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California sand-mining company prevails in lawsuit

San Diego beaches are some of the most beautiful and celebrated in Southern California. People travel from all over the world to walk our golden strands of sand. It doesn’t take much imagination to understand the devastation to our economy and quality of life if our beaches somehow shrank significantly or disappeared altogether.

Researchers say that rising ocean levels due to climate change are slowly covering beaches around the world. Plus, they say beaches are slowly shrinking because of “sand mining” – an underwater operation to remove sand for use in concrete and construction projects. A sand mining company operating in the San Francisco Bay has been the subject of business litigation to try to stop it from removing sand from the bottom of the bay and then selling it for commercial use.

Six years ago, nonprofit environmental advocacy organization San Francisco Baykeeper sued sand-mining firm Hanson Marine Operations and the State Lands Commission to stop sand mining in the Bay. However, an appeals court judge recently sided with the company and their business law attorneys.

The State Lands Commission owns the sand in the public trust and approves or rejects requests to sand-mine.

Hoping to persuade the Commission and courts to stop the mining, the Baykeeper cited studies by its own researchers and others that show that sand at the bottom of the Bay drifts to nearby Ocean Beach.

An attorney for Hanson Marine Operations said, “There is nothing in those studies that says that there is a direct causal link between sediment removal in the bay and erosion at Ocean Beach, which is occurring for a whole multitude of factors.”

The company’s argument prevailed and it retains permission to remove 1.5 million cubic yards of sand.

To protect your commercial interests and rights, speak with a law firm experienced in business litigation.