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Groups Press California Lawmakers To Push Back On Newsom’s Budget Cuts

Dozens of stakeholder groups are urging California lawmakers to push back on cuts proposed in Gov. Gavin Newsom’s (D) revised fiscal year 2020-21 budget due to economic harm from COVID-19, including environmentalists who want funding restored for climate programs, clean transportation, air quality and groundwater management.

Supporters of supplemental environmental projects (SEPs) believe they may still be able to include such projects in settlements despite the Justice Department’s (DOJ) prohibition because they see crossover with mitigation projects that are still allowed, along with state SEPs, that DOJ does not prohibit, and a high court ruling that might boost their ability to use SEPs.

A federal district court judge has approved a consent decree between the Department of Justice (DOJ) and a refiner that requires the company to perform two environmental mitigation projects, showing that courts will back such projects even as DOJ’s policy on them is hazy given its prohibition on similar supplemental environmental projects (SEPs).

EPA is defending its final Clean Water Act (CWA) rule limiting the scope of state reviews of federally permitted projects’ water quality impacts as defining the appropriate parameters of the agency’s “cooperative federalism” policy balancing EPA and states’ regulatory powers, rejecting calls from critics that the rule undercuts states’ authority.