On June 10, 2021, the State Water Resources Control Board (“Water Board”) issued a Revised Public Notice that changed certain dates noted in our June 2, 2021 blog post.  The Water Board’s public hearing to receive public comments on the draft Construction Stormwater General Permit reissuance is now scheduled to occur at 9:00 a.m. on

The State Water Resources Control Board (“Water Board”) is now receiving public comments on its proposed reissuance of the statewide National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (“NPDES”) Construction Stormwater General Permit (“Construction Stormwater General Permit”).

I.     Background

The Construction Stormwater General Permit regulates discharges to waters of the United States from stormwater and authorized non-stormwater associated with construction activities that disturb one or more acres of land, or are part of a common plan of development or sale that disturbs one or more acre of land surface.  California’s previous Construction Stormwater General Permit expired in September 2014 but has been administratively extended until a reissued permit is adopted.
Continue Reading State Water Board Now Receiving Public Comments on Its Proposed Reissuance of the Statewide NPDES Construction Stormwater General Permit

At its January 20, 2021 Board meeting, the State Water Resources Control Board (“SWRCB” or “Board”) adopted its final General Waste Discharge Requirements (“WDRs”) for Winery Process Water (“Winery Order”) and associated Resolution for the California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”) Mitigated Negative Declaration.

As a brief background, on July 3, 2020 the SWRCB released a draft Winery Order to the public for comment (see: July 15, 2020 blogpost on proposed General Order and July 20, 2020 blogpost on noticed stakeholder meetings).  The July 3, 2020 draft incorporated feedback from stakeholders regarding administrative draft documents circulated in 2019.  On November 12, 2020 we posted an Update to our prior blog article regarding the SWRCB’s issuance of a revised notice rescheduling the date of its November 17, 2020 Board meeting to December 15, 2020.  Since that time, on December 2, 2020, Board staff publicly transmitted a revised draft Winery Order and draft CEQA Initial Study and Mitigated Negative Declaration. Notable revisions in the December 2, 2020 iteration of the draft Winery Order were made in response to comments received and include changes to design flow ranges used to determine tier designations for coverage under the Winery Order and technical requirements related thereto, among other changes.
Continue Reading Update: State Water Board Adopts Final Winery General Order

This is a continuing series of posts on the latest environmental and legal developments affecting oil and gas operations and development and other industries in Los Angeles and adjacent counties, as well as the southern San Joaquin Valley. In this post, we provide an update on regulatory developments at the California Air Resources Board, the California Geologic Energy Management Division, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the South Coast Air Quality Management District.

STATE AGENCIES  

California Air Resources Board (CARB)

CARB’s ongoing regulatory actions affect industry generally and are focused more heavily on the oil and gas industry.  Actions potentially affecting all industries include the AB 617 program, termed by CARB as the Community Air Protection Program, CRT, an evolving regulation requiring substantially increased reporting of both criteria and toxic air emissions and the Low Carbon Fuel Standard, calculating carbon intensity based on Stanford’s OPGEE model.

AB 617, CARB’s Community Air Protection Program (CAPP): CARB’s CAPP action under AB 617, implements Assembly Member Cristina Garcia’s 2017 bill, requiring CARB to identify annually communities that they find impacted by disproportionate air emissions.  These communities then assemble Community Steering Committees, and the local air districts must work with these Committees to develop Community Emission Reduction Plans (CERPs).  For more background on AB 617 implementation by CARB and the local air district, see Stoel’s California Environmental blogs for October 4, 2019 and May 11, 2018.
Continue Reading SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA ENVIRONMENTAL UPDATE – NEW AIR QUALITY AND OIL & GAS REGULATORY DEVELOPMENTS

On November 30, 2020, State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) staff released a preliminary staff draft of the Statewide Construction Stormwater General Permit (Preliminary Draft General Permit).  In conjunction with its release of the Preliminary Draft General Permit, State Water Board staff also announced that they will hold two public workshops regarding the preliminary staff draft.  According to the Public Notice, the workshops are intended to: (1) provide stakeholders and interested parties information regarding the preliminary draft General Permit, and (2) allow stakeholders and interested parties to provide feedback to staff.

The Preliminary Draft General Permit includes:

  • New requirements to implement existing Total Maximum Daily Loads;
  • New regulation of passive treatment technology uses and discharges from dewatering activities;
  • Updated criteria for Notices of Non-Applicability;
  • Efficiency to the existing Notice of Termination process;
  • Requirements to implement the California Ocean Plan, the Inland Surface Waters Plan, and statewide Trash provisions;
  • Updated requirements for demolition activities;
  • Updated water quality sampling requirements per the federal Sufficiently Sensitive Test Methods Rule; and
  • Updated monitoring and reporting requirements.

Continue Reading State Water Board Staff Releases Staff Preliminary Draft Statewide Construction Stormwater General Permit and Announces Virtual Workshops

Last week, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (“CDFW”) Office of Spill Prevention and Response (“OSPR”) issued notice that it proposes to add ten new regulations (sections 830.1 through 830.11 to Title 14 of the California Code of Regulations) to implement statutory changes resulting from Assembly Bill (“AB”) 1197.  AB 1197 establishes criteria and a process for the certification of oil spill management teams.
Continue Reading CDFW Proposes New Regulations for Oil Spill Management Team Certification with a September 14 Comment Deadline

As a follow-up to our July 15, 2020 blog post regarding the State Water Resources Control Board’s (State Water Board) release of proposed General Waste Discharge Requirements for Winery Process Water Treatment Systems (proposed General Order), today the State Water Board issued a public notice regarding the first stakeholder meeting to discuss fees

On July 3, 2020, the State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) released proposed General Waste Discharge Requirements for Winery Process Water Treatment Systems (proposed General Order) along with the draft California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) Initial Study and Mitigated Declaration for public comment.  The proposed General Order will apply statewide, and includes requirements to ensure winery operations will not adversely impact water quality. The State Water Board also noticed a July 22, 2020 public workshop and future proposed adoption of the proposed General Order.  The July 22, 2020 public workshop will begin at 9:30 a.m. via remote attendance only.  Although a quorum of the State Water Board will be present at the public workshop, no final action will be taken at the workshop.
Continue Reading California Wineries Take Note: State Water Board Releases Draft General Order for Winery Process Water for Public Comment

Last month, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (“CDFW”) issued notice that it will begin accepting electronic notifications for all Lake and Streambed Alteration Standard Agreements (Cal. Fish & Game Code § 1600 et seq.) effective August 1, 2020.  This move to online applications is part of a broader effort by CDFW to go

Last Thursday, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the Clean Water Act (“CWA”) requires a permit to discharge pollutants that reach “navigable waters” through groundwater, but only if the discharge is the “functional equivalent of a direct discharge” to the navigable water.1 In reaching this decision, the Court took the middle ground. It rejected both the Ninth Circuit’s interpretation that the CWA requires a source to obtain a permit whenever pollutants found in a navigable water are “fairly traceable” to that source, and arguments by Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) and others that a permit is never required for discharges of pollutants that reach a navigable water through groundwater.
Continue Reading Supreme Court Holds Clean Water Act Permit Required for Some Discharges to Groundwater