Securing Mitigation from Dow Chemical in Pittsburg

The City of Pittsburg’s Planning Commission approved a plan by Dow Chemical to rebuild a pesticide plant without requiring the company to prepare an EIR. The plant was intended to expand an existing facility and was designed to triple production. The City argued that the project fell under the “reconstruction or replacement” exemption under CEQA, but non-profit organizations Communities for a Better Environment (CBE) and the Pesticide Action...

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Requiring Sand and Gravel Quarries to Reduce Impacts on Local Community

The town of Forestville, a quaint, rural community in the Russian River area of Sonoma County, is also home to two large sand and gravel quarries. When Sonoma County approved substantial expansions of both quarries at the same time, residents of Forestville had only CEQA to protect them from the significant truck traffic, dust, air pollution, and noise that would result. Before litigation was filed, residents worked out a “good neighbor”...

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Requiring Scrutiny of Controversial Water Privatization Project

In 2003, the City of Stockton approved a $600 million contract privatizing the City’s water utilities for a twenty year period. The contract ceded virtually all operational and managerial control of the City’s drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater utilities to the British company OMI/Thames. Community and environmental groups challenged the City’s claim that the project was exempt from CEQA. Once the City was forced to evaluate the...

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Protecting Rich Biological Resources in San Diego’s Backcountry

San Diego County has more biodiversity than any other county in North America and is among the top 10 biodiversity regions on earth. Given these extraordinary resources, a local environmental organization became alarmed when San Diego County proposed to rezone 200,000 acres of land in its rural “backcountry.”  During the environmental review process, the County neglected to analyze the impacts that this massive rezoning program would have on...

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Preserving Open Space and Protecting Communities

CEQA was successfully used to prevent the abuse of a project approval for a development project in East Los Angeles. The City of Los Angeles granted approval to Monterey Hills Investors to develop on Elephant Hill in the 1980s. By 2003 the project size had grown so substantially that the City required the developer prepare a new EIR. The developer in turn filed suit contesting the requirement. Residents of the downhill community of El Sereno...

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