The U.S. Supreme Court has decided to review a Clean Water Act case from California's Central Valley. The case involves the federal government's ability to regulate agricultural activity in wetlands.
Last year, a Ninth Circuit panel ruled 2-1 in Borden Ranch Partnership v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that federal regulators could protect wetlands from the practice of "deep ripping." The court upheld a lower court's ruling that Sacramento developer Angelo Tsakopoulos violated the Clean Water Act when he dragged four- to seven-foot-long metal prongs through wetlands areas in preparation for planting vineyards and orchards on property straddling the Sacramento-San Joaquin county border (see CP&DR Legal Digest, October 2001).
The split court ruled that redepositing soil in swales could constitute adding a pollutant to protected wetlands areas. The court ruled that the Army Corps of Engineers had the ability under the Clean Water Act to prevent Tsakopoulos from converting wetlands to dry lands suitable for farming.
Citing the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Solid Waste Agency of N. Cook County v. U.S. Army Corps of Eng'rs, 531 U.S. 159 (2001), the Ninth Circuit further ruled that the Corps of Engineers could not prohibit Tsakopoulos from deep ripping in vernal pools — only in wetlands swales.
The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments during its next term, likely in November or December. The case is Borden Ranch v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, No. 01-1243.
A garbage company can challenge the environmental review of a competitor's proposed trash processing facility because the garbage company was enforcing a public duty of a local government, the Fourth District Court of Appeal has ruled.
A city resolution restricting parking on certain residential streets to residents with parking permits was categorically exempt from environmental review, the Second District Court of Appeal has ruled.
An exemption to the California Environmental Quality Act for construction of a sea wall below two houses has been upheld by the Fourth District Court of Appeal. The court ruled that the potential collapse of a bluff could threaten public safety and qualified for an emergency exemption under CEQA.
In a case that touched on redevelopment law, the California Environmental Quality Act and general plan compatibility, an appellate court has upheld San Francisco's handling of a project on the site of the historic Emporium department store.
The City of Los Angeles was correct to treat as one project a builder's various proposals for 21 new houses on existing parcels on two streets, the Second District Court of Appeal has ruled. The court rejected the builder's contention that the city could not demand an environmental impact report on the 21 houses, five of which have already been built.
Opponents of a proposed recycling center were too late in filing a lawsuit regarding a city's failure to prepare an environmental study on the city's sale of land to the recycling company, the Fourth District Court of Appeal has ruled.
When a public agency acquires a property via eminent domain, only a trial court judge -- and not a jury -- can decide whether a business should receive compensation for loss of goodwill, a state appellate court has ruled.
The California Coastal Commission's decision to allow Malibu property owners who are building new houses to exchange existing public view corridors on their property for dedication of an off-site public access to the beach has been upheld by the Second District Court of Appeal.