The Bill proposes a post-Brexit system of environmental governance to oversee new powers and regulations in four environmental law areas.

By Paul A. Davies and Michael D. Green

On 15 October 2019, the UK government published the final draft of Environment Bill 2019–20 (the Bill), which aims to set out the government’s environmental priorities post-Brexit. The Bill covers a broad range of topics ― from air quality to England’s future environmental governance — and gives a legal footing to several policy commitments that the government has made in recent years. This blog post will consider the Bill’s content, and the potential impact that the Bill may have on environmental regulation in England.

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 companies are now seeking to manage larger quantities of produced water, and/or to secure water supplies for drilling activities — leading

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 US$16.3 billion, WaterFix is designed to restore reliability to an aging water-supply infrastructure that serves 25 million Californians and more than three million acres of California farmland. WaterFix can be thought of as an insurance policy for the California economy, and indeed society at large, against possible — and potentially catastrophic — further loss of this critical water supply. An historic July 10 vote by the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (Metropolitan) was a major step forward, and vote of confidence, for WaterFix, increasing the likelihood that the promise of WaterFix will be realized.

The Evolution of California WaterFix

Together, the State Water Project (SWP) and the Central Valley Project (CVP) form the largest water supply system in the country. This system diverts water from the Sacramento/San Joaquin Delta (Delta) and conveys it hundreds of miles to places like Silicon Valley, Southern California, and otherwise parched farmland that cannot survive on local supplies alone. The Delta is the lynchpin of this system, the gateway through which virtually all water conveyed from the Northern California rivers to the rest of the state must pass. The Delta is used this way because the SWP/CVP system was never completed. Original planning decades ago proposed to run fresh river water around the Delta. Instead the water enters the Delta where it mixes with brackish Delta water before it is diverted.

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 compliance deadlines for the Los Angeles Region Basin Plan amendment prohibiting new discharges from or construction of septic systems in the Malibu Civic Center area (the Basin Plan Prohibition). The 2017 MOU is the second amendment to an MOU initially entered in 2011[i] between the City and the Regional Board that, among other things, adjusted the timing of compliance with the Basin Plan Prohibition.


On November 5, 2009, the Regional Board passed the Basin Plan Prohibition. The Regional Board justified this controversial prohibition by citing the alleged contribution of on-site wastewater discharges to the impairment of water resources in and around Malibu’s Civic Center. The State Board approved the Regional Board-adopted Basin Plan Prohibition on September 21, 2010, and it became effective in December 2010. In addition to prohibiting the development of any new on-site wastewater disposal systems (OWDSs), the Basin Plan Prohibition requires the phasing-out of discharges from existing OWDSs in the Malibu Civic Center area by November 5, 2015 (for commercial dischargers), or by November 5, 2019 (for residential dischargers).

By Paul Singarella, Lucas Quass and John Morris

On Wednesday April 1, 2015, in the wake of the state’s four-year drought and a winter that brought record-low snowfalls, Governor Brown issued an executive order mandating statewide water use restrictions for the first time in California’s history (the “Executive Order”).  The Executive Order follows on the heels of state legislation signed by the Governor on March 27, which appropriated approximately $1 billion for water projects including emergency drought relief.


By Paul Singarella, Daniel Brunton and Lucas Quass

California Legislature Enacts Bill Package on Drought 

On Thursday March 26, 2015, the California Legislature adopted legislation which it describes as allocating approximately $1 billion to emergency drought relief in the state.  As more than 50 percent of the new appropriations target flood control, it remains to be seen to what extent the legislation will mitigate drought conditions.

The legislation consists of two appropriations bills (Assembly Bill 91 and Senate Bill

By Julia E. Stein and John C. Heintz

On June 3, 2014, partially in response to lingering drought conditions throughout the state, the California State Water Resources Control Board (“SWRCB”) will consider adopting a “general” waste discharge requirements (“WDR”) permit for the use of treated recycled water for non-potable uses such as agricultural irrigation, landscape irrigation, dust control, and certain industrial processes.[1]  If adopted, the proposed General WDR for Recycled Water Use (the “General Order”) will be the first state permit that applies to uses of recycled water beyond just landscape irrigation.  Previously, all other recycled water uses required an individual WDR permit.[2]  The General Order will be of significant interest for municipal and private water producers and distributors, as well as entities that plan to purchase and use recycled water as a part of their operations.

By Michael S. Feeley, John C. Heintz, Bobbi-Jo Dobush and James J. Chang

On December 17, 2013, Judge Evelio Grillo of the Alameda County Superior Court ordered the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) to finalize regulations establishing drinking water standards for hexavalent chromium (Cr-6) by Spring 2014.  The court held that CDPH must submit a final primary drinking water standard (a maximum contaminant level or MCL) to the Office of Administrative Law (OAL) for review and publication by one of two alternative dates: by April 15, 2014, if the Department does not determine that any of the public comments on its proposed standard requires it to modify the standard in a way necessitating a new 15-day public comment period under the Administrative Procedures Act; or by June 15, 2014 if the Department determines that it will modify the standard in such a way.[1] The OAL must then review and approve or reject the standard within 30 days.[2]  Thus, a final enforceable rule is expected as soon as May 15, 2014, but no later than July 15, 2014

By Michael S. Feeley, John C. Heintz, Bobbi-Jo Dobush and James J. Chang

On October 31, 2013, Judge Evelio Grillo of the Alameda County Superior Court held a hearing in the ongoing case of NRDC v. California Department of Public Health, Cal. Super. Ct. No. RG12643520 to take evidence regarding the quantity and nature of public comments on the draft Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) for Chromium-6 (Cr-6) and the expected timing for California Department of Public Health (CDPH) to finalize the regulation.  Judge Grillo had previously directed the CDPH to issue a draft MCL for Cr-6 before September 1, 2013.  In advance of that deadline (August 23, 2013), CDPH published a draft regulation that would establish an MCL in drinking water of 10 parts per billion.[1]  The 45-day public comment period on the draft MCL closed on October 11, 2013.[2] 

By Bobbi-Jo Dobush and John C. Heintz

On July 18, 2013, Judge Evelio Grillo of the Alameda County Superior Court in NRDC v. California Department of Public Health, Cal. Super. Ct., No. RG12643520, directed the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) to issue a draft Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) in drinking water for Chromium-6 (Cr-6) before September 1, 2013[1].  In 2001, the California State Legislature directed CDPH to issue a Cr-6 MCL by January 1, 2004, but it has not been issued to date.[2]  CDPH had previously indicated it expected to issue the draft MCL for public comment in July 2013,[3]  but the Alameda County Superior Court’s recent decision makes the likelihood of release significantly more certain.[4]