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Environmental & Natural Resources

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REPRESENTATIVE MATTERS


Environmental Permitting & Regulatory Compliance

Air Quality and Climate Change

  • Pulp Mill. Represented owner of kraft pulp mill in connection with federal and local air pollution regulations, including local, state and federal enforcement and variance actions, regulatory compliance, development and negotiation of local and Title V permits and permit amendments, and defense of Clean Air Act citizen suit.
  • Power Utility. Represented power utility in connection with claims by local and state air pollution control agencies regarding permit requirements applicable to temporary construction activities undertaken by contractors engaged to line a portion of the All American Canal, which conveys Colorado River water into Southern California.  
  • Oil Company. Represented oil company in preparation of environmental review documents under CEQA for refinery expansion projects in Northern and Southern California, including addressing climate change issues raised in EIR and in administrative challenges by the state Attorney General and public interest organizations.  
  • Food Manufacturer. Represented food manufacturer before regional air quality management agency and EPA, and in federal district court, in permitting and enforcement matters relating to volatile organic carbon emissions from can manufacturing operations. 
  • Gas Supplier. Represented gas supplier in permitting for hydrogen plant facilities in the San Francisco Bay Area and SCAQMD. 

Water Quality

  • Homebuilder Trade Organization. Represented a trade organization comprised of companies engaged in planning, designing, financing, constructing and selling new homes, in its efforts to shape water quality regulations, particularly stormwater regulations, affecting construction in California. 
  • Municipal Water District. Represented City Attorney and Planning Staff with respect to development of 50 MGD desalination facility to be co-located with an existing power plant.
  • Manufacturing Company. Represented manufacturing company regarding mercury TMDL issues pertaining to legacy mercury mine contamination in San Francisco Bay and a neighboring upland watershed. 
  • Pulp Mill. Represented owner of paper pulp mill in analysis of and negotiations and regulatory analysis and advice concerning NPDES permitting for wastewater discharges and variances. 
  • Water Utility. Represented investor-owned water utility on permitting and CEQA compliance for a new long term water supply for the Monterey Peninsula comprising a 25 to 50 MGD desalination plant and aquifer storage and recovery (ASR). The Proposed Project co-locates the desalination facility with an existing power plant. Represented client in litigation filed to oppose the issuance of Coastal Development Permit for the pilot plant. 
  • Private Party. Represented private party in administrative litigation contesting a Water Code §13304 cleanup and abatement order regarding perchlorate contamination of groundwater in California.

Click here to see the full list of Water Quality representative matters.

Hazardous Materials and Hazardous Waste

  • In General. Represented clients regarding RCRA status of contaminated media generated during remediation of hazardous wastes at a variety of sites ranging from refineries to dry cleaners to abandoned mines.
  • Major Food Producers.  Represented major food producers in actions brought by EPA for alleged failure to timely report releases of ammonia from refrigeration system.
  • Computer Hard Disc Manufacturer.  Represented computer hard disc manufacturer on compliance with hazardous waste laws concerning disc polishing operations and recycling of sputtering wastes.
  • Major Manufacturers.  Represented major manufacturers of residential home hardware on compliance with Toxic Chemical Release Form R reports, hazardous waste recycling, and management of various waste streams including on-site treatment operations subject to California's permit-by-rule.
  • Major Food Producer.  Represented major food producer in compliance with EPA and California programs regulating ammonia refrigeration systems prior to agency audits.
  • Mine Operator.  Represented mine operator in compliance with RCRA and EPCRA, and their California counterparts in actions brought by California EPA, the county, and various federal agencies for alleged violations of hazardous material and hazardous waste requirements.
  • Boat Manufacturer.  Represented boat manufacturer in action brought by EPA for failure to timely file Toxic Chemical Release Form R reports.

Contaminated Sites and Superfund

  • Major Manufacturer. Represented major manufacturer and related entities in connection with alleged perchlorate and TCE contamination of a Southern California groundwater basin. 
  • Major Oil Company. Represented a major oil company in the alleged contamination of a northwestern river for its entire 15 mile course.  Preliminary assessments of the sediments in the river has caused some potentially responsible parties to estimate that the remedial investigation of the river itself will cost between $60 and $80 million with the cleanup potentially costing multiples of this number.  The client is one of more than 100 potentially responsible parties. 
  • Oil and Gas Company. Represented oil and gas company in administrative civil liability complaint for $8.5 million arising out of beneficial reuse of crude oil impacted soils from operating oil field as road mix under Central Coast RWQCB waiver program for waste discharge requirements. 
  • Power Tool Manufacturer. Represented power tool manufacturer, a third party defendant and alleged generator of hazardous wastes in long-running  litigation in federal district court. 
  • Port District. Represented port district in an administrative enforcement action brought by the RWQCB against numerous alleged dischargers to address metals, PCBs, tributyltin, among other contaminants of concern.
  • Mercury Mine Operator. Represented alleged successor to last operator of a mercury mine in Department of Toxic Substances Control-led cleanup and related litigation, in resolution of U.S. Department of Interior and California Department of Fish and Wildlife action for natural resource damages under CERCLA.

Click here for a full list Contaminated Sites and Superfund representative matters.

Environmental Impact Analysis – CEQA and NEPA

  • Residential Developer. Represented the developer of a 100-acre residential project on CEQA compliance and general plan, specific plan, master plan, and rezoning matters. 
  • International Retail Chain.  Secured approval of the first Northern California store for this international chain. This joint planning and redevelopment process involved extensive CEQA, planning and Map Act work.  Processed entitlements and recently drafted successful ballot measure (pro-store initiative) regarding subsequent stores in the area.
  • Residential Developer. Represented the developer of 1,600-acre wetlands restoration and residential development project.  Key tasks included CEQA and NEPA compliance, negotiation of a development agreement, California Coastal Commission approval, state wetlands and endangered species issues, specific plans and local coastal programs, negotiation of park and open space dedications, and assistance in litigation defense relating to CEQA and Coastal Act compliance.
  • Technology Company. Represented technology company with respect to negotiation of 40-year lease of more than 40 acres of unimproved land and the entitlement of up to 1.2 million square feet of offices and research and development facilities.  We provided strategic advice regarding NEPA and CEQA compliance and assisted in-house counsel in managing the legal team and interfacing with the business team.
  • Water District. Represented City Attorney and Planning Staff on CEQA compliance for City as Lead Agency for 50 MGD desalination facility to be co-located with an existing power plant.  Advise client on permitting issues for desalination facility; represent client in public hearings before State agencies.  Represent client in litigation over issuance of permits for the desalination facility.  Dispute concerns entrainment/impingement of marine life due to ocean water intake for the facility, water quality impacts of brine disposal and greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Beverage Manufacturer. Represented beverage manufacturer with possible land exchange of conservation/habitat land with a Southern California county involving 960-acre property.  Work includes coordinating biologists, counseling on MSHCP and CEQA requirements, negotiations with U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and with environmental groups.

Click here to see a full list of Environmental Impact Analysis representative matters.

Natural Resources

  • Developer. Represented the developer of a 3,700-acre mixed-use military base reuse project on due diligence, CEQA compliance, general plan, specific plan and zoning issues, subdivision map processing, wetland and water quality issues, state and federal endangered species issues, hazardous waste remediation, and affordable housing strategy.
  • Telephone Carrier. Represented telephone carrier in all aspects of permitting trans-pacific fiber optic cables installation in California from various Asian countries.  This involves environmental analysis of potential impacts on marine, freshwater and terrestrial habitats.  Permitting agencies include the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, NOAA-Fisheries, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, California Coastal Commission, California State Lands Commission, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, California Regional Water Quality Control Board, and local governments. 
  • Water Utility. Represented investor-owned water utility on permitting and CEQA compliance for a new long term water supply for the Monterey Peninsula comprising a 25 to 50 MGD desalination plant and aquifer storage and recovery (ASR).  The Proposed Project co-locates the desalination facility with an existing power plant.  Represented client in litigation filed to oppose the issuance of Coastal Development Permit for the pilot plant.
  • Property Owners. Represented group of owners seeking annexation to a Northern California city and the development of their properties.  Critical legal issues/tasks involved included Supplemental Environmental Impact Report, Williamson Act, new Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) law and Measure D (slow-growth initiative adopted by Alameda County electorate), two CEQA lawsuits and one LAFCO lawsuit; and Development Agreements.
  • Developer.  Represented the developer of 1600-acre wetlands restoration and residential development project.  Key tasks included CEQA and NEPA compliance, negotiation of a development agreement, California Coastal Commission approval, state wetlands and endangered species issues, specific plans and local coastal programs, negotiation of park and open space dedications, and assistance in litigation defense relating to CEQA and Coastal Act compliance.
  • Irrigation District. Represented irrigation district in connection with water rights and water transfer issues in the following major areas: 
    • Negotiation of 45-year, 21 million acre-feet water rights settlements and transfers involving regional water agencies, the federal government and seven states.
    • Litigation - counsel in successful lawsuit brought against the Department of the Interior for reduction of water supply by 300,000 acre-feet; in validation and CEQA litigation concerning water transfers and settlement; and in federal NEPA and Clean Air Act challenge to related federal agreements and actions. 
    • Environmental Compliance – lead CEQA and NEPA counsel on ESA and CESA matters involving long-term water transfer impacts. 
    • Appellate Counsel – counsel in Ninth Circuit appeal involving international water rights and environmental compliance issues; and Third Appellate District appeal involving CEQA challenges to long-term water transfers.

Click here for full list of Natural Resources representative matters.

Environmental Risk Management

  • Renewable Energy Company. Represented energy company in connection with acquisition of contaminated industrial site to be used for manufacture and distribution of biodiesel fuels. 
  • Residential Developer. Represented residential developer in negotiations with EPA regarding terms of and compliance with “reasonable steps” letter supporting acquisition, as CERCLA non-liable bona fide prospective purchaser and in efforts to accomplish de-listing from National Priorities List.
  • Non-Profit Organization.  Represented non-profit in negotiation of settlement of extensive claims against environmental insurer, and in acquisition of replacement environmental coverage, in connection with development of JCC on site of former aerospace equipment manufacturer.
  • Food Manufacturer. Represented food manufacturer in connection with sale of former food products manufacturing facility that had been identified by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as a source site for groundwater contamination.
  • Industrial Property Owner. Represented seller of former industrial property in Silicon Valley to Stanford University for redevelopment as hospital facility. 
  • Commercial Property. Represented commercial developer of retail and residential buildings in Northern California in the acquisition of environmental insurance coverage.

Environmental Enforcement and Litigation

Cleanup Litigation

  • Mercury Mine. Represented alleged successor in interest to former owner of defunct mercury minesite in action involving responsibility for cleanup costs.  Trial resulted in judgment on third party claim for contribution of response costs from successor to World War II - era investment bank found to be an "operator" of the minesite.
  • Railroad. Represented railroad before jury in fraud and rescission action by residential developer based on alleged failure to disclose subsurface petroleum storage facilities in connection with sale of real property.
  • Industrial Waste Management Company. Represented defendants and cross-claimants in action involving soil and groundwater contamination of industrial site in California with VOCs and other compounds.
  • Private Party. Represented private party in administrative litigation contesting a Water Code §13304 cleanup and abatement order regarding perchlorate contamination of groundwater in California. 
  • Oil Company. Represented large oil company in defending cost recovery actions in Northern California relating to petroleum, hydrocarbon and other soil and groundwater contamination relating to former service station operations. Participant in many mediations of such disputes.
  • Site Operator. Represented alleged former operator of property with contaminated groundwater in implied indemnity action.

Click here for the full list of representative cleanup litigation matters handled by the Allen Matkins Environmental and Natural Resources Group.

Governmental Enforcement and Citizen Suits

  • Regional Transportation Planning Agency. Represented regional transportation planning agency in Clean Air Act citizen suit regarding allegations of noncompliance with transportation conformity assessment obligations and implementation of transportation control measures to reduce regional ozone and carbon monoxide concentrations.
  • Oil Refinery. Represented refinery in Clean Water Act citizen suit alleging illegal discharges of petroleum coke into tributary to San Francisco Bay.
  • Agricultural Company. Represented agricultural company in defense of citizen-suit litigation brought for alleged discharges, effluent limitations violations, reporting, and monitoring violations under the federal Clean Water Act.
  • Pulp Mill. Represented owner of kraft pulp mill in citizens suit under Clean Air Act regarding alleged violations of emissions standards.
  • Utility Company. Represented major utility company in defending CWA citizen suit that sought to impose NPDES permitting requirements on earthen dam structure that was allegedly leaching naturally-occurring copper into the downstream river – an issue of first impression with potentially sweeping implications for in-water structures across the country. Case was settled favorably to the client.
  • Polo Club.  Represented owner of private polo club in Clean Water Act citizens suit alleging violations of Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation stormwater regulations.

Click here to see a full list of representative matters relating to Governmental Enforcement and Citizen Suits.

CEQA, NEPA and Natural Resources Litigation

  • Developer. Represented developer in the development and defense of environmental impact reports (EIRs) and negative declarations prepared under CEQA.
  • Water Company. Represented privately owned water company in CEQA challenge to $600 million wastewater, stormwater, and water service contract. The challenge concerned timing of CEQA review, and raised new questions of law regarding the application of Government Code section 5956 et seq. to the City contract.
  • School District. Represented respondent school district in CEQA litigation, including successful appeal of attorney’s fee award in Court of Appeal and California Supreme Court. The case involved multiple challenges to a mitigated negative declaration and subsequent environmental impact report for a proposed new school project.
  • Developer. Represented a developer in litigation where a public interest unincorporated association filed a CEQA action, challenging entitlements for a 1,200 acre multi-use project in Santa Clarita.  The CEQA litigation settled pursuant to a settlement agreement that was approved by the Court under C.C.P. § 664.6.  The plaintiff failed to perform the settlement agreement, holding up the recordation of the final maps.  We filed a motion to enforce the settlement, and prevailed.
  • Developer. Represented a developer regarding U.S. Army Corps' jurisdiction over wetlands.
  • Property Owners. Represented group of owners seeking annexation to a Northern California city and the development of their properties.  Critical legal issues/tasks involved included Supplemental Environmental Impact Report, Williamson Act, new Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) law and Measure D (slow-growth initiative adopted by Alameda County electorate), two CEQA lawsuits and one LAFCO lawsuit; and Development Agreements.

Click here to see a full list of CEQA, NEPA and Natural Resources Litigation representative matters.

Other Environmental Litigation

  • Policyholder. Represented policyholder in trial of claim for environmental coverage issued by Royal Insurance Company at contaminated industrial metal coatings site.  Judgment entered in favor of policyholder.
  • Power Utility. Represented power utility involving the U.S., Mexico, California and other Colorado River Lower Basin states and public agencies over the lining of the All-American Canal on the U.S.-Mexico border on issues including federal environmental laws (NEPA, etc.), water law, and constitutional claims.
  • Power Utility. Represented power utility in defending allegations of CEQA violations in connection with agreement to transfer conserved Colorado River to Southern California coastal areas from the Imperial Valley.
  • Building Owner. Represented owner of redeveloped office building in resolution of claims by City and County and Air Quality Management District of alleged violation of ordinances and regulations governing removal, handling and disposal of asbestos containing material during and after demolition activities.