DOJ-ENRD Issues Policy Memorandum Ending Use of SEPs in Environmental Settlements

On March 12, 2020, Jeffrey Bossert Clark, the Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Environment & Natural Resources Division of the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ-ENRD”) issued a policy memorandum formally ending the use of Supplemental Environmental Projects (“SEPs”) in civil settlement agreements negotiated by DOJ-ENRD. SEPs are an enforcement mechanism that have been used by EPA and DOJ-ENRD to allow settling parties to agree to perform environmentally beneficial projects in exchange for lowered or even waived monetary penalties. Typically, SEPs are ...

Water Board Issues Draft Definition of Microplastics in Drinking Water

The California State Water Resources Control Board (“State Water Board”) recently issued a draft Definition of Microplastics in Drinking Water and an accompanying staff report. The State Water Board will host a video/teleconference workshop on the draft definition on April 7, 2020 and written comments will be accepted until April 24, 2020. Here is the draft definition ...

Supporting Our Clients in the Wake of the COVID-19 Outbreak

In response to the outbreak of COVID-19, we are closely monitoring guidance issued by local, state and federal authorities, as well as information distributed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization. We are dedicated to helping clients address business disruptions, anticipate potential challenges and mitigate risk associated with irregular operations. We are available to assist in a number of core areas that may impact public agencies and businesses in this rapidly changing environment. Please visit our COVID-19 Response Team page to read our ongoing coverage of these issues as they evolve ...

Water Supply & Delivery Projects Under the ESA

Recently, Lyn Clancy, Managing Associate General Counsel and Senior Policy Advisor for the Lower Colorado River Authority, and I presented on the topic of Endangered Species and Water Supply at the State Bar of Texas’ Changing Face of Water Law Conference in San Antonio. Issues of water supply and delivery continue to be a hot topic nationwide, including in Texas, and supply and delivery projects often intersect with the need to address species of plants and wildlife listed under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA).

The presentation included several primary takeaways ...

March 22 is World Water Day!

World Water Day is an annual United Nations international observance day that highlights the importance of freshwater.  The U.N. chooses a theme for the day each year, and for 2020 the theme is “Water and Climate Change." The goal of World Water Day is to inspire people around the world to learn more about water-related issues and to take action to make a difference. In 2020, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, there was an additional focus on hand washing and hygiene.  World Water Day is celebrated around the world through political, artistic, and educational events, as well as ...

Executive Order N-29-20 Authorizing Public Meetings Entirely by Teleconference or Other Electronic Means

On March 17, 2020, Governor Newsom issued Executive Order N-29-20 (amending Executive Order N-25-20 in part), which allows local or state legislative bodies to hold meetings via teleconference and to make meetings accessible electronically without violating the open meeting laws found in the Bagley-Keene Act or the Brown Act.

The new Order states ...

Financial Liability & Legal Issues for Cities Related to Sea Level Rise

Nossaman Partners John Erskine and Ben Rubin recently presented at the International Right of Way Association (IRWA) Chapter 1’s 28th Annual Valuation Seminar in Montebello, CA, where they provided a presentation entitled “Rising Sea Levels - Financial Liability Issues to Cities & Legal Issues.” Sea level rise is a critical issue facing public agencies and property owners throughout the U.S. In California alone, this phenomenon could impact thousands of residences and businesses, dozens of wastewater treatment plants and power plants, 250 miles of highway, 1,500 miles ...

Governor Newsom Issues Executive Order Suspending Certain Brown Act Rules

Today, in light of public health concerns due to COVID-19, Governor Newsom issued an Executive Order suspending certain Brown Act rules.  Among other items, the Order allows local and state legislative bodies to hold public meetings via teleconference and to make meetings accessible electronically. 

The Order provides:  “All requirements in both the Bagley-Keene Act and the Brown Act expressly or impliedly requiring the physical presence of members, the clerk or other personnel of the body, or of the public as a condition of participation in a quorum for a public meeting are hereby ...

EPA Report:  Coronavirus & Drinking Water and Wastewater

Yesterday, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released guidance on the coronavirus and the U.S. drinking and wastewater systems.  According to the EPA, “Based on current evidence, the risk to water supplies is low. Americans can continue to use and drink water from their tap as usual.”  The EPA also continues coordinating with federal partners ...

EPA Takes Key Step Toward Regulation of PFAS
On March 10, 2020, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published its proposed Preliminary Regulatory Determinations for perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) in drinking water, thereby taking the initial steps to formally regulate two of the most common chemicals in the family of compounds known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in drinking water. EPA will seek comment on these preliminary determinations until May 11, 2020.
 
This announcement represents EPA’s preliminary determination that PFOA and PFOS meet the statutory criteria for regulation ...

California Water Views provides timely and insightful updates on the water sector in the state. We relay information on how water legislation and policy from the nation’s capital, Sacramento, and around the U.S. affect California’s water utilities, agencies, practitioners, and consumers.  We also write about important events, conferences, legal cases, and other key happenings involving all things water in and around California.

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