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  • 02/01/2012 7:32 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Below is an update for you on where the Statewide Stormwater Coalition (SSC) is currently:

    • California Council for Environmental and Economic Balance to undertake new project that seeks to reform water quality regulatory process - We are passing along information on a project being undertaken by the California Council for Environmental and Economic Balance (http://www.cceeb.org/).  The folks organizing the project are seeking funding contributions and are close to reaching their fundraising target, but need additional support.  Please review the attached document and consider contributing to make it happen. If you have any questions, please contact Bob Lucas (916‐444‐7337) or Gerald Secundy (415‐512‐7890, ext. 16).

    -     Template “support” letters are being drafted for SB 964/SB 965 (Wright) – We are currently drafting “support” template letters for SB 964 and SB 965.  The SSC Executive Committee recently adopted a “support” position on these two bills and will be recommending that SSC members individually send in those support letters when prompted.  The “support” template letters will be distributed  in the next week or so for SSC members to act on.

    -       Other bill activity – There are several other bill concepts that are being developed that are looking towards process reform for the State Water Resources Control Board.  Some of those concepts include:

    •o   Addressing scientific peer review processes.

    •o   Clearly define Maximum Extent Practicable (MEP).

    •o   Bill to address oil run-off from vehicles.

    We will be providing specific bill language when and if they are formally introduced in the State Legislature.  The deadline to introduce new bills is February 24.

     

    -       SSC members and non-members are encouraged to reach out to their local labor unions; badly conceived stormwater permits are a threat to local general funds – As we all know, the latest draft MS4 permit, if it was approved in its current form, would have been devastating to many local government’s general funds.  In some cities and counties on the brink, this would have meant non-compliance with their stormwater permit, third-party lawsuits and the choice of cutting police, fire, library and parks services to afford to implement a larger general-funded local stormwater program.  This predicament, caused by State Water Resources Control Board actions, constitutes what we consider to be a threat to local municipal labor organizations and their members.  Roseville has already reached out to our municipal labor unions on this issue and recommend that other SSC members do the same.  With labor’s help, we will be far more effective in the political process in changing Board processes and  their outcomes – stormwater permits and protect scarce local general fund resources from poorly conceived state-issued stormwater permits in the future.  If you need assistance or ready-made outreach material to reach out to your local labor unions on this issue, contact Sean Bigley (sbigley@roseville.ca.us).

    If you need any other updates or assistance, feel free to send your questions my way and we’ll get an answer for you.  We are here to help and support our members.  Thank you and enjoy the rest of your day.

    Sean Bigley
    Administrative Analyst II
    Governmental Affairs | Communications
    Environmental Utilities
    City of Roseville
    2005 Hilltop Circle
    Roseville, CA 95747

    (916) 774-5513
    www.roseville.ca.us/eu

  • 01/06/2012 11:26 AM | Deleted user
    This decision on RDA would impact on Stormwater Budget significantly! Check out the latest news regarding the Supreme Court Decision on RDA.

    Source Link

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    Californians bid farewell not only to 2011 this week, but also to the state's redevelopment agencies (RDA). The California Supreme Court upheld a bill that shut down the nearly 400 RDAs scattered around the state in a ruling issued on Dec. 29.

    Redevelopment agencies were formed to fight blight, but Gov. Jerry Brown pushed for their elimination, arguing that diverting $5 billion in property tax revenue to RDAs left the state short on money needed for schools. In Mountain View, the city's RDA is largely credited with revitalizing downtown.

    According to the court, since the legislature had the authority to create redevelopment agencies, it also had the power to dissolve them.

    "Today's ruling by the California Supreme Court validates a key component of the state budget and guarantees more than a billion dollars of ongoing funding for schools and public safety," Gov. Brown said in a statement released Thursday.

    However, the court ruling wasn't a total victory for the governor. The agencies were eliminated by AB-26, but another bill, AB-27 – dubbed "extinction or extortion" by staff -- let agencies stay open by making hefty annual payments to the state. The League of California Cities and the California Redevelopment Association filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of both bills.

    The California Supreme Court ruling declared AB-27 unconstitutional based on the passage of Proposition 22 in November 2010, which made it illegal for the state to take money from local funds such as redevelopment revenue.

    Losing its downtown RDA will cost Mountain View about $5 million in redevelopment funds, according to city officials. Paying what city officials dubbed a "ransom" to keep the agency open would have been expensive -- estimated at $2 million.

    The downtown revitalization district was created in 1969 to help revitalize what was then a nearly vacant downtown. One of the oldest such districts in the state, it had been set to expire in April 2011, but City Council members approved a two-year extension in January in order to spend the authority's $5.5 million balance and "wind down in an orderly fashion," said then-City Manager Kevin Duggan.

    Daniel DeBolt contributed to this story


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    More info on the RDA issues.

    http://protectourlocaleconomy.com/node/92

    http://protectourlocaleconomy.com/node/91

    http://www.bondbuyer.com/issues/121_4/calif-supreme-court-rda-dissolution-1034911-1.html
  • 12/14/2011 11:00 PM | Deleted user
    Source Link

    On December 2, 2011, Sacramento Superior Court Judge Lloyd G. Connelly issued a decision invalidating the numeric effluent limitations (NELs) contained in the General Permit for Storm Water Discharges Associated With Construction and Land Disturbance Activities, State Water Resources Control Board Order 2009-009-DQ (the Construction General Permit or CGP).  (California Building Industry Association, et al. v. State Water Resources Control Board, Sacramento County Superior Court Case No. 34-2009-80000338.)  The court found the NELs were not supported by substantial evidence, and that the State Water Board failed to comply with federal Clean Water Act requirements for the establishment of technology based numeric effluent limitations.  The court granted a peremptory writ of mandate ordering the State Water Board to set aside the portions of the GCP imposing NELs for turbidity and pH and to refrain from enforcing the NELs.  Other provisions of the CGP remain in effect and enforceable.

    The California Building Industry Association (CBIA) challenged the Construction General Permit on multiple grounds.  First, CBIA claimed that the CGP established NELs for turbidity and pH applicable to stormwater runoff from high risk (Level 3) construction sites without evidentiary support and without consideration of the factors enumerated in federal law for evaluation of NELs.  As discussed below, the court agreed with CBIA on this point and invalidated the NELs.  The court rejected CBIA’s remaining challenges to the permit, including the contention that certain permit provisions are more stringent than required by federal law and thus State law requires an assessment of specified public interest factors, including consideration of economics.

    In rejecting CBIA’s argument that the numeric effluent limitations imposed in the CGP go beyond federal law because the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has not adopted numeric effluent limitation guidelines for turbidity and pH, the court stated that a numeric limit, when properly developed by the State Water Board using best professional judgment, is no more strict than a narrative effluent limitation developed to meet the same water quality standard.  The court also found that the post-construction provisions of the permit, requiring projects to install best management practices and establish a long-term maintenance plan, did not exceed the State Water Board’s authority because the installation of the BMPs and the development of the plan occur during the period of coverage under the permit rather than after termination.

    With regard to the NELs, the court began its analysis with the Clean Water Act (33 U.S.C. § 1251 et seq.)  The Act requires states to develop technology-based effluent limitations on a case-by-case basis in the absence of applicable U.S. EPA-promulgated effluent limitation guidelines.  In developing the NELs, the State Water Board was required to apply specified factors to identify the degree of pollutant reduction that could be provided by various control measures and practices.  CBIA argued, and the court concurred, that the turbidity and pH NELs in the CGP were not derived from relevant performance data.  The court noted, “[a]bsent from the Board’s discussion of how the turbidity NEL of 500 NTU was developed is performance data for the specific BMP measures and practices in various construction site conditions.”  None of the analyses cited by the Water Board “provide data from which it can be determined that available technologies are capable of controlling erosion and reducing sediment discharges from construction sites with a variety of soils, climates and topographies to a turbidity of 500 NTU or lower.”  To comply with the Clean Water Act, the State Water Board was required to identify available technologies, gather data characterizing the performance of the technologies under various site conditions, and derive NELs consistent with the performance data. 

    The application of numeric limits to stormwater has been an issue of significant concern within the regulated community.  This decision sheds light on the type and specificity of information required to support the imposition of numeric requirements on stormwater discharges.  The case is also important in affirming that where particular elements are set forth in statute and regulation, the State Water Board is obligated to meaningfully evaluate those factors in establishing enforceable requirements.

    For additional information on California Building Industry Association, et al. v. State Water Resources Control Board, Sacramento County Superior Court Case No. 34-2009-80000338, contact Roberta Larson at blarson@somachlaw.com.

    Somach Simmons & Dunn provides the information in its Environmental Law & Policy Alerts and on its website for informational purposes only.  This general information is not a substitute for legal advice, and users should consult with legal counsel for specific advice.  In addition, using this information or sending electronic mail to Somach Simmons & Dunn or its attorneys does not create an attorney-client relationship with Somach Simmons & Dunn.
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