S.F. Baykeeper v. Cal. State Lands Com.Annotate this Case
In October 2014, the California State Lands Commission (SLC) approved the San Francisco Bay and Delta Sand Mining Project, which authorized real parties in interest Hanson Marine Operations, Inc., Morris Tug & Barge, Inc. and Suisun Associates (collectively, Hanson) to continue dredge mining sand from sovereign lands under the San Francisco Bay pursuant to 10-year mineral extraction leases. San Francisco Baykeeper, Inc. filed a petition for a writ of mandate to challenge the SLC’s decision to approve the project, which the trial court denied. On appeal to the Court of Appeal, Baykeeper argued: (1) the SLC failed to comply with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA); and (2) the mineral leases authorized by the SLC’s approval of the project violated the common law public trust doctrine. The Court of Appeal granted the petition, finding that the SLC’s environmental review of the mining project complied with CEQA, but it failed to consider whether the sand mining leases were a proper use of public trust property. The trial court was directed to mandate that the SLC to address this issue.