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The Sunset Will Last a Little Longer - UST Fund Extended

On September 25, 2014, Governor Brown signed  SB 445 (Hill)  Underground storage tanks; hazardous substances: petroleum: groundwater and surface water contamination into law (UST Law).  The UST Law was an urgency measure that took effect immediately. The UST Law makes changes to the  Underground Storage Cleanup Fund (UST Fund...
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Substantive Dispute over Land Application of Biosolids Remains Unresolved

Form over substance continues to obscure the substantive issue presented in the case of the  City of Los Angeles (City) vs.Kern County (County) . At its core, the dispute involves the land application of biosolids. Biosolids are organic material produced during the processing and treatment of wastewater. Historically, waste...
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City’s Decision to Not Prepare an EIR Upheld Under Substantial Evidence Standard

Earlier this month, in Latinos Unidos De Napa v. City of Napa, the California Court of Appeals upheld the city of Napa’s determination that it did not have to prepare an environmental impact report (EIR) under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) when enacting minor changes to its general plan and...
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ASTM Issues New Standard For Phase I Environmental Site Assessments

On November 6, 2013, ASTM revised its standard for conducting Phase I environmental site assessments, known as Standard E1527-13 (entitled “Standard Practice for Environmental Site Assessments: Phase I Environmental Site Assessment Process”).  ASTM E1527-13 is the first revision to the ASTM Phase I standard since its 2005 revision of the standard (known as...
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EPA ISSUES NEW SUPERFUND GUIDANCE

Settlement plays a fundamental role in the Environmental Protection Agency’s (“EPA”) Superfund enforcement program. Potentially Responsible Parties (“PRPs”) seeking to resolve their liability through the settlement process should take note that EPA recently issued two new guidance memoranda on its settlement procedures.  One memorandum sets forth revised procedures for...
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Is Your Vehicle a CERCLA Facility?

While we tend to think of a CERCLA “facility” as the real property where environmental contaminants have come to be located, it is important to remember that CERCLA’s definition of “facility” is actually much broader than that and can serve to open the door to “Potentially Responsible Parties” not considered in...
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CEQA EXCEPTION FOR BIKE LANES NEARING THE FINISH LINE

While most attempts to push-through last-minute CEQA reform were parked until next year, one bill, AB 2245, glided through the legislature and now heads to the finish line on Governor Brown’s desk for signature.  The bill, which provides streamlined environmental review for certain bike lane projects, was unanimously passed by...
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California State Water Board’s Low-Threat UST Case Closure Policy Is Now Effective

On May 1, 2012, the California State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) adopted via Resolution No. 2012-0016 the Water Quality Control Policy for Low-Threat Underground Storage Tank Case Closure (Low-Threat Closure Policy).  The Low-Threat Closure Policy finally became effective on August 17th.  This should be good news for the thousands of UST sites in California...
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LITIGATION UPDATE: Writ of Certiorari filed in Solutia, Inc. v. McWane, Inc.

Recently, Solutia Inc. and Pharmacia Corporation filed a petition for writ of certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court seeking to overturn the Eleventh Circuit’s ruling that a Potentially Responsible Party (“PRP”) conducting a cleanup pursuant to a consent decree is foreclosed from bringing a cost recovery action against other PRPs under...
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LITIGATION UPDATE: CALIFORNIA SUPREME COURT GRANTS REVIEW OF L.A. LIGHT RAIL CASE

On August 8th, the California Supreme Court granted review of the Second District Court of Appeal’s decision in Neighbors for Smart Rail v. Exposition Metro Line Construction Authority.  As previously blogged in April, the Second District found that a lead agency’s use of projected future conditions to measure the environmental impacts that a...
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CALIFORNIA SUPREME COURT EXPANDS AVAILABLE POLICY LIMITS TO COVER ENVIRONMENTAL CLAIMS

On August 9, 2012, the California Supreme Court handed down its much anticipated decision in  State of California v. Continental Ins. Co.  The California Supreme Court held that the “all sums” method of allocation applies in California and that an insured can horizontally stack all successively triggered policies in...
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Green Building Coming to a Home Near You

Yesterday, the California Energy Commission unanimously approved energy efficiency standards for new homes and commercial buildings. The new 2013 Building and Energy Efficiency Standards (Standards), which take effect on January 1, 2014, are projected to be 25 percent more efficient than previous standards for residential construction and 30 percent more efficient for nonresidential construction. For...
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CERTIFYING THE CERTIFIERS: GSA ONE STEP CLOSER TO CHOOSING A FEDERAL GREEN BUILDING PROGRAM

Last week, the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) came one step closer to identifying a federally recognized green building certification system. The review, conducted by the Department of Energy (DOE) and commissioned by the GSA, narrowed down the list of candidates to three: the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), Green Building Initiative’s Green...
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SMOG CHECK: EPA IMPLEMENTS THE 2008 OZONE STANDARDS

This week, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) took two next steps toward the implementation of the 2008 air quality standards for ground-level ozone, which is commonly referred to as smog: it finalized designations for every area of the country, with the exception of the Chicago-Naperville and Illinois-Indiana-Wisconsin area and issued a final rule relating to...
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CVS Settles Hazardous Waste Suit

In a settlement reached in mid-April, CVS Pharmacy Inc. (CVS) agreed to pay almost $14 million to settle claims that it improperly stored and disposed of hazardous waste at its drugstores in California. In a suit brought in Ventura County Superior Court, prosecutors representing 45 cities and counties across...
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Going Verde: Mexico Passes Climate Change Law

Last week, Mexico’s Senate passed a rather ambitious climate change law. And it did so with a 78 to 0 vote – something not seen too often in our country! This makes our neighbors to the south only the second nation in the world (the United Kingdom is the other) and...
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Parties Can Toll CEQA Statute of Limitations

Last week, in Salmon Protection and Watershed Network v. County of Marin, the California Court of Appeals found that a public agency and a party disputing the adequacy of an environmental impact report (EIR) under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) can enter into a tolling agreement to toll or suspend the...
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IT’S THAT TIME AGAIN: EPA RELEASES 17TH ANNUAL U.S. GHG INVENTORY REPORT

Just as we did last year at this time, we are pleased to bring you the results of the 17 th  annual U.S. Greenhouse Gas Inventory Report published by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). And… drum roll please… we here at GREENberg bLAWg (along with pretty much everyone else that reported on the topic) correctly predicted...
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Guaranteeing California’s Renewable Energy Small Business Future

In late February, Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco) (in collaboration with State Controller John Chiang) introduced California Senate Bill 1465.  The legislation would seek to provide credit support for small renewable energy and agricultural businesses in the form of loan guarantees.  By doing so, the bill hopes to “facilitate export expansion” and promote...
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Does Your City Make the Energy Star Cut?

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released today the annual list of metropolitan cities with the most Energy Star certified buildings for 2011.  To earn EPA’s Energy Star, commercial buildings must perform in the top 25 percent of similar buildings nationwide and must be independently verified by a licensed professional engineer or a...
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Supreme Court Settles Riverbed Battle

The Supreme Court recently issued its opinion in the closely watched case of  PPL Montana, LLC v. State of Montana , 565 U.S. __ (2012), unanimously reversing and remanding a controversial Montana State Supreme Court decision granting Montana ownership of riverbeds underlying ten hydroelectric facilities on three of the...
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Settling Party Barred from Bringing a CERCLA Section 107(a) Claim

This week, in the case of Solutia, Inc. and Pharmacia Corp. v. McWane, Inc. (Solutia), the Eleventh Circuit held that a party that performs a cleanup in compliance with a consent decree has no right under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (“CERCLA”) section 107(a) to recover its cleanup costs...
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