December 2012

By Glen C. Hansen

For decades, oil and gas producers in California have been engaged in the process of hydraulic fracturing, commonly called “fracking.” That process involves injecting a high pressure stream of water and chemicals deep underground to split rocks and release oil and natural gas. The technique is designed to free oil and natural gas trapped in shale rock. There is a significant amount of such rock in California. For example, the Monterey Shale, which lies under Central California and the southern San Joaquin Valley, could hold up to 15 billion barrels of oil, making it possibly the nation’s largest oil shale formation and almost half of the nation’s total shale oil resources.

Continue Reading As Lawsuits Begin In California Over Oil And Gas “Fracking,” The State Issues “Discussion Draft” Regulations For The Process

By William W. Abbott

Pacific Palisades Bowl Mobile Estates, LLC v. City of Los Angeles (November 29, 2012, S187243) ___Cal.4th ___. In a 6 to 1 decision, the California Supreme Court concluded that mobilehome park conversions subject to Government Code section 66427.5 of the Subdivision Map Act are also subject to the Coastal Act and Mello Act (the latter for affordable housing in the Coastal zone.) In 1991, the Legislature enacted Government Code section 66427.5. This new code section set forth the particular determinations under the Subdivision Map Act when local government was processing a subdivision map application for conversion of a rental park to an owner occupied park and was intended to narrow the scope of local government inquiry which might otherwise be permitted by the Subdivision Map Act when processing other types of proposed subdivisions. The 1991 legislation included language which stated, in conjunction with local government review of the tentative map, that “The scope of the hearing shall be limited to the issue of compliance with this section.”

Continue Reading Mobilehome Park Conversions Trigger Coastal and Mello Act Compliance Requirements

Calistoga, CA

Enchanted Resorts – A luxury resort project on Diamond Mountain in Napa wine country.

On August 21, 2012, the Calistoga City Council approved the Enchanted Resorts project and Environmental Impact report for a 110-unit luxury resort hotel and associated amenities, as well as 20 Residence Club units, and 13 custom residences. The resort hotel is set in a forested hillside setting on Calistoga’s Diamond Mountain. It is anticipated to employ as many as 200 persons in full-time, part-time, and seasonal positions. The project will incorporate a significant number of environmentally-friendly features including solar technology, electric vehicle use, and water-efficient landscaping. Abbott & Kindermann, LLP, with Diane Kindermann as lead counsel, represented the developers of the Calistoga Enchanted Resort project through the city’s approval process and successfully secured EIR certification, as well as land use entitlements which included: a general plan amendment, tentative map, rezone, conditional use permit, and a development agreement.

Continue Reading Two Major Projects Approved in Calistoga and Lincoln, California.

Abbott & Kindermann, LLP represented three clients in successful appeals before the Third Appellate District. William Abbott represented Siskiyou County and the Siskiyou County Air Pollution Control District inMount Shasta Bioregional Ecology Center, et al. v. County of Siskiyou, et al. and Mount Shasta Bioregional Ecology Center, et al. v. Siskiyou County Air Pollution Control District, et al, respectively. Mr. Abbott also served as trial and appellate counsel to the County of Tehama in Sierra Club, et al. v. County of Tehama, et al., an attack on the updated Tehama County General Plan and EIR.

Abbott & Kindermann’s 12th Annual Land Use, Real Estate, and Environmental Law Update

Reserve your seat for one of three seminars taking place in 2013.

In January and February 2013 Abbott & Kindermann, LLP will present its 12th annual complimentary educational program for clients and colleagues interested in current land use, environmental, and real estate issues affecting commercial and residential development, agriculture, real estate transactions, easements, mining and the construction materials production industry.  

Air Quality and Climate Change: including CEQA Guidelines and Mandatory Reporting
CEQA Litigation: Baseline, Alternatives Analysis, Exhaustion of Administrative Remedies and SB 226 Update
Subdivision Map Extensions
Interpreting Development Agreements
Endangered Species
Water Quality and Wetlands
Water Rights and Supply
Cultural Resources
Renewable Energy
Environmental Enforcement
Hazardous Substance Control and Cleanup
Timber Resources

Abbott & Kindermann, LLP will present its annual program at three locations: Sacramento, Modesto and Redding. Details for the seminars are below. We hope you can join us and we look forward to seeing you there.

Modesto Conference

Date: Thursday, January 17, 2013
Location: Double Tree Hotel Modesto, 1150 Ninth Street
Registration: 12:30 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Program: 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Redding Conference

Date: Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Location: Hilton Garden Inn Redding, 5050 Bechelli Lane
Registration: 12:30 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Program: 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Sacramento Conference

Date: Friday, February 8, 2013
Location: Sacramento Hilton Arden West, 2200 Harvard Street
Registration: 8:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. with continental breakfast
Program: 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon

There is no charge for the programs and MCLE and AICP CM credits are available.

An RSVP will be required as space is limited. To reserve a spot, call our office at (916) 456-9595. When calling, please specify which conference you will be attending.

 

By Glen C. Hansen

An environmental group sued various timber companies along with the Oregon State Forester and the individual members of the Oregon Board of Forestry for violations of Clean Water Act (“CWA”) on the grounds they did not obtain permits from the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) for stormwater runoff that flows from logging roads into systems of ditches, culverts, and channels, which is eventually discharged into forest streams and rivers. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals concluded that such runoff from logging roads is a point source discharge and thus, an NPDES permit is required. That ruling reversed a 30-year practice of exempting stormwater from forest roads from NPDES permitting (i.e., the “Silvicultural Rule”).

Continue Reading EPA Tells Supreme Court Its Actions Were “Suboptimal” — But The Oral Argument On The Challenge To EPA’s Silvicultural Rule Raises More Questions Than It Answers.

By Glen Hansen

On June 1, 2012, the County of Madera, the Madera County and Merced County Farm Bureaus, Chowchilla Water District, and other individuals and entities (collectively, “Petitioners”) sued the California High-Speed Rail Authority (“Authority”) on the grounds that the Authority had violated CEQA and the Bagley-Keene Open Meeting Act related to the approval of the approximately 75-mile Merced to Fresno section (“Section”) of the proposed 800-mile public transit project known as the High-Speed Rail project. Petitioners allege that that a significant portion of the Section would “deviate from existing transportation corridors, resulting in the destruction of and interference with thousands of acres of farmland, wildlife habitat, hundreds of homes, may businesses, commercial properties and industrial facilities, existing roads and water delivery facilities.” Petitioners further allege that the final environmental impact report (“FEIR”) for the Section contains “myriad analytical deficiencies,” fails to disclose and analyze “the full scope and severity of impacts,” and improperly defers “impact analysis and mitigation.” Petitioners also allege that the Authority violated the Open Meeting Act by not providing “the required notice for the substantive changes to the analysis of Section impacts and the scope of mitigation measures included in the Errata to the FEIR ….” 

Continue Reading First Link In High Speed Rail Project Clears Preliminary Injunction Hurdle In CEQA Litigation.