Category: Environmental and Natural Resource Issues

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Sonoma County Rejects Wine Industry Request for Voice in Groundwater Regulations

This blog post was co-authored by Stoel Rives attorneys Wes Miliband and Eric Skanchy. Under the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (“SGMA”), California’s landmark groundwater legislation, local Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (“GSAs”) must be formed to assess conditions in their local water basins and to develop locally-based groundwater sustainability plans (“GSPs”). GSAs, which must be formed by June … Continue Reading

EPA Hits Brewery Hard: Is Your Brewery In Compliance With CWA Standards?

This post was guest authored by Stoel Rives summer associate Olivier Jamin. Last week the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that D.G. Yuengling and Son, Inc., a Pennsylvania brewery, settled Clean Water Act (CWA) violations involving wastewater discharge into public treatment facilities for $2.8 million and a commitment to spend … Continue Reading

Raising water conservation awareness by drinking beer

Clean Water Services (CWS), a water resources management utility in the Tualatin River Watershed, has been creatively exploring a new opportunity for the brewery industry. CWS is taking beneficial reuse of water to a new level by proposing the reuse of recycled water in the brewing process, a proposal first approved by the Oregon Health … Continue Reading

Rebuilding: Dealing with or Without Earthquake Insurance

The following post was written by my colleagues Tom Woods, Parissa Ebrahimzadeh & Bao Vu As part of the Northern California business community and as an advisor to business, we support the Napa and the surrounding Bay Area in getting homes and businesses back on their feet following the August 24, 2014 Napa Valley earthquake. … Continue Reading

Why California Breweries, Distilleries, and Wineries Need to Know About California’s New Industrial Storm Water Permit

My colleagues Ryan Waterman and Parissa Ebrahimzadeh have evaluated the potential impacts of the new California industrial storm water permit on breweries, distilleries, and wineries in the state.  See below for their report. On April 1, 2014, the California State Water Resources Control Board (“State Board”) unanimously adopted a new Industrial Storm Water permit (2014 … Continue Reading

New California General Industrial Storm Water Permit Slated For Adoption on April 1, 2014 May Hold Surprises for California’s Wineries, Breweries and Distilleries

Today, the State Water Resources Control Board (State Board) released for public comment its Draft Industrial Storm Water Permit and supporting documents. This is the fourth (and likely final) version of the Draft Industrial Storm Water Permit, which is designed to replace the existing Industrial Storm Water Permit issued in 1997. The Draft Industrial Storm … Continue Reading

Stoel Rives Holds California Wine Seminar

On March 8 and 9, Stoel Rives cosponsored, with Kennedy/Jenks Consultants, the 6th Annual Best Practices for Owning and Operating a Winery, held in Napa, CA. The well attended event covered such topics as valuation, water, energy, and branding. Stoel attorney’s Chris Hermann, John McKinsey, and Jake Storms were all panel speakers with John McKinsey … Continue Reading

California State Water Board Moves on Frost Protection Program

The State Water Resources Control Board (“Board”) held a workshop last week on a proposed regulation designed to assess and mitigate water use from the Russian River by growers in Mendocino and Sonoma Counties during frost season. Though no formal action took place, the Board received numerous comments on the proposed regulation. The regulation would … Continue Reading

Napa County Farm Bureau Holds Water Forum

On March 9th, the Napa County Farm Bureau held its first water forum in five or six years in St. Helena, California. Kicked off by Bureau President Jim Lincoln, the event was well attended, with over 100 concerned stakeholders listening to the most recent updates in California water issues. Phillip Miller, the Deputy Director of … Continue Reading

Sonoma Sets Fees, Program Schedule for Frost Protection Program

The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors has adopted the final measures for moving ahead with the County’s Frost Protection Program (the “Program”). This final act was merely a carry-over from the February 8 meeting where the Board adopted the fee structure for the Program and extended the time frame for implementation of the Program until 2012. … Continue Reading

TTB Adopts New, Softer Rules for AVAs

 The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) has, in a final rule/treasury decision (available here), issued new and revised regulations with respect to three formerly confusing areas pertaining to American Viticultural Areas (AVAs): brand names that conflict with AVA designations, the AVA application process, and the existence of smaller AVAs inside currently existing … Continue Reading

Renewable Electricity and Wine – A Perfect Pairing

     While wineries and vineyards have long been moving toward being “green,” several have taken the next step by installing renewable energy generation onsite. One of the most recent is August Cellars, just outside Newberg, Oregon. The winery recently installed a 150-foot-tall, 50-kilowatt wind turbine. August Cellars maneuvered around the somewhat prohibitive cost of the … Continue Reading

SONOMA COUNTY VOTES ON FROST PROTECTION PLAN FOR VINEYARDS

On Tuesday, the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors unanimously passed an ordinance creating a plan designed to protect both vineyard frost protection measures and endangered species in the Russian River. After nearly a year of negotiations, the Board added Section 11B to the County Code, creating a registration program for grapegrowers and plan to assess … Continue Reading

Wineries Taking Greenhouse Gas Reduction Seriously

At least fourteen wineries Oregon have instituted improvements to reduce Greenhouse Gas (“GHG”) emissions, including the installation of solar panels, lighting retrofits, tank insulation and in some cases, have gone so far as to use goats, sheep, and raptors instead of lawn-mowers and pesticides.  For instance a winery in Eugene, reportedly has trained owls and … Continue Reading
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