The Next Chapter of the WOTUS Saga is Here

On November 18, 2021, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) announced the availability of a pre-publication version of a proposed rule (Proposed Rule) to amend the definition of Waters of the United States (WOTUS). This much anticipated rulemaking is the latest attempt by the agencies to provide regulatory clarity on what water features are subject to the protections of the Clean Water Act.

The agencies did not announce a date for official Federal Register publication, but once published, the Proposed Rule will have a 60-day comment period ...

WEBINAR: Turning the Tide on Cybersecurity for the Water Sector

Cyberattacks on organizations worldwide surged 40% in 2021. September 2021 broke records for the number of weekly cyberattacks, topping all other months since January 2020. Currently, one out of every 61 organizations worldwide is impacted by ransomware attacks every week. Given this ever-increasing threat level, a national law requiring critical infrastructure organizations to report cybersecurity incidents to the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) is on the horizon. In addition, the Biden administration’s proposed infrastructure bill ...

Biden-Harris Administration Announces Updated Plan to Address PFAS Chemicals

On October 18, 2021, the Biden-Harris administration announced an updated government-wide “comprehensive approach” to address per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), a set of man-made chemicals that are widely used in a variety of consumer and industrial products, and which persist in the environment once released and may be linked to health impacts. The announcement identified several activities to address PFAS by eight federal agencies, as well as proposed funding in the forthcoming infrastructure bill for monitoring for PFAS compounds in drinking water through ...

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Happy Water Professionals Appreciation Week!

During this 4th annual Water Professionals Appreciation Week, Nossaman would like to acknowledge all of California’s essential water sector professionals. Not just this week, but every week of the year, they work on the front lines to provide this essential resource to all of our communities and serve as stewards for the environment.

Water Professionals Appreciation Week was created in 2017 to highlight the important role of water industry professionals and local public water agencies in ensuring safe and reliable tap water, wastewater and recycled water for California. Now ...

WOTUS No More: EPA and Corps Revert to Pre-2015 Framework

On September 3, 2021, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) announced the agencies will abandon the definition of Waters of the United States (WOTUS) set forth in the April 21, 2020 Navigable Waters Protection Rule (NWPR) and will instead rely on the pre-2015 regulatory framework. The agencies’ announcement comes on the heels of a decision from the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona vacating the NWPR. …

Navigable Waters Protection Rule Vacated

On August 30, 2021, the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona vacated the April 2020 Navigable Waters Protection Rule in which the Trump Administration revised the definition of Waters of the United States (WOTUS). The court is still weighing whether (a) to restore the Obama-era WOTUS rule, which more broadly defines jurisdictional areas; or (b) simply to undo the Trump rollback, which would result in a return to pre-Obama WOTUS regulations. 

This ruling affects those states within the jurisdiction of the court and may apply more broadly within the jurisdiction of the U.S ...

New POTUS, New WOTUS?

At the end of July, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that the Biden administration will begin working to create a “durable definition” of Waters of the United States (WOTUS). EPA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) have announced that they “are committed to developing a reasonable, effective, and durable definition of WOTUS that protects public health, the environment, and downstream communities while supporting economic opportunity, agriculture, and other industries.” It is notable that the announcement did not mention specifically the ...

New Lawsuit Tests Application of Public Trust Doctrine to Groundwater, Well Permits and SGMA

On June 23rd, California Coastkeeper Alliance (CCKA) filed the lawsuit California Coastkeeper Alliance v. County of Sonoma (Case No. SCV-268718) in Sonoma County Superior Court. According to CCKA’s website, the suit was filed “to compel the County of Sonoma to consider and mitigate impacts to public trust resources caused by unregulated and wasteful groundwater pumping in the Russian River watershed.” The organization went on to state, “This is an important move during this historic drought to protect salmon populations that are already at risk of extinction, and to ...

OEHHA Releases Long-Awaited Proposed Public Health Goals for PFOA and PFOS

Today, the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) of the California Environmental Protection Agency announced the release of a draft document for public review describing proposed Public Health Goals (PHGs) for perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS) in drinking water. The release of the draft PHGs is a long-awaited and significant step in the regulation of such per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in California.

The draft PHGs identified by OEHHA are 0.007 parts per trillion (ppt) for PFOA to address concerns based on ...

Sea Level Rise Professionals Opine on Potential Impacts of SLR for California

On May 27, Nossaman’s Water Industry Group hosted a webinar to discuss the potential impacts of sea level rise on infrastructure and private property, as well as current legislation seeking to address the impacts of sea level rise.

This post is not intended to summarize the topics discussed during the webinar, so if you missed the presentation and want to catch up, you can download the slide deck or watch a recording of the webinar here.

Over the course of the webinar, we asked a few poll questions to get to know more about our audience and their concerns about sea level rise.  We found the ...

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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