Public entities, businesses, and anyone else regulated by the State and Regional Water Boards have something new to cheer about: ex parte communications are now allowed in specified adjudicatory proceedings. Governor Brown recently signed SB 965 into law, which allows interested persons to communicate with members of the water board while one of the following actions is pending: adoption, modification, or rescission of (1) state waste discharge requirements and federal NPDES permits, (2) conditional waivers of waste discharge requirements, and (3) conditions of water quality certifications. However, the boards can choose to block further ex parte communications beginning 14 days before the proceeding occurs. Existing law prohibited all such communications at any time while an adjudication was pending before the boards.
There is one big catch, however.