Enforcing the Clean Water Act at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station

Overview

Earth Island Institute, along with two individual plaintiffs, sued Southern California Edison over Clean Water Act violations at its San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station. Specifically, both the water intake from and discharges to the Pacific Ocean had substantial adverse ecological and environmental effects on the marine ecosystem. The parties ultimately arrived at a settlement that provided numerous environmental and educational benefits. First, Southern California Edison paid $7.5 million for the acquisition and restoration of wetlands in the San Dieguito lagoon and river valley. Second, Southern California Edison paid $2 million to the San Diego State University Foundation and the Pacific Estuary Research Laboratory to fund wetlands restoration and research. Third, Southern California Edison paid $5.5 million to an undertaking with Earth Island Institute to develop a marine educational program at Redondo Beach, California, for increasing public awareness of and appreciation for the marine environment. Subsequent to court approval of the settlement, the parties sought an amendment to the agreement in light of Southern California Edison's failure to complete the wetland restoration work in the San Dieguito lagoon area. Under the revised agreement, Southern California Edison allocated the bulk of the $7.5 million, plus accrued interest, towards two Wetland Restoration Trust Funds. Earth Island Institute and another organization each administered one fund for the restoration of crucial wetlands throughout Southern California.

Significant Developments

August 17, 2001: Case Update

Court enters amended consent decree after Southern California Edison's failure to complete the wetland restoration work in the San Dieguito lagoon area.

February 7, 2000: Case Update

Court awards additional attorney fees of $88,068 to plaintiffs for consent decree compliance monitoring.

November 19, 1993: Case Update

Court awards attorney fees of $1,408,594.94 to plaintiffs.

June 14: 1993: Case Update

Court approval of settlement with plaintiffs.

November 8, 1990: Case Update

Complaint filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of California against Southern California Edison for violations of the Clean Water Act at the San Onofre Nuclear Power Generating Station.

Attorneys

Charles Crandall, Milberg Weiss LLP

Josh Floum, Legal Strategies Group

Focus Area

Ocean and Water