- Posts by Alexander J. Van RoekelAssociate
Alex Van Roekel provides counsel to clients on state and federal water law issues including water rights, groundwater management and public policy within the water sector. He also assists clients in proceedings in front of the ...
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 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. …
On May 12, 2022, at the conclusion of a 10-hour hearing, the California Coastal Commission voted to deny Poseidon Water’s application to site and operate a desalination plant in Huntington Beach, in what could be a fatal blow for a project that has been debated for more than 20 years.
The Coastal Commission’s vote was unanimous, 11-0, in agreeing with the staff report’s recommendation to reject Poseidon Water’s application. The staff report recommended denial “due to this project’s fundamental inconsistencies with Coastal Act and LCP policies related to coastal ...
At a board meeting on April 26, 2022, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (“the Met”) announced it would be requiring reductions in water usage from retail water suppliers that are dependent on water from the State Water Project. The reduction, which the Met took as a result of the severity of the state’s current drought, will apply to six million Californians covering Los Angeles, Ventura and San Bernardino counties. The impacted retail water suppliers are Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, Three Valleys Municipal Water District, Upper San Gabriel ...
The past few weeks have been active ones for California in assessing the severity of its current drought and how it plans to manage its water during the third year of that drought. On top of other, more localized action, California released its report on 2021 groundwater conditions, evaluated current snowpack conditions and Governor Newsom issued an executive order directing action affecting 2022 water usage.
2021 Groundwater Conditions Report
On April 4, 2022, the California Department of Water Resources (“DWR”) issued its Groundwater Conditions Report for Water Year 2021 ...
Last week, the Ocean Protection Council adopted California’s Statewide Microplastics Strategy. The strategy is the first of its kind in the nation, focusing on outlining steps to address microplastic pollution, an emerging contaminant of concern.
Microplastics are defined in California as plastics that are between one nanometer and five millimeters in size. Microplastics have long been a concern for marine life, but recently there has been an increase in concern about the impacts of ingesting microplastics on humans. California has led the nation in developing strategies to ...
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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