Environment, Land & Resources

Category Archives: Water Quality and Supply

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Courts Block Coal Ash Suits, Setting Up US Supreme Court Showdown

Fourth and Sixth Circuit decisions give power plant operators additional defenses to citizen suits pending potential Supreme Court review of “groundwater conduit” theory. By Joel C. Beauvais and Stacey L. VanBelleghem Over the past month, two US Courts of Appeals have rejected Clean Water Act (CWA) citizen suits seeking to hold power companies liable for … Continue Reading

How to Prepare for California’s Updated Prop 65 Regulations … 60-Second Overview

Companies may need to carefully consider practical business concerns to comply with the updated Prop 65 regulations, effective August 30. By Michael G. Romey, Lucas I. Quass, and James A. Erselius New regulations governing the implementation of the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986 (Prop 65) will go into effect on August … Continue Reading

Interior Department Solicits Comments on Natural Resource Damage Assessment Regulations

Officials seek to “improve the efficiency and cost effectiveness” of NRDAs — which could help expedite the resolution of claims. By Janice M. Schneider, Gary P. Gengel, Joel C. Beauvais, Kegan A. Brown, and Thomas C. Pearce On August 27, 2018, the US Department of the Interior (DOI) issued an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking … Continue Reading

Water Management in Oil & Gas Production: Market Drivers and Legal Issues

Latham lawyers discuss the forces driving transformation in the market and the key legal and regulatory issues. By Tommy Beaudreau, Joel Beauvais, Joel Mack, Ryan Maierson, and Janice Schneider Water management is becoming increasingly critical amid increasing oil and gas production in the Permian Basin and other regions of the United States. In particular, many … Continue Reading

Chinese Authorities Crack Down on Yangtze River Environmental Offenders

Polluters of one of China’s most polluted waterways are increasingly facing prosecution through coordinated local and national efforts. By Paul A. Davies and R. Andrew Westgate Chinese authorities have been increasing their efforts to prosecute environmental offenders along the Yangtze River, the third-longest river in the world and the longest in Asia. The crackdown reflects … Continue Reading

How to Prepare for California’s Updated Prop 65 Regulations: Part 2

Upstream entities will need to shoulder more responsibility in the warning process after August 30th. By Michael G. Romey and Lucas I. Quass As discussed in Latham’s previous post, August 30, 2018 will mark a significant change in the enforcement of the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, also known as Proposition … Continue Reading

California WaterFix: an Historic Vote Is a Major Step Forward

Metropolitan Water District of Southern California leadership increases the possibility of much-needed relief for California’s aging water-supply infrastructure. By Paul N. Singarella, Daniel P. Brunton, and Lucas I. Quass The California WaterFix is the most expensive, important, and controversial water infrastructure project in California, and perhaps the country, in decades. At a price tag of … Continue Reading

How to Prepare for California’s Updated Prop 65 Regulations: Part 1

Upcoming regulation will require online and catalog retailers to implement product warnings. By: Michael G. Romey and Lucas I. Quass Enforcement of the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, commonly known as Proposition 65 (Prop 65), will change significantly on August 30, 2018. Two years earlier, on August 30, 2016, California’s Office … Continue Reading

China Faces Serious Water Supply Problems

China’s uneven distribution of water sources presents unique difficulties to China as demand for water is increasing rapidly. By Paul A. Davies and R. Andrew Westgate China’s water supply problems are well-known globally. However, the main problem facing China is how to distribute its water, rather than lack of water per se. 80% of China’s … Continue Reading

California Court of Appeal: Challenges to Water Supply Assessments Appropriate After EIR Certification

By Chris Garrett, Diego Flores, Lucas Quass and Samantha Seikkula CEQA Case Report: Understanding the Judicial Landscape for Development[i] In an unpublished opinion issued March 26, 2018, Golden Door Properties, LLC v. Vallecitos Water District, the California Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s judgment sustaining the Vallecitos Water District’s (District’s) demurrer from Golden Door, … Continue Reading

China to Expand Environmental Regulatory Authority

China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection’s increased authority over climate change and pollution control issues indicates a greater enforcement role for central government. By Paul A. Davies and Andrew Westgate The Chinese government has announced a major reorganization of China’s ministries that comprise the Chinese central government at a session of the 13th National People’s Congress in … Continue Reading

“Groundwater Conduit” Theory May Expand Scope of Clean Water Act Liability in the US

By Joel Beauvais Can a discharge “through” groundwater violate the Clean Water Act? If a pipeline spills fuel that travels through groundwater into a stream, is it a discharge in violation of the Clean Water Act (CWA)? What if pollutants leach out of a coal ash impoundment into groundwater and later end up in a nearby … Continue Reading

Proposed Draft Legislation Clamps Down on Soil Pollution in China

By Paul Davies and Andrew Westgate On 22 June 2017, Chinese legislators released draft proposals to combat soil pollution in China at a bimonthly session of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress. The legislation complements the State Council’s ambitious plan to address soil pollution – an area not specifically covered by Chinese environmental law … Continue Reading

Will Tougher Environmental Laws Mean Measurable Change for Pollution in China?

By Paul Davies and Andrew Westgate In reforming and updating its environmental laws, China has until recently been focusing on air pollution. Attention is now turning to addressing water and soil pollution as well. For example, the Chinese government is now considering more robust penalties for those responsible for water pollution, indicating that the government … Continue Reading

Pharmaceuticals in The Environment: What will EU Environment Roadmap Mean for Pharmaceuticals?

By Paul Davies, Elisabetta Righini and Rosa Espin On 28 April 2017, the European Commission (the EC) published a “roadmap” on the strategic approach to pharmaceuticals in the environment, particularly in the aquatic environment. Concurrently, the EC launched a 12-week open public consultation to address the environmental pollution caused by human and veterinarian pharmaceutical substances. … Continue Reading

U.S. Army Corps Reissues Fifty Existing and Two New Nationwide Permits

By Janice Schneider, Joel Beauvais, Stacey VanBelleghem, Jennifer Roy, and Francesca Bochner On March 19, 2017, 52 new or reissued nationwide permits (NWPs) for discharges into “waters of the United States,” issued pursuant to Section 404(e) of the Clean Water Act (CWA) and Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act went into effect. The … Continue Reading

US Environmental Regulations to Face Rollbacks, but Reform likely to be Tempered by Legal Barriers

By Joel Beauvais, Claudia O’Brien, Bridget R. Reineking and Andrew Westgate. Since assuming office in January, President Donald Trump – with the support of Congress – has stated his intention to roll back “burdensome” U.S. environmental regulations. The White House and Congress aim to reverse several of President Obama’s regulations on air and water pollution, land … Continue Reading

President Signs Executive Order Directing EPA and Army to Review and “Rescind or Revise” Clean Water Rule

By Joel Beauvais and Claudia O’Brien President Donald Trump, on February 28, signed an executive order (EO) directing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (the Corps) to issue a proposed rulemaking for notice and comment to rescind or revise their joint 2015 Clean Water Rule, also known as the Waters of the … Continue Reading

Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board Approves Second Extension to Malibu Septic Prohibition Deadlines

By John Heintz, Lucas Quass, and Steven Mach On February 2, 2017, the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board (the Regional Board) approved a Revised Memorandum of Understanding (the 2017 MOU) between the City of Malibu (the City), the Regional Board, and the State Water Resources Control Board (the State Board) to extend the … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Grants Certiorari in Clean Water Rule Case Jurisdictional Challenge

By Andrea Hogan, Lucas Quass, John Morris and Steven Mach On January 13, 2017, the US Supreme Court granted certiorari for an appeal that will allow the Court to determine the proper jurisdiction for litigation challenging the Clean Water Rule (the Final Rule).[1] The federal Clean Water Act (CWA) provides for original jurisdiction in the … Continue Reading

US Fish and Wildlife Service Finalizes Eagle Rule Revision

By Sara Orr, Jennifer Roy and Francesca Bochner On December 14, 2016, the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) finalized its proposed revisions to the Eagle Rule (Final Rule) and released its Record of Decision (ROD). The Final Rule allows companies and others to obtain 30-year incidental take permits under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection … Continue Reading

China Releases Ambitious Plan to Address Soil Pollution

By Paul Davies and Andrew Westgate On 28 May, the State Council, China’s highest administrative body, released the Action Plan on Prevention and Control of Soil Pollution (currently available only in Chinese) to address one of the nation’s most difficult and pressing environmental issues.  This ambitious plan, developed in the wake of increasing consciousness of soil … Continue Reading

New Chinese Soil Pollution Law Planned for 2017 Could Be Accelerated

By Paul Davies and Andrew Westgate On Sunday, China Central Television (CCTV), the country’s state-run broadcast network, aired a report claiming that nearly 500 students apparently developed illnesses (including leukemia) at a school built on contaminated land. Of the 2,451 students that attend Changzhou Foreign Languages School in Jiangsu Province, 493 (one in five) were … Continue Reading
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