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Save Our Carmel River v. Monterey Peninsula Water Management Dist.

ELR Citation: 36 ELR 20142
Nos. No. H029242, (Cal. App. 6th Dist., 07/24/2006)

A court orders a city and a water district to reverse their approval of a water credit transfer. The water credit transfer in this case is a "project" within the meaning of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). The city and district therefore argue that it was exempt from CEQA under the categorical exemption contained in §15302 of the CEQA Guidelines. But §15302 does not apply to the water transfer at issue here. The exemption concerns the "replacement or reconstruction of existing structures and facilities where the new structure will be located on the same site as the structure replaced and will have substantially the same purpose and capacity as the structure replaced." Subdivision (b) of this guideline provides that it applies specifically to the "[r]eplacement of a commercial structure with a new structure of substantially the same size, purpose, and capacity." On its face, this exemption does not apply to a water credit transfer, which is neither a structure nor a facility and, therefore, does not fit the elements of this exemption. And even if the exemption did apply, the approval is not supported by substantial evidence in the record.