force chemical giant Monsanto to pay tens of millions to clean up local waterways polluted with a class of cancer-linked chemicals, known as polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs. Federal and state regulators have in recent years tightened standards for cleaning up PCBs in bays, rivers and creeks.
For decades, no matter the weather, the message has been preached to Californians: use water wisely, especially outdoors, which accounts for most urban water use. Enforcement of that message filters to the local level, where water agencies routinely target the notorious “gutter flooder” with gentle reminders and, if necessary, financial penalties. The situation turned critical during the 2012 to 2016 drought, when reservoirs sank to alarmingly low levels.
Sixty percent of California’s developed water supply originates high in the Sierra Nevada mountains. Our water supply is largely dependent on the health of our Sierra forests, which are suffering from ecosystem degradation, drought, wildfires and widespread tree mortality.
Join us as we head into the foothills and the mountains to examine water issues that happen upstream but have dramatic impacts downstream and throughout the state.
GEI (Tour Starting Point)
2868 Prospect Park Dr.
Rancho Cordova, CA 95670.
The state of California is looking to crack down on water wasters and make saving water a way of life — no matter how much it rains. California’s restrictions on water use in September were effective, As a result, the state saw a 15 percent drop in water use.
Participants of this tour snaked along the San Joaquin River to learn firsthand about one of the nation’s largest and most expensive river restoration projects.
The San Joaquin River was the focus of one of the most contentious legal battles in California water history, ending in a 2006 settlement between the federal government, Friant Water Users Authority and a coalition of environmental groups.
There will be no cannabis cappuccinos or drone deliveries in California under the new pot rules state officials released Thursday that regulate everything from who can legally sell and deliver marijuana to how it must be packaged and transported.
When 50,000 acre-feet of water went gushing out of the Sacramento River last month, it fast became a test of California’s ability to protect its environmental policies from an increasingly hostile Trump administration. The episode proved humbling.
On October 17, the California State Water Resources Control Board adopted new environmental policies to regulate how marijuana growing operations will impact California’s already limited water resources. … Cannabis cultivation can impact local water by reducing flows in streams and creeks or polluting waterways with pesticides and other agricultural chemicals.
With the marijuana legalization date of Jan. 1, 2018 rapidly approaching in California, the state is getting serious about regulations. On Tuesday, the State Water Board adopted new environmental rules for cannabis cultivation to protect water flows and water quality in rivers and streams.
Despite the Trump administration’s claims that deregulation will lead to economic growth, an analysis of three of his most significant proposed deregulatory efforts shows that they will result in tremendous societal cost. In Executive Order 13778, Trump directed agencies to review the Waters of the United States rule, which provides protections for streams and wetlands.
Since taking office in February, Mr. Trump’s E.P.A. chief [Scott Pruitt] has held back-to-back meetings, briefing sessions and speaking engagements almost daily with top corporate executives and lobbyists from all the major economic sectors that he regulates — and almost no meetings with environmental groups or consumer or public health advocates, according to a 320-page accounting …
California consumers will soon have two choices in cannabis: clean, legal and pricey — or dirty, illicit and cheap. Think Whole Foods vs. El Chapo. The big difference will be the amount of pesticides in your weed.
Two weeks before Harvey’s flood waters engulfed much of Houston, President Donald Trump quietly rolled back an order by his predecessor that would have made it easier for storm-ravaged communities to use federal emergency aid to rebuild bridges, roads and other structures so they can better withstand future disasters. … [Former President Barack] Obama’s now-defunct order also revamped Federal Flood Risk Management Standards, calling for tighter restrictions on new construction in flood-prone areas.
Even after the Flint scandal reawakened the nation to the dangers posed by lead drinking water pipes, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency appears to be in no rush to strengthen federal health standards.
If you drive Highway 99 through California’s Central Valley, you’ll pass through the heart of farm country, where the state’s bounty blooms with hundreds of crops – everything from peaches to pistachios, from tangerines to tomatoes. You’ll also pass through dozens of communities, large and small, whose water systems are tainted by a newly regulated contaminant, 1,2,3-trichloropropane (TCP), which for decades was used in agricultural fumigants injected into farmland across the Valley.
California’s water agency Tuesday agreed to eliminate the cap on hexavalent chromium in drinking water, the toxic chemical made famous in the movie “Erin Brockovich.” The State Water Resources Control Board said it removed the cap after a Sacramento judge ruled in May that its regulation was invalid.
… as the [Interior] secretary [Ryan Zinke] hopscotches across millions of acres of Western parks, monuments and wilderness with his Stetson-sporting swagger, a crew of political appointees in Washington has begun rolling back the conservation efforts put in effect over the eight years of the Obama administration. … Mr. Zinke’s staff on Tuesday filed a legal proposal to rescind the nation’s first safety regulation on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.
The Trump administration moved Tuesday to roll back an Obama administration policy that protected more than half the nation’s streams from pollution but drew attacks from farmers, fossil fuel companies and property-rights groups as federal overreach.
EPA, Interior and Energy all have influence over infrastructure, but possibly the most influential agency is one that many Americans have never heard of — the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. … For years, energy industry CEOs have complained about FERC’s slow pace, partly caused by multiple public hearings and comment periods, so affected landowners can express their concerns.
The Trump administration on Monday threw out a new rule intended to limit the number of endangered whales and sea turtles caught in fishing nets off the West Coast, saying existing protections were already working.
Lawmakers concerned about curbing pollution and a warming planet gave a cool reception to President Donald Trump’s environmental chief on Thursday as he defended the administration’s proposal to sharply reduce the budget of his own agency.
Three months after Coyote Creek overflowed its banks and caused $100 million in damage to homes and businesses in San Jose, a flood control project straddling the city’s northern edges with Milpitas may be in danger of being shut down because of red tape. …
The Environmental Protection Agency has dismissed at least five members of a major scientific review board, the latest signal of what critics call a campaign by the Trump administration to shrink the agency’s regulatory reach by reducing the role of academic research.
Environmentalists and public health advocates are going to court to fight the Trump administration’s move to rewrite Obama-era rules limiting water pollution from coal-fired power plants. … The rule would have required utilities to cut the amounts of toxic heavy metals in the wastewater piped from their plants into rivers and lakes often used as sources of drinking water.
In a Trump administration beset by lost opportunities, muddled strategies and frequent missteps in its first 100 days, one area stands out for its disciplined approach and early successes: the multi-front assault on environmental regulations. … Planned action on climate change has been shelved, national monuments are imperiled, clean air and water rules have been eroded.
The Trump administration is rolling back an Obama administration rule requiring companies that drill for oil and natural gas on federal lands to disclose chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing, better known as fracking.
A federal appeals court has rejected the Desert Water Agency’s challenge to a Department of the Interior regulation, denying the agency’s argument that the rule could prevent it from collecting millions of dollars in revenue from customers in the Palm Springs area.
To friends and critics, Mr. [Scott] Pruitt seems intent on building an E.P.A. leadership that is fundamentally at odds with the career officials, scientists and employees who carry out the agency’s missions. That might be a recipe for strife and gridlock at the federal agency tasked to keep safe the nation’s clean air and water while safeguarding the planet’s future.
President Donald Trump has signed an executive order mandating a review of an Obama-era rule aimed at protecting small streams and wetlands from development and pollution, fulfilling a campaign promise while earning the ire of environmental groups.
President Trump is expected to sign an executive order on Tuesday aimed at rolling back one of former President Barack Obama’s major environmental regulations to protect American waterways, but it will have almost no immediate legal effect, according to two people familiar with the White House plans.
The U.S. Senate on Friday confirmed President Donald Trump’s pick to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, giving Trump a lieutenant poised to make deep cuts to the EPA and transfer some if its enforcement responsibilities to states and localities.
Despite weeks of rain and a growing perception that the California drought is dead or dying, state officials Wednesday largely extended the water regulations that have become the new normal in cities and towns throughout the state.
A crucial deadline passed quietly on January 1 that has big repercussions for the future of California’s water. It was the first of several deadlines that enforce new requirements for water diverters to precisely measure and report the amount of water they take from the state’s streams. Some 12,000 people and businesses that hold state water rights, large and small, are bound by the new rules.
A freeze on new grants and contracts at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency prompted strong criticism in California on Tuesday as Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom accused President Donald Trump of putting communities at risk by holding up critical funding.
The Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Interior are among the agencies reportedly facing at least temporary gag orders, as the new administration takes over and begins what is expected to be a dramatic remaking of policy and an easing of environmental regulations.
A Trump administration freeze on new Environmental Protection Agency contracts and grant awards raised fears that states and other recipients could lose essential funding for drinking water protection, hazardous waste oversight and a host of other programs — while a communications blackout left them dangling in uncertainty.
Legally, California’s environmental rules and programs could be challenged in a variety of ways by the Trump administration – putting at risk wildlife and coastal protections, land use regulations, and pollution controls.
A protracted conflict over whether and how to protect fish from dying at desalination plants is clouding prospects for what would be California’s second large plant of this type – and for the future of desalination along the entire California coastline. For years, a proposed Poseidon Resources desalination plant in Huntington Beach in Orange County has been kept in limbo.
Within less than a year, as many as 50,000 marijuana growers in California could be required to obtain state permits for the irrigation water they consume. … This new ability to regulate water for marijuana growing is a result of SB 837, a state law signed by Gov. Jerry Brown on June 27.
While mandatory statewide conservation is over, California water officials say conservation remains a “top priority.” “Rain or shine, drought or no drought, state mandated target or not, Californians should keep conserving,” said State Water Resources Control Board Chair Felicia Marcus.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has banned the disposal of hydraulic fracturing waste water at public sewage plants, formalizing a voluntary practice that removed most fracking waste from Pennsylvania plants starting in 2011. The EPA on Monday finalized a rule that prevents operators from disposing of waste from unconventional oil & gas operations at publicly owned treatment works [POTW's].
California on Wednesday suspended its mandatory statewide 25 percent reduction in urban water use, telling local communities to set their own conservation standards after a relatively wet winter and a year of enormous savings in urban water use.
Marking a major shift in California water policy, state regulators Wednesday voted to lift the statewide conservation targets that for the past year have required dramatic cutbacks in irrigation and household water use for the Sacramento region and urban communities across the state.
Gene Lee poured a jug of water over his head after a recent surf session at San Onfore State Beach. … The state shut down showers at state beaches last July, shortly after Gov. Jerry Brown issued new rules aimed at cutting water use, statewide, by 25 percent.
California water regulators announced new drought rules on Monday that will loosen mandatory conservation targets while making permanent some of the measures that have helped reduce water use during the past year.
Some of the temporary water-saving measures imposed on homeowners and water agencies — including how you wash your car at home and how you water your lawn — are now permanent under an executive order issued Monday by Gov. Jerry Brown.
With California entering its fifth year of a statewide drought, Gov. Jerry Brown moved on Monday to impose permanent water conservation measures and called on water suppliers to prepare for a future made drier by climate change.
On the same day that Gov. Jerry Brown sought to make water conservation a way of life for Californians by permanently banning some wasteful practices, regulators in Sacramento prepared to significantly ease the current drought restrictions for urban residents and businesses.
California’s historic drought rules are going to be a whole lot looser this summer. In a major shift, the administration of Gov. Jerry Brown announced Monday plans to drop all statewide mandatory water conservation targets it had imposed on urban areas last June.
Gov. Jerry Brown and top water regulators on Monday laid out a revised game plan for dealing with California’s persistent drought, making some conservation rules permanent while also moving to give communities more of a say in deciding how much water they must save.
Just a year ago, California regulators ordered cities and suburbs across the state to make drastic cuts in water use, telling residents the time had come to make longstanding lifestyle and landscaping changes consistent with a state with limited water.
Residents of drought-stricken California doubled their water conservation efforts in March compared with the month before by turning off their sprinklers when the rain fell and changing habits, officials said Tuesday.
Some residents of drought-stricken California who let their lawns turn brown and took shorter showers could soon get some relief, while others may continue to feel the pain. In the coming months, state officials will undertake a monumental task of rewriting conservation orders for a fifth year of drought.
With the wettest winter in five years having taken the hard edges off the historic drought and a key Sierra snowpack reading Wednesday expected to show big gains, Californians can look forward to substantial relief from mandatory statewide water restrictions.
The presence of a metallic element that at high levels has been linked to kidney and liver damage in Coachella’s drinking water could cost the city millions of dollars a year as it works to comply with new state regulations.
Following a welcomed parade of El Niño storms drenching drought-stricken California, state officials on Tuesday will decide whether to extend emergency conservation orders, and reveal how much water Californians saved in December.
The regulations adopted by the State Water Resources Control Board require all those who divert water from rivers and streams to measure and report how much they use annually. … In a separate decision, the state water board ended a more than decade-long dispute with the Morongo Band of Mission Indians by deciding not to revoke a license held by the tribe.
Acknowledging the challenges posed by the hot, dry climate endemic to much of inland California, state drought regulators Friday proposed easing the water-conservation rules for Sacramento and other communities where it takes extra water to keep trees from dying.
The proposed changes to California’s emergency drought regulation reward water districts for investing in new local supplies and allow for adjustments to savings goals based on a district’s climate and population growth.
The Environmental Protection Agency broke the law in a social media campaign intended to generate public support for a controversial rule to protect small streams and wetlands from development and pollution, congressional auditors said Monday.
The Environmental Protection Agency engaged in “covert propaganda” and violated federal law when it blitzed social media to urge the public to back an Obama administration rule intended to better protect the nation’s streams and surface waters, congressional auditors have concluded.
Municipal water agencies from Sacramento and elsewhere pleaded for relief from California’s mandatory drought cutbacks Monday, arguing they should be given credit for coping with arid climates and developing their own supplies.
Californians posted a 22 percent savings in water use in October, marking the first month residents have missed the state’s mandatory 25 percent conservation target since enforcement of the cutbacks began in June, officials said Tuesday in Sacramento.
But during an unusually hot October, state regulators say, water savings hit a snag. For the first time, residents and businesses fell short of the statewide target, cutting their water consumption by 22.2% in October compared with the same month in 2013.
Gov. Jerry Brown’s latest executive order provisionally extends California’s drought restrictions into next fall and calls on the State Water Resources Control Board to consider adjusting the rules in the coming weeks.
The tensions in Kings County offer just a taste of what’s expected in cities and towns throughout California’s farm belt over the next few years as local officials work to enact the state’s first-ever groundwater regulations.
A federal appeals court on Friday blocked an Obama administration rule that attempts to clarify which small streams, wetlands and other waterways the government can shield from pollution and development.
In the week that the new Waters of the United States Rule (“WOTUS Rule”) was scheduled to take effect on August 28, 2015, three Federal District Courts issued rulings reaching opposite conclusions on the question of whether District Courts have jurisdiction to hear these cases: one court ruled it has jurisdiction and took the additional step of issuing a preliminary injunction against the rule; two courts dismissed challenges for lack of jurisdiction. Several other challenges remain pending in both Federal District Courts and Courts of Appeal.
A federal judge in North Dakota is allowing arguments over the scope of his injunction blocking a new Obama administration rule that would give the federal government jurisdiction over some smaller waterways.
The Environmental Protection Agency says it is going forward with a new federal rule to protect small streams, tributaries and wetlands, despite a court ruling that blocked the measure in 13 central and Western states.
A federal judge in North Dakota on Thursday blocked a new Obama administration rule that would give the federal government jurisdiction over some smaller waterways just hours before it was set to go into effect.
State water officials on Wednesday softened their approach to telling thousands of California farmers to stop pumping from rivers to irrigate crops during the drought but warned that stiff penalties still await anybody who takes water they don’t have a right to use.
State officials, who are already urging people to let their grass yards wither during the drought, passed new rules Wednesday essentially banning them from being planted around new commercial buildings, while limiting grass to about 25 percent of the landscaping at new homes.
The latest of the suits against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was filed last week by the attorney general of Oklahoma, Scott Pruitt, who said that the [federal clean water] rule will make farm, industrial and private property owners “subject to the unpredictable, unsound, and often Byzantine regulatory regime of the EPA.”
Californians in May shot past Gov. Jerry Brown’s water conservation targets in response to the drought emergency — a profound shift in behavior for a state that until recently prized its hot tubs, lush landscaping and spotless cars.
Water use in drought-stricken California plunged by record levels in May, and Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration cited that as proof cities can hit steep summer conservation targets they have blasted as unfair.
In a rare bit of encouraging news in a state gripped by drought, regulators reported Wednesday that urban Californians reduced their water consumption by 28.9 percent in May from the same month two years ago.
State officials on Wednesday formally adopted new rules governing hydraulic fracturing in California, setting in motion some of the toughest guidelines in the nation for the controversial oil extraction practice.
The city sued the state this month after it learned it would be rejected for inclusion in a special reduction tier that allows suppliers to reduce water use by just 4% if they do not import water and have at least a four-year supply.
Thirteen states led by North Dakota filed a lawsuit Monday challenging an Obama administration rule that gives federal agencies authority to protect some streams, tributaries and wetlands under the Clean Water Act.
Efforts are underway in Congress to redo and sharply limit the impact of what was known initially as the “Waters of the United States” rule and was designed to help federal officials clarify and simplify which bodies of water fall under the control of the Clean Water Act, the pivotal 1972 environmental law.