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The Yanomami Model for Superfund

In a recent editorial, the Wall Street Journal celebrates the new priorities being set by Scott Pruitt’s EPA. Mr. Pruitt, in the Journal’s opinion, is properly elevating the “more immediate” problem of Superfund sites over...more

6/15/2017  /  Climate Change , EPA , Superfund

Jordan Cove LNG Project Scores Legal Victory

The Jordan Cove LNG project in Coos Bay, Oregon, prevailed in a legal challenge to a key permit. The permit, issued by the Oregon Department of State Lands, allows dredge and fill work for a deep water ship channel. In Coos...more

WOTUS, We Hardly Knew Ye

With a flourish of his pen, on February 28 President Trump signed an Executive Order aimed at dismantling the ill-fated Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule. The rule was the latest attempt by EPA and the Army Corps of...more

Does Trump Election Boost Children’s Climate Crusade?

As reported here, Oregon is among a group of states in which groups of school age plaintiffs are suing to force the government to do more about climate change. On November 10, U. S. District Judge Ann Aiken adopted the...more

Senate Approves $4.9 Billion for Drinking Water

Congress in recent years has not really been in the business of solving core public welfare problems like safe drinking water. Today the Senate, however, has taken a major step forward by passing the 2016 Water Resources and...more

Whither WOTUS?

In June 2015, EPA and the Corps of Engineers released a draft rule to define “waters of the United States,” affectionately referred to as WOTUS. This definition goes to the scope of federal jurisdiction over wetlands and...more

LNG Global Impacts Not FERC’s Problem in Freeport and Sabine Pass Cases

In companion cases, on June 28 the DC Circuit Court of Appeals held that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, in its environmental impacts analysis of two Gulf Coast LNG terminals, need not assess the potential for...more

7/6/2016  /  DOE , FERC , Liquid Natural Gas , NEPA , Oil & Gas

Unanimous Support for Conservation in Senate Appropriations Committee

Who knew? On May 19 those wild eyed environmentalists on the Senate Appropriations Committee unanimously (no misprint) passed a FY 2017 agriculture and rural development bill that includes significant funding for...more

Children’s Crusade to Combat Climate Change Continues

A federal magistrate judge in Oregon has kept alive the dreams of a group of young plaintiffs—aided by environmental advocacy groups—to compel government action against climate change. Like a similar case brought by the same...more

Curiouser and Curiouser: Sixth Circuit Not Sure of Jurisdiction but Stays WOTUS Rule Anyway

Does this make sense to you? Eighteen states petitioned the Sixth Circuit to challenge the new rule adopted by EPA and the Corps of Engineers defining “waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act. Then the...more

First Blood: North Dakota Federal Court Strikes WOTUS Rule

With so many challenges filed in so many venues to EPA’s Waters of the United States or WOTUS rule, it seemed inevitable that some plaintiffs somewhere would find a sympathetic court. And so it is that thirteen states found...more

EPA/Corps Adopt “Waters of the U.S.” Rule: What’s Next?

Wednesday, EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers released a prepublication version of the final rule defining “waters of the United States,” the jurisdictional trigger under the Clean Water Act. The term needs defining because...more

Pacific Northwest Water Wars

It may come as a surprise that people fight over water in soggy Oregon and Washington. To be sure, we have not experienced the same level of conflict over competing water needs as our neighbors in the southwest, but in fact...more

Oregon Carbon Tax Study Released

Today the Oregon Legislative Revenue Office released a report on the economic and emissions impacts of a carbon tax in the state. The report was prepared by the Northwest Economic Research Center (NERC) at Portland State...more

Science Advisory Board Finally Weighs In on Waters of the U.S.

The Science Advisory Board has at last released its peer review of EPA’s draft report on Connectivity of Streams and Wetlands to Downstream Waters: A Review and Synthesis, the technical support for the proposed rule on...more

California Groundwater Regulation Enters the 20th Century!

On September 16, 2014, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law a trio of bills to establish a statewide regulatory scheme for the use of groundwater: Assembly Bill 1739, and Senate Bills 1168 and 1319. California had...more

ECOS Releases “Waters of the U.S.” Paper

On September 15, the Environmental Council of the States (ECOS) released a paper produced by the American College of Environmental Lawyers (ACOEL) on the new “waters of the U.S.” rules proposed by EPA and the Army Corps of...more

Kids Get Their Day in Court on Climate Change

On June 11, the Oregon Court of Appeals held that two teens are entitled to a judicial declaration of whether there exists a “public trust” obligation in state officials to “protect the State’s atmosphere as well as the...more

Opposition Builds to Proposed Federal Clean Water Act Rules

Federal agencies face growing opposition from members of Congress and industry regarding a proposed definition of “waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act (CWA). The scope of federal jurisdiction under the CWA...more

Square Pegs in Round Holes

The Western states face two reciprocating and overarching problems in water resources policy. First, water is an increasingly scarce resource facing sharply competitive needs. Climate change is projected to put even more...more

Court Creates Problem for Municipal Water Utilities

Municipal water rights present an anomaly under the prior appropriation doctrine, which governs water law in the West. The doctrine is predicated on the idea that the permittee will act quickly to put the water to beneficial...more

12/18/2013  /  Utilities Sector , Water

“Waters of the U.S.” — What’s Not To Understand?

EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers continue their ongoing effort to bring clarity to the tangled mess wrought by the Supreme Court in Rapanos v. U. S. In that 2006 case, a fractured Court issued five separate opinions on the...more

Transmission Line Developers Post a Win

A federal court in Washington, D.C. gave some encouragement to transmission line developers—not to mention sponsors of other linear projects, like gas or water pipelines....more

Those Dam Polluters!

The Columbia and Snake River federal network of dams, and the abundance of low cost electricity it produces, has long been the cornerstone of the Pacific Northwest manufacturing economy....more

Sooners Beat Longhorns in Red River Bowl

In a unanimous decision issued June 13, the Supreme Court put an end to a parched Texas municipal utility’s bid to secure an Oklahoma water right. In Tarrant Regional Water District v. Herrmann, the Court rejected every...more

6/18/2013  /  Negotiations , Water , Water Rights
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