Archives: November 2010

Fifth District Court of Appeal Finds CEQA Required a County to Consider Environmental Effects of Surface Mining Project on Federal Land, Not Just the Effects of the Project’s Reclamation Plan under Local Jurisdiction

Nelson v. County of Kern (2010) __Cal.App.4th__ (Case No. F05932)

On November 19, 2010, the First District Court of Appeal concluded the County of Kern, as lead agency, had violated the California Environmental Quality Act (Pub. Resources Code, § 21000 et seq.; CEQA) and the Surface Mining and Reclamation Act of 1975 (§§ 2710 et seq.; SMARA) when approving a mitigated negative declaration and reclamation plan for a mining project located on federal land. The court held the County erred in failing to issue a permit for the mining operation under SMARA and in failing to consider the impacts of the surface mining project in its environmental review. The Court also held that because a fair argument could be made that the mining project may have a significant effect on the environment, CEQA required the county to prepare an EIR for the mining project and reclamation plan. Continue reading