On January 6, 2023, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced its Final Rule, listed at 88 FR 986, updating the maximum civil monetary penalties that may be assessed for violations of environmental statutes. This annual update is required by the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015. This is the seventh annual adjustment under that act.
The update is designed to reflect inflation in order to maintain the deterrent effect of statutes providing civil monetary penalties, and is based on a formula that factors in the consumer price ...
On January 10, 2023, Governor Gavin Newsom announced his $297 billion budget proposal for 2023-2024, which includes a $22.5 billion budget deficit. Despite environmental/climate change programs facing $6 billion in cuts, Governor Newsom’s proposed budget includes relatively few negative impacts to water projects. In fact, the drought response and water resilience section, which includes the vast majority of water-related funding, only faces a cut of two percent, from $8.7 billion to $8.6 billion. That two percent reduction is the lowest of any environmental category. ...
On December 19, 2022, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Army Corps), Sacramento District released its Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Delta Conveyance Project. The Army Corps is the federal agency tasked with evaluating the Delta Conveyance Project for compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act. Cooperating federal agencies include the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Marine Fisheries Service, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.
The Delta Conveyance Project is the California Department of Water ...
On December 6, 2022, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) by a bipartisan vote of 350-80. The NDAA includes the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2022, which includes nearly $38 billion in funding for the Army Corps of Engineers (Corps). (The text of the WRDA begins on page 3160 of the NDAA.) The WRDA is biennial legislation that provides the Corps with funding to address navigation, flood control, and ecosystem restoration. This year’s bill authorizes projects in all 50 states. On the same day, a bipartisan group of Senators and Representatives announced that they reached an agreement on the WRDA. On December 15, 2022, the Senate passed the NDAA. …
On November 10, 2022, California Attorney General Rob Bonta announced that he had filed a lawsuit against 3M, DuPont, and sixteen other companies for their roles in manufacturing per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). The lawsuit seeks money damages, which could reach hundreds of millions of dollars, for damages, penalties, and restitution, as well as injunctive relief and abatement. Some consider the lawsuit the broadest of its kind brought by any state.
PFAS is an umbrella term that covers dozens of types of man-made chemicals. PFAS were used for a variety of purposes ...
On September 7, 2022, California became the first government in the world to require microplastics testing for drinking water, an emerging contaminant that is found throughout the environment. The State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) approved a policy handbook that details how it will implement a four-year plan, including testing logistics as well as how it will select the public agencies that will be required to test.
Microplastics represent an emerging contaminant of concern for which there are still a number of unanswered questions. As the policy handbook ...
A key priority of the Newsom administration – the Delta Conveyance Project – has officially entered its next chapter. On July 22, the Department of Water Resources (DWR) released its draft environmental impact report (Draft EIR) for the Delta Conveyance Project.
The Delta Conveyance Project is DWR’s and Governor Newsom’s plan to build an underground tunnel to bring water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to the State Water Project pumps near Tracy in order to reduce the risk from earthquakes and climate change to the State’s water supplies. It is intended to protect ...
On July 1, 2022 a panel of the Ninth Circuit issued a superseding opinion in California River Watch v. City of Vacaville, Appeal No. 20-16605, withdrawing its previous opinion in the same case and reaching the opposite result. The case is a rare example of a court reversing itself, and has important implications for water suppliers in California and nationwide.
In California River Watch, the plaintiff sought to impose RCRA liability on a water supplier based on the presence of hexavalent chromium in the water it supplied to customers, despite the fact that the water complied with the ...
On June 15, 2022, the U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced new health advisories for four per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). The health advisories significantly lowered the level considered safe to consume for two PFAS and set limits for two new PFAS. At the same time, EPA announced it was making $1 billion available in grant funding to help communities address PFAS contamination.
PFAS have been dubbed “forever chemicals” because they tend to linger in the environment and humans rather than naturally breaking down. There are dozens of different types ...
On May 24, 2022, the California State Water Resources Control Board announced emergency drought restrictions resulting from Governor Newsom’s Executive Order N-7-22. The regulations are the latest in a series of attempts by the state to deal with the ongoing severe drought. The regulations cover two areas: a ban on irrigating non-functional turf and a requirement that urban water suppliers implement the Level 2 demand reduction actions in their water shortage contingency plan. …
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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