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Tuesday
Aug082017

Property Needs Environmental Cleanup? Don't Scrap It, SCAP It!

Environmental Litigation AttorneyEnvironmental Litigation Defense Attorney

Stephen T. Holzer

818.907.3299

 

Environmental Soil SampleProperty owners in California may have access to state funds for environmental cleanup of smaller brownfields projects. The money comes from two pieces of environmental legislation passed in 2014.

The Proposition 1 Groundwater Sustainability Program authorized $7.545 billion in bonds for a variety of water projects, including storage, restoration and protection efforts. The State Water Resources Control Board (“Board”) was directed to distribute the funds amongst five separate programs; one of which includes the Groundwater Sustainability fund – it would receive $800 million.  

California Senate Bill 445 was an emergency measure also approved in 2014. The bill, essentially an amendment to the long-established Underground Storage Tank Cleanup Fund (“UST Fund”), provides for “. . . investigating and cleaning up contaminated sites without regard to the source of the contamination, particularly where there are no viable responsible parties . . .”   

Thus, unlike the UST Fund, the source of the contamination need not be an underground storage tank; and, unlike the case with the UST Fund, the contamination need not be petroleum-hydrocarbon based.

This part of SB 445 falls under SCAP, or the Site Cleanup Subaccount Program, funded with approximately $20 million in state money, plus local matching funds. That may not sound like a lot of money for environmental cleanup, but for some property owners, SCAP may provide the perfect solution.

Navigating Clean Water Resources

California Funding for Groundwater Cleanup

Cleanup projects eligible for SCAP funds include those properties that: 

  • May cause harm or potential harm from surface or groundwater contaminants

  • Have been polluted by human-made contaminants, e.g. nitrates (common in fertilizers), perchloroethylene (used in dry cleaning industry), pesticides, hexavalent chromium (commonly found in welding projects, paints, chrome plating), etc.

  • Received a directive from a regulatory agency

  • Are owned by responsible parties with limited resources

  • May include site characterization, source identification or implementation of cleanup. 

Certain applicants for SCAP funding will be given priority, including those that are significantly threatening to human or environmental health. Other priority projects include those in disadvantaged communities or those that cannot receive other cleanup funds.

The Board will also balance costs of cleanup vs. benefits.

Before applying for SCAP funds, property owners should first pre-apply for the Groundwater Quality Funding Program, through the Financial Assistance Application Submittal Tool (FAAAST). SCAP applicants will need to complete a grant agreement form, as well as forms describing the cleanup work to be done and the budget for such work.

Stephen T. Holzer is a Business Litigation Attorney and the Chair of our Environmental Practice Group.

Disclaimer:
This Blog/Web Site is made available by the lawyer or law firm publisher for educational purposes only, to provide general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. By using this blog site you understand there is no attorney client relationship between you and the Blog/Web Site publisher. The Blog/Web Site should not be used as a substitute for obtaining legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.

Friday
Sep262014

Bridging Troubled Water: Yes or No on California Prop 1?

Litigation Los AngelesEnvironmental Litigation  

Stephen T. Holzer
818.907.3299

 

Fall is here. Most of us can't tell, given the soaring temperatures outside. A better thermometer might be the onslaught of political commercials we're now seeing on television.

California Elections 2014

To prepare for the elections in November, we thought now would be a good time to take a look at the new propositions and bills Californians will have to decide on in the voting booth November 4th. First up:  Proposition 1 (Assembly Bill 1471), to enact the Water Quality, Supply and Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2014.

Governor Jerry Brown approved the measure August 13, but it's up to the voters to decide if this will go any further.

Proposition 1 aims to: 

  1. Improve water reliability and management: $810M,

  2. Provide safer drinking water: $520M,

  3. Initiate and improve water recycling projects: $725M,

  4. Ensure safer groundwater: $900M,

  5. Protect and restore the state's watershed: $1.495B,

  6. Store more water: $2.7B, and

  7. Improve and initiate flood management projects: $395M

As with most ballot measures, there are both opposition and support groups for Prop 1. Unlike most ballot measures, the battle lines aren't drawn by party lines.

The opposition argues that: 

  1. Environmental Business Litigation AttorneyOnly special interest groups, i.e. farmers and certain industrialists, will benefit though all Californians will foot the bill.

  2. The bills projects are geared to repairing the damage caused by previous water improvement projects initiated by the same special interest groups noted above.

  3. The cost is too high, considering California is already $777B in debt.

  4. Enacting this plan does nothing to cure our immediate, drought-driven needs for more water.

Supporters disagree of course, claiming that: 

  1. Long-term projects will help Californians capitalize on "wet" years to store more water for the drier years.

  2. Some funds in the bill are allocated to cleaning up much-needed contaminated drinking water.

  3. The special interest groups cited by the opposition (particularly the agriculturalists) are critical to California's economy.

  4. The bill would not substantially increase state debt – some of the needed funding will be reallocated from unused bonds.

So which groups support Proposition 1, and which do not? There's a mixed bag on each side.

Prop 1 supporters include Governor Brown, Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, both the California Democratic and Republican parties, the state and Los Angeles Chambers of Commerce, and environmental groups like The Nature Conservancy, Audubon California and Delta Counties Coalition.

Prop 1 opponents include environmental groups like Friends of the River, Restore the Delta and various fishing associations.

 

Stephen T. Holzer is an Environmental and Business Litigation Attorney. Contact him via email: sholzer@lewitthackman.com, or by phone: 818.907.3299.

 

Disclaimer:
This Blog/Web Site is made available by the lawyer or law firm publisher for educational purposes only, to provide general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. By using this blog site you understand there is no attorney client relationship between you and the Blog/Web Site publisher. The Blog/Web Site should not be used as a substitute for obtaining legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.

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