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County Sanitation Dist. No. 2 of Los Angeles County v. Kern, County of

Citation: 35 ELR 20070
No. No. F043095, (Cal. App. 5th Dist., 04/01/2005)

A California appellate court held that a county was required to prepare an environmental impact report (EIR) under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) prior to adopting an ordinance that restricts the application of sewage sludge on land located within its jurisdiction. CEQA requires the preparation of an EIR whenever substantial evidence supports a fair argument that an ordinance will cause potentially significant adverse environmental impacts. Here, the evidence in the administrative record establishes a reasonable possibility that the ordinance will have both positive and adverse impacts on the environment. The positive effects do not absolve the county from the responsibility of preparing an EIR to analyze the potentially significant negative environmental effects of the project because those negative effects might be reduced through the adoption of feasible alternatives or mitigation measures analyzed in the EIR. And while the ordinance does not discriminate against interstate commerce, a biosolids impact fee of $3.37 per ton was invalid to the extent it was a local fee for road use.