On July 14, a complaint was filed in Sacramento County Superior Court against Governor Brown and the Division of Oil, Gas & Geothermal Resources (“DOGGR”) Supervisor Steve Bohlen.  The lawsuit claims Governor Brown and Supervisor Bohlen have adopted regulations that result in racially disparate impacts from well stimulation on minority students.

State regulators recently implemented

This week, Consumer Advocacy Group (CAG), a non-profit organization that files numerous Proposition 65 (Prop 65) lawsuits each year, issued notices of violation alleging that 15 companies violated California law by selling rice containing arsenic (and in some instances, lead) without a Prop 65 warning.  The notices targeted a wide a range of companies, from small family-owned rice producers, to regional grocery chains and cooperatives. The same organization, CAG, issued a handful of similar notices to other companies in late 2013, also alleging the presence of arsenic in rice products sold in California without a Prop 65 warning.Continue Reading New Wave of Prop 65 Notices Target Rice Industry

Last week, a judge in Alameda County Superior Court denied the Center for Biological Diversity’s motion for summary judgment in a case arguing that DOGGR is obligated to regulate hydraulic fracturing activities under the state’s underground injection control (UIC) program. The Center challenged DOGGR’s position that the federal Energy Policy Act of 2005 exempts fracking from the state UIC program under the Safe Drinking Water Act (see January 25, 2013, post). The judge sided with DOGGR, finding that the exemption of fracking activities from state UIC regulations was consistent with the Safe Drinking Water Act and DOGGR’s interpretation should be afforded great weight unless clearly erroneous.
Continue Reading Judge Upholds DOGGR’s Application of UIC Fracking Exemption

On the eve of target date to commence construction, the California High-Speed Rail Authority (the “Authority”) managed to settle the remaining environmental lawsuit that jeopardized the construction of the initial segment of the High-Speed Rail project.  On April 18, 2013, the Madera County Farm Bureau, Merced County Farm Bureau, Chowchilla Water District, Preserve Our Heritage

Less than a month after the United States District Court for the Northern District of California’s decision that BLM failed to fully evaluate the potential impacts of hydraulic fracturing operations in granting oil and gas leases (see April 11, 2013, post), the Center for Biological Diversity and the Sierra Club have initiated a second lawsuit challenging BLM’s award of oil and gas leases for a much larger area of federal lands in California. The first suit challenged BLM’s issuance of oil and gas leases for approximately 2,700 acres of land. The second suit calls into question federal leases for nearly 18,000 acres of land. Both sets of leases involve California’s Monterey Shale Formation.
Continue Reading Environmental Groups Challenge More BLM Leases Based on District Court’s Finding that BLM Failed to Adequately Consider the Impacts of Fracking

A federal judge in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California in San Jose ruled that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) failed to fully evaluate the potential impacts of hydraulic fracturing operations in granting oil and gas leases for approximately 2,700 acres of land over California’s Monterey Shale Formation. The court concluded that BLM violated the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) by unreasonably relying on a 2006 resource management plan and environmental impact statement governing management of the larger planning area encompassing the leases.
Continue Reading Court Finds BLM Failed to Consider the Impacts of Fracking in Granting Mineral Leases

Last week, the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) adopted a rule requiring pre-notification and reporting of air emissions and chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing operations. SCAQMD regulates air quality in Orange County and major portions of Los Angeles, San Bernardino and Riverside counties. The rule arose from a September 2012 symposium on fracking in the South Coast Air Basin, including representatives from the government, industry and environmental groups. In addition to fracking, the rule applies to other production stimulation activities such as gravel packing and acidizing. The rule will go into effect in early June, 60 days after its adoption on April 5.
Continue Reading California Air District Requires Fracking Notification and Disclosures

On March 19, the California Attorney General’s office filed a complaint for a validation action against all interested people in the world in Sacramento Superior Court on behalf of the California High Speed Rail Authority (“Authority”).  A validation action is a process granted only to public agencies under California law that permits such agencies to

The Center for Biological Diversity filed another lawsuit yesterday in Alameda County Superior Court against the California Department of Conservation, Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) challenging permits issued for oil and gas well operations that allow hydraulic fracturing. The Center alleges in the complaint that DOGGR’s issuance of permits for well operations that include fracking violates the state’s Underground Injection Control (UIC) program and Public Resources Code.
Continue Reading Center for Biological Diversity Files Another Fracking Suit Against DOGGR

California’s Proposition 65 (“Prop 65”) is notable for many reasons, one of which is that the Prop 65 list of chemicals known to the State of California to cause cancer or reproductive harm is long (over 800 chemicals) and is ever-growing.  That being said, the vast majority of Prop 65 lawsuits and alleged violations only involve a handful

Several experienced Proposition 65 plaintiffs filed a high-profile Proposition 65 lawsuit in October regarding alleged lead at Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure.  The lawsuit alleged that various locations in Disneyland and California Adventure contain leaded brass, including hand rails, chains and line dividers, and various items that children are encouraged to play with (such as