Sacramento Business Journal Quotes Mike Mills on Increase in Legal Actions Over Stormwater Runoff Faced by Calif. Businesses

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Environmental attorney Mike Mills was quoted in the Sacramento Business Journal in an article titled “California businesses face growing number of legal actions over stormwater runoff,” published April 26, 2018. (Subscription required.) The article discusses how recent changes in state permitting requirements for industrial facilities have greatly increased the number of “60-day notices” issued for potential violations of the Clean Water Act’s (CWA) prohibitions against pollution in stormwater runoff.

The 60-day notice was created as a means to give alleged violators of the CWA an opportunity to correct an issue before legal action was commenced. But permitting regulations enacted in 2015 and and reports that permittees have submitted in late 2017 have made it easier for plaintiffs’ attorneys representing environmental groups to identify potential violations and subsequently issue 60-day notices, according to Mills.

Complaints are almost always settled before going to court, but the allure of substantial, private settlements and attorneys’ fees has meant the number of 60-day notices issued in California has more than doubled from 2015 to 2017. “For some of these plaintiffs’ attorneys, it’s almost like shooting fish in a barrel,” Mills said.

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