State and federal officials move forward plans and policies for water conservation, conveyance, and climate resilience.

By Michael G. Romey, Lucas I. Quass, John Detrich, Cody M. Kermanian, and Julie Miles

The winter of 2022-23 brought historic levels of precipitation to California after years of deep drought, dwindling reservoirs, and groundwater depletion. In the first quarter of 2023, most of the state received rainfall exceeding historic averages, with some areas experiencing 200%, or even 300% of average levels. According to the US Drought Monitor, the state is currently drought-free, although some regions are still considered abnormally dry. Despite heavy precipitation over the past year, California’s drought resilience remains in question, as critical infrastructure projects face staunch opposition and climate change increases the likelihood of extreme and prolonged droughts. Regulators and water managers had a busy 2023 as they grappled with persistently low groundwater levels, planned for additional water storage and conveyance, and continued to advance water conservation initiatives.

This blog post summarizes key actions taken by state and federal officials in 2023 with respect to California’s water supply and provides an outlook for 2024.

EPA’s transfer of primary enforcement authority to states for carbon capture and storage projects may decrease permitting delays but raise legal questions.

By Nikki Buffa, Joshua Bledsoe, Jennifer Roy, Michael Dreibelbis, Brian McCall, Austin Wruble, and Sam Wong

Louisiana has become the third state in the United States to receive primacy from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), allowing it to assume permitting authority for carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects. EPA granted primacy

A district court has ruled that federal law does not preempt an indirect source rule that targets emissions associated with warehouses in Southern California.

By Joshua Bledsoe, Nick Cox, and Jennifer Garlock

On December 14, 2023, a US federal judge rejected claims that federal law preempts the South Coast Air Quality Management District’s (SCAQMD or the District) adoption of Rule 2305 (Rule), upholding the first-in-the-nation Rule[1] that regulates trucking emissions from warehouses.

Rule 2305 is the Warehouse Indirect Source Rule (ISR) — Warehouse Actions and Investments to Reduce Emissions (WAIRE) Program. As described in this Latham blog post, the WAIRE Program applies to certain warehouses in the South Coast Air Basin and imposes a compliance obligation based on the number of truck visits to that warehouse per year. Warehouse operators can meet that obligation by taking any number of emissions-reducing actions, either from the “WAIRE Menu” or through a custom plan approved by the District.