Best Best & Krieger News Feed Best and Krieger is a Full Service Law Firmen-us01 Jul 2015 00:00:00 -0800firmwise With the Drought: State Water Resources Control Board (WRCB) Mandatory Water Consumption Reduction Measures<p>Best Best &amp; Krieger LLP Partner Kelly Salt will present &ldquo;Dealing With the Drought: State Water Resources Control Board (WRCB) Mandatory Water Consumption Reduction Measures&rdquo; at Law Seminars International&rsquo;s program, &ldquo;Municipal Water Utility Ratemaking in California.&rdquo; Kelly will give an update on Gov. Jerry Brown&rsquo;s Executive Order requiring 25 percent reductions and the Water Resources Control Board&rsquo;s implementation efforts and how the rate structuring/pricing/penalty provisions for encouraging conservation mesh with Proposition 218.</p> <p>The day-long seminar will be in Sacramento, and webcast live.</p> <p><strong>When</strong><br /> Monday, July 20, 2015<br /> 2:45 p.m.</p> <p>For more information or to register, <a target="_blank" href=""><span style="color: #0000ff">click here</span></a>.</p>Conferences & Speaking Engagements20 Jul 2015 00:00:00 -0800 Manager Leadership Summit<p>Best Best &amp; Krieger LLP partner's&nbsp;Fernando Avila and Nancy Park&nbsp;are among the speakers at the California Special District Association's event, &ldquo;General Manager Leadership Summit.&rdquo; <br /> <br /> <u>BB&amp;K Speakers:</u><br /> <br /> <strong>Fernando Avila</strong>, &quot;CEQA: What Special Districts Need to Know in 2015 and Beyond&quot;<br /> This panel will address the recent changes to CEQA from legislation and cases decided in 2015. Panelists will discuss how endangered species laws integrate with CEQA requirements for biological resources, effectively use CEQA exemptions following recent California Supreme Court rulings and analyzing the impacts of climate and greenhouse gases as part of public projects.<br /> 2:00 - 3:15 P.M.<br /> <br /> <strong>Nancy Park</strong>, &ldquo;Behind the Scenes Negotiating Secrets&rdquo;&nbsp;<br /> An overview of the changes in legislation related to public sector labor relations in the past year and a look at decisions from the Public Employment Relations Board that deal with how agencies interact with employee organizations.<br /> 3:30 - 4:30 P.M.<br /> <br /> <strong>When</strong><br /> Monday, July 13, 2015<br /> <br /> <strong>Where</strong><br /> Hyatt Regency Newport Beach<br /> 1107 Jamboree Road<br /> Newport Beach, CA 92660<br /> <br /> For more information or to register, <a target="_blank" href=""><span style="color: #0000ff">click here</span></a>.</p>Conferences & Speaking Engagements13 Jul 2015 00:00:00 -0800 Webinar: AB 52: CEQA's New Requirement<p>Best Best &amp; Krieger attorney Sarah Owsowitz will present &quot;AB 52: CEQA's New Requirement.&quot; Starting on July 1, every public agency in California will have significant new California Environmental Quality Act duties. In addition to considering a project&rsquo;s potential impact on historic and archaeological resources, agencies will now have to consider a project&rsquo;s potential to impact tribal cultural resources - essentially any object of cultural value to a California Native American tribe -&nbsp;&nbsp;when preparing an Environmental Imapct Report or a negative declaration.</p> <p>Also, agencies must consult on a project&rsquo;s potential to impact a tribal cultural resource with any California Native American tribe who requests a consultation.&nbsp;Consultation may include:</p> <ul> <li>The level of environmental review necessary;</li> <li>The significance of a tribal cultural resource and of a project's impact on that resource; and</li> <li>Project alternatives and/or mitigation, including those recommended by the tribe.&nbsp;</li> </ul> <p>These are big and complex changes, and understanding and keeping track of them will be essential to an agency&rsquo;s ongoing CEQA compliance.</p> <p><strong>When:</strong><br /> Thursday, June 25, 2015<br /> 11 a.m. &ndash; Noon</p> <p>To register for this free webinar, please <a target="_blank" href=""><span style="color: #0000ff">click here</span></a>.</p>Seminars and Webinars25 Jun 2015 00:00:00 -0800 Supreme Court Grants Review in San Buenaventura Groundwater Pumping Fees Case<p>Two California Appellate Court decisions handed down in March addressed whether or not a local water agency&rsquo;s groundwater pumping charges are property-related fees. One of these cases concluded that they are not property-related fees. That court decision will now be reviewed by the California Supreme Court. The distinction is important because of the restrictions imposed for property-related fees under Proposition 218 &mdash; as well as the exemptions for fees that are considered taxes under Proposition 26.</p> <p>In <i>City of San Buenaventura v. United Water Conservation District</i>, issued March 17, the Second District Court of Appeal held that a water conservation district&rsquo;s groundwater pumping fees, established at a rate for non-agricultural users that is three times higher than that for agricultural users, are not property-related fees subject to the restrictions imposed under Proposition 218 (California Constitution article XIII D, section 6). The court also rejected the argument that the challenged fees are taxes under Proposition 26 (California Constitution, article XIII C, section 1(e)). Rather, the court found that the fees are valid fees imposed under two exceptions to the definition of &ldquo;tax&rdquo; established under Proposition 26. The California Supreme Court has granted review of this decision.</p> <p>In the other case, <i>Great Oaks Water Company v. Santa Clara Valley Water District</i>, issued March 26,the Sixth District Court of Appeal came to a contrary conclusion regarding the classification of the district&rsquo;s groundwater pumping fees. Here, the court found that the District&rsquo;s groundwater pumping fees are property-related fees subject to Proposition 218. This case is not under review by the California Supreme Court.</p> <p><a target="_blank" href=";an=38550&amp;format=xml"><span style="color: #0000ff">Read more about both of these cases in a Legal Alert published on March 31.</span></a></p> <p>If you have any questions about these cases or how they may impact your agency, please contact the attorney authors of this legal alert listed to the right in the firm&rsquo;s <a target="_blank" href=";LPA=489&amp;format=xml"><span style="color: #0000ff">Municipal</span></a>,&nbsp;<a target="_blank" href=";LPA=487&amp;format=xml"><span style="color: #0000ff">Special District</span></a> and&nbsp;<a target="_blank" href=";LPA=497&amp;format=xml"><span style="color: #0000ff">Public Finance</span></a> practice groups, or <a target="_blank" href=""><span style="color: #0000ff">your BB&amp;K attorney</span></a>.</p> <i>Disclaimer: BB&amp;K legal alerts are not intended as legal advice. Additional facts or future developments may affect subjects contained herein. Seek the advice of an attorney before acting or relying upon any information in this communiqu&eacute;.</i>Legal Alerts25 Jun 2015 00:00:00 -0800 Bill To Combat Water Shortages Passes In California Legislature<p>The California Legislature approved a budget bill that would grant the state authority to force water systems to consolidate to serve disadvantaged communities where a steady supply of clean drinking water is not available. Senate Bill 88 also would give public water suppliers the power to impose civil fines of up to $10,000 for violations of water conservation programs, impose new measuring and reporting requirements for water diversions, and suspend environmental review for certain drought-related projects.</p> <p>The bill approved Friday, which can be read <a target="_blank" href=""><span style="color: #0000ff">here</span></a>, passed on divided votes of 24-14 in the Senate and 52-28 in the Assembly. It now awaits Gov. Jerry Brown&rsquo;s signature. &nbsp;</p> <p>The legislation comes on the heels of unprecedented action last month by the State Water Resources Control Board to address an <a target="_blank" href=""><span style="color: #0000ff">emergency order</span></a> by Brown. On May 5 the Board approved <a target="_blank" href=""><span style="color: #0000ff">emergency regulations</span></a> designed to achieve an overall 25 percent reduction in potable urban water use across California. Some areas must achieve water use reductions as high as 36 percent. The regulations have left cities, special districts and other water suppliers scrambling to adopt urgency ordinances and other measures to comply with the regulations.</p> <p><u>Forced Consolidations of Water Suppliers</u></p> <p>One of the bill&rsquo;s more controversial elements involves granting the State Water Resources Control Board authority to force local water systems in disadvantaged communities located in an unincorporated area, or served by a mutual water company, to consolidate to deliver safe drinking water to disadvantaged communities. This provision would apply where a water system within a disadvantaged community consistently fails to provide a supply of safe drinking water. In such cases, the Board may order consolidation with a public water system (the &ldquo;receiving water system&rdquo;). The consolidation may be physical or operational. The Board could also order the extension of service to such a community, so long as the extension is an interim extension in preparation for consolidation. The provision grants authority to the Board to set timelines and performance measures to complete such consolidations.</p> <p>The provision drew harsh criticism among legislators and communities throughout California as an unnecessary and inappropriate abuse of power by the state&rsquo;s executive arm. Concerns were raised that the new measures would enable the state to bypass the normal consolidation procedures overseen by Local Agency Formation Commissions operating in counties throughout California. The consolidation provision was developed and passed by the Legislature within a matter of days, with minimal public policy discussion and debate. Concerns were also raised about forced consolidations involving private water suppliers, which have complicated governance structures and land and property rights, and about potential debts and liabilities from absorbed water systems.</p> <p>Under the legislation, forced consolidation or service-extension measures would be undertaken only after the Board has taken other steps, including encouraging voluntary consolidation or extension of service and meeting various requirements for consultations, efforts to improve water service, and public hearings. If consolidation ultimately is ordered, the Board must make funds available, &ldquo;as necessary and appropriate&rdquo; and &ldquo;upon appropriation by the Legislature,&rdquo; to the receiving water system for costs related to consolidation or extension of service. The legislation requires the Board to coordinate with the appropriate local agency formation commission and other local agencies to facilitate the change of organization or reorganization, and adequately compensate owners of a privately owned subsumed water system for the fair market value of the system as prescribed in the bill.</p> <p>Disadvantaged communities are defined as communities with an annual median household income of less than 80 percent of the statewide annual median household income.</p> <p><u>Conservation Fines and Penalties</u></p> <p>One of the more difficult aspects of the Board&rsquo;s emergency regulations is how to persuade customers to comply with locally designed water restrictions aimed at achieving the mandatory water use reductions. SB 88 provides new tools.</p> <p>The bill amends section 377 of the California Water Code, which contains provisions for criminal convictions, to permit a court or public water supplier to hold a person civilly liable for violations of water conservation programs and regulations. The fines are not to exceed $10,000 for violating a local water conservation program adopted under Water Code section 376 or for violating an emergency regulation adopted by the Water Board pursuant to Water Code section 1058.5. This provision would be codified as subdivision (b) of Water Code section 377. For residential water users, the civil liability for the first violation may not exceed $1,000 unless the court or public entity finds the following extraordinary situations: the residential water user had actual notice of the requirement that was violated; the conduct was intentional; and the amount of water at issue was substantial. On the 31st day after a person has been notified of a violation under subdivision (b), the water user &ldquo;may additionally be civilly liable&rdquo; in an amount not to exceed $10,000, plus $500 for each additional day the violation continues. Civil liability imposed pursuant to Water Code section 377 shall be collected by the public entity and expended solely for purposes of water conservation. In addition to these remedies, this bill authorizes a public entity to enforce water use limitations by a volumetric penalty in an amount established by the public entity.</p> <p>SB 88 allows the top executive officer of public entities to identify &ldquo;designees&rdquo; to issue citations and complaints where violations of local water conservation programs or emergency Water Board regulations have occurred.</p> <p><u>Additional Provisions</u></p> <p>SB 88 includes exemptions from the California Environmental Quality Act if a project: mitigates drought conditions; is for construction or expansion of a recycled water pipeline, and any directly related infrastructure, or certain projects related to groundwater replenishment.&nbsp;The exemption expires January 1, 2017. &nbsp;It also includes new requirements that people who divert 10 acre feet of water or more per year measure their diversions, maintain records and report the information to the Board. &nbsp;</p> <p>If you have any questions about this proposed law or how it may impact your agency, please contact the attorney authors of this legal alert listed to the right in the <a target="_blank" href=";LPA=487&amp;format=xml"><span style="color: #0000ff">Special Districts</span></a>, <a target="_blank" href=";LPA=497&amp;format=xml"><span style="color: #0000ff">Public Finance</span></a>, <a target="_blank" href=";LPA=489&amp;format=xml"><span style="color: #0000ff">Municipal Law</span></a> or <a target="_blank" href=";LPA=492&amp;format=xml"><span style="color: #0000ff">Environmental Law &amp; Natural Resources</span></a> practice groups, or your <a target="_blank" href=""><font color="#0000ff">BB&amp;K attorney</font></a>.</p> <p><i>Disclaimer: BB&amp;K legal alerts are not intended as legal advice. Additional facts or future developments may affect subjects contained herein. Seek the advice of an attorney before acting or relying upon any information in this communiqu&eacute;.</i></p>Legal Alerts23 Jun 2015 00:00:00 -0800 Water Law & Policy<p>It's official. The drought continues.</p> <p>But 2015 is very different from 2014: Gov. Jerry Brown has ordered sweeping new requirements for urban and agricultural water conservation; the State Water Resources Control Board has reduced water diversions via water right curtailment orders and rulemakings; the Water Bond has passed and in this new era of intense, &quot;mega-drought,&quot; everyone is looking at water reuse, recycling, and desalination to help bridge the gap between frighteningly low water availability and ever-increasing water demand.</p> <p>With these and other topics in mind, Argent Communications is presenting a two-day conference California Water Law &amp; Policy, co-chaired by BB&amp;K Partner Steven Anderson. BB&amp;K attorneys Andre Monette, Kelly Salt and Roderick Walston are also speaking at the conference, which is co-sponsored by the firm.</p> <p>This informative, practice-oriented two-day event is a must-attend for anyone who needs to understand California's complex water issues. Whether you're an attorney, water district staff or board member, federal or state government practitioner, consulting engineer, city or county counsel or planner, environmental organization representative, developer or agricultural business owner, you'll get the latest detailed updates on these and other crucial and complex issues.<br /> <b><i><br /> Mention BB&amp;K when registering and receive $100 off the tuition price.</i></b></p> <p><u>BB&amp;K Speakers</u></p> <p><b>Steve Anderson</b>, Conference Overview<br /> Monday, June 15, 8:30 a.m.<br /> Tuesday, June 16, 8:30 a.m.</p> <p><b>Andre Monette</b>, &ldquo;Water Quality Control and Drought: The Legal Aspects of Stormwater Capture and Use&rdquo;<br /> Monday, June 15, 1:30 p.m.</p> <p><b>Kelly Salt</b>, &ldquo;Prop. 218: The Future of Tiered Conservation Rates (San Juan Capistrano Case):<br /> Monday, June 15, 3:45 p.m.</p> <p><b>Roderick Walston</b>, &ldquo;Developing Groundwater Disputes: A Closer Look &mdash; Does the Reserved Rights Doctrine Apply to Groundwater? The Agua Caliente Case&rdquo;<br /> Tuesday, June 16, 10:15 a.m.</p> <p><strong>When</strong><br /> Monday, June 15 &ndash; Tuesday, June 16, 2015</p> <p><strong>Where</strong><br /> Hotel Nikko San Francisco<br /> <a target="_blank" href=""><span style="color: #0000ff">Click here</span></a> for more information</p> <p>To register, <a target="_blank" href=";mmurlid=72082185"><span style="color: #0000ff">click here</span></a></p>Conferences & Speaking Engagements15 Jun 2015 00:00:00 -0800 Administrative & Public Environmental Law Conference<p>Best Best &amp; Krieger Managing Partner Eric Garner and Of Counsel Sara Owsowitz will be speaking at The Administrative &amp; Public Environmental Law Conference, co-presented by The State Bar of California Public and Environmental law sections. BB&amp;K is a sponsor if of the one-day conference.</p> <p><u>BB&amp;K Speakers</u></p> <p><b>Sarah Owsowitz</b>, &ldquo;Preparing the CEQA Administrative Record&rdquo;<br /> 11:10 a.m. &ndash; 12:25 p.m.<br /> What goes into (and what stays out of) the administrative record prepared in California Environmental Quality Act litigation is one of the most difficult and controversial topics facing practitioners. What is required? What may be excluded? What is privileged? What about emails? What if a Public Records Act request is filed concurrently? Who pays for it all? Panelists will also provide advice on the use of joint defense agreements to maintain privileges between agency and applicant counsel communications involving scoping potential mitigation measures and responding to comments. This session will address recent case law answering these questions and provide practical tips for compliance.</p> <p><b>Eric Garner</b>, &ldquo;The Effects of California's Drought on Public Entities&rdquo;<br /> 3:15 &ndash; 4:45 p.m.<br /> This session will focus on legislative and regulatory developments resulting from California's long-standing drought, including from the state and local water boards and local entities. Panelists will provide advice and discuss the enforcement of programs to limit watering, diversions and code enforcement. The session will also address current water law rights and usage priorities, including the State's recent assumption of jurisdiction over groundwater rights and any anticipated changes to these laws.</p> <p><strong>When</strong><br /> Friday, June 12, 2015</p> <p><strong>Where</strong><br /> UC Hastings College of the Law<br /> San Francisco</p> <p>For more information or to register, <a target="_blank" href=""><span style="color: #0000ff">click here</span></a>.</p>Conferences & Speaking Engagements12 Jun 2015 00:00:00 -0800 BB&K Attorneys Named to 2015 Southern California Super Lawyers Rising Stars List<p><b>Riverside, Calif.</b>&nbsp;- BB&amp;K is pleased to announce that four of the firm&rsquo;s attorneys were included in the 2015 Southern California <i>Super Lawyers Rising Stars </i>list. Each year, no more than 2.5 percent of the lawyers in the state are selected by the research team at Super Lawyers for this honor. To&nbsp;be selected&nbsp;as a Rising Star, the attorney must be under age 40 or in practice for less than 10 years, and must have demonstrated significant achievements in their pracitce area.</p> <p>The BB&amp;K lawyers named as Rising Stars are:</p> <ul> <li>Scott Ditfurth, Business Litigation, Riverside</li> <li>Matthew &ldquo;Mal&rdquo; Richardson, Government, Irvine</li> <li>Isabel Safie, Employee Benefits, Riverside</li> <li>Alisha Winterswyk, Environmental, Irvine</li> </ul> <p>Super Lawyers is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The annual selections are made using a process that includes a statewide survey of lawyers, an independent research evaluation of candidates and peer reviews by practice area. The result is a credible, comprehensive and diverse listing of exceptional attorneys. For more information, visit <a target="_blank" href=""><span style="color: #0000ff"></span></a>.</p>Press Releases12 Jun 2015 00:00:00 -0800's Revenue Transfer From its Wastewater Utility to its General Fund Is Justified<p>In a challenge to the transfer of revenues from a city&rsquo;s wastewater utility to its general fund, a California Appellate Court held Tuesday that the transfer did not violate California Constitution article XIII D, section 6(b) (commonly known as Proposition 218). The court found the city&rsquo;s method of determining how much revenue should be transferred was reasonable and justified by its cost of service study. The court further found that, based on the evidence at trial, the city&rsquo;s use of the revenues was proper under Proposition 218.</p> <p>In <a target="_blank" href=""><span style="color: #0000ff"><i>Moore v. City of Lemon Grove</i></span></a>, a wastewater customer challenged Lemon Grove&rsquo;s annual transfer of revenues from its wastewater utility to its general fund. The City&rsquo;s utility has three employees who exclusively perform work for the utility. All other functions to operate the utility (accounting and finance, receptionists, analysts, engineers, inspectors, plan checkers, etc.) are performed by city employees. The plaintiff alleged that the utility transfers were not tied to actual costs incurred for the utility&rsquo;s benefit, and that the City failed to properly identify, earmark or quantify these costs. The plaintiff asserted that the transferred funds were used for general governmental purposes of the City in violation of Proposition 218. The court disagreed.</p> <p>The City presented evidence at trial showing that most of the functions required to operate the utility are provided by City employees who divide their time among various activities. In return, the utility reimburses the City for these services and expenses related to these services. The apportionment of time related to services provided to the utility were done in accordance with the City&rsquo;s best estimate of the actual time spent on sanitation matters by City employees. Overhead-related expenses were determined by examining the budgeted expenditures for each fund or activity. The City also provided evidence showing that, after the wastewater rates are established, the City monitors expenditures to make certain that City employees stay within budgetary parameters; resultant adjustments to personnel allocations are made where necessary.</p> <p>The City explained that the utility&rsquo;s revenues are specifically tied to expenditures through its five-year wastewater rate study. The rate study averages out costs over a five-year period and then determines the revenue required to cover these charges from year to year. The Court of Appeal agreed with the trial court that the evidence showed that apportioning costs based on revenues was reasonable under the circumstances and met the City&rsquo;s burden of demonstrating compliance with the requirements of Proposition 218.</p> <p>If you have any questions about this case or how it may impact your agency, please contact the attorney authors of this legal alert listed to the right in the firm&rsquo;s <a target="_blank" href=";LPA=497&amp;format=xml"><span style="color: #0000ff">Public Finance</span></a>&nbsp;and <a target="_blank" href=";LPA=489&amp;format=xml"><span style="color: #0000ff">Municipal Law</span></a> practice groups, or your <a target="_blank" href=""><span style="color: #0000ff">BB&amp;K attorney</span></a>.</p> <p><i>Disclaimer: BB&amp;K legal alerts are not intended as legal advice. Additional facts or future developments may affect subjects contained herein. Seek the advice of an attorney before acting or relying upon any information in this communiqu&eacute;.</i></p>Legal Alerts04 Jun 2015 00:00:00 -0800 Regulations for Small Systems<p><br /> Best Best &amp; Krieger LLP Partner Kelly Salt is a speaker during the Association of California Water Agencies' webinar, titled: &quot;Regulations for Small Systems.&quot;<br /> <br /> The webinar, one in a series of special events on urban water conservation in the California drought, will provide an overview by the State Water Resources Control Board of the emergency regulations adopted May 5 and identify tools and resources available to water agencies as they work to meet conservation targets ranging from 4 percent to 36 percent.<br /> <strong><br /> When:</strong><br /> Tuesday, May 26, 2015<br /> 1 - 2:30 p.m.<br /> <br /> For more information or to register, <a target="_blank" href=""><span style="color: #0000ff">click here</span></a>.</p>Conferences & Speaking Engagements26 May 2015 00:00:00 -0800 AB 52's New CEQA Requirement<p>Best Best &amp; Krieger attorneys Sarah Owsowitz and Christopher Diaz will present a webinar for the State Bar of California Public Law Section, titled: &ldquo;AB 52&rsquo;s New CEQA Requirement.&rdquo; Starting in July 2015, AB 52 will require all public agencies acting as lead agencies under CEQA to enter into consultation with requesting tribes prior to the release of a negative declaration or an EIR. Consultation may concern the level of environmental review necessary, the significance of a tribal cultural resource and of a project's impact on that resource, and project alternatives and/or mitigation, including those recommended by the tribe. A &quot;tribal cultural resource&quot; &ndash; a new term for CEQA &ndash; is any site, feature, place, cultural landscape, sacred place, or object with cultural value to a California Native American tribe. Significantly, AB 52 applies not just to federally recognized tribes (as is the case with Section 106 review under the National Historic Preservation Act), but to all tribes on the California Native American Heritage Commission's &quot;contact list.&quot;</p> <p><strong>When</strong><br /> Thursday, May 21, 2015<br /> Noon &ndash; 1 p.m.</p> <p><a target="_blank" href=""><span style="color: #0000ff">For more information or to register, click here.</span></a></p>Conferences & Speaking Engagements21 May 2015 00:00:00 -0800 Where's the Line?: Ethical Tensions Between Public Disclosure, Our Ethical Duties as Lawyers, and Constitutional Rights<p><br /> Best Best &amp; Krieger Partner&nbsp;Charity Schiller&nbsp;is a speaker&nbsp;the State Bar of California&nbsp;Environmental Law&nbsp;Section webinar, titled: &quot;Where's the Line?: Ethical Tensions Between Public Disclosure, Our Ethical Duties as Lawyers, and Constitutional Rights.&quot;<br /> <br /> Unique ethical issues confront lawyers practicing administrative law in the land use entitlement and environmental enforcement contexts. Whether representing a public agency, a property owner or another interested party, such as an environmental group, union, neighbor or neighborhood group, lawyers have ethical duties to clients. Public agencies also must comply with open records and meetings laws, as well as other laws designed to further transparency. Real parties and interested parties have constitutional rights to petition government, yet concerns about ex parte communications and undue influence sometimes restrict such outreach. This panel will outline the framework of these potentially competing rights and responsibilities, discuss how recent appellate cases highlight the tension between these various duties, and consider strategies to balance these issues without running afoul of our ethical responsibilities as attorneys.</p> <p><strong>When</strong><br /> Tuesday, May 19, 2015<br /> Noon &ndash; 1:30 p.m.</p> <p><a href=";sortBy=&amp;q=EL_5-19-15&amp;searchType=1&amp;groupId=453de0a1-6f0a-4531-a950-5949e4a17d95" target="_blank"><span style="color: #0000ff">For more information or to register, click here.</span></a></p>Conferences & Speaking Engagements19 May 2015 00:00:00 -0800 Partner Michelle Ouellette Named a Top Woman Lawyer by the Daily Journal<p><b>RIVERSIDE, Calif.</b> - Best Best &amp; Krieger LLP Partner Michelle Ouellette is among the <i>Daily Journal&rsquo;s</i> Top 100 Women Lawyers in California. While her recent environmental law accomplishments were considered, the legal newspaper highlighted her work leading the Santa Margarita Water District legal team in overcoming challenges to a water recovery and storage project.</p> <p>An Orange County Superior Court&rsquo;s ruling last year rejected six challenges to the environmental review and approvals by SMWD and the County of San Bernardino related to the Cadiz Valley Water Conservation, Recovery and Storage Project. The public-private partnership with Cadiz, Inc. to pump and transmit groundwater secures an annual average of 50,000 acre-feet of water for delivery to SMWD and other water users.</p> <p>That case is important to me because of the drought in California and the need to provide water to our citizens &nbsp;Ouellette said in an interview with the <i>Daily Journal</i>.</p> <p>&ldquo;I rely on a large group of people at BB&amp;K who work so hard and so diligently for our clients,&rdquo; Ouellette said. &ldquo;They&rsquo;re really the success story here &mdash; not me.&rdquo;</p> <p>For 26 years, Ouellette has practiced in BB&amp;K&rsquo;s Environmental Law and Natural Resources practice group. She effectively and efficiently helps cities, counties, special districts, developers and other clients in the private sector to navigate the requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act, the National Environmental Policy Act &nbsp;and state and federal endangered species laws.</p> <p>The <i>Daily Journal</i> editors noted in the special Top Women Lawyers supplement that it&rsquo;s only been a short time that female lawyers have had the opportunity to reach &ldquo;legendary&rdquo; status for their complex and impactful legal work. The women on this list, like Ouellette, they wrote, have achieved that status.</p> <p><a target="_blank" href=";shNewsType=Supplement&amp;selOption=Top%20Women%20Lawyers&amp;NewsId=1301&amp;pubdate=2015-05-13#section=tab3.cfm%3Fseloption%3Dnews%26pubdate%3D2015-05-13%26shNewsType%3DSupplement%26NewsId%3D941102%26sdivId%3Dtab3"><span style="color: rgb(0,0,255)">Read more in the <i>Daily Journal</i></span></a> (subscription required).</p> <p style="text-align: center">###<br /> <br /> &nbsp;</p> <p><b><i>Best Best &amp; Krieger LLP</i></b><i> is a national law firm that focuses on environmental, business, education, municipal and telecommunications law for public agency and private clients. With 200 attorneys, the law firm has nine offices nationwide, including Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Diego and Washington D.C. For more information, visit <a target="_blank" href=""><span style="color: #0000ff"></span></a></i>&nbsp;<em>or follow @BBKlaw on <a target="_blank" href=""><span style="color: #0000ff">Twitter.</span></a></em></p>Press Releases19 May 2015 00:00:00 -0800 Project a Lesson for Agencies<p><strong>By Christopher Diaz</strong></p> <p>Traffic. We all loathe it, yet we endure it day in and day out &mdash; especially in megacities like Los Angeles and San Francisco. In the current real estate upswing, many are questioning how developers can continue to build without further wreaking havoc on the daily commute.</p> <p>As part of all development in California, traffic, along with many other environmental topics, are scrutinized under the terms of the California Environmental Quality Act. Before any city or county can approve a development project, an analysis of all environmental impacts is required in the form of an environmental impact report or some other more simplified environmental review.</p> <p>Traffic continues to be a challenge to development in California. Because megacities continue to struggle to keep people and commerce moving, if traffic is not properly studied and analyzed under CEQA, it can halt development and hold up a project for years.</p> <p>This exact scenario is playing out in the city of Los Angeles with the proposed Millennium Hollywood project. The project is proposing two skyscrapers, one 39 stories arid the other 35 stories, bordering the historic Capitol Records building right in the middle of the glitz and glamour of traffic-congested Hollywood.</p> <p>&hellip;</p> <p><i>To read the full article in the May 19, 2015 Daily Journal, <a target="_blank" href=";pubdate=04/22/2015&amp;shNewsType=NEWS&amp;NewsId=-1&amp;sdivId=&amp;screenHt=670#section=DJStoryContent.cfm%3Fseloption%3DNEWS%26pubdate%3D04/22/2015%26shNewsType%3DNews%26NewsId%3D940798%26sdivId%3DmainContent1"><span style="color: #0000ff">click here</span></a> (subscription required).</i></p>BB&K In The News19 May 2015 00:00:00 -0800's Office of Planning and Research Releases Draft Technical Advisory for Formal Native American Consultations Under AB 52<p>The Office of Planning and Research released a Draft Advisory earlier this month entitled &ldquo;Discussion Draft Technical Advisory: AB 52 and Tribal Cultural Resources in CEQA&rdquo; to provide guidance to lead agencies regarding changes to CEQA requirements relating to tribal cultural resources pursuant to Assembly Bill 52.</p> <p>AB 52 requires that lead agencies undertaking CEQA review evaluate, just as they do for other historical and archeological resources, a project&rsquo;s potential impact to a tribal cultural resource. In addition, AB 52 requires that lead agencies, upon request of a California Native American tribe, begin consultation prior to the release of a negative declaration, mitigated negative declaration or environmental impact report for a project.</p> <p>AB 52 goes into effect July 1. Its requirements will apply to all projects for which a lead agency has not yet issued a notice of preparation of an environmental impact report or notice of intent to adopt a negative declaration.</p> <p>AB 52 does not require OPR to adopt updates to the initial study checklist in Appendix G of the CEQA Guidelines until July 1, 2016. However, the <a target="_blank" href=""><span style="color: #0000ff">Draft Advisory</span></a> notes that lead agencies need not wait to update their own procedures. It suggests that lead agencies apply the following question in their environmental documents: Would the project cause a substantial adverse change in the significance of a tribal cultural resource as defined in Public Resources Code section 21074?</p> <p>The Draft Advisory also summarizes AB 52&rsquo;s requirements for consultation and tribal cultural resources. For example, it reiterates the definition of tribal cultural resource provided in the new Public Resources Code section 21074 and summarizes AB 52&rsquo;s new notification requirements. It also summarizes rules governing confidentiality during the tribal consultation process, which generally prohibit lead agencies from disclosing information provided by a California Native American tribe during the consultation process, without the prior written consent of the tribe.</p> <p>Finally, the Draft Advisory also provides a readable flowchart summarizing the compliance timeline and consultation process mandated by AB 52, which may be helpful to lead agencies.</p> <p>While the Draft Advisory does not add appear to add any information not already found in AB 52, OPR is accepting comments on the Draft Advisory through June 1. Comments may be sent via e-mail to <a href=""><span style="color: #0000ff"></span></a>.</p> <p>For more information about how AB 52 or OPR&rsquo;s Draft Advisory will affect your agency and its CEQA review process, please contact one of the attorney authors of this legal alert listed at right in the <a target="_blank" href=";LPA=492&amp;format=xml"><span style="color: #0000ff">Environmental Law &amp; Natural Resources</span></a> practice group, or your <a target="_blank" href=""><span style="color: #0000ff">BB&amp;K attorney.</span></a></p> <i>Disclaimer: BB&amp;K legal alerts are not intended as legal advice. Additional facts or future developments may affect subjects contained herein. Seek the advice of an attorney before acting or relying upon any information in this communiqu&eacute;.</i>Legal Alerts18 May 2015 00:00:00 -0800 Empire Real Estate Community Focuses on Water Restrictions<p><b>By Neil Nisperos</b></p> <p>New state water restrictions by the State Water Resources Control Board to help speed along a historic conservation effort in light of the drought were shared with members of the local real estate community at a forum here.</p> <p>Among the ideas presented by panelists were a push toward more drought-tolerant landscaping and an emphasis on higher density and water-efficient development. Much of California&rsquo;s water use &mdash; 60 percent to 70 percent &mdash; goes to watering lawns and other turf, officials said.</p> <p>&hellip;</p> <p>Water agencies around the state are now required to conserve a significant amount of water, said event panelist Steven Anderson, a partner with the Riverside-based law firm Best Best &amp; Krieger. Among the prohibitions: outdoor water runoff into the street; using hoses without nozzles; a ban on street median irrigation; and non-recirculated fountains.</p> <p>&ldquo;So they&rsquo;ve got to march forward now and start implementing programs in order to save that amount of water,&rdquo; Anderson said of regional water agencies. &ldquo;This (discussion) is part of the education of the community about what folks in the development community and the commercial brokerage community can do and expect with respect to saving water for the commercial developments they&rsquo;re involved in and what they can do to help.&rdquo;</p> <p><i>To read the full article, which was published in the May 17, 2015 edition of the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, <a target="_blank" href=""><span style="color: #0000ff">click here</span></a>.</i></p>BB&K In The News17 May 2015 00:00:00 -0800 Water Technology Summit Innovation Trumps All in Battle Against California Drought<p><strong>By Daniel Nussbaum</strong></p> <p>&hellip;</p> <p>Engineers, manufacturers, attorneys, water district managers, state water bureaucrats, and academics gathered at the Pasadena Hilton on Thursday for the first-ever Water Technology and Funding Summit in an attempt to solve it.</p> <p>&hellip;</p> <p>Eric Garner, managing partner at Best Best and Krieger and a former Los Angeles Water Lawyer of the Year, described the dangers of &ldquo;groundwater overdraft,&rdquo; in which deep underground water wells draw more water than is returned through the earth naturally.</p> <p>Garner praised the state&rsquo;s passage of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act for &ldquo;bringing these basins into management and correcting the overdraft issue.&rdquo;</p> <p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s hard to miss the stories in the Central Valley right now, of falling land levels due to subsidence, due to over-pumping,&rdquo; Garner said. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s okay to draw on that reserve account in the drought. In fact, that&rsquo;s what it&rsquo;s there for. But it&rsquo;s not okay to do that if you&rsquo;re not replenishing it in times of plenty, and that&rsquo;s what has not been going on.&rdquo;</p> <p>Garner also touched on regulations recently approved by the State Water Resources Control Board, under which every city and community in California must reduce water usage to accommodate a 25 percent statewide cut. Garner called the new restrictions a &ldquo;dramatic change&rdquo; that would &ldquo;create big challenges,&rdquo; but he stressed the importance of innovation in future conservation efforts. While desalination is &ldquo;still expensive,&rdquo; the attorney pegged drought-resistant landscaping as a promising area for growth.</p> <i>To read the full article, which was published on May 15, 2015 in, <a target="_blank" href=""><span style="color: #0000ff">click here.</span></a></i>BB&K In The News15 May 2015 00:00:00 -0800 52: CEQA's New Perspective on the Environment and Tribal Cultural Resources<p>I. INTRODUCTION</p> <p>Assembly Bill 52, one of the most significant additions to the California Environmental Quality Act (&ldquo;CEQA&rdquo;) in recent years, will, un-deniably, impose significant new obligations on public agencies.1 While at first blush, AB 52&rsquo;s large number of new requirements and definitions could appear to add unnecessary new layers to complying with CEQA, a close reading of the statute confirms that, carefully implemented, it can be a mechanism for strengthening CEQA documents by treating cultural resources in a comprehensive manner from the outset of the environmental review process.</p> <p>Beyond the new obligations, the AB 52-required processes provide real benefits to public agencies. CEQA is a disclosure statute, meant to inform the public and decision-makers about the environmental impacts of a project so that decision-makers can make a considered balancing of a project&rsquo;s impacts benefits before considering any approvals. One of the most troublesome aspects of CEQA for public agencies is preparing a document, confident in its adequacy, only to learn, after publication of a draft environmental report or a draft negative declaration, and often after the expenditure of considerable time and resources, that there may be an important piece of information or subject missing from the document. But now, through the AB 52 consultation process, the public agency would learn at the beginning of the CEQA process, rather than close to the end, whether there might be significant Tribal issues that could be addressed via mitigation, project design modification and/or outreach.</p> <p>The following overview of AB 52 details how this new statute can help public agencies to provide a full picture to the public and decision-makers of a project&rsquo;s potential to impact a Tribal Cultural Resource from the outset&mdash;a practice that, despite the undeniable implications regarding cost and time, will hopefully add certainty to the CEQA process as well as aiding in the protection of significant pieces of California&rsquo;s cultural heritage.</p> <p>&hellip;</p> <i>To read the entire article in the Spring 2015 Public Law Journal, <span style="color: #0000ff"><a href="88E17A/assets/files/Documents/BBK-WC-CalPubLawJrnl-CEQA-Owsowitz.pdf">click here</a></span><span><span style="color: #0000ff">.</span> First published in the Public Law Journal, a quarterly publication of the Public Law Section of the State Bar of California. Reprinted with permission.</span></i>BB&K In The News15 May 2015 00:00:00 -0800 Challanges in Implementing the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act<br /> Best Best &amp; Krieger LLP attorney&nbsp;Sarah Foley will provide an overview of the State Groundwater Management Act at the American Groundwater Trust's program, &quot;Groundwater Law.&quot; The overview is part of a panel discussion that will cover the technical, financial and legal challenges surrounding SGMA.<br /> <br /> <strong>When</strong><br /> Friday, May 15<br /> 10: 50 a.m. - Noon<br /> <br /> <strong>Where<br /> </strong>DoubleTree by Hilton San Francisco Airport<br /> 835 Airport Blvd.<br /> Burlingame, CA 94010<br /> <br /> For more information or to register, <a target="_blank" href=";id=204"><span style="color: #0000ff">click here</span></a>.Conferences & Speaking Engagements15 May 2015 00:00:00 -0800's Water: Drought, Finding Water, The Water Bond and Interpreting New Groundwater Regulation<p>Water is our most essential resource and is at the center of California&rsquo;s economy. The current historic drought has highlighted this importance and made it very obvious how dependent California is on our &nbsp;aging infrastructure that, in many cases, moves water&nbsp;hundreds of miles. As California faces the prospect of a worsening drought, it is imperative that we understand the water challenges we face and work together to develop solutions. A continuing shortage &nbsp;of water will impact almost all aspects of our economy.</p> <p>Program Chair and BB&amp;K Managing Partner <b>Eric Garner</b>, and attorneys <b>Joseph Byrne</b>, <b>Kelly Salt</b> and <b>Glen Price</b>, will be joined by other leaders in the water field to discuss important new water-related legislation, what the public and private sectors are doing to deal with the &nbsp;drought, and what our water future holds. This is a critical time in water law. How we address &nbsp;the pressing issues that face us will impact the future of California in many ways, including &nbsp;the State&rsquo;s continued &nbsp;development and growth. The program is designed for those in both the business and public sectors who want the latest information on &nbsp;how water issues may affect them going forward. <br /> <br /> <strong>To recieve a $100 discount, register by telephone to 206-463-4400 or 800-574-4825 and use code &quot;FAC100&quot;</strong></p> <p><strong>BB&amp;K Speakers<br /> </strong><br /> Eric Garner<br /> 9 a.m. Introduction and Overview<br /> 3 p.m. &ldquo;Where Do You Stand? Complying with New Groundwater Regulations and Preparing for More Legislation&rdquo;</p> <p>Kelly Salt<br /> 11:15 a.m. &ldquo;Water Conservation: Best Practices and Dealing with the Financial Impacts of Successful Conservation&rdquo;</p> <p>Glen Price<br /> 1:45 p.m. &ldquo;Making Sure Your New Development Has Water and/or Rights&rdquo;</p> <p>Joseph Byrne <br /> 4 p.m. &ldquo;How to Find Money and Finance Water Projects as Regulatory Requirements Increase&rdquo;</p> <p><strong>When</strong><br /> Friday, May 15, 2015<br /> 9 a.m. &ndash; 4:30 p.m.</p> <p><strong>Where</strong><br /> DoubleTree by Hilton L.A. Downtown<br /> 120 S. Los Angeles Street<br /> Los Angeles, CA 90012<br /> The seminar will also be available via a live webinar and through pre-orders of video-on-demand or DVDs.</p> <p>For more information or to register, visit <a target="_blank" href=""><span style="color: #0000ff">The Seminar Group&rsquo;s website</span></a>.</p>Conferences & Speaking Engagements15 May 2015 00:00:00 -0800