Recent Water and Pesticide Regulatory Guidance

by Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP

[author: Heather Zinkiewicz]

The State Water Board has recently released two documents: a "Citizen's Guide to Working with the California Water Boards” and "Annual Budget Pre-Approval Frequently Asked Questions.” The Department of Pesticide Regulation ("DPR”) has recently released "A Guide to Pesticide Regulation in California.” These documents clarify and explain certain water and pesticide regulations, respectively.

State Water Board
The State and Regional Water Boards protect California's water quality. The State Board has recently released two guidance documents.

Citizen's Guide

The State Board's Office of Public Participation recently released a "Citizen's Guide to Working with the California Water Boards" ("Guide"). [1] The Guide presents an overview of the Water Boards and discusses opportunities for participation by the public and tribal governments. There are both formal and informal public participation opportunities, such as (1) attending meetings, workshops, and hearings; (2) making presentations before the Boards; (3) mailing letters, sending emails, or making phone calls; (4) submitting comments on reports and findings; (5) meeting with a Board's staff; and (6) participating as a member of a stakeholder group or advisory committee member. The Guide acknowledges the importance of public input and involvement to ensure that an issue is comprehensively considered and that decisions reflect public input.

The Guide invites Californians to contact the Water Boards to ask questions, discuss concerns, request information, or inquire about public participation opportunities. The Guide contains many helpful references such as links to websites and databases, a description and map of each Regional Water Board, a description of water board programs, information directed at public participation such as how public comments are used by the water boards and how to file an environmental complaint, and powers of the boards such as enforcement actions and the water rights permit application process. The State Board plans to periodically update the Guide to assure its continuing usefulness to the public.

Cleanup Fund FAQ Document

The State Board administers the Petroleum Underground Storage Tank Cleanup Fund, which provides money to handle emergency situations or to cleanup abandoned sites that threaten human health, safety, and the environment due to a petroleum release from an underground storage tank. To help the fund work more effectively, the State Board's Cleanup Fund staff placed all active claims on an annual budget that is subject to an annual pre-approval process. The Cleanup Fund staff recently released an "Annual Budget Pre-Approval Frequently Asked Questions" ("FAQ") guide that describes the process in more detail. [2]

The FAQ answers questions relating to cost overruns, the reimbursement of costs, what costs the Fund will pay for sites that are in the "Site Closeout" category, assigned budget amounts and categories, and issues relating to "old" costs, among others.

Department of Pesticide Regulation
The DPR regulates pesticide sales and use, and promotes reduced-risk pest management to help protect human health and the environment. The DPR recently published "A Guide to Pesticide Regulation in California." [3] The guide discusses topics such as (1) California's pesticide laws and regulations; (2) DPR's organizational structure, funding, accountability, and mission; (3) the pesticide registration process; (4) local and state enforcement activities; (5) and DPR programs that protect human health and the environment. The guide provides a helpful layman's explanation of California's pesticide laws and regulations.

[3]A copy of the Pesticide Regulation Guide can be found at:

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Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP

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