We frequently write about the ways in which local, state and federal environmental laws affect business practices in the United States. When businesses fail to comply with many of these laws, they may be held accountable for environmental violations or they may find themselves defending their practices within the scope of environmental litigation.
We recently discussed the fact that California has passed so many proactive environmental laws that it will be easier for the Golden State to comply with the Obama administration’s new emission standards than it will be for every other state in the union to do so. This advantage is one clear example of how California’s environmental law culture is working for Californians.
We have recently written about California’s devastating drought and we have written about the ways that California’s environmental lobby is affecting the responses that both the federal and state government are taking in response to that drought. Environmental initiatives and reforms to environmental law tend to be controversial. For example, the approaches that the environmental lobby wishes to take in response to the state’s drought have been controversial because these approaches may negatively impact the bottom line of various businesses.
The law is constantly evolving. However, some areas of the law seem to be evolving more rapidly than others. For example, it has been more than 1,900 days since Congress passed major environmental legislation. There are certainly benefits to having broad elements of environmental law remain stable. However, as times change it is only natural for the law to evolve with the times.
In recent years, California has ranked as the eighth or ninth largest economy in the world during any given period of time. As a result, many California businesses are quite large and have reaches that extend far beyond the borders of the Golden State. Many California businesses have partners and outlets in numerous nations, including India, China and nations across Europe.
In 2006, the California state legislature enacted A.B. 32, otherwise known as the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006. Since its enactment, various provisions of the bill have been challenged in numerous legal actions. However, these legal challenges seem to have had little impact on the strength and steadfastness of the bill.
In recent weeks, we have been writing about California’s current dramatic drought conditions. The ways in which both state and federal legislators are attempting to grapple with this drought and the threat of future droughts are impacting the evolution of environmental law and compliance expectations related to current environmental regulations.
The Agricultural Act of 2014 has now been signed into law. This omnibus bill will dramatically impact the agricultural industry over the next decade. It will also impact existing environmental law and compliance regulations that govern activity both on and well beyond farmland. Traditionally, farm bills in America have primarily been created in the interests of farmers, various organizations with agricultural interests and non-profit environmental entities. However, the 2014 farm bill’s provisions have been influenced by a myriad of additional interest groups.
Late last month, we wrote about how California’s significant drought conditions prompted Governor Jerry Brown to pass an emergency declaration. This declaration granted regulators greater control over water releases in certain geographical locations in order to better conserve water for the months ahead. But the drought is so severe that state lawmakers alone cannot address the problem adequately.
Water is decidedly on the minds of California businesses and residents throughout the state, with its scarcity also being a central factor in recent decisions made by state regulators.