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What's New

New California Environmental Laws Enacted

The following environmental laws were passed during the 2015-2016 session:

  1. Redevelopment: California Land Reuse and Revitalization Act of 2004 was set to sunset on January 1, 2017.  On August 22, 2016 Governor Brown signed into law SB 820 by Senator Robert M. Hertzberg (D-Van Nuys).  This law extends the California Land Reuse and Revitalization Act of 2004 (CLRRA) which provides incentives to clean up and develop brownfield properties that are impacted by actual or perceived contamination.  Paladin has worked with several clients to put CLRRA agreements and Prospective Purchase Agreements (PPA) agreements in place with both the California Regional Water Quality Control Board and the Department of Toxic Substances Control.
  2. Waste management: plastic microbeads. AB 888   (Bloom) Banning plastic microbeads from products such as toothpaste and face scrubs.
  3. Hazardous waste: enforcement.  AB 1075 (Alejo)  Allows DTSC to suspend or revoke permits for violations of or noncompliance with provisions with respect to a single hazardous waste facility within a five-year period.
  4. Mining and geology: surface mining. AB 1142 (Gray) Provides clarification of duties and responsibilities for mining operators and lead agencies under the Surface Mining and Reclamation Act.
  5. Water: pollution: fines.  AB 1842 (Levine)  In addition to current civil penalties, imposes a penalty of $10 for each gallon or pound of polluting material discharge into the waters of the state.
  6. Recycling: beverage containers. AB 2530 (Gordon)  Manufacturer of a beverage sold in a plastic beverage container must provide CalRecycle with the average percentage of postconsumer recycled content of the container during the previous year.
  7. Treated wood waste.  SB 162 (Galgiani)  Extends the sunset date through 2020 for disposal of locations for treated wood waste.
  8. Surplus household consumer product waste: management.  SB 423 (Bates)  Retail Waste Working Group (via DTSC) to consider and make recommendations relating to management of consumer products that are wastes, waste reduction opportunities for consumer products, and hazardous waste management requirements in the retail industry. Report from work group due to the Legislature by June 1, 2017.
  9. Hazardous waste. SB 673 (Lara) DTSC to adopt regulations establishing criteria to determine whether to issue a new or renewed hazardous waste permit.

Stone Named as Who's Who in Energy & Environment

Bret Stone was recognized for his work in environmental law by the Pacific Coast Business Times.

Summary Judgment Granted on Contribution Bar Defense

A chemical company that previously settled its alleged liability found itself in court again for the same contamination.  Paladin filed a motion for summary judgment on the grounds that the new plaintiff had notice and opportunity to oppose the good faith settlement determination and that the new claim was barred under § 877.6 of the California Code of Civil Procedure.  The court agreed and granted summary judgment.

Paladin Settles Dry Cleaning Contamination Case

After years of litigation with the former owners and operators of a dry cleaning plant and their insurers, a highly contested and complex environmental contamination case has finally come to a close.  Paladin's insurance archaeology efforts identified the historic insurance assets.  Extensive investigation activities ensued and, once the parties were comfortable with the total cost of cleanup, a settlement was reached providing sufficient funds for the cleanup.

Stone Featured at Groundwater Law Conference

Bret Stone was part of panel on Strategies to Address Major Groundwater Contaminant Plumes at the upcoming Groundwater Law Conference at Loyola Law School.  For more information, click here.

Court Holds Insurer has Duty to Defend in Rev 973 Case

One of Paladin's policyholder clients recently obtained a ruling in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California held that Wilshire Insurance Company has a duty to defend a lawsuit entitled, Rev 973, LLC v. Mouren-Laurens et al., CV 98-10690-DSF (Ex), alleging liability against thousands of potentially responsible parties for environmental contamination.  Wilshire had argued that there could be no potential for coverage and thus no duty to defend its insured because the claims asserted against him do not allege an “accident” as required by the policies and are excluded from coverage by the qualified pollution and the handling of property exclusions contained in the policies.  The court rejected these arguments.  To read more, click here.

Pro Bono Brownfields Deal Closes for Bike Coalition

Long-time bike commuter, Bret Stone, provided pro bono legal support to help the Santa Barbara Bicycle Coalition purchase the property that houses its community cycling center and DIY bike repair shop.  The Brownfields site had been contaminated by historic dry cleaning operations.  Stone negotiated the transaction and related environmental protections to a successful close.  To read the article in the Santa Barbara Independent, click here.

John Till Featured at Environmental Law Section Seminar

Paladin Managing Partner, John Till, led a discussion regarding the implementation of AB 440 legislation to redevelop contaminated properties in urban blighted areas.  The Sacramento County Bar Association Environmental Law Section underwrote the event.

Lycett Featured in Stormwater Webinar

Paladin’s Jon Lycett was a featured speaker for a webinar entitled “Managing Risk Amid Changing Storm Water Regulations.”  Topics covered included an exploration of evolving compliance requirements related to updated Municipal (MS4), Industrial, and Construction General Storm Water Permits and best practices for managing risk.

Paladin wins Climate Leader Award

Paladin Law Group is proud to announce that the California Air Resources Board has recognized it with a Climate Leader Award.  The CoolCalifornia Small Business Awards recognize California small businesses that took action to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, promoted climate friendly practices and integrated the tools on CoolCalifornia.org into their business operations.  For more information about CoolCalifornia.org, click here.

Bret Stone Selected as a Who’s Who in Professional Services by the Pacific Coast Business Times

For the seventh straight year, Bret Stone has been recognized by the Pacific Coast Business Times for his work.