Scott N. CastroPartner
Scott Castro represents a range of clients, from the mining industry to renewable energy companies, in federal, state and local environmental and land use litigation and administrative matters. He has particular expertise in a range of regulatory areas, including NEPA, CEQA, federal and state endangered species laws, federal and state mining laws, the federal Clean Water Act, the Porter-Cologne Act, and common law claims. He also counsels clients in regulatory oversight, permitting, enforcement and compliance matters concerning proposed projects and ongoing operations.
- Troesh Materials Diamond Rock Project, Santa Barbara County: Successfully defended in CEQA action in Superior Court and Court of Appeal, obtaining appellate court ruling (Save Cuyama Valley v. County of Santa Barbara (2013) 213 Cal.App.4th 1059) upholding Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors' approval of Diamond Rock mining project.
- Pala Investments AG: Handled multiple entitlement and title due diligence matters for mining operations in Arizona, Nevada and Wyoming.
- Western Aggregates LLC Vested Rights Determination, Yuba Goldfields, Yuba County: Obtained first-ever determination of vested rights from State Mining and Geology Board ("SMGB") for Western Aggregates LLC's surface mining operation in Yuba County, covering over 4,000 acres and including reserves determined to amount to over one billion tons of materials.
- Pacific Marine Industrial Corporation (then, subsidiary of Rolls-Royce Power Ventures), Saipan, CNMA: Represented PMIC against U.S. EPA enforcement action alleging multiple violations of RCRA and CWA relating to operation of cogeneration facility in Saipan. Successfully negotiated settlement and consent decree with EPA.
- Union Bank San Francisco Headquarters Roof Signs, City and County of San Francisco: Challenged City and County of San Francisco's efforts to rescind permits issued to Union Bank for two prominent roof signs located at 350 California Street and 400/430 California Street in San Francisco. Appeal efforts led to negotiation of settlement before the Board of Appeals, allowing Union Bank to maintain signs for eight-year period.
- CEMEX, Inc. Soledad Canyon Sand and Gravel Mining Project, Los Angeles County: Worked on obtaining broad array of Federal and State entitlements for CEMEX, Inc.'s Soledad Canyon Sand and Gravel Mining Project, including a ROD from the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, two Biological Opinions, and a Surface Mining Permit from the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.
- Sued the County of Los Angeles on preemption and related grounds for its actions in interfering with implementation of the Federally-approved Soledad Canyon Project. Lawsuit resulted in the entry of a consent decree between the County of Los Angeles, the United States of America, and CEMEX, Inc., providing that the County would certify a Final EIR and issue a Surface Mining Permit for the project. Successfully defended entry of the consent decree in U.S. District Court and the Ninth Circuit, and successfully opposed a petition for writ of certiorari to the U.S. Supreme Court.
- Successfully defended the ROD before the U.S. Department of Interior, Interior Board of Land Appeals (IBLA).
- Successfully defended three other lawsuits in Federal court challenging the entitlements for the Soledad Canyon Project, including two separate lawsuits challenging the project under the ESA, and a third lawsuit challenging the project on NEPA grounds.
- Obtained published decision from Ninth Circuit in one of the ESA appeals (Center for Biological Diversity v. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 450 F.3d 930 (2006)), concluding that an incidental take statement issued by the USFWS was not "unlawful" even if the species in question is listed as "fully protected" under California law.
- Obtained over one million dollars in attorneys' fees against environmental plaintiffs in two of the lawsuits based on bad faith exception to American Rule.
- Successfully challenged inclusion of Soledad Canyon property within proposed critical habitat for the Arroyo Toad.
- Multiple Mining Operators (Granite Construction, U.S. Gypsum, ValRock): Successfully sued the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's regarding a final rule designating critical habitat for the Peninsular Bighorn Sheep, resulting in the entry of a consent decree requiring the USFWS to re-evaluate critical habitat for the species.
J.D., University of California, Hastings College of Law, 1997
M.S., Rutgers University Ecology and Evolution, 1994
B.A., Swarthmore College, 1992
Bar AdmissionsState Bar of California
U.S. Supreme Court
U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
U.S. District Court, Central District of California
U.S. District Court, Northern District of California
U.S. District Court, Eastern District of California