by Julia Stein
In this Spring 2017 issue of Environmental Law News, we are excited to bring you a series of articles that cover a wide variety of topics facing California practitioners of environmental law. This is our first issue since the November 2016 presidential election, and while many have opined on the uncertainties facing environmental regulation and enforcement at the federal level, the articles in this issue make it clear that we California environmental lawyers still have much to occupy us in our own backyard.
The issue begins with Austin Cho’s overview of the California WaterFix administrative proceedings before the State Water Resources Control Board, in which the California Department of Water Resources and U.S. Bureau of Reclamation seek to modify their water permits to allow construction of the controversial Delta Tunnels. Following that, Jonathan Shardlow and Martin Stratte offer their thoughts on the need for guidance as to whether a CEQA petitioner’s claim of public interest standing can be denied or subjected to discovery before the action has been litigated. The next article, a joint effort by Angela Howe, Jana Zimmer, Jennifer Lucchesi, and John Erskine, reprises and builds upon the well-attended October 2016 Yosemite Environmental Law Conference panel covering issues facing the Coastal Act in its 40th year. Next comes a useful overview of regulatory reporting requirements applicable to releases of hazardous substances in California by Sedina Banks and Brian Moskal. Aaron Ezroj then provides guidance on the latest developments in carbon reporting, outlining existing carbon reporting programs and strategies for institutional investors and energy companies that are looking to protect against a potential "carbon bubble," and presenting a financial case for renewables investment even in today’s uncertain political climate. Following that is Marina Cassio’s commentary on the California Supreme Court’s decision in Friends of the College of San Mateo Gardens v. San Mateo County Community College District, and its impact on CEQA review of modified projects. Her analysis is particularly relevant in light of the Court of Appeal’s decision applying the Supreme Court’s analysis on remand in early May 2017. Finally, the issue closes with our annual recap of the most recent California legislative session, courtesy, as always, of Gary Lucks. Summarizing a number of relevant enactments from this atypically productive election year session, the article highlights the environmental justice bent that has pervaded much recent legislation. And, as Mr. Lucks points out, with the Trump Administration in, we may well see even more legislative activity as many at the state level work to draw a "green boundary line" for California.