Category: Regulations

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Ready or Not? Now’s the Time to Get Your Oil Spill Management Team OSPR Certification

The California Office of Spill Prevention and Response (“OSPR”), within the Department of Fish and Wildlife, has been tasked with new responsibilities related to oil spill response.  Assembly Bill 1197 (“AB 1197”), which was signed into law in October 2017 and goes into effect on January 1, 2018, authorizes spill management teams (“SMTs”) to apply … Continue Reading

How Low Can You Go? Proposed Agricultural Waste Discharge Requirements Impose Even More Stringent Demands on Central Valley Farmers

On October 10, 2017, the California State Water Resources Control Board (“Water Board”) issued the second version of an order to modify agricultural waste discharge requirements (“Proposed Order”), under the Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program (“ILRP”).  Through the ILRP, the Water Board regulates discharges from irrigated agricultural lands across the state, especially within California’s Central Valley.  … Continue Reading

Update on a Prior Post: SB 774 is Tabled for the Legislative Session; No Toxic Substances Board

On September 14, 2017, Senate Bill 774 (“SB 774”) was ordered inactive on request of Assembly Member Calderon.  The bill, which proposed creation of the new California Toxic Substances Board (“CTS Board”), will not become law this session, and we will continue to monitor this legislation if it becomes active again during the next legislative session. … Continue Reading

Update on a Prior Post: Under Pressure SB 774 Has Been Amended – But the Appointed Toxic Substances Board Concept Remains in the Bill

Senate Bill 774 (“SB 774”) was amended in July 2017 to delete a section of the bill that would have allowed the new California Toxic Substances Board (“CTS Board”) to adopt or amend relevant regulations.  Under the revised version of SB 774, the CTS Board is not permitted to adopt regulations and is no longer … Continue Reading

New California Groundwater Fees – Another Step Forward for SGMA

California’s newer groundwater regulatory structure, the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act of 2014 (“SGMA”), was signed by Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. on September 16, 2014. The State Water Resources Control Board (“SWRCB”) is the enforcement agency for SGMA. SGMA requires the SWRCB to establish a schedule of fees sufficient to recover the costs incurred by … Continue Reading

Sacramento Superior Court Finds Chromium 6 Water Standard Not Economically Feasible

On May 5, 2017, the Sacramento Superior Court issued a decision that the state’s water regulation, when it comes to the hexavalent chromium, also known as Chromium 6 (or Chrom-6) water standard, is not economically feasible and must be withdrawn. A copy of the Court’s Order can be read here. In 2014, the California Department … Continue Reading

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA ENVIRONMENTAL UPDATE #3 – APRIL 24, 2017

This is the third update on environmental regulatory and legal developments in Los Angeles and adjacent counties, as well as the Southern San Joaquin Valley.  We welcome your comments and updates. South Coast Air Quality Management District *Governing Board Shift:  New Governing Board Member Sheila Kuehl replaced Mike Antonovich, returning the Board to a Democratic … Continue Reading

California to Thwart Trump’s Rollback of Federal Environmental Protections, Including Waters of US Deregulation

Newton’s Third Law apparently not only applies in physics, but in politics as well.  Last week, the California Senate leadership unveiled the “Preserve California” legislative package to oppose the rollback of federal environmental protections by President Trump and the GOP-controlled U.S. Congress.  The package included California State Senate Bill 49, aka the “California Environmental Defense … Continue Reading

Proposed Oil Refinery Regulations Tackle Safety Concerns

On July 14, 2016, the California Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) announced a “landmark set of regulations to strengthen workplace and environmental safety at oil refineries across the state.”  The refinery safety rules consist of two sets of regulations:  one amending the California Occupational Safety & Health (“OSHA”) worker safety regulations as they apply to refineries, and … Continue Reading

Updated Status of Oil- and Gas-Related Bills Proposed in California’s 2015-2016 Legislative Session

June 3, 2016 was the final deadline for oil- and gas-related bills introduced in the 2015-2016 legislative session to move through their house of origin.  Below is a summary of those bills, many of which relate to natural gas storage following the Aliso Canyon natural gas well leak.  Stoel Rives is monitoring these bills and … Continue Reading

The Other Shoe Just Dropped on Methane Emissions from the Oil and Gas Industry

Not to be outdone by its federal counter-parts, the California Air Resources Board (“ARB”) released Greenhouse Gas Emission Standards for Crude Oil and Natural Gas Facilities (“proposed rule”) for methane emissions on Tuesday, May 31, following a slew of recent federal regulations targeting reduction of methane emissions.  Cal. Code Regs. tit. 14, §§ 95665-95676 (proposed).  … Continue Reading

Clean Up Green Up—Supplemental Use Districts—more regulation for three LA City Neighborhoods

On June 4, 2016, the City of Los Angeles rolls out its much-discussed Clean Up Green Up (CUGU) pilot program for three communities: Boyle Heights, Wilmington and Pacoima. Ordinance 184246, approved by Mayor Garcetti on April 22, 2016, adds new rules to the City’s Planning and Zoning Code and Building Code. CUGU is controversial. Communities … Continue Reading

California Water Webinar Series on the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA)

Earlier this week, environmental consultant Susanne Heim of Panorama Environmental and Stoel Rives water lawyer Wes Miliband hosted the second part of the California Water Webinar series about the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA). In this webinar, Susanne and Wes covered implications of the recently adopted emergency regulations to amend groundwater basin boundaries, as well … Continue Reading

Stricter Underground Gas Storage Regs are in the Works

On January 15, 2016, the Department of Conservation gave notice of an interim rulemaking package to regulate underground natural gas storage facilities.  The proposed rulemaking comes in response to the continuing gas leak at an underground gas storage facility in Aliso Canyon. Governor Brown called for the new regulations in his emergency proclamation, which included … Continue Reading

FAST Act Streamlines Permitting and Environmental Review for Infrastructure Projects

In a rare bi-partisan effort, Congress passed the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (“FAST Act”), which was signed into law by President Obama on December 4. The law makes changes and reforms to many Federal transportation programs, including streamlining the approval processes for new transportation projects. The President of the American Public Works Association, Brian … Continue Reading

Kern County Acts to Streamline Oil & Gas Permitting

In a process that took nearly three years to complete, on Monday, November 9, the Kern County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a significant change to its oil and gas regulations. The change affects Title 19 of the Kern County Zoning Ordinance and provides a streamline permitting process for oil and gas operations. The change … Continue Reading

Bunn’s “Renewal Plan” will Overhaul Oil & Gas Regulation in California Starting Next Year

On October 8, the California Department of Conservation (“DOC”) released a Renewal Plan for Oil and Gas Regulation (“Renewal Plan”) to revamp its regulatory program.  The goal of the Renewal Plan is to continue the DOC’s focus on environmental protection and public health, and it will shape the DOC’s regulatory decisions for the next two … Continue Reading

California Water Commission Adopts Regulations For Changing Groundwater Basin Boundaries

On October 21, 2015, the California Water Commission (“CWC”) adopted emergency regulations formulated by the Department of Water Resources (“DWR”) that establish a process by which local agencies may seek groundwater basin boundary modifications.  The proposed regulations are the first of their kind authorizing DWR to formally consider requests by local agencies to modify groundwater … Continue Reading

California Groundwater Update: Public Comments Due For Basin Boundary Regulations

As one of many implementation steps under the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (“SGMA” codified as Water Code §§ 10720 et seq.), basin boundary regulations were released recently by the California Department of Water Resources (“DWR”), with a public comment deadline set for Friday, September 4. DWR is holding public meetings this week to solicit public … Continue Reading

Legislation Revamping California Groundwater Adjudications Marches Forward

AB 1390 aims in unprecedented fashion to expedite procedures and processes for groundwater adjudications, which, in California, are known to take one or two decades before reaching a final judgment. The bill would add various provisions to the California Code of Civil Procedure that would be codified as Sections 830 through 849. AB 1390 was … Continue Reading

California DWR’s New Groundwater Basin Regulations for SGMA

With the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (“SGMA”) taking effect on January 1, 2015, the California Department of Water Resources (“DWR”) is in full swing of holding public workshops and information sessions to solicit input from stakeholders and other members of the public as well as to answer questions regarding SGMA’s various milestone requirements. On July … Continue Reading

California SB 4 Compliance Handbook: New Third Edition Now Available!

New Third Edition Reflects July 1 Permanent Regulations of Hydraulic Fracturing We have prepared an update to the firm’s SB 4 Compliance Handbook to aid operators in their efforts to comply with SB 4 and its new permitting scheme. Senate Bill 4 (“SB 4”) regulates well stimulation treatments in California, including hydraulic fracturing and acid … Continue Reading

Water Board Signs Off on New Fracking Requirements

Yesterday, July 7, the State Water Resources Control Board (“Water Board”) adopted new requirements (“Model Criteria”) for groundwater monitoring in areas where oil and gas stimulation activities occur, such as hydraulic fracturing. The Water Board was required to develop these requirements pursuant to Senate Bill 4 (“SB 4”). The requirements cover a wide range of … Continue Reading

To Curtail Or Not To Curtail…That Is the Question

On June 12, the State Water Board issued a notice of “unavailability of water” and the “need for immediate curtailment” from various water users holding pre-1914 water rights.  Less than two weeks later on June 23, lawyers for the State Water Board reportedly stated in court this curtailment notice is advisory only, which would seem to … Continue Reading
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