Utah Federal Judge: ESA Rule Is Unconstitutional
November 11, 2014 / Josh Bloom and Dave Metres
In a ruling that, if upheld and followed, would significantly limit the reach of federal environmental regulation, a Utah federal judge determined that regulation of a purely intrastate species listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act is unconstitutional because it is beyond the scope of the Commerce Clause and the Necessary and Proper Clause. People for the Ethical Treatment of Property Owners v. U.S. Fish & Wildlife Serv., No. 2:13-cv-00278-DB (D. Utah Nov. 4, 2014)...
Historic Groundwater Sustainability Bills Head To CA Governor
September 5, 2014 / Estie Kus, Samir Abdelnour, and Dave Metres
Last Friday, the California Legislature passed three bills that provide for the regulation of groundwater for the first time in the state’s history. Once signed by Gov. Jerry Brown, the bills—currently known as AB 1739 (Dickinson), SB 1168 (Pavley), and SB 1319 (Pavley)—will collectively constitute the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (the “Act”). The Act will establish as state policy that California’s groundwater resources are to be “managed sustainably for...
Wildlife Agencies Propose New Endangered Species Regulations and Policy on Critical Habitat
May 15, 2014 / Josh Bloom and Dave Metres
On May 12, 2014, Federal wildlife agencies proposed two new rules concerning critical habitat under the Endangered Species Act and a draft policy regarding exclusions from critical habitat designations. The proposals, issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), have been published in Federal Register, and comments will be accepted through July 11. The proposed rules would create a new definition of “destruction or adverse...
Supreme Court Upholds EPA Interstate Air Pollution Regulations
April 29, 2014 / Chris Jensen and Morgan Gilhuly
The Supreme Court has upheld EPA regulations requiring reductions in SO2, NOx, and fine particle emissions in 28 states stretching from Texas to New York. The regulations, known as the “Cross-State Air Pollution Rule” or “Transport Rule,” are intended to reduce interstate transport of air pollutants, and were enacted under the “Good Neighbor Provision” of the Clean Air Act, which requires states implementing federal Clean Air Act requirements to enact measures to avoid...
California Finalizes Drinking Water Standard for Hexavalent Chromium
April 16, 2014 / Rick Coffin and Dave Metres
On April 15, 2014, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) submitted the Final Statement of Reasons for the Hexavalent Chromium Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) to the Office of Administrative Law. No significant changes were made to the draft MCL of 10 ppb (µg/L) released by CDPH in August 2013, despite the receipt of approximately 18,000 comments on the proposal. The MCL will become effective on July 1, 2014, once it is approved by the Office of Administrative...
California Water Board Finalizes New Water Quality Requirements for Industrial Facility Storm Water Discharges
April 4, 2014 / Don Sobelman and Dave Metres
For the first time in 17 years, industrial facilities in California must contend with a new set of legal requirements controlling storm water. On April 1, 2014, the California State Water Resources Control Board (State Board) formally adopted the final draft of the general NPDES permit that regulates storm water discharges associated with industrial activity, known as the “Industrial General Permit.” The new Industrial General Permit imposes additional permitting...
State Water Board to Adopt Revised Industrial Storm Water Permit on April 1, 2014
February 24, 2014 / Don Sobelman and Dave Metres
The California State Water Resources Control Board (State Board) recently notified the public that it will consider for adoption the final draft of the general NPDES permit that regulates storm water discharges associated with industrial activity. The State Board will hold a public hearing on adoption of the permit at its meeting on April 1, 2014 at 9:00 a.m. at the Cal/EPA headquarters in Sacramento. The State Board is soliciting comments by the public regarding revisions that have...
EPA Calls for New “Completion Strategies” at Contaminated Groundwater Sites
January 9, 2014 / Dave Metres
In October 2013, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued its draft “Groundwater Remedy Completion Strategy – Moving Forward with Completion in Mind,” which would establish a recommended strategy for an adaptive management-style approach to managing contaminated groundwater sites. The strategy calls for rigorous data assessment of the performance of groundwater cleanup actions to achieve remedial action objectives (RAOs), and clarifies that RAOs and cleanup goals should be...
Ninth Circuit Rejects Constitutional Challenge to California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard
September 19, 2013 / Chris Jensen and Morgan Gilhuly
On September 18, the Ninth Circuit handed a major victory to the California’s program to control greenhouse gas emissions from transportation fuels, turning aside constitutional challenges to the program brought by ethanol and petroleum industry interests in Rocky Mountain Farmers Union v. Corey (No. 12-15131). The case arose from rulings in two separate actions in the Eastern District of California involving California’s “Low Carbon Fuel Standard.” The Low Carbon Fuel Standard is...
California Issues Draft MCL for Hexavalent Chromium
August 23, 2013 / Dave Metres
On Thursday, August 22, 2013, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) published notice of a draft Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) of 10 ppb (µg/L) for hexavalent chromium. The MCL proposal is higher than the 0.02 ppb public health goal adopted by OEHHA in 2011, but is significantly below the existing California MCL, in existence since the 1970s, of 50 ppb for total chromium and the current federal MCL for total chromium of 100 ppb. CDPH will seek public comment on the...