Sedina L. Banks

Counsel
Fax 310-201-4456
PRINTPDF

GREENberg bLAWg

Visit the Full Blog

Where the Law and the Environment Connect.

Even Your Parking Structure Violates Prop 65

The Prop 65 “Clear and Reasonable Warnings” updates that became effective in August 2018 contain lots of traps for the unwary, including one that you might not have noticed: tailored Prop 65 warnings are required at each of the public entrances to your enclosed parking facilities. To avail your regulated...
Go

Shell Pays Big for Double Dipping with the UST Fund

Last week, the  California State Water Resources Control Board  (State Water Board)  announced  that it permanently banned 100 of Shell Oil Company’s underground storage tank (UST) claims from the California  UST Cleanup Fund  (Fund) for allegedly claiming reimbursement through false or misleading statements on its claim forms.  The State...
Go

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...
Go

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...
Go

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...
Go

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...
Go

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...
Go

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...
Go

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...
Go

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...
Go

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...
Go

State Water Board May Soon Adopt the Low-Threat UST Case Closure Policy

Last week, the California State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) gave notice of public opportunity to comment on its proposed April adoption of the Water Quality Control Policy for Low-Threat Underground Storage Tank Case Closure (Low-Threat Closure Policy). This should come as welcome news for the thousands of underground storage tank (UST) sites in...
Go

Greenhouse Gas Data Just a Click Away

Earlier this month, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released for the first time comprehensive greenhouse gas (GHG) data through EPA’s GHG Reporting Program. The 2010 GHG data includes publicly accessible information from sources in nine industry groups that directly emit large quantities of GHGs or supply certain fossil fuels. The...
Go

Cabazon Band of Mission Indians Agrees to Air Quality Rules

In a landmark agreement, the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) reached a “government-to-government” agreement with the Cabazon Band of Mission Indians to enforce some of the SCAQMD’s air quality regulations on tribal land. The SCAQMD is the air pollution control agency for all of Orange County and the urban...
Go

Sackett v. EPA – Supreme Court to Decide Whether Pre-Enforcement Review of Compliance Orders Allowed

On Monday, the United States Supreme Court heard oral argument on Sackett v. Environmental Protection Agency (docket no. 10-1062).  At issue is whether a party who was issued a pre-enforcement compliance order from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has the right to have the order judicially reviewed before EPA initiates an enforcement action...
Go

Environmental Groups Bring Suit Against EPA to Require Air Monitoring Along So-Cal Freeways

Tuesday, the Natural Resources Defense Counsel (NRDC), Physicians for Social Responsibility-Los Angeles and Communities for a Better Environment brought a suit against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for EPA’s approval of the South Coast Air Quality Management District’s (SCAQMD) 2011 Annual Air Quality Monitoring Network Plan on November 1, 2011 (the Air Monitoring Plan). The SCAQMD is the...
Go

Life in the Green Lane – Carpool Privileges to be Given to Qualifying Cars

At the start of the year, California began offering green clean air vehicle decals to purchasers or lessees of cars meeting California’s Enhanced Advanced Partial Zero Emission Vehicle requirements.  These decals enable a single driver to drive in the carpool lane. California is limiting the number of stickers to 40,000.  The...
Go

Quebec Joins California In Adopting a Cap-and-Trade Program

 As our readers know, we have been following the cap-and-trade regulations both domestically and abroad. Quebec recently joined California in adopting a cap-and-trade regulation for greenhouse gas (GHG) emission allowances based on the rules established by the Western Climate Initiative (WCI). WCI is a collaboration of independent jurisdictions, including California, working together to “identify, evaluate and implement emissions trading policies...
Go

We’ll All Be Driving Cleaner By 2025

President Obama announced today an agreement with thirteen major automakers to commence the next phase of the Administration’s program to increase fuel efficiency standards to 54.5 miles per gallon for cars and light-duty trucks by Model Year 2025. EPA and the Department of Transportation worked with auto manufacturers, the state of...
Go

No Longer Running On Fumes: Air Board Approves $40 Million in Additional Funding for Clean Vehicles

As my colleague posted last month, California’s popular Clean Vehicle Rebate Project (CVRP) was in jeopardy of running out of funds by this month. The program, funded by California’s Air Resources Board (ARB), provides vouchers or rebates on a first-come, first-served basis toward the purchase of zero-emission or plug-in hybrid cars, and zero-emission or...
Go

CARB’S AB 32 Scoping Plan Environmental Analysis – Take Two

On Monday, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) released a Supplement to the environmental analysis (known as the Functional Equivalent Document) of the 2008 AB 32 Scoping Plan. The Supplement provides CARB’s revised analysis of the alternatives to the greenhouse gas reduction measures proposed in the Scoping Plan, including alternatives to the cap-and-trade program. The Supplement comes...
Go

No Second Guessing EPA: CERCLA Citizen Suit Cannot Interfere With Ongoing Cleanup

This week, the Ninth Circuit ruled that the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) does not give a federal district court jurisdiction to adjudicate claims for past noncompliance with an order issued by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The decision, Pakootas v. Teck Cominco Metals, Ltd., affirms that CERCLA’s citizen suit provision...
Go

The GREENing of Greenberg Glusker

In honor of Earth Day, we thought we’d share some of the steps that Greenberg Glusker has taken to be more green. Last year, Greenberg Glusker completed its office remodel in true green fashion. We recycled and reused materials from the old office design whenever possible, which resulted in using...
Go

Arizona Tribe First to Adopt International Green Building Code

As our regular readers know, we have been closely following California’s efforts toward mandating green building requirements both state-wide (through CalGreen) and locally. In a sure sign that green building is here to stay, the Kayenta Township, a political subdivision of the Navajo Nation located in Arizona, recently became...
Go

Bill Introduced to Delay Implementation of the Global Warming Solutions Act

California Assemblywoman Shannon Grove recently introduced Assembly Bill 333, which seeks to delay California’s AB 32, commonly known as the Global Warming Solutions Act. Adopted in 2006, the Global Warming Solutions Act aims to reduce California’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. The act tasked the California Air Resources Board (CARB) with...
Go