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Santa Monica Baykeeper v. City of Malibu

ELR Citation: 41 ELR 20137
Nos. No. B222776, (Cal. App. 2d Dist., 04/05/2011)

A California appellate court upheld the dismissal of a petition challenging a city's environmental impact report (EIR) for and approval of a park project. An environmental group argued that the EIR failed to adequately analyze construction-related water quality impacts, the impact of using treated effluent from an adjoining lumber yard project on the project site, and the cumulative groundwater impacts of the project. The group's challenge regarding construction-related impacts is moot because the project was completed during the pendency of this appeal and no recognized exception to the mootness doctrine applies to warrant discretionary review of that issue. And while the remaining claims are not moot, the conclusions in the final EIR regarding the impact of using treated effluent from the adjoining lumber yard project are supported by substantial evidence. As such, the group failed to demonstrate a prejudicial abuse of discretion warranting reversal. Substantial evidence also supports the city's conclusion that the park project reduces rather than creates groundwater impacts. Consequently, no cumulative groundwater impacts analysis was required.