Application of the California Construction Storm Water General NPDES Permit to Oil and Gas Projects


“The NPDES “General Permit for Storm Water Discharges Associated With Construction and Land Disturbance Activities” (“Construction General Permit”), adopted by the State Water Resources Control Board (“State Water Board”) in September 2009 as Order 2009-0009-DWQ, became effective on July 1, 2010. Anyone conducting “construction activity” after July 1, 2010 which results in a land disturbance of one acre or more, or less than one acre but part of a larger common plan of development or sale, is required to electronically file Permit Registration Documents. “Construction activity” includes clearing, grading, excavation, stockpiling, and reconstruction of existing facilities involving removal and replacement. Historically, most oil and gas exploration and production activities have been statutorily exempted from the permit requirements of the Clean Water Act.

However, as a result of a 2008 decision by the federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, California’s new Construction General Permit now applies more broadly to oil and gas drilling or construction activities (such as pipeline construction). According to the State Water Board, now oil and gas construction activities that disturb one acre or more, discharge sediment, and contribute to violation of a water quality standard in a receiving water must apply for coverage under the Construction General Permit.”

Go here to read or download the full article on “Application of the California Construction Storm Water General NPDES Permit to Oil and Gas Projects.”

The Use of Public Private Partnership for Special Districts and All Levels of Governments


“Recognizing its benefits, various forms of governments worldwide are increasingly utilizing P3 over the traditional procurement and delivery methodologies to hire, integrate and maximize expertise and tap into resources for the planning, design and construction of infrastructure projects. Recently, California public entities are increasingly seeking P3 over a primarily public financing and ownership model due to the state’s imminent need for renewed and expanded infrastructure.”

Go here to read the full article.

Viewpoint: Are gang injunctions worth the cost?

Prosecutors use public nuisance actions to stop gang-related activities

Recently, Oakland, Calif., joined the increasing number of public agencies making use of gang injunctions when its City Attorney’s Office announced that it would seek a gang injunction limiting street gang activity within a 100-block radius in North Oakland. Gang injunctions are public nuisance actions that aim to prevent and suppress gang activity, such as restricting people from wearing gang colors, associating with gang members and gathering in areas with high gang activity.

Not surprisingly, the media attention surrounding Oakland’s announcement shows that the strategy is still controversial. The most common criticisms are that gang injunctions: fail to address the root problems of gang activity; take valuable resources away from programs that would address those problems; give the police too much discretion to harass young men of color — even if they are not gang members; impose permanent probation-like restrictions on individuals who have never been tried for a crime; create an increase in “cohesion” among gang members; and cause a “spill-over” of gang-related crime into adjoining neighborhoods.

Read the full article here.

Posted here by permission of American City and County


Gang Injunctions Make Neighborhoods Safer

California cities have struggled for decades to combat the gang-related crime and violence that destroy lives and neighborhoods. Despite those efforts, gangs remain a seemingly intractable problem.

In gang-plagued areas, residents face fear and intimidation every day as they are surrounded by crimes from drug dealing to murder. To rein in gang violence and ease the climate of fear, California cities are increasingly turning to gang injunctions, which have proven very effective in not only reducing crime but also in significantly improving the quality of life for neighborhood residents.

Go here to read the full article, “Gang Injunctions Make Neighborhoods Safer,” published by The Recorder.

Tricia Hynes’ practice is focused on litigation of federal constitutional issues, with an emphasis on civil rights litigation and law enforcement liability. In addition to her courtroom practice, Ms. Hynes advises law enforcement clients on issues ranging from use of force and vehicle pursuit policies to public records act requests, and she leads the firm’s Pitchess defense practice. For more information on Gang Injunctions, please contact Tricia Hynes at 510.808.2000.



Environmentally Sound

Recent legal developments have provided some guidance on the difficult question of how to analyze the environmental impacts of greenhouse gases (GHGs) for land use projects under the California Environmental Quality Act. The issue first reached prominence in late 2006 after the adoption of AB 32 — The California Global Warming Solutions Act — and relates to state efforts to reduce GHGs to combat global warming.

However, legal guidance has taken a while to develop. State regulations were adopted at the very end of last year. Some local air quality districts have recently adopted or are considering adoption of regulations and guidance. There have been no court of appeal decisions on the issue and trial court decisions are not uniform. In this evolving legal area, only one thing has become clear — the GHG impacts of land use projects should be analyzed under CEQA. The challenging issue is how this analysis should be done. The answer involves an assessment of options, legal risks and policy choices by public agencies. Since CEQA is commonly used as the basis for challenging land use projects, the GHG analysis will be a critical component of the legal defensibility of projects.

Go here to read the full article, Environmentally Sound, published by Cal Law.

Post-Kelo Reforms: Far From ‘Phony’

Since the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Kelo v. City of New London, California has enacted significant reforms to protect property owners. This article explores these new protections while still providing cities and redevelopment agencies with eminent domain to revitalize deteriorated and blighted areas.


“But, with three significant changes by the Legislature in 2006, those days are gone.  First, unless a redevelopment agency states in writing that the development, redevelopment or public use of the property is scheduled to begin with two years, the agency now has an affirmative obligation to offer a one-year leaseback of the property to the landowner. This leaseback option must be offered annually unless, again, the agency can state in writing that the redevelopment project is scheduled to begin with two years.”

Go here to read the full article on “Post-Kelo Reforms: Far From ‘Phony’.”

Published in the Daily Journal, December 7, 2009
Posted with the permission of Daily Journal Corporation, 2009.

Jump-starting Stalled Redevelopment Projects

Despite the state of the economy and the real estate markets, cities can benefit by getting their stalled redevelopment projects back on track. This article discusses how cities can revive their projects and the benefits of doing so.


“When faced with a redevelopment project that begins to unravel, cities should first remember  that, in the final analysis, it is the city itself that benefits when a project is completed.  Successful redevelopment projects bring new residents and businesses to a formerly under-utilized site; such projects revitalize neighborhoods as more people come in to shop and dine; and they generate sales and property tax revenues.  This makes it more than worthwhile for a city to invest in these projects to make sure they get back on track.”

Go here to read the full on “Jump-starting Stalled Redevelopment Projects.

Published in Daily Journal
November 13, 2009
Posted with the permission of Daily Journal Corporation, 2009.

The Impact of Greenhouse Gas Regulations on the Domestic Oil and Gas Exploration and Production Industry

This article explores the impacts that regulations and goals encompassed in AB 32 and the California Air Resources Board’s Scoping Plan could have on the continued exploration and production of domestic oil.


“Due to the higher levels of emissions associated with production and refining of California heavy crude oil, the California Independent Petroleum Association has expressed its concern that the LCFS [A Low Carbon Fuel Standard for California] could create “a serious financial disincentive for California refiners to continue purchasing in state produced heavy oil resources.” Since roughly 64 percent of California’s oil production is heavy oil, a disincentive such as the LCFS might cause a decrease in the use of California heavy crude and lead to a “substantial increase in California’s reliance on tankered imports of crude oil.” As mentioned above, this would not only waste California’s significant reserves of oil, but it would also make California more dependent on foreign and Alaskan oil.”

Click on the link to read the full article on “The Impact of Greenhouse Gas Regulations on the Domestic Oil and Gas Exploration and Production Industry.

Energy Committees Newsletter, August 2009
American Bar Association

Recent Trend in Green Buildings Laws: Potential Preemption of Green Building and Whether Retrofitting Existing Buildings Will Reduce Greenhouse Gases and Save the Economy

Driven by local government regulations, green building for civic, residential and commercial projects has been sweeping the country, and especially California. This article discusses the potential impacts of economic factors and federal laws on the green building industry.


“Recently, a federal district court in New Mexico issued one of the first court decisions regarding the federal preemption of local green building ordinances.  In Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) v. City of Albuquerque, the court found that the City of Albuquerque was preempted from enacting efficiency HVAC regulations by the Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975 (EPCA).  The court found that the EPCA is a “long-standing federal statute governing the energy efficiency of certain HVAC and water heating products and [that it] expressly preempts state regulation of these products. . . .”  At issue in AHRI v. City of Albuquerque was the City’s Energy Conservation Code, which sought to increase energy efficiency requirements for multi-family and commercial buildings by thirty percent by adopting regulations stricter than federal requirements.  The city failed in its argument that the multiple performance-based options for compliance offered in the code sidestep preemption.”

Click on the link to read the full article on “Recent Trend in Green Buildings Laws…


Urban Lawyer
Vol. 41, No. 3
Summer 2009
published by American Bar Association