Center for Law, Energy & the Environment

The Center for Law, Energy & the Environment (CLEE) channels the expertise of the Berkeley Law community – faculty, staff, and students – into pragmatic, creative policy solutions to critical environmental and energy challenges.

New Workshop Synthesis

Learning from Small Water System Consolidations in California

Water system consolidations can help address persistent water system inadequacies in small and disadvantaged communities. While consolidation offers many potential benefits for communities served by unreliable water systems, the costs and benefits associated with different consolidation options have not been well documented.

This synthesis of our March 2018 workshop enumerates barriers to effective consolidations and identifies potential solutions for overcoming those barriers.

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In the News

April 2018

Examining a Novel Mechanism for Groundwater Recharge

Recharge Net Metering (ReNeM) is a strategy that incentivizes recharge by offsetting costs incurred by landowners for operation and maintenance of water collection and infiltration systems that are placed on their land. Our Issue Brief presents a concise description of ReNeM, as well as a short account of an ongoing pilot program in California’s Pajaro Valley.

Further research on ReNeM is ongoing, and additional research products are currently in progress. 

April 2018

Improving California’s Stream Flow Monitoring System

Our new issue brief identifies key actions for improving stream flow monitoring in California. Stream gages monitor the most basic vital sign of California’s waterways—stream flow. Stream flow information also provides technical insights into basin hydrology, and those insights aid long-term water planning. As pressures on the state’s water systems intensify, the need for accurate and timely stream flow information will continue to grow. 

March 2018

Creating a Sustainable Freight System for California’s Future

California’s freight system is responsible for 1/3 of statewide jobs, as well as a major source of both greenhouse gas emissions and local air pollution in the state. Delivering the Goods identifies an expansive group of new freight transportation technologies and infrastructure developments and the policy innovations needed to make them reality. The report provides a comprehensive view of the economic and environmental future of California’s freight system as the state drives it toward sustainability.

March 2018

Navigating Groundwater-Surface Water Interactions under SGMA

Our new report examines the legal and institutional questions that will inevitably arise as newly formed groundwater sustainability agencies (GSAs) seek to address groundwater-surface water interactions under SGMA. The core goal of this report is to help parties identify and address these new questions, and ultimately allow GSAs and stakeholders  to manage groundwater-surface water interactions proactively and effectively.

February 2018

Getting it Right: Examining the Local Land Use Entitlement Process in California

California’s housing affordability crisis has rightly received a great deal of attention. To help understand whether CEQA or local land-use law constrain housing development, we collected data on all residential development projects (of more than five units) over a three-year period in five Bay Area cities. Our new report analyzes the applicable law.

Also see our op-ed on CEQA and local land-use law in City Watch LA

February 2018

Fifty States, Fifty Energy Policies

The federal government gets all the headlines, but state governments control much of energy policy. They control local utilities and set policies on renewable energy. But because so many jurisdictions are involved, it’s hard to get an overall picture of what’s really happening. Our report includes material from a series of Legal Planet posts