Court holds Board of Supervisors has no authority under Integrated Waste Mgt Act over landfill permit and may, but is not required to, hear a CEQA appeal from health agency decision.

No Wetlands Landfill Expansion v. County of Marin

2012 DJDAR 3713 (First App. Distr., Div. Four)

March 20, 2012

Petitioner environmental group challenged the EIR prepared and approved by the Marin County Environmental Health Services (EHS) in conjunction with EHS’ authorization of a revision to a permit to Redwood Landfill allowing expansion of a solid waste landfill. Petitioner sued, claiming a right to appeal the decision to the Marin County Board of Supervisors. The trial court agreed, but the Court of Appeal reversed.

The Court of Appeal found the EHS was the authorized local enforcement agency for the state (CalRecycle) under the Integrated Waste Management Act. EHS was the lead agency for purposes of the CEQA process and issuing the permit. The Waste Act allows a member of the public to request a hearing by a hearing panel or officer appointed by the local “governing body” to consider claims the agency (here, EHS) failed to follow the law.

Petitioner interpreted the “governing body” to mean the Marin County Board of Supervisors. The Court of Appeal disagreed, finding the Waste Act was permissive and would have allowed the Board to appoint a panel or officer, but the Board was not required to do so.

More importantly, the Board of Supervisors had no authority over the landfill permit. CEQA Guidelines section 21151 state that if an EIR is certified by a non-elected decision-making body, such as a planning board, then a certification may be appealed to the agency’s elected decision-making body. The Court concluded that simply did not apply to the present case because the Board of Supervisors did not govern over EHS or this permit process.

The matter was remanded to the trial court to review the EIR.

Prepared by John Reaves

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