California Association of Sanitation Agencies
East Bay Agencies Commit to $1.5 Billion in Improvements Under Clean Water Act Settlement Agreement With USEPA
On July 28, 2014, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) announced a Clean Water Act settlement agreement requiring the East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) and seven East Bay communities to conduct system repairs and engage in various activities designed to eliminate unauthorized sewage discharges into San Francisco Bay.
USEPA Hosts Waters of the United States Rule Webinar, Establishes Website to Respond to Frequently Asked Questions
On July 16, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) hosted a webinar to address concerns regarding the proposed rule to define waters of the United States. The proposed rule is intended to clarify precisely which waters are subject to regulation under the Clean Water Act and fall under USEPA and Corps jurisdiction.
On July 7, 2014, the California Supreme Court ruled in favor of Kern County on a narrow procedural issue in the City of Los Angeles v. County of Kern biosolids litigation. The issue pertains to tolling of a statute of limitations period when state law claims are pending in federal court. Under Kern’s interpretation, the lawsuit challenging Measure E in state court was not timely, and earlier this year, the Supreme Court granted review exclusively to address this technical claim. In its decision, the Court agreed with Kern County on its challenge to the timeliness of the complaint filed by CASA and its fellow plaintiffs in state court.
With no agreement on a revised Water Bond in sight, it appears discussions won't resume until the Legislature returns from its month long summer recess which began July 3rd and ends on August 4th. Earlier in the week, authors of the three Assembly water bonds met with key legislative leaders in hopes of reaching agreement. A special hearing of the Assembly Appropriations Committee was also scheduled early in the week in order to hear two bond measures, AB 2686 (Perea) and AB 2043 (Bigelow).
Supreme Court Declines to Hear Low Carbon Fuel Standards Challenge; Decision Upholding the Standard Remains in Effect
Earlier today, the United States Supreme Court declined to take up the case of Rocky Mountain Farmers Union v. Corey, a case challenging California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) promulgated by the California Air Resources Board (CARB). The LCFS is the regulatory framework adopted by CARB that assigns carbon intensities (CIs) to various fuel sources in an effort to reduce CO2 emissions through a market mechanism that incentivizes the use of fuels with lower CIs. In September of 2013, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals rendered a decision upholding the LCFS and rejecting the contention that provisions within the LCFS were discriminatory or unconstitutional.
CASA Submits Joint Comments at California Public Utilities Commission on Second Phase of AB 1900 Pipeline Biomethane Proceeding
On June 20, CASA submitted joint comments with the Bioenergy Association of California (BAC) on Phase 2 of the AB 1900 proceeding currently at the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). Adopted in 2012, AB 1900 directed the CPUC to take certain steps in order to facilitate the injection of biomethane into common carrier pipelines of the Investor Owned Utilities (IOUs).
On June 20, State Water Resources Control Board staff hosted a Water Quality Fee Stakeholder Meeting to discuss the proposed water quality fees for Fiscal Year 2014-15. Staff also distributed materials that indicate which program areas will face proposed increases as well as highlighting historical spending and revenue trends.
Among the directives in the Governor’s January 17 and April 25 drought declarations was a call for the California Department of Public Health to finalize, before the end of the fiscal year, the long awaited regulations governing the use of recycled water for groundwater recharge. On June 12, 2014, CDPH met the mandate, adopting emergency Regulations for Groundwater Replenishment Using Recycled Water.
As CASA reported earlier this year, the State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) has funding available in the form of 1 percent loans - approximately half the already low current interest rate - for water recycling projects that can be completed within three years of Governor Brown's January 17, 2014 Drought Proclamation. Eligible projects include recycled water treatment, distribution and storage facilities.
The General Waste Discharge Requirements for Recycled Water Use adopted by the State Water Resources Control Board on June 3, 2014 have been posted on the Board’s website. Recycled water projects may seek coverage under the general order by completing a Notice of Intent and submitting it to the appropriate regional water board.