Managed retreat—the process of moving people and property away from the shoreline—is an unpopular but increasingly accepted response to rising sea-levels. In the inaugural issue of Nossaman’s California Water Views – 2023 Outlook, we discuss the saga of Morro Bay’s efforts to relocate and reopen its wastewater treatment plant farther inland at the direction of the California Coastal Commission. After many fits and starts, the Morro Bay plant opened in February 2023 and cost $161 million to build. The Morro Bay case is relevant because similarly situated coastal communities may end up having to pursue a similar course of action in the not-too-distant future.
We also examine a few legislative efforts aimed at addressing sea level rise. Notably, three of these efforts—SB 272 (Sea level rise: planning and adaptation), AB 225 (Real property: environmental hazards booklet) and ACA 1 (California Assembly Constitutional Amendment 1 – Local government financing: affordable housing and public infrastructure)—have all recently passed and become law. While these efforts do not appropriate funds toward relocation efforts, local governments should be aware of the new requirements relating to sea level rise planning and adaptation strategies.
Ben Rubin is chair of Nossaman’s Environment & Land Use Group. Ben assists developers, public agencies, landowners and corporate clients on a variety of complex land use and environmental matters. He counsels clients on matters ...
Samantha Murray assists clients on a full range of environmental law matters. Her practice spans litigation, regulatory law, due diligence and compliance; she regularly deals with legal issues arising under federal and state laws ...
Liz Klebaner advises private and public agency clients on a variety of complex land use and environmental matters, including California Environmental Quality Act, National Environmental Policy Act, California Coastal Act ...
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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