Environment & Energy Report

Environmental Review of Water Wells Goes Before California High Court

Nov. 15, 2018, 1:51 PM

The California Supreme Court will weigh in on whether environmental review is required for each new water well project.

The issue of groundwater extraction heightened during California’s prolonged drought. All six justices during their weekly meeting Nov. 14 voted to review an appellate decision involving Stanislaus County. The rural county, which issues hundreds of drilling permits a year, amended its permitting process after legislative changes to groundwater withdrawal and now requires substantial evidence that withdrawing the water is sustainable, the appeals court said.

The appeals court last August reversed a trial judge in a...

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