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U.S. Supreme Court Establishes New Test Further Defining The Scope of Water Discharges Which Require A Permit Under the Clean Water Act

Client Alert

Summary

The United States Supreme Court recently issued a 6-3 decision in County of Maui v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund holding that the Clean Water Act (“CWA” or “Act”) requires a permit for a point source that emits pollutants into navigable waters through groundwater if the emission is the “functional equivalent” of a direct discharge from the point source into navigable waters. The decision establishes a new test further defining the scope of water discharges which require a  permit under the CWA.  The Court declined to elaborate a precise test for “functional equivalent,” but left the standard for elaboration “through decisions in individual cases.”  Accordingly, agencies will need to be mindful that in many cases they will need a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit for the discharge of effluent through groundwater and for groundwater recharge projects.  Failure to obtain a NPDES permit when required can result in fines, injunctive relief and exposure to attorney fee awards.  

COVID-19 - Conducting Remote Meetings and Agenda Titles

Client Alert

Aleshire & Wynder, LLP, has been providing a series of updates to assist you with the COVID-19 emergency and the rapidly changing legal landscape.  This latest update addresses i) methods for conducting remote meetings with sample notice language to use in conjunction with the Agenda; and ii) sample Agenda titles to address COVID-19 related issues.  Please contact us if you have any questions.

Three Bills Aim to Provide Bond Funding for Water Projects

Client Alert

On September 5, 2019, the Governor signed Assembly Bill 305 (“AB-305”), which amends the Government Code for the purpose of issuing rate reduction bonds for specified water projects. Assembly Bill 1298 (“AB-1298”) and Senate Bill 45 (“SB-45”) are both still pending before the California legislature but, if adopted, would enact bond acts to be voted on in the upcoming 2020 statewide primary or general elections. Individually and collectively, all three bills aim to provide additional funding through the issuance of bonds for water and conservation projects.

AB 756: California’s Regulatory Response to PFAS

Client Alert

On July 31, 2019, the Governor signed Assembly Bill 756 (“AB 756” or “the Bill”), authorizing the State Water Resources Control Board (“State Board”) to order public water systems to monitor perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, commonly referred to as “PFAS.” The Bill requires a public water system to report the detection of PFAS in a number of ways further outlined below.  

Governor Signs SB 188 Prohibiting Discrimination Based on One’s Natural Hair

Client Alert

On July 3, 2019, Governor Newsom signed into law Senate Bill 188, also known as the CROWN Act (Create a Respectful and Open Workplace for Natural Hair). SB 188, which is effective January 1, 2020, seeks to protect employees and students from discrimination based on natural hair and hairstyles associated with race. With the signing of SB 188, California becomes the first state to ban discrimination based on one’s natural hair.

Governor Signs SB 83 Extending Paid Family Leave Benefits

Client Alert

On June 27, 2019, Governor Newsom signed Senate Bill 83 (SB 83), which allows workers paying into the State Disability Insurance (SDI) program to claim up to eight (8) weeks in Paid Family Leave (PFL) benefits starting July 1, 2020. Additionally, SB 83 creates a task force to develop a PFL program that extends benefits to six (6) months by 2022.  Prior to SB 83, workers could claim only up to six (6) weeks of PFL benefits. 

State And Regional Board MS4 Permits, Which Require Numeric Water Quality Based Effluent Limits, Must Take Into Account Economic Considerations

Client Alert

Introduction

On April 18, 2019, the Orange County Superior Court issued a ruling in City of Duarte v. State Water Resources Control Board - Case No. 30-2016-00833614-CU-WM-CJC and City of Gardena v. Regional Water Quality Control Board, Los Angeles – Case No. 30-2016-00833722. 

The Cities of Gardena and Duarte (“Cities”) challenged the municipal separate storm sewer system (“MS4”) permit requirements with respect to the Water Quality-Based Effluent Limitations (“WQBEL”) imposed by the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board (“Regional Board”) and the SWRCB (collectively “Respondents”).

FCC Proposes New Rules Limiting Local Control Over Cable Franchises

Client Alert

Background

The federal Communications Act of 1934 (“Act”) empowers state and local government entities (each a “Local Franchising Authority”) to award franchises to cable operators to authorize the construction or operation of cable systems in the public right-of-way, provided that a Local Franchising Authority may not grant an exclusive franchise and may not unreasonably refuse to award an additional competitive franchise.

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