On 18 March 2011, CSPA settled two Clean Water Act and Prop. 65 lawsuits against Sierra Pacific Industries regarding serious violations of the California General Industrial Stormwater Permit and California’s Health and Safety Code (Prop. 65). The subject facilities are a 60-acre sawmill in Burney, California that discharges polluted stormwater to Canyon and Burney Creeks and a 4-acre millwork facility in Red Bluff that discharges to stormwater conveyances that drain to the Sacramento River and Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.
The lawsuits alleged that the facilities illegally discharged excessive concentrations of pollutants in violation of their stormwater permit, Clean Water Act and Prop. 65. Sierra Pacific Industries also failed to develop, implement and update: 1) Best Available and Best Conventional Treatment Technologies; 2) an adequate Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP); and 3) an adequate monitoring and reporting plan. It also accused the operators of falsely certifying compliance in their annual reports.
The Settlement Agreement has been submitted to the court as an enforceable Consent Decree and to the U.S. Department of Justice for review. It obligates Sierra Pacific Industries to: 1) comply fully with the applicable requirements of the General Permit, Clean Water Act and Prop. 65; 2) implement a suite of Best Management and Housekeeping Practices; 3) develop and implement a number of structural improvements; 4) conduct more frequent, comprehensive monitoring during rain events, and 5) prepare an adequate SWPPP. The agreement incorporates “Meet & Confer” provisions that allow CSPA to return to court for enforcement if pollutant benchmarks continue to be exceeded and the parties cannot agree on additional measures to be implemented.
As mitigation for past violations, Sierra Pacific Industries agreed to send $75,000 to the Rose Foundation for a Better Environment to fund environmental projects that will improve water quality. They also agreed to reimburse CSPA’s costs of bringing suit plus funds to oversee implementation of the agreement.
The Law Offices of Andrew Packard and Jackson & Tuerck represented CSPA in this matter.