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New Groundwater Legislation Will Have Dramatic Impacts on California Agriculture

January 22, 2015

Historically, California has never managed its groundwater supplies on a state-wide basis. That has now changed. As of January 1, 2015, the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (“SGMA”), an ambitious attempt that Governor Jerry Brown signed last September in order to regulate the use of groundwater on a more universal scale, has now gone into effect. More

Golden Eagle Mortality at Wind Energy Projects – Implications of Duke and PacifiCorp Plea Agreements

January 21, 2015

In December 2014, PacifiCorp Energy entered into a criminal plea agreement under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA),[1] for deaths of golden eagles and other migratory birds at wind energy projects in Wyoming.[2] This settlement comes just more than a year after the first-ever MBTA criminal plea agreement for a wind fac More

Ninth Circuit Holds Courts Must Look at Comparative Fault in Considering CERCLA Settlements

December 21, 2014

The Ninth Circuit recently reversed a district court’s entry of a set of CERCLA consent decrees because the lower court had failed to independently evaluate whether the settlements represented the comparative fault of the settling and non-settling parties. In Arizona v. City of Tucson, 761 F.3d 1005 (9th Cir. More

California’s Controversial New Renewable Energy Conservation Plan Restricts Solar, Wind Development

December 15, 2014


California and federal resource agencies have released a 22.5 million-acre draft Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP) for Southern California[1] that substantially restricts the opportunities for solar and wind development in that state. More

The Columbia River Treaty Review: Will the Water Users’ Voices Be Heard?

November 17, 2014

Despite the great collaborative effort invested in the regional negotiations on the future of the Columbia River Treaty (“CRT”), relatively little attention has been paid to potential new consumptive uses of the Columbia River water, and the important water supply choices that will have to be made to enable those uses. More

Oregon Denies Wyoming Standing to Challenge State’s Denial of Key Permit for Coal-Export Facility

November 14, 2014

The Oregon Department of State Lands (DSL) recently denied an application for a state removal/fill permit (similar to a Clean Water Act 404 permit) critically needed for construction of a proposed multi-modal coal export facility. In its denial, DSL cited potential impacts to a “small, but important” Columbia River fishery. More

The Unprecedented $1.4 Billion Proposed Fine to PG&E Resulting From the San Bruno Explosion and Related Regulatory Issues

October 8, 2014

After nearly four years of investigation and hearings, Administrative Law Judges for the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) have recommended that PG&E be fined $1.4 billion for a series of violations of State and Federal law related to a gas leak, explosion and fire in San Bruno, California in 2010 that result in 8 deaths, dozens of injuries and extensive property damage. More

Spotted Frog Listing Will Impact Water Management and Irrigation, Agricultural Practices, Development and Livestock Grazing

October 8, 2014

On August 29, 2014, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (“USFWS”) issued its Final Rule listing the Oregon Spotted Frog as a “Threatened Species” under the Endangered Species Act. More