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
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
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,”
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
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
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
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,
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
New federal rules designed to better protect small streams,
tributaries and wetlands – and the drinking water of 117
million Americans – are being criticized by Republicans and
farm groups as going too far.
Facing resistance to sweeping mandatory restrictions approved
last week for urban water districts, California water board
Chair Felicia Marcus defended the cuts as a matter of
“self-interest” at a Senate hearing on Tuesday.
Local water suppliers and cities could now face major cuts in
revenue from water sales after the State Water Board approved a
set of drought regulations this week that seek to achieve a 25
percent in water use throughout the state.
State data released Tuesday painted a stark portrait of the
uphill struggle Californians face in achieving a mandated 25%
reduction in urban water use, with one official joking grimly
that dealing with severe drought was similar to grappling with
the five stages of grief.
Bringing California’s historic drought directly to every home
and business in the state, the administration of Gov. Jerry
Brown on Tuesday imposed the first mandatory urban water
conservation rules in state history.
California regulators unanimously adopted emergency drought
regulations Tuesday that for the first time will require tens
of millions of Californians and tens of thousands of businesses
to sharply reduce water use, a response to the state’s
unprecedented and deepening drought.
The State Water Resources Control Board released revisions to
its draft emergency regulations to restrict overall potable
urban water usage across the state by 25 percent. The
revisions, released late Tuesday, include language
clarifications and changes to certain provisions.
After hearing concerns from a coalition of local water
suppliers and policy makers on the newest set of drought
regulations, the State Water Resources Control Board included a
clause within its draft rules that would ease up water mandates
for areas with prolonged, ample water supplies.
The state water board has modified its proposed conservation
regulations in an attempt to incorporate feedback from
urban water suppliers, interest groups and members of the
public who had roundly criticized its framework.