Category: Water

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Lawsuit Seeks to Halt Oil Industry Wastewater Disposal Practices

On Thursday, May 7, 2015, two environmental groups filed a lawsuit seeking an immediate halt to oil and gas wastewater injection at 2,500 wells across California. The suit, filed by the Sierra Club and the Center for Biological Diversity, claims that the state Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources (“DOGGR”) should be prohibited from … Continue Reading

California Water Board Signs Off on Emergency Urban Water Use Restrictions

On May 5, 2015, the State Water Resources Control Board (“Water Board”) adopted Emergency Regulations implementing a statewide 25% reduction of potable urban water use, which includes commercial, industrial, and institutional water use, in addition to residential water use. These regulations are in response to Governor Brown’s April 1, 2015 Executive Order mandating a statewide … Continue Reading

Water Board Issues Proposed Draft Model Criteria for Groundwater Monitoring

On April 29, 2015, the State Water Resources Control Board (“Water Board”) issued a Notice of Opportunity for Public Comment and Notice of Public Workshop regarding the proposed Draft Model Criteria for Groundwater Monitoring (“Model Criteria”) for areas of oil and gas well stimulation. Senate Bill 4 requires groundwater monitoring for all oil and gas … Continue Reading

California Proposes Emergency Rules for Oil & Gas Waste Water Injection Wells as Precautionary Measure

On Thursday, April 2, the California Department of Conservation (“DOC”) published a notice of proposed emergency rulemaking for the state’s Class II Underground Injection Control (“UIC”) program.  The purpose of the rulemaking is set a schedule to eliminate injection into non-exempt aquifers so as to ensure that California oil and gas activities are in compliance … Continue Reading

Regulators Confirm: No Drinking Water Contamination from Oil & Gas Disposal Wells

On Tuesday, March 10, California Environmental Protection Agency Secretary Matthew Rodriquez and California Natural Resources Agency (“CNRA”) Secretary John Laird testified before a joint State Senate committee hearing.  At the hearing before the Natural Resources & Water Committee and the Environmental Quality Committee, Rodriguez and Laird confirmed that there has been no drinking water contamination due to … Continue Reading

How to Speak Storm Water in 2015: Terminology from the New Industrial General Storm Water Permit

As my colleague Missy Foster recently reported, the deadline for compliance with California’s new Industrial Storm Water permit (2014 Permit) is fast approaching.  There is a lot to learn about the 2014 Permit before it takes effect on July 1, 2015. The 2014 Permit contains numerous new acronyms.  Below is the quick A to Z … Continue Reading

CEQA Exemption Update: Westland Water District Two-Year Contract Renewals Ruled Exempt from CEQA Requirements

In North Coast Rivers Alliance v. Westlands Water District, No. FO67383 (Cal. Ct. App. 5th Dist. July 3, 2014), the Fifth Appellate District upheld the Westland Water District and its related distribution districts’ (Water Districts) conclusion that their approval of the 2012 interim renewal contracts with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (Bureau) for Central Valley … Continue Reading

California’s Nine Energy Policy Goals with 2020 Target Date

By Ryan R. Waterman, Parissa Ebrahimzadeh What does California have planned for the year 2020? An ambitious collection of energy related goals. Stoel Rives attorneys Ryan Waterman and Parissa Ebrahimzadeh explore nine California energy policy goals in an article entitled “California’s “Magic” Number: Nine Goals for 2020 and Where We May Go From There,” published … Continue Reading

Governor Brown Outlines Budget Priorities for CalEPA and Natural Resources Agency

Governor Brown released a summary of his proposed 2014-2015 budget this week, including details on proposed environmental protection and natural resources spending.  The Governor’s budget provides $3.6 billion in funding for the California Environmental Protection Agency, including $3.1 billion in State funds and $54 million from the General Fund.  Proposed funding of CalEPA programs include:  $850 million … Continue Reading

State Water Resources Control Board Issues Final Draft of the Industrial General Storm Water NPDES Permit

Today, the State Water Resources Control Board released the final draft of the Statewide General National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (“NPDES”) Permit for the Discharge of Storm Water Associated with Industrial Activities (“Industrial General Permit” or “Permit”).  The long-awaited third revised draft of the Industrial General Permit comes after two previous iterations of the draft … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Reverses Ninth Circuit in Clean Water Act Case

When polluted storm water flows from a concrete-lined river channel to an unlined portion of the same river, does that movement of water constitute a “discharge of pollutants” under the Clean Water Act? Answering “no” in a short five-page opinion, the Supreme Court reversed the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in its recent decision, Los … Continue Reading

South Coast AQMD and Los Angeles Consider Fracking Restrictions

In Los Angeles this Wednesday, three City Council members introduced a resolution urging the Governor and California regulators to impose a moratorium on fracking until the state determines that the practice does not endanger public health, the water supply or the environment.  The concern arises in part because California, unlike some other oil-producing states, does … Continue Reading

California Oil Producers Agree to Share Fracking Information

Several members of the Western States Petroleum Association have agreed to share information about their fracking operations in response to the California Department of Conservation’s request for operators to report to a disclosure registry, FracFrocus (see May 8, 2012 post).  Many, including Occidental Petroleum Corp. and XTO Energy/ExxonMobil, have already posted to the website, which … Continue Reading

California’s Plan to Restore Delta Will Impact Delta Landowners

Is it too soon to know if Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta landowners will align? Check out today’s Sacramento Business Journal for Melanie Turner’s most recent article regarding California’s plan to restore the Delta, including comments from my partner, Kristen Castaños: . . . it’s too soon to know whether Delta landowners will be aligned. One person’s property … Continue Reading

State Water Board Moves on Frost Protection Program

The State Water Resources Control Board (“Board”) held a workshop last week on a proposed regulation designed to assess and mitigate water use from the Russian River by growers in Mendocino and Sonoma Counties during frost season. Though no formal action took place, the Board received numerous comments on the proposed regulation.  The regulation would … Continue Reading

Forum For Water Users In Napa County

The Napa County Farm Bureau held its first water forum in five or six years on March 9, in St. Helena, California. Kicked off by Bureau President Jim Lincoln, the event was well attended, with over 100 concerned stakeholders listening to the most recent updates in California water issues. Phillip Miller, the Deputy Director of … Continue Reading

Water Right Holders Still Must Pay Water Fees

Water Right Holders Still Must Pay SWRCB Water Fees Until Trial Court Determines if Fees are Reasonably Apportioned.  On January 31, 2011, the California Supreme Court decided California Farm Bureau Federation v. State Water Resources Control Board, 51 Cal. 4th 421 (2011), (PDF) in which a collective of California water right holders asserted constitutional challenges … Continue Reading

Central Valley Long Term Irrigated Lands Program

The California Regional Water Quality Control Board, Central Valley Region (Board) has recently released its long anticipated Long Term Irrigated Lands Program.  The Board at its April 2010 meeting will consider the framework of the Program, a Programmatic EIR and a continuation of the current general order for another 3 years.  The proposed framework is for … Continue Reading

Frost Protection Program Sets Fees in Sonoma County

The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors recently adopted the final measures for moving ahead with the County’s Frost Protection Program (the “Program”). This final act was merely a carry-over from the February 8  meeting where the Board adopted the fee structure for the Program and extended the time frame for implementation of the Program until … Continue Reading

Revised Monitoring and Reporting for Existing Milk Cow Dairies

Reportedly, Executive Officer, Pamela Creedon of the California Regional Water Quality Control Board, Central Valley has approved a Draft Revised Monitoring and Reporting Program (Draft) for dairies under the current General Order (PDF).  The Draft requirement includes changes that clarify when certain activities take place, including inspections of the production area, visual inspections of stormwater contaminant … Continue Reading
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