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Save Cuyama Valley v. County of Santa Barbara

Citation: 43 ELR 20031
No. B233318, (Cal. App. 2d Div., 02/08/2013)

A California appellate court upheld a county's approval of a sand and gravel mining pit along a riverbed. An environmental group seeking to overturn the approval argued that the environmental impact report (EIR) that formed the basis of the county's decision violated the California Environmental Quality Act. But the EIR complied with the Act's procedural requirements, and substantial evidence supported the report's findings on hydrological impacts and water usage. And although substantial evidence did not support the EIR's finding on impacts to water quality, the group failed to show that this error was prejudicial. Despite the report's erroneous conclusion on impacts to water quality, the county still insisted that the mine implement certain protective measures to ensure that no groundwater is exposed, and the group conceded that this condition would be wholly effective in negating the mine's adverse impact on water. The court, therefore, denied the group's petition for a writ of mandate to stop the mine.