Archives: Water Rights & Resource Management

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Western US Water Managers Move Towards Collaborative Approaches to Water Management

The completion of the state of Colorado’s Water Plan on November 19, 2015, reflects a growing trend in western water management away from conflict and towards collaborative and inclusive discussion. Increasingly, western water managers are opting, or perhaps feeling obliged, to pursue more creative and coordinated solutions to complex water issues, built on broad-based stakeholder … Continue Reading

Colorado’s State Water Plan Reflects Changing Attitudes Towards Western Water Management

The completion of the state of Colorado’s Water Plan on November 19, 2015 reflects a growing trend in western water management away from conflict and towards collaborative discussion. Increasingly, western water managers are opting to pursue more creative, coordinated solutions to complex water issues, built on broad-based stakeholder participation. Historically, water discussions have been confrontational, divisive, … Continue Reading

When the Levee Breaks: Are Cracks Showing in the Foundation of Western US Water Law?

Drought in the American Southwest, especially in California, has resulted in significant impacts in the daily lives of people who, until recently, have been able to take for granted the water that comes out of the tap, through the irrigation gate, or down the river. There is another far-reaching impact, however, that is not so … Continue Reading

Obama Administration Encourages Private Investment in Natural Resources Mitigation

The Obama administration recently released a presidential memorandum (Memorandum)—a tool the executive branch uses to direct the actions of government officials and federal agencies—designed to encourage private and non-profit sector investment in natural resources restoration and public-private partnerships. The Memorandum aims to instill a policy of first avoiding and then minimizing adverse effects to natural resources. … Continue Reading

US District Court Blocks BLM Rule for Hydraulic Fracking on Federal and Tribal Land

On September 30, 2015, the US District Court for the District of Wyoming preliminarily enjoined the US Bureau of Land Management (BLM) from enforcing its final rule regulating hydraulic fracturing on federal and Native American lands, pending the resolution of a challenge to the rule under the Administrative Procedures Act (APA) brought by various industry, state, … Continue Reading

Federal Judge Sides With US EPA In Pebble Mine FOIA Litigation

On August 24, 2015, Judge H. Russel Holland of the US District Court for the District of Alaska dealt a blow to Pebble Limited Partnership’s (Pebble Partnership) efforts to obtain documents which it believes could support its claim that US EPA failed to comply with the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) by coordinating with environmental … Continue Reading

Faced with Drought and Water Shortage, California Water Board Can’t Win For Losing

Things couldn’t be going much worse for the California State Water Resources Control Board (“Board”). In the midst of one of California’s worst droughts on record that has seen water levels drop to historic lows in California Reservoirs, Governor Jerry Brown and the Board have been desperate to find and implement ways to conserve water … Continue Reading

Draft US EPA Assessment Finds No Systematic Risk to Drinking Water from Hydraulic Fracturing

Earlier this month, US EPA released its long-awaited draft assessment on the impact of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) on the nation’s drinking water resources.  The assessment, titled Assessment of the Potential Impacts of Hydraulic Fracturing for Oil and Gas on Drinking Water Resources, represents over four years of study into the potential of hydraulic fracturing to … Continue Reading

Iowa Utility Files Lawsuit Over Agricultural Pollution

The Des Moines Water Works (DMWW) recently filed suit against several Iowa drainage districts for discharging excess nitrate pollution through groundwater in subsurface agricultural drainage systems into the Raccoon River, which DMWW relies upon to provide drinking water for approximately 500,000 Iowans. As previously reported here, the lawsuit seeks to hold these drainage districts liable … Continue Reading

The Final WOTUS Rule is Here: Still Pretty Broad

On May 27, 2015, US EPA and the US Army Corp of Engineers (ACOE) released their final (and highly controversial) “Waters of the US” (or WOTUS) rule. In an effort to mollify and assure critics that the Final Rule is not an unabashed “power grab,” the Agencies continue to say that the Final Rule “will … Continue Reading

Presentation on EPA/Corp’s Proposed Redefinition of “Waters of the US” Under Clean Water Act

On April 25, 2015, Jessica DeMonte (Principal, Columbus/Chicago) presented at the Ohio State Bar Association’s 30th Annual Environmental Law Conference on the controversial proposed rule jointly issued by EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers to revise the definition of “Waters of the US” for Clean Water Act programs.  The presentation provides an overview of … Continue Reading

Iowa Utility To Pursue Novel Lawsuit Over Agricultural Nitrate Pollution

The Des Moines Water Works (DMWW) recently issued a notice of intent (NOI) to sue three County Board of Supervisors that oversee several drainage districts reportedly responsible for excessive nitrate pollution being discharged from groundwater in subsurface agricultural drainage systems into the Raccoon and Des Moines Rivers. Recent sampling efforts by DMWW have indicated nitrate … Continue Reading

No Gambling in Las Vegas – At Least When it Comes to the Future of Colorado River Water Rights

Every December, the members of the Colorado River Water Users Association – including water users, federal, tribal, state and local regulators, irrigation districts, engineers, conservationists, and others from all over the southwestern United States — gather at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada to get wild and talk about Colorado River water policy for a … Continue Reading

US Supreme Court Appoints Special Master in Interstate Water Dispute

A. Gregory Grimsal has been appointed by the US Supreme Court as the Special Master in State of Texas v. State of New Mexico et al., Case No. 220141 ORG. Special Master Grimsal, a commercial litigation attorney from New Orleans, Louisiana, will now manage the proceedings in the case going forward and eventually recommend a decision to the Court.  … Continue Reading

Squire Patton Boggs Presents on Groundbreaking California Water Sustainability Legislation

As detailed in our prior post, California is one of the few states that, until now, did not regulate use of groundwater.  Its recent legislation is considered groundbreaking in that, for the first time, California will begin regulating groundwater.   Attached is a recent presentation given by Squire Patton Boggs’ attorney, Chris Amantea, regarding the new legislation, at the California Bond Buyers’ Conference.… Continue Reading

Industry and Environmental Groups Seek Judicial Review of US EPA’s Cooling Water Intake Structure Rule

As expected, in the wake of the US EPA’s finalization of the cooling water intake structure rule, several groups filed lawsuits regarding the proposed rules. Cases were filed by environmental and industry groups in the First, Second, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, and Ninth Circuits. In the initial round of filings, industry groups focused on whether the minimum … Continue Reading

California Adopts Historic Groundwater Laws

For a state that has 840 miles of sweet Pacific Ocean coastline, it might seem ironic that California is hurting for water. But years of drought and unregulated groundwater use have devastated groundwater aquifers, forcing the California legislature to finally step in with what some farmers in California’s Central Valley are calling “draconian” regulation. The … Continue Reading

Flood Re – New Consultation Launched on UK Flooding Insurance Scheme

We last reported on the Flood Re scheme on 17 July 2013 and commented that this was a new scheme aimed at providing affordable insurance for homeowners whose properties are considered to be at high risk of flooding. It was designed to replace the ABI Statement of Principles which expired on 31 July 2013 and … Continue Reading

Colorado River Finally Reaches the Sea

#CORiver #pulseflow reached the sea @ high tide this afternoon! Thanks @lighthawk_LH for the flight to witness this! pic.twitter.com/vDisrlJXnz — SaveTheColoradoDelta (@CORiverDelta) May 16, 2014 Thanks to a multi-party, cross-cultural, international effort, and the audacity of a few tireless individuals to think big (including Squire Patton Boggs Partner Peter Culp (Phoenix)), the Colorado River met … Continue Reading

US EPA Establishes New Requirements for Cooling Water Intake Structures at Existing Facilities

On May 19, US EPA finalized a new rule governing cooling water intake structures at existing facilities. US EPA anticipates that the rule will impact approximately 1,065 existing facilities (521 manufacturing facilities and 544 power plants) nationwide that require a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit under Section 402 of the Clean Water Act (CWA). The … Continue Reading

US Allowed to Intervene in Rio Grande Compact Dispute Between Texas and New Mexico

On March 31, the US Supreme Court granted the federal government’s petition to intervene in a dispute between Texas and New Mexico over certain terms of the 1938 Rio Grande Compact (State of Texas v. State of New Mexico et al., Case number 22O141 ORG). As we reported here and here, Texas believes the Compact … Continue Reading

US Supreme Court Permits Texas to File Suit For Enforcement of the Rio Grande Compact

On January 27, the US Supreme Court agreed to allow Texas to file suit against New Mexico and Colorado seeking apportionment of the waters of the Rio Grande River. The Texas suit now marks the 100th exercise of the Supreme Court’s Article III, Section 2 original jurisdiction over “controversies between two or more states.”  It is the fifth dispute … Continue Reading

US Supreme Court Advised by Solicitor General to Hear Rio Grande Compact Lawsuit

In the last month of 2013, the US Solicitor General filed a strongly worded brief as amicus curiae expressing the US Government’s view that the Supreme Court should grant the State of Texas’s motion for leave of the Court to file a complaint against the States of New Mexico and Colorado for alleged violations of … Continue Reading

In Case You Missed Them: Top frESH Blog Posts of 2013

Here are 10 of our most popular posts of 2013: USEPA Approves Use of Phase I ESA Standard ASTM E 1527-13 for AAI – read online UK Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 Reverses Previous Burden of Proof for Strict Liability Health and Safety Offences – read online 8th Circuit Denies USEPA’s Petition for Rehearing … Continue Reading
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