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Volume 45 (2018)

Martin’s Beach Litigation and Eroding Public Access Rights to the California Coast

Martin’s Beach, a privately owned, rugged, photogenic strip of sand south of Half Moon Bay on California’s Pacific coast, has become a flashpoint for a changing state. When billionaire Vinod Khosla—new owner of the beach and abutting property—closed Martin’s Beach to the public in 2009, environmentalists, surfers, and local government joined forces to restore public access. Shrinking coastline due to sea-level rise, a growing and diversifying statewide population, and widening wealth disparities cast the fight for public access to Martin’s Beach in an almost existential light: Who really enjoys the right to go to the beach, and for how much longer?

Mar 29, 2020
Paul Balmer

Public Finance, Stormwater, and the California Constitution: Who Pays for Trash Cans at Bus Stops?

California voters and courts consistently support efforts to protect both the environment and taxpayers. These actions often spur changes in policy throughout the nation. For example, California passed comprehensive water quality legislation prior to enactment of the federal Clean Water Act. California also pioneered air quality standards before the federal government enacted its own less stringent standards.

Mar 29, 2020
A.S. Flynn

Regulating Water Transfers in the Wake of Catskill Mountains Chapter of Trout Unlimited, Inc. v. EPA: Examining Alternatives to NPDES Permits

In January 2017, the Second Circuit upheld the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Water Transfers Rule (Rule), reversing a decision by the Southern District of New York to vacate the Rule and remand the matter to the EPA.1 The decision in Catskill IV was greeted as a victory by many western states and water management districts, but was a disappointment for environmental organizations and downstream states that had intervened as plaintiffs.

Mar 29, 2020
Mary Rassenfoss

A Proposal to Increase Public Participation in CERCLA Actions through Notice

Congress enacted the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) to address hazardous substances releases from industrial operations. Although the statute was meant to provide communities with a means of self-protection, CERCLA actions are often commenced by a government agency against a polluter or a group of potentially responsible parties (PRPs) without substantial input from the community threatened by the hazardous waste.

Mar 29, 2020
Kaela Shiigi