Supreme Court of California

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Communities for a Better Env't v. S. Coast Air Quality Mgmt. Dist., S161190

In plaintiffs' suit against ConocoPhillips and the South Coast Air Quality Management District (District), for failing to prepare an EIR before approving a refinery project, judgment of the court of appeals is affirmed as neither the statute of limitations, nor principles of vested rights, nor the CEQA case law on which ConocoPhillips and the District rely, justified employing as an analytical baseline for a new project the maximum capacity allowed under prior equipment permits, rather than the physical conditions actually existing at the time of analysis. Therefore, the District abused its discretion in determining the project at issue would have no significant environmental effects compared to a baseline of maximum permitted capacity.

Appellate Information

  • Decided 03/15/2010
  • Published 03/15/2010

Judges

  • WERDEGAR, J.

Court

  • Supreme Court of California

Counsel

  • For Appellant:
  • Adrienne L. Bloch, Shana Lazerow; Lozeau Drury and Richard T. Drury for Plaintiff and Appellant Communities for a Better Environment., Richard M. Frank; Adams Broadwell Joseph & Cardozo, Marc D. Joseph and Richard T. Drury for Plaintiffs and Appellants Carlos Valdez et al., Bill Lockyer and Edmund G. Brown, Jr., Attorneys General, Tom Green and Dane R. Gillette, Chief Assistant Attorneys General, Theodora P. Berger and Pamela C. Hamanaka, Assistant Attorneys General, Sally Magnani Knox, Lisa Trankley and Susan L. Durbin, Deputy Attorneys General for State of California as Amicus Curiae on behalf of Plaintiffs and Appellants., Luke Cole for Association of Irritated Residents, California Communities Against Toxics, California Environmental Rights Alliance, California Safe Schools, Center on Race, Poverty and the Environment, Coalition for a Safe Environment, Community Water Center, Tricounty Watchdogs and Youth United for Community Action as Amici Curiae on behalf of Plaintiffs and Appellants., Frank G. Wells Environmental Law Clinic and Sean B. Hecht for Sierra Club, Endangered Habitats League, National Resources Defense Council and Planning and Conservation League as Amici Curiae on behalf of Plaintiffs and Appellants., Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith, Daniel V. Hyde, Paul J. Beck and Azusa K. Tokudome for California Association of Sanitation Agencies as Amicus Curiae on behalf of Plaintiffs and Appellants.

  • For Appellees:
  • Kurt R. Wiese, Barbara Baird; Woodruff, Spradlin & Smart, Bradley R. Hogin, Edward L. Bertrand and Ricia R. Hager for Defendants and Respondents., Latham & Watkins, Robert A. Wyman, Jr., and Emily Taylor for Regulatory Flexibility Group as Amicus Curiae on behalf of Defendants and Respondents., Weston Benshoof Rochefort Rubalcava & MacCuish, Alston & Bird, Ward L. Benshoof, Jocelyn D. Thompson; Cox Castle & Nicholson and Michael H. Zishke for Real Party in Interest and Respondent., Diepenbrock Harrison, Mark D. Harrison and Dan M. Silverboard for California Construction and Industrial Materials Association as Amicus Curiae on behalf of Real Party in Interest and Respondent., Manatt, Phelps & Phillips and Michael M. Berger for Western Independent Refiners Association as Amicus Curiae on behalf of Defendants and Respondents and Real Party in Interest and Respondent., Pillsbury WinthropShaw Pittman, Kevin M. Fong and David R. Farabee for Western States Petroleum Association as Amicus Curiae on behalf of Defendants and Respondents and Real Party in Interest and Respondent., Kronick, Moskovitz, Tiedemann & Girard, P. Addison Covert, Robin Leslie Stewart and Stacy L. Asato Toledo for California School Boards Association as Amicus Curiae on behalf of Defendants and Respondents and Real Party in Interest and Respondent., Brownstein HyattFarber Schreck and Lisabeth D. Rothman for California Building Industry Association as Amicus Curiae on behalf of Defendants and Respondents and Real Party in Interest and Respondent.