Monterey Coastkeeper v. Water Resources Control BoardAnnotate this Case
This case involved a challenge to a Water Code section 13269 waiver of waste discharge requirements for irrigated agricultural land. Discharge requirements could be waived “if the state board or a regional board determines . . . that the waiver is consistent with any applicable state or regional water quality control plan and is in the public interest.” In 2012, the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board modified the waiver. Monterey Coastkeeper, San Luis Obispo Coastkeeper, California Sportfishing Protection Alliance, and Santa Barbara Channelkeeper (collectively Coastkeeper) petitioned for a writ of mandate, challenging the modified waiver. They contended it did not meet the requirements of the Water Code and applicable state water policies. The trial court agreed in part, and issued a peremptory writ of mandate directing the State Board to set aside the modified waiver and issue a new waiver consistent with its decision. The State Board and various agricultural interests as interveners appealed, contending the trial court erred in comparing the modified waiver (unfavorably) to a 2010 draft of the 2012 waiver, failing to defer to the State Board’s expertise and apply a presumption of correctness, and ignoring the appropriate reasonableness standard. They raised specific objections to several of the trial court’s findings. The Court of Appeal agreed with appellants as to two of their points; the trial court’s findings as to the inadequacy of the tiering and monitoring provisions of the modified waiver were not supported by substantial evidence. Therefore, the Court modified the judgment accordingly and otherwise affirmed.