Ports are a critical gateway to the world and a powerful driver for local and regional economic development, job growth and retention. It is imperative that ports run efficiently and navigate the myriad of laws and regulations that impact them. As public agencies that both serve and operate side-by-side with the private sector, ports are faced with an atypical level of oversight and competition.
Best Best & Krieger LLP’s attorneys and advocates who serve port clients hail from a variety of practices and experiences that help ports thrive not only for commerce, but also as responsible stewards of the environment and the communities they serve.
BB&K provides a holistic, one-stop-shop service that addresses ports’ needs. These include:

Transportation and Infrastructure Projects
With so much of a port’s operations reliant on transportation, we help find creative and collaborative solutions that promote efficient cargo movement. We are experienced in public-private partnerships, utilization of alternative construction delivery methods and funding through bond and tax measures and federal programs such as the Army Corps of Engineers and Department of Transportation. Our experience includes channel and harbor deepening and maintenance, construction of rail projects and modernization and maintenance of existing rail systems and multi-modal projects, as well as the implementation of advance funding mechanisms like New Markets Tax Credits.
BB&K’s team has handled a number of energy matters for ports, including strategic planning, electrification of terminal operations, cold-ironing, interconnection agreements, utility disputes and capacity charges access to port properties and other matters.
Environmental and Water
Supporting sustainable, efficient and growing facilities that minimize disruption to neighboring communities, the environment, ecosystems and endangered species is a delicate balance for any port. BB&K’s collaborative approach and commitment to our clients’ visions keeps projects on track for success. Our team includes attorneys and advocates experienced in all aspects of environmental and water review, permitting and compliance issues, including the NEPA and CEQA processes, Clean Water Act permits and certifications, the California Coastal Act and the Endangered Species Act.
Maritime and Transportation Law
Ports and their clients must navigate a unique array of agencies and authorities that govern homeland security, safety, transportation and commerce. Our team brings experience with the Federal Maritime Commission, Transportation Department and other agencies, authorities and regulations that impact the maritime industry.
Economic Development
Our port service doesn’t stop at the end of the shipping line. We also help port clients develop their land into projects that serve the communities in which they operate. For instance, we represented the Port of San Diego in the $1.1 billion Chula Vista Bayfront hotel and convention center deal based on a public-private partnership.
Public Agency Law
One of the hallmarks of BB&K is its ability to offer public agency clients a full range of services. Our public law attorneys are accustomed to, and adept at, advising a variety of agencies on the unique needs and challenges they face as public agencies. We help these clients successfully maneuver through legal complexities and governmental directives, enabling them to focus on providing superior service to their stakeholders. This includes guidance on everything from open meeting laws and Public Records Act requests to disaster and resilience planning and response to infrastructure and transportation projects.

  • For the Port of Long Beach, obtained Southern California Edison acquiescence to an agreement to provide the POLB with new electric distribution facilities at no charge to the Port and discounted rates for 25 years for electric service. POLB has computed the discount obtained as worth $350 million.
  • For POLB, obtained a CPUC order allocating $50 million in funding over 5 years from electricity rates to be reserved for ports and warehouses in SCE’s service territory.
  • Helped the Port of Stockton develop a strategic energy plan to reduce its high energy bills. Based on advice from counsel, POS eliminated Pacific Gas and Electric as the power supplier on a major portion of its properties, obtained from the U.S. Navy under the base-closing program. The plan was implemented over PG&E opposition, in part by utilizing the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, but without resorting to administrative or civil litigation. Within three months of the commencement of the implementation stage, the pertinent portion of POS was independent of PG&E retail service, and had an executed Interconnection Agreement with PG&E, and executed Power Purchase Agreement with a third-party power supplier and was receiving lower-cost power. The speed of this transformation from captive PG&E customer to independent electric system was, and remains, unprecedented. In addition, through a two-stage strategy, POS was freed from exit fees, which are ordinarily levied on departing PG&E customers.
  • For POS, confronted a PG&E effort to impede the Port’s electricity enterprise. After pointed discussions, PG&E abandoned its attempt.
  • Represented the San Diego Unified Port District in a Clean Water Act citizen suit action involving the Port’s three marine terminals. After 2 years of intense negotiations, the Port successfully settled the claims through a collaborative pre-litigation settlement agreement rather than a binding and court-enforced consent decree. Defense of the allegations involved multiple issues, including detailed coverage questions under the Industrial General Stormwater Permit, the application of numeric effluent limits, overlap with the Municipal Stormwater Permit and other complex legal and factual questions. Resolution of the issues required careful coordination with maritime tenants, port officials from multiple departments, the plaintiffs and the Regional Water Quality Control Board. It required sensitivity to the unique activities, constraints and culture of the maritime industry. As a result of the negotiations, the Port was able to terminate existing coverage under the Industrial General Stormwater Permit and focus its water quality program at the terminals on an approach tailored to the Municipal Stormwater Permit.
  • In Santa Barbara Channelkeeper v. City of San Buenaventura, Santa Barbara Channelkeeper sued the City of San Buenaventura for alleged harm to endangered steelhead caused by the City’s use of Ventura River water. BB&K represented the City in its successful appeal, upholding its right to name other water users who affect flows in the Ventura River.
Areas of Focus: Business Litigation | Public Agency Litigation
Areas of Focus: Environmental Law & Natural Resources | Municipal Law | Special Districts | Water | Water Quality
Areas of Focus: Municipal Law | Ports | Public Finance
Areas of Focus: California Coastal Act | Election Law | Government Policy & Public Integrity | Land Use, Planning & Zoning | Municipal Law | Public Agency Litigation
Areas of Focus: Election Law | Government Policy & Public Integrity | Land Use, Planning & Zoning | Municipal Law | Public Contracts & Construction | Special Districts
Areas of Focus: General & Special Counsel | Government Policy & Public Integrity | Municipal Law | Public Agency Litigation | Public Contracts & Construction
Areas of Focus: Economic Development, Real Estate & Affordable Housing | Municipal Law | Public-Private Partnerships
Videos Oct 10, 2019

[WEBINAR] Navigating California’s New Regulations for Wetlands and State Waters

BB&K Webinar

Press Releases Aug 19, 2019

Partner Shawn Hagerty a San Diego Top Attorney

Recognized for Land Use Planning, Water Quality and Municipal Law Work

Authored Articles & Publications Jun 25, 2019

Best in Law: Understanding Contractual Limitations on Liability

Partner Glen Price Writes About Liability Limitations for the Southern California Newspaper Group

Legal Alerts Jun 25, 2019

Inverse Condemnation Cases May be Filed in Federal Court

Impact on Public Agencies from SCOTUS Knick v. Township of Scott, Pennsylvania Decision

Legal Alerts Jun 05, 2019

CalPERS Board Decision on Contract Workers Will Not Become Precedential. Now What?

Contract Workers May Still Be Reclassified as Employees by CalPERS

Authored Articles & Publications Apr 30, 2019

"California Water," Third Edition

Eric Garner’s Updates to Text on Historical, Legal and Policy Issues Affecting California Water Use

Press Releases Apr 24, 2019

BB&K’s Christi Hogin and Andre Monette Honored for Amicus Work by IMLA

The Attorneys Argued About Short-Term Rentals and the Clean Water Act in the Ninth Circuit

Legal Alerts Apr 04, 2019

New Wetlands Protections in California Proposed

SWRCB Votes to Adopt Regulations that Could Impact Permitting Procedures

Legal Alerts Mar 06, 2019

No Committee Exception to Brown Act Public Comment Requirement for Special Meetings

California Appellate Court Decision in Preven v. City of Los Angeles

Authored Articles & Publications Feb 15, 2019

Best in Law: Text with Caution

BB&K Attorneys Damian Moos and Anthony Chavez Warn Why Texting Employees and Customers Could Cost You

Legal Alerts Feb 12, 2019

Public Agency Access to Data Does Not Make Data Disclosable Under PRA

California Appellate Court Ruling in Anderson-Barker v. Superior Court of Los Angeles County

Legal Alerts Jan 22, 2019

Court Broadens Scope of Prevailing Wage Law for Special Districts

California Appellate Court Decision in Kaanaana v. Barrett Business Services, Inc.

Legal Alerts Jan 15, 2019

Comprehensive Update to the State CEQA Guidelines

Approved by California Natural Resources Agency

Legal Alerts Jan 11, 2019

California Supreme Court Addresses Standard of Review for EIRs and Air Quality Impact Analyses

Decision in Sierra Club v. County of Fresno Case

Press Releases Dec 17, 2018

BB&K Welcomes Water and Environmental Partner Lowry Crook

Served Senior Positions with the Army Corps of Engineers and the White House

Legal Alerts Dec 04, 2018

U.S. Supreme Court Limits Agency Discretion Under ESA

Critical Habitat for Endangered Species Decision

Authored Articles & Publications Nov 30, 2018

Speech is Speech and It’s Protected

Tori Hester Analyzes Ninth Circuit First Amendment Ruling for Public Agencies in PublicCEO

Press Releases Oct 08, 2018

BB&K’s Environmental Law & Natural Resources Practice Expands

Firm Welcomes Four New Attorneys to Group

Press Releases Sep 10, 2018

California Powerhouse: Best Best & Krieger

Law360 Selects Firm to 2018 List

Authored Articles & Publications Jul 27, 2018

Rise in CCAs in Cities Reshaping California Electric Business

Ryan Baron Weighs the Community Choice Aggregation Question for Cities in PublicCEO

Authored Articles & Publications Jul 23, 2018

Best in Law: Mechanics Liens and Arbitration Rights

Partner Victor L. Wolf Writes for the Press-Enterprise

Legal Alerts Jun 28, 2018

What Public Employers Need to Know Now in Wake of Janus Decision

SCOTUS Changes How Public Sector Union Fees are Collected; Governor Also Signs SB 866

Client Successes Jun 04, 2018

Public-Private Partnership Paves Way to Hotel and Convention Center Development

BB&K Team Led by Partner Seth Merewitz Represents Port of San Diego in P3 Deal

Authored Articles & Publications May 18, 2018

Best in Law: Who Absorbs Cost of New Tariffs on Stuff We're Buying, Selling?

Partner Glen Price Explains in the Press-Enterprise Who is Legally Responsible for the Tariffs

Legal Alerts May 04, 2018

The Dynamex Fallout: Independent Contractor Classifications Endangered

California Employers Should Heed Recent State Supreme Court Ruling

Authored Articles & Publications Apr 26, 2018

Staff & Board: Defining Roles, Staying Inside the Lines

Partners Ruben Duran and Christopher Pisano Write for PublicCEO

Legal Alerts Apr 05, 2018

Parking Impacts Warrant Only Limited Consideration under CEQA for Infill Projects in Transit Priority Areas

Court Upholds City of Covina Infill Project

Authored Articles & Publications Mar 30, 2018

Disaster-Response Decision-Making: Is Your Agency Prepared?

BB&K Attorneys Mary Beth Coburn and Rebecca Chaparro Write About Disaster Preparedness in PublicCEO

Legal Alerts Mar 22, 2018

Government Contractor Recovers Bid Preparation Costs After Project Wrongly Awarded

California Appellate Court Expands Court’s Equitable Authority

Authored Articles & Publications Mar 16, 2018

Roads of the Future Today

BB&K Attorney Gregory Rodriguez Writes on the Latest Legal and Regulatory Considerations for Autonomous Vehicles in PublicCEO

Legal Alerts Mar 15, 2018

Defining “Existing” Structures in Sea Rise Shoreline Protection

California Coastal Commission and City of San Clemente Reach LUP Agreement

Client Successes Feb 05, 2018

Water Law Case Overturned for City

BB&K Partners Gene Tanaka and Shawn Hagerty Win in California Appellate Court

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