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Agencies Move to Rescind Obama’s WOTUS Rule

On June 27, 2017, the Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers proposed to rescind current Clean Water Act rules and re-codify the regulatory text that existed prior to 2015 defining "waters of the United States" (WOTUS). This action is designed to be temporary, pending a second rulemaking in which the agencies will engage in a substantive re-evaluation of the definition of "waters of the United States.” "We are taking significant action to return power to the states and provide regulatory certainty to our nation's farmers and businesses," said Administrator Scott Pruitt. "This is the first step in the [...]

By |2018-01-07T18:33:49+00:00January 7th, 2018|Aquanews|

Trump Reverses Obama’s Course on Climate Change

On March 28, 2017, President Trump issued Executive Order 13783, Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth. The Order rolls back the prior administration’s measures to integrate climate-related concerns into federal action. The Order directs all agencies to “review all existing regulations, orders, guidance documents [and] policies” that “potentially burden the development or use of domestically produced energy resources,” including oil, gas, coal, and nuclear. The analysis is intended to identify anything that could “unnecessarily obstruct, delay, curtail, or otherwise impose significant costs on the siting, permitting, production, utilizing, transmission or delivery of energy resources.” Agencies are to issue final plans [...]

By |2017-12-01T20:06:27+00:00November 11th, 2017|Aquanews|

Agencies Move to Rescind Obama’s WOTUS Rule

On June 27, 2017, the Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers proposed to rescind current Clean Water Act rules and re-codify the regulatory text that existed prior to 2015 defining "waters of the United States" (WOTUS). This action is designed to be temporary, pending a second rulemaking in which the agencies will engage in a substantive re-evaluation of the definition of "waters of the United States.” "We are taking significant action to return power to the states and provide regulatory certainty to our nation's farmers and businesses," said Administrator Scott Pruitt. "This is the first step in the [...]

By |2017-12-01T20:06:27+00:00November 10th, 2017|Aquanews|

BWJ Water Lawyers Assist N-CORPE

On April 7, 2017, the Nebraska Supreme Court issued its decision in Estermann v. Bose et al., 296 Neb. 228, ___N.W.2d___(2017). The case centered around the construction and operation of the N-CORPE Project and was brought by a landowner, J. Daniel Estermann. The N-CORPE Project was created by the Upper Republican Natural Resources District, Middle Republican Natural Resources District, Lower Republican Natural Resources District, and the Twin Platte Natural Resources District, all political subdivisions of the state of Nebraska charged with managing ground water for a variety of purposes. Those four natural resources districts formed N-CORPE as a separate body [...]

By |2017-12-01T20:06:27+00:00November 9th, 2017|Aquanews|

Changes to the EPA and the Clean Water Act

Following the inauguration of President Trump, a flurry of orders have made their way across the oval office desk. Thus far Trump’s executive actions have ranged from imposing a hiring freeze on federal employees, moving to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and effecting a 90-day immigrant travel ban. In addition to these undertakings, on January 24, President Trump signed an executive order relating to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), leaving many wondering what implications these orders will have for both the agency itself and the agency’s regulations, particularity the Clean Water Act (CWA). The EPA and The CWA: As of [...]

By |2017-12-01T20:06:27+00:00November 8th, 2017|Aquanews|

Thurston County Court Dismisses Drainage Suit for Lack of Proof

The Thurston County District Court has dismissed upstream landowners’ suit against a downstream landowner and Thurston County. Plaintiffs sued the County and their downstream neighbor (represented by Blankenau Wilmoth Jarecke, LLP) for allegedly altering the natural drainage of the Old Logan Creek in Thurston County, Nebraska. Plaintiffs alleged the County engaged in an unconstitutional taking by flooding the upstream property when the County allegedly failed to properly size a culvert crossing downstream of Plaintiff’s land. Plaintiffs further alleged the downstream landowner unlawfully filled the natural drainage compounding the flooding upstream. As to injunctive claims against the County, the Court found [...]

By |2017-12-01T20:06:27+00:00November 7th, 2017|Aquanews|

BWJ Water Lawyers Assist Natural Resources Districts with Niobrara River

After months of negotiations, three Nebraska political subdivisions announce they had reached agreement on the transfer of the controlling water rights to the Niobrara River in northern Nebraska. The Niobrara River drains over 11,000 square miles in portions of Nebraska, Wyoming, and South Dakota. The main stem of the Niobrara runs for nearly 400 miles along Nebraska’s norther boundary. The central portion of the river includes a 76-mile stretch that was designated by Congress as “Wild & Scenic” in 1991. In recent years, the river has been the epicenter of a dispute that involved hydropower, environmental and recreational interests, agricultural, [...]

By |2017-12-01T20:06:27+00:00November 7th, 2017|Aquanews|

EPA and Corps Publish New Rules for Waters of the United States

While it has been years in the making, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today published the final rule clarifying the agencies’ interpretation of the term “Waters of the United States” and the overall jurisdictional reach of the Clean Water Act. The rule is effective on August 28, 2015. According to the agencies their “interpretation is based not only on legal precedent and the best available peer-reviewed science, but also on the agencies' technical expertise and extensive experience in implementing the CWA over the past four decades.” The rule, moreover, “does not affect any [...]

By |2017-12-01T20:06:27+00:00November 7th, 2017|Aquanews|

Lincoln Journal Star Editorial on Republican River lawsuit decision

Editorial, 3/2: Ruling bodes well for future March 01, 2015 11:59 pm • By the Journal Star editorial board The ruling handed down last week by the U.S. Supreme Court in a lawsuit filed by the state of Kansas means that all the tough irrigation restrictions implemented by Nebraskans in the Republican River basin paid off. The decision was a valid reason for Nebraska officials to celebrate. The livelihoods of hundreds of farmers and a chunk of the state’s economy were at stake. As Don Blankenau, the outside attorney hired by Nebraska, said, it was a win-win for the two [...]

By |2017-12-01T20:06:27+00:00November 7th, 2017|Aquanews|

Supreme Court Decides Water Dispute

By Nicholas Bergin | Lincoln Journal Star Nebraska officials cheered a U.S. Supreme Court decision Tuesday that closes the book on a longstanding legal dispute with Kansas over water from the Republican River. The high court upheld the recommendations from a judge, referred to as a special master, who found Nebraska should pay Kansas $5.5 million for using more than its share of the river’s water in 2005 and 2006. In a split 5-4 decision, the court also signed off on Nebraska’s request to change the formula for allocating water. Don Blankenau, Nebraska’s legal counsel for Republican River Compact litigation, [...]

By |2017-12-01T20:06:27+00:00November 7th, 2017|Aquanews|