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Several members of Best Best & Krieger’s Environmental Law & Natural Resources practice group were published in the May 2023 issue of the Environmental, Energy & Climate Change Law and Regulation Reporter.

Article overviews and excerpts are below. The complete May issue can be found here.
California Governor Issues Executive Order Terminating Provisions of Prior Drought Emergency Proclamations and Executive Orders
By Miles Krieger and Steve Anderson

Governor Newsom’s Executive Order acknowledges recent improvements to certain surface water supplies, and rescinds certain high-level directions from the Governor to reduce water usage. However, the drought emergency declaration persists statewide. It remains to be seen whether the Order will facilitate the capture of high flows throughout the state for the benefit of water supplies and beneficial uses thereof.

U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Releases Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement on Colorado River Operations at Lake Mead and Lake Powell
By Miles Krieger and Steve Anderson

The draft SEIS is not a final document. Written comments are due May 30. At this time, the Bureau does not have a preferred alternative. It remains to be seen which action the Bureau adopts, or whether additional changes will be made based on public responses. Nonetheless, the likelihood of further reductions in releases for water users in likely operating year 2024.

California Department of Water Resources Spells out Next Steps for Inadequate Groundwater Sustainability Plans at State Water Board Meeting
By Miles Krieger and Steve Anderson

DWR has now referred six basins with inadequate and incomplete GSPs to the State Water Resources Control Board. The State Water Board now must make a determination as to whether the DWR was correct in those deficiency determinations, and whether further state intervention is warranted in the six basins. If the State Water Board determines further state action is warranted, it could release notices of probationary hearings for any of the 6 basins as early as May of 2023.

Fourth Circuit Upholds Virginia’s Clean Water Act Section 401 Permit for Natural Gas Pipeline
By Tiffany Michou and Rebecca Andrews

This case provides a reminder that large projects with multiple layers of regulatory oversight typically undergo extensive public review and evaluation. A challenge based on a deficiency of the factual record is difficult to prove.

California Department of Water Resources Spells out Next Steps for Inadequate Groundwater Sustainability Plans at State Water Board Meeting
By Michael Ervin and Rebecca Andrews

This case demonstrates the extent to which spoliation of evidence can extend beyond the spoliator and affect a co-plaintiff. The case also upholds the application of spoliation to acts where the party failed to adequately ensure subordinates’ compliance with required litigation holds on relevant documents.

Reprinted with permission from the May issue of the Law and Regulation Reporter, Copyright © 2023, Argent Communications Group (ACG). All rights reserved. No further reproduction or dissemination is permitted without separate consent from ACG, 530-852-7222 or

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