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Environmental Defense Center v. California Resources Production Corp.

United States District Court, C.D. California

April 20, 2017

ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENSE CENTER, a non-profit corporation, Plaintiff,
v.
CALIFORNIA RESOURCES PRODUCTION CORPORATION, a corporation, Defendant.

         CONSENT DECREE

          MICHAEL N. MILLS (SB #191762) SHANNON L. MORRISSEY (SB #307144) STOEL RIVES LLP Attorneys for Defendant California Resources Production Corporation

          STIPULATION AND [PROPOSED] CONSENT DECREE

          GEORGE H. WU, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         I. STIPULATION

         This Stipulation is entered into by and between Plaintiff, the Environmental Defense Center (“EDC”), and Defendant, California Resources Production Corporation (“CRPC”) (hereinafter collectively referred to as the “Parties”). On January 19, 2016, EDC served California Resources Corporation (“CRC”), CRC's registered agent; the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) Region IX; the Executive Director of the California State Water Resources Control Board; and the Executive Officer of the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board with a Notice of Intent to file suit (“60-Day Notice”) under Section 505(a) of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (“Clean Water Act”), 33 U.S.C. § 1365(a), alleging violations of the Clean Water Act and the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System General Permit No. CAS000001, Water Quality Order No. 97-03-DWQ, as renewed by Order No. 2014-0057-DWQ (“General Permit”), relating to discharges of storm water from CRPC's South Mountain oil and gas field (“South Mountain Oil Field”), a 5, 757-acre facility (the “Facility”) located at 19242 South Mountain Road in Santa Paula, California 93060.

         EDC filed a Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief and Civil Penalties (“Complaint”) against CRC in the United States District Court, Central District of California, on April 5, 2016 (Civ. Case No. 16-02325-GW RAO), captioned Environmental Defense Center v. California Resources Corporation, seeking declaratory and injunctive relief, civil penalties, and attorneys' fees and costs. EDC served the Complaint on CRC on April 13, 2016. On April 20, 2016, EDC filed its First Amended Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief and Civil Penalties (“First Amended Complaint”), adding CRPC as a second defendant. A true and correct copy of EDC's First Amended Complaint is attached hereto as Exhibit “A.” On July 25, 2016, EDC dismissed defendant CRC, and simultaneously served the First Amended Complaint on defendant CRPC.

         CRPC denies any fault, wrongdoing, or liability regarding all claims and alleged violations.

         EDC and CRPC agree that settlement of these matters is in the best interest of the Parties and the public, and that entry of this Consent Decree is the most appropriate means of resolving this action.

         EDC and CRPC stipulate to the entry of this Consent Decree without trial, adjudication, or admission of any issues of fact or law regarding EDC's claims or allegations set forth in its Complaint and its 60-Day Notice.

         II. ORDER AND DECREE

         THIS MATTER came before the Court upon the foregoing Stipulation of the Parties. Having considered the Stipulation and the promises set forth below, the Court hereby ORDERS, ADJUDGES, and DECREES as follows:

         1. Jurisdiction: This Court has jurisdiction over the Parties and the subject matter of this action. The Parties stipulate that venue is appropriate in the Central District of California.

         2. Authority to Execute: Each signatory for the Parties certifies for that Party that he or she is authorized to enter into the agreements set forth below.

         3. Binding Effect: This Consent Decree applies to and binds the Parties and their successors and assigns.

         4. Application: This Consent Decree applies to the operation, oversight, or both by CRPC of its Facility.

         5. Settlement and Dismissal: This Consent Decree is a full and complete settlement of any and all claims that have been or could have been asserted based on the facts alleged in the Complaint or 60-Day Notice, and all other claims known and unknown existing as of the date of entry of this Consent Decree, that could be asserted under the Clean Water Act, 33 U.S.C. §§ 1251-1387, for violations occurring on or before the date of termination of this Consent Decree. EDC releases these claims and they are hereby dismissed with prejudice. Enforcement of this Consent Decree is EDC's exclusive remedy for any violation of the terms contained herein. It is understood and agreed by the Parties that the released claims include all claims of every nature and kind whatsoever, whether known or unknown, suspected or unsuspected, and all rights under Section 1542 of the California Civil Code are hereby expressly waived. Section 1542 provides as follows:

A general release does not extend to claims which the creditor does not know or suspect to exist in his or her favor at the time of executing the release, which if known by him or her must have materially affected his or her settlement with the debtor.

         EDC acknowledges that it may hereafter discover facts different from, or in addition to, those that it now knows or believes to be true with respect to the released claims, and the Parties agree that this Consent Decree, including, without limitation, the releases contained herein, shall be and remain effective in all respects notwithstanding such different or additional facts or the discovery thereof.

         6. No Admission: This Consent Decree is a settlement of disputed facts and law. It is not an admission or adjudication regarding any allegations by EDC in this case or of any fact or conclusion of law related to those allegations. It is not evidence of any wrongdoing or misconduct on the part of CRPC.

         7. CRPC's Obligations: CRPC agrees to the following terms and conditions in full and complete satisfaction of the claims covered by this Consent Decree:

         a. Road Network Improvements: No later than December 1, 2017, CRPC shall implement the road Best Management Practices (“BMPs”), as agreed upon by the Parties and listed below. CRPC shall continue roadway maintenance as necessary to maintain full compliance with the General Permit.

         The road BMPs are as follows. The BMP locations are identified by the GPS coordinate location at the South Mountain Oil Field, specified in the following table.

GPS Coordinate Location

Action

34.338524; -119.053319

Evaluate rationale for pipe outlet. If feasible, cut down pipe, or weld pipe down so that runoff flows to the ground. Install rip-rap.

34.335005; -119.052431

Repair asphalt on shoulder.

34.334783; -119.052692

Evaluate rationale for pipe outlet. If feasible, cut down pipe, or weld pipe down so that runoff flows to the ground. Install rip-rap.

34.332399; -119.054164

Repair asphalt and lay down gravel.

34.331548; -119.050539

Evaluate rationale for pipe outlet. If feasible, cut down pipe, or weld pipe down so that runoff flows to the ground. Install rip-rap.

34.327819; -119.048510

Repair asphalt.

34.327100; -119.049048

Repair asphalt.

34.323737; -119.047654

Install water bar.

34.322070; -119.047088

Install water bar.

34.323178; -119.043506

Repair asphalt.

34.323667; -119.041654

Repair asphalt.

34.325746; -119.034630

Fix the road and fill in with gravel.

34.326969; -119.030001

Replace aggregate, or fill with gravel; implement dust mitigation measures.

34.330836; -119.012858

Compact and fill with gravel.

34.338947; -119.022121

Health and safety issue: repair or replace road wall; maintenance and rock removal.

34.342528; -119.016838

Install rocks or gravel in ditch.

34.346893; -119.024213

Repair asphalt; place additional rocks.

         b. Storm Water Management Measures at Industrial Sites Other Than Roads: To improve storm water management at the Facility, CRPC shall develop and implement the following BMPs at the Facility:

         i. Well Pad Berming: No later than December 31, 2017, CRPC shall construct berms at all well pads at the Facility that do not presently have berms. CRPC shall construct berms using compacted base material (aggregate) with a soil binder (bonding agent) at each well pad berm, and will construct all berms to ensure that the berms are able to contain sufficient storm water so as to prevent run-off. Specifically, CRPC will construct the berms by applying the compacted base material using a backhoe and a Vibra-Plate for compaction.

         ii. Specific Well Pad Maintenance: No later than December 31, 2017, CRPC shall conduct the following maintenance and repair activities at specific well pads, identified by the following GPS coordinates at the South Mountain Oil Field:

(a) GPS 34.332060; -119.055347: CRPC shall repair the roadway and pothole surrounding the well pad. CRPC shall also fill in the rills with gravel up to the pad.
(b) GPS 34.338947; -119.022121: CRPC shall remove the rocks surrounding the well pad.

         iii. Inlet Protection: In order to prevent storm water runoff and erosion, no later than December 1, 2017, CRPC shall place gravel bags around all ...


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