Northwest Land Matters

Northwest Land Matters

Developments in Energy, Natural Resources & Environmental, Real Estate, and Land Use Law in the Pacific NW

Category Archives: Water Law

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Federal Agencies Issue Proposed Rule Redefining Clean Water Act Jurisdiction

Posted in Development, Environmental, Land Use, Water Law
Today, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Army Corps) released the long-awaited Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPR) redefining the federal Clean Water Act’s (CWA) definition of “waters of the United States.”  The NOPR will likely affect project development and operations across the energy, construction, and building sectors. EPA and… Continue Reading

Climate, Energy, & Air Update January 2013

Posted in Climate Change, Development, Environmental, Land Use, Water Law
Our Climate, Energy, & Air Update is intended as a general summary of major policy developments that we judge to be of interest to a broad range of our clients and friends.   This month’s edition features discussion on the following: The D.C. Circuit invalidates the cellulosic biofuel volume requirements for the 2012 Renewable Fuel Standard… Continue Reading

Ecology Streamlines Water Rights Permitting

Posted in Water Law
This week, the Washington Department of Ecology created a certified water right examiner program to improve the efficiency of water right permit processing in Washington state. The program hopes to streamline the process for water right permit holders seeking final water right certificates.  Professional engineers and land surveyors, registered hydrogeologists and water conservancy board members… Continue Reading

Sound Transit Receives Environmental Excellence Award

Posted in Development, Environmental, Land Use, Water Law
Washington State Department of Ecology  awarded VNFGD client Sound Transit the Environmental Excellence Award for its role in the Qwuloolt estuary restoration project. The Environmental Excellence Award is the Department of Ecology’s highest award for recognizing environmental excellence in the state of Washington. The Qwuloolt project will restore about 380 acres of unused farmland into a… Continue Reading

Federal Funding Opportunities for Natural Resources, Agriculture, Alternative Energy, Water, and Energy Efficiency

Posted in Development, Energy Efficiency/Sustainability, Environmental, Land Use, Land Use Planning, Municipal, Water Law
Six opportunities totaling over $16.25 million in federal financial assistance were released this week, soliciting proposals in the major program areas of: Agriculture Alternative and Renewable Energy Energy Efficiency Public Lands and Natural Resources Water Van Ness Feldman’s Federal Funding Resource Center is an online information tool designed to inform our clients and friends about key energy-,… Continue Reading

Jim Ziglar Appointed to Water Science and Technology Board of the National Academies National Research Council

Posted in Environmental, Water Law
Te Honorable James (Jim) W. Ziglar, Senior Counsel at Van Ness Feldman, has been named a member of the Water Science and Technology Board of the National Academies National Research Council. Mr. Ziglar, a Senior Counsel with the firm, has over 40 years of experience in law, finance, management, and public policy. He provides strategic business… Continue Reading

VNF Introduces Launches Environmental Appellate Litigation Tracking Tool

Posted in Climate Change, Environmental, Water Law
With the sheer volume of environmental litigation currently in progress that will impact the regulated community, Van Ness Feldman has developed an Environmental Appellate Litigation Tracking Tool  which follows developments in the most significant federal appellate environmental cases in the areas of air quality, water quality, and waste.  We aspire to update these litigation matrices… Continue Reading

Cascade Water Alliance: First Entity in Washington to Become A Joint Municipal Utilities Services Corporation

Posted in Development, Land Use, Municipal, Water Law
On July 12, 2012, Van Ness Feldman GordonDerr client Cascade Water Alliance  successfully converted to a municipal corporation (a Joint Municipal Utility Services Authority) from a non-profit Watershed Partnership.  Cascade, formed originally as a non-profit watershed management partnership, realized it lacked authorities of other utilities and had many areas of confusion, such as how to handle… Continue Reading

GordonDerr Combines Practices with Van Ness Feldman

Posted in Climate Change, Development, Environmental, Land Use, Municipal, Real Estate, Water Law
GordonDerr is excited to announce that the firm is combining with Van Ness Feldman, a nationally and regionally recognized energy, environment, transportation, and natural resources law and public policy firm with offices in Seattle and Washington, DC.  The combined firm will help a broad, national range of clients successfully navigate the next generation of real… Continue Reading

D.C. Circuit Court Affirms Corps Wetland Fill Permit and Provides Important Interpretations of Federal Environmental Laws

Posted in Development, Environmental, Land Use, Water Law
A shopping center developer in Tampa, Florida received good news last week when the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, in Sierra Club v. Antwerp, affirmed Corps permits to allow fill of 54 acres of wetlands for the Cypress Creek Town Center project.  Any applicant for an individual 404 permit should pay close attention to this… Continue Reading

Municipal Water Supply: Sharing The Well

Posted in Climate Change, Development, Land Use, Water Law
GordonDerr partner Adam Gravley  discusses municipal water supply and ways in which cities can get creative to protect this resource in this month’s issue of Cityvision Magazine.  Also featured, groundbreaking efforts by GordonDerr clients the City of Roslyn, LOTT Alliance, and Cascade Water Alliance. Dealing with water scarcity in an age of climate change represents yet… Continue Reading

Water Banking in Washington State: Could Recent Litigation in California Trickle North?

Posted in Environmental, Land Use, Water Law
A recent article in the New York Times explores a legal battle over impacts of water banking in California.  The dispute is over the practice in dry agrarian areas of storing water underground when flows are plentiful for withdrawal during future drier months.  In central California, where water banks were first established in 1978, the practice… Continue Reading

Ecology Certifies Skagit County Wetland Mitigation Bank

Posted in Development, Environmental, Land Use, Water Law
The Skagit Environmental Bank, a privately owned, 400-acre wetland mitigation bank near Mount Vernon, gained certification from the Washington Department of Ecology.  The owner, Clear Valley Environmental Farm LLC, will re-establish and rehabilitate wetlands, enhance upland areas and permanently protect the property through a conservation easement.  The bank will improve water quality, recharge groundwater ,… Continue Reading

Water: Focusing on Regional Efficiency and Sustainability

Posted in Development, Environmental, Water Law
Tomorrow, TC Richmond and Adam Gravley are presenting “Water:  Focusing on Regional Efficiency and Sustainability” , which asks the question – what is “sustainability” in the water resources arena?, at the New Economic Alliance Between Environmental & Business Interests conference–where a dynamic faculty will examine the points of convergence between business and the environment in these new and trying… Continue Reading

Supreme Court Accepts Review of the Groundwater Stockwatering Exemption

Posted in Water Law
The Washington State Supreme Court just accepted review of Five Corners Family Farm et al. v. Department of Ecology (Easterday Ranches), which will determine the quantity of permit-exempt groundwater rights for stockwatering under the state Groundwater Code.  The legal dispute in Easterday concerns a narrow question of statutory interpretation – whether reference to a 5,000… Continue Reading

Ecology’s Response to Gregoire’s Rule Moratorium

Posted in Environmental, Land Use, Municipal, Water Law
We now know a little more about how the Department of Ecology is responding to Gregoire’s suspension of rule making. On November 30, Ecology Director Ted Sturdevant released an initial determination of affected rules.  He intends to announce a final determination on Monday, December 6. Ecology is seeking comments on its initial determination through this Friday,… Continue Reading

Supreme Court Upholds Municipal Water Law Against Constitutional Challenges

Posted in Municipal, Water Law
Today, the Washington State Supreme Court issued the long awaited decision in Lummi Indian Nation, et al., v. State of Washington.  This landmark water rights decision upholds the Municipal Water Law (“MWL”) against all of the Plaintiffs’ facial constitutional challenges and resolves disputes and uncertainties over the water rights of public water systems in this state… Continue Reading