Rhys fined $3.76M for illegally diverting water in Anderson Valley

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D@vid Bu3ker
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Re: Rhys fined $3.76M for illegally diverting water in Anderson Valley

#201 Post by D@vid Bu3ker » August 5th, 2019, 6:10 pm

AlexS wrote:
August 5th, 2019, 5:31 pm
D@vid Bu3ker wrote:
August 5th, 2019, 5:24 pm
I don’t buy it Alex. The whole thing is more than a little off.
Maybe Darren's a racist, I have no clue. But as someone who has worked in semi-rural, heavily white locales with POC coworkers, I can tell you his description of how the local townies may have viewed Rhys and their minority contractors resonated with me.
Not so much that entirely, but the whole things seemed off. Do you really think the local community was weary of tight spacing? Really? What does it matter? It all seems made up.
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Re: Rhys fined $3.76M for illegally diverting water in Anderson Valley

#202 Post by Cris Whetstone » August 5th, 2019, 6:11 pm

The posted report is eye opening. At least for me.

1. It mentions several times it is making comparisons to 2015 from another inspection in 2017. They knew there was an inspection of the area and went ahead with some major work. This was no accident.

2. The work done as described in that report is far more than I had imagined by reading this thread and the articles posted upstream. This was a lot more than an isolated vineyard spot and a couple ponds. There was a lot of road construction and work. Road construction that involved diverting and controlling a stream at many separate instances. That's some pretty damn obvious environmental impact. Again, that's more 'bull in a china shop' than accidental.

It's frustrating news given the stature and image of the Rhys project to this point.
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Re: Rhys fined $3.76M for illegally diverting water in Anderson Valley

#203 Post by AlexS » August 5th, 2019, 6:27 pm

D@vid Bu3ker wrote:
August 5th, 2019, 6:10 pm
AlexS wrote:
August 5th, 2019, 5:31 pm
D@vid Bu3ker wrote:
August 5th, 2019, 5:24 pm
I don’t buy it Alex. The whole thing is more than a little off.
Maybe Darren's a racist, I have no clue. But as someone who has worked in semi-rural, heavily white locales with POC coworkers, I can tell you his description of how the local townies may have viewed Rhys and their minority contractors resonated with me.
Not so much that entirely, but the whole things seemed off. Do you really think the local community was weary of tight spacing? Really? What does it matter? It all seems made up.
You're right, it certainly could be and lord knows I've been naive about similar situations in the past - that said, you're shifting the goal posts away from the "Darren's a racist" narrative that started this.
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Re: Rhys fined $3.76M for illegally diverting water in Anderson Valley

#204 Post by ATaylor » August 5th, 2019, 6:39 pm

Alan, well that was a long winded reply that deflects from the subject at hand. My reply was geared more to the seeming dismissal of elimination of a seasonal stream not having much of an impact further downstream. You're a scientist as well and water/environmental scientists can explain to you in distinct detail how upstream damage/blockage of a small stream can have a literal snowball effect further downstream; not to mention the impact of sediment. A ton of work has been done in the SCM to bring back steelhead and salmon.

It would be extremely difficult to see "another side" of the story. Between the photos/text of the regulatory report and the laws on wetlands and streams, what other side do you think exists? Rhys was given a verbal green light?

At first glance, I was more on the side of giving this a pass. However, the regulatory report is a thorough indictment of what happened. You may choose to continue to defend Rhys, but the facts are not with Kevin/Rhys on this one. And there is the small matter of being a repeat offenders. Willful disregard is where you get hammered by regulators. They will give you a pass once, maybe twice (unless you are PG&E deadhorse ). I have a water science guy combing through the report to get his view as he deals with this kind of stuff as a career.

You may disagree with the regulatory environment, but it is what it is.....

Take the report and combine that with prior problems and IMHO it becomes the more egregious. Not even applying for any permits? That doesn't not get any pass and I would argue that Kevin at some point needs to step up and deliver a full explanation. If I had to hazard a total WAG, Rhys knew full well that the federal permitting process with the Army Corps can be very time consuming. They did not want the time delay and said they will eat the cost if they get caught. And with the fact that Rhys has developed multiple sites and the level of sophistication of the operation, trying to pass this off as a "mistake" does not pass the smell test. I can only begin to imagine the permitting they had to go through just for the cellar tunnels.

And rather than hand money over to the State, they should have volunteered to fix all the damage, irrespective of the costs involved.
Last edited by ATaylor on August 5th, 2019, 7:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Rhys fined $3.76M for illegally diverting water in Anderson Valley

#205 Post by Cris Whetstone » August 5th, 2019, 6:44 pm

To those who want Kevin to come and give deeper explanations, I'm guessing the legal team representing Rhys would be quite against that.
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Re: Rhys fined $3.76M for illegally diverting water in Anderson Valley

#206 Post by D@vid Bu3ker » August 5th, 2019, 6:52 pm

Exactly. Kevin would be well served to forget this thread exists.
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Re: Rhys fined $3.76M for illegally diverting water in Anderson Valley

#207 Post by Darren Delmore » August 5th, 2019, 6:52 pm

I lived in the Anderson Valley for over two years. 99% of people posting on this thread have not. Don't be hasty to call me a racist to take attention off the fact of what the infraction is. Floodgate Creek is awfully important. And yes, the local community is hyper aware of vineyard development in the valley, including tight spacing, frost fans, you name it, far more than any other wine region I've worked in. Read www.theava.com to get a feel of the region there. It's a small place. Peace.
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Re: Rhys fined $3.76M for illegally diverting water in Anderson Valley

#208 Post by D@vid Bu3ker » August 5th, 2019, 6:55 pm

Wow. Two years. Think you’re a local now? :)
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Re: Rhys fined $3.76M for illegally diverting water in Anderson Valley

#209 Post by Al Osterheld » August 5th, 2019, 7:08 pm

And rather than hand money over to the State, they should have volunteered to fix all the damage, irrespective of the costs involved.
My understanding is that they have agreed to fix the issues except for removing the vineyard, including fixing or decommissioning all preexisting roads on the ranch as well as the preexisting reservoirs for which they will seek permits. The other restoration work isn't money given to the State, but to a nature conservation non-profit that is active in the area and will fund restoration work down in the rivers fixing damage that has accumulated over a number of years.

-Al
Last edited by Al Osterheld on August 5th, 2019, 7:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Rhys fined $3.76M for illegally diverting water in Anderson Valley

#210 Post by James Kennedy » August 5th, 2019, 7:12 pm

Forget it, Bob. It’s Chinatown.

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Re: Rhys fined $3.76M for illegally diverting water in Anderson Valley

#211 Post by ATaylor » August 5th, 2019, 7:53 pm

Cris Whetstone wrote:
August 5th, 2019, 6:44 pm
To those who want Kevin to come and give deeper explanations, I'm guessing the legal team representing Rhys would be quite against that.
That's a given and completely agree....but unfortunately the only way one could get anything that would be the other side of the story if there is one at all. Othewise yeah the lawyers will tell him to stay quiet and write the check.
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Re: Rhys fined $3.76M for illegally diverting water in Anderson Valley

#212 Post by Rama Roberts » August 5th, 2019, 7:55 pm

Having just read through this whole thread, there's only one thing that's clear to me: I'm happy I'm not a public figure and subjected to having my character judged freely by people who don't know me.

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Re: Rhys fined $3.76M for illegally diverting water in Anderson Valley

#213 Post by Alan Rath » August 5th, 2019, 8:12 pm

ATaylor wrote:
August 5th, 2019, 6:39 pm
If I had to hazard a total WAG, Rhys knew full well that the federal permitting process with the Army Corps can be very time consuming. They did not want the time delay and said they will eat the cost if they get caught.
I can only begin to imagine the permitting they had to go through just for the cellar tunnels.
Maybe this is your answer. Who wants to deal with regulators who have zero stake in the outcome (perhaps even antipathy), no time pressure on them, no downside for delay, loss of revenue, or outright denial.
And rather than hand money over to the State, they should have volunteered to fix all the damage, irrespective of the costs involved.
My guess is that Rhys has already fixed some or all of the problems. They don't want their road washed out, or erosion around the vineyard. If only the state was primarily interested in actually having the problems fixed, instead of being able to trumpet a large fine justifying their existence.
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Re: Rhys fined $3.76M for illegally diverting water in Anderson Valley

#214 Post by Cris Whetstone » August 5th, 2019, 8:18 pm

Unless you know something about the people involved that we do not, Alan, your wild speculations about those people and their professionalism are as unfounded and deliberately caustic as the people attacking Kevin because he's known to be wealthy.
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Re: Rhys fined $3.76M for illegally diverting water in Anderson Valley

#215 Post by Craig G » August 5th, 2019, 8:25 pm

Alan Rath wrote:
August 5th, 2019, 8:12 pm
Who wants to deal with regulators who have zero stake in the outcome (perhaps even antipathy), no time pressure on them, no downside for delay, loss of revenue, or outright denial.
Please just stop with this bullshit. These are people doing their job, and apparently a lot better than the people who planned this project.
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Re: Rhys fined $3.76M for illegally diverting water in Anderson Valley

#216 Post by c fu » August 5th, 2019, 8:31 pm

Alan Rath wrote:
August 5th, 2019, 8:12 pm
ATaylor wrote:
August 5th, 2019, 6:39 pm
If I had to hazard a total WAG, Rhys knew full well that the federal permitting process with the Army Corps can be very time consuming. They did not want the time delay and said they will eat the cost if they get caught.
I can only begin to imagine the permitting they had to go through just for the cellar tunnels.
Maybe this is your answer. Who wants to deal with regulators who have zero stake in the outcome (perhaps even antipathy), no time pressure on them, no downside for delay, loss of revenue, or outright denial.
And rather than hand money over to the State, they should have volunteered to fix all the damage, irrespective of the costs involved.
My guess is that Rhys has already fixed some or all of the problems. They don't want their road washed out, or erosion around the vineyard. If only the state was primarily interested in actually having the problems fixed, instead of being able to trumpet a large fine justifying their existence.
Alan your hot takes in this thread rival anything in the NBA thread.
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Re: Rhys fined $3.76M for illegally diverting water in Anderson Valley

#217 Post by Alan Rath » August 5th, 2019, 8:36 pm

I am expressing an opinion. Opinion based on experience with government bureaucrats, and human nature. Nothing more. You guys are welcome to your own opinions, I'm quite comfortable with my own position.
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Re: Rhys fined $3.76M for illegally diverting water in Anderson Valley

#218 Post by Phil Restine » August 5th, 2019, 9:03 pm

Does Kevin Harvey have a pee pee tape of Alan Rath?

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Re: Rhys fined $3.76M for illegally diverting water in Anderson Valley

#219 Post by Chris Seiber » August 5th, 2019, 9:06 pm

D@vid Bu3ker wrote:
August 5th, 2019, 6:55 pm
Wow. Two years. Think you’re a local now? :)
And I didn't know Templeton was in the Anderson Valley . . .

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Re: Rhys fined $3.76M for illegally diverting water in Anderson Valley

#220 Post by Alan Rath » August 5th, 2019, 9:10 pm

Nah, I'm not expressing opinions based on this individual Rhys example, I'm expressing my opinions of regulations and regulators. But you just go on believing that issues of water, environment, habitat preservation, fish and wildlife, are all easy and straightforward, and not a bizarre result of a 100+ years of high pressure (and corrupt) infighting among all the various competing parties.
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Re: Rhys fined $3.76M for illegally diverting water in Anderson Valley

#221 Post by JulianD » August 5th, 2019, 10:59 pm

Alan Rath wrote:
August 5th, 2019, 9:10 pm
Nah, I'm not expressing opinions based on this individual Rhys example, I'm expressing my opinions of regulations and regulators. But you just go on believing that issues of water, environment, habitat preservation, fish and wildlife, are all easy and straightforward, and not a bizarre result of a 100+ years of high pressure (and corrupt) infighting among all the various competing parties.
Vineyard gets caught breaking law.

Owner of said vineyard admits they made several mistakes and broke law.

...

Alan blames government, adds in weird conspiracy angle (with zero proof given).
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Re: Rhys fined $3.76M for illegally diverting water in Anderson Valley

#222 Post by Sc0tt F!tzger@ld » August 6th, 2019, 8:46 am

Wow, we’ve got the environment, accusations of racism, legalese, the whole works. Godwin’s Law should be invoked within the next few pages of posts. Time to breakout the [popcorn.gif] and break open some Rhys!

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Re: Rhys fined $3.76M for illegally diverting water in Anderson Valley

#223 Post by Alan Rath » August 6th, 2019, 9:22 am

Enough. It doesn't take a genius to read that report and recognize that the inspectors were, at best, not favorably disposed to Rhys. OMG, there's some fine sediment near the pond. OMG, there's water running down the road in the middle of rainy season in January. OMG, there's some sluffing hillside in the middle of rainy season in January. OMG, some dirt got pushed around to plant a vineyard and build a road to get to it. Spend a few minutes on Google Earth, and you'll see that the vineyard (and pond) are at about 620 meters of elevation. The highest nearby point is 654 meters. I'm having a bit of trouble imagining how those few acres at the top of a mountain constitute "permanent loss of wetlands and streams", as the OP article trumpeted.

You folks can have your opinions of regulatory agencies and their inspectors and enforcers. I have my own, based on 30 years of dealing professionally with the FDA, USDA, FCC, US Patent office, Customs, etc. Not once has it ever been a fun experience. Not once have they made it easy for the company or its customers to achieve their goals. In almost every instance, "No" was the first response, and it took months, sometimes years of prodding, negotiating, preparing additional materials. If you don't think the people in those agencies have little motivation to help, you have another thing coming. They don't get paid based on how many problems they solve, they just get paid. That's not to say they aren't good people trying to do their jobs, but it's very different when you have deadlines, budgets, development, manufacturing and delivery schedules, P&L, company jobs and customer's careers depend on completion and success. Ironically, one of my customers is the FDA (also NIH and NIST). If you think dealing with them externally is no picnic, be glad you don't have to get internal approvals to install equipment and do research.

So yeah, I'm not favorably disposed to just accept a report - which to me looks obviously inflated to achieve a goal - without knowing the details of the other side, which we will not get. At the same time, I'm familiar with the other side, and have at least some cursory knowledge of what they have done in other vineyards, how they treat their customers and employees, and the quality of their product.

I read one article that counted the number of illegal pot farms in the golden triangle at 30,000. Last year 2,200 of those had applied for permits to become legal. Punishing a vineyard owner over some infractions on a 20 acre vineyard must feel pretty good, while those 30,000 unregulated farms do orders of magnitude more damage to the environment.

We can have differences of opinion, and react differently to an incident like this. But if you call my opinions uninformed or "hot takes", I will push back.
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Re: Rhys fined $3.76M for illegally diverting water in Anderson Valley

#224 Post by D@vid Bu3ker » August 6th, 2019, 9:36 am

So Alan, I guess there are not enough CA environmental inspectors. We need to apply the laws evenly without missing anyone.

Glad to see you advocating to increase the CA environmental payroll.
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Re: Rhys fined $3.76M for illegally diverting water in Anderson Valley

#225 Post by Doug Schulman » August 6th, 2019, 9:41 am

AlexS wrote:
August 5th, 2019, 5:31 pm
D@vid Bu3ker wrote:
August 5th, 2019, 5:24 pm
I don’t buy it Alex. The whole thing is more than a little off.
Maybe Darren's a racist, I have no clue. But as someone who has worked in semi-rural, heavily white locales with POC coworkers, I can tell you his description of how the local townies may have viewed Rhys and their minority contractors resonated with me.
You're saying that because many locals are racist, it's okay to post a racist comment. That's a terrible excuse for what was definitely a racist post.
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Re: Rhys fined $3.76M for illegally diverting water in Anderson Valley

#226 Post by JulianD » August 6th, 2019, 10:07 am

Alan Rath wrote:
August 6th, 2019, 9:22 am
I read one article that counted the number of illegal pot farms in the golden triangle at 30,000. Last year 2,200 of those had applied for permits to become legal. Punishing a vineyard owner over some infractions on a 20 acre vineyard must feel pretty good, while those 30,000 unregulated farms do orders of magnitude more damage to the environment.
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Re: Rhys fined $3.76M for illegally diverting water in Anderson Valley

#227 Post by Craig G » August 6th, 2019, 11:49 am

Alan is really carrying a grudge about that tree in his yard.
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Re: Rhys fined $3.76M for illegally diverting water in Anderson Valley

#228 Post by leslie renaud » August 6th, 2019, 11:53 am

I have known Darren for a long time, and he is not a racist. He is a writer, and I believe he was trying to set the scene.

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Re: Rhys fined $3.76M for illegally diverting water in Anderson Valley

#229 Post by larry schaffer » August 6th, 2019, 11:56 am

leslie renaud wrote:
August 6th, 2019, 11:53 am
I have known Darren for a long time, and he is not a racist. He is a writer, and I believe he was trying to set the scene.
+1
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Re: Rhys fined $3.76M for illegally diverting water in Anderson Valley

#230 Post by Kelly Walker » August 6th, 2019, 12:33 pm

Calling someone a racist seems to be the popular way of saying you don't like what somebody says these days.
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Re: Rhys fined $3.76M for illegally diverting water in Anderson Valley

#231 Post by Cris Whetstone » August 6th, 2019, 12:44 pm

Alan, can you explain to us why you think regulatory agencies should be in the service of making sure companies are profitable even in cases where those companies start out by breaking said regulations? Shouldn't the companies comply with the very public regulations from the start in order to be profitable?

NOTE: I'm not speaking about Rhys specifically. Only wondering about Alan's general tenor and thoughts on this issue.
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Re: Rhys fined $3.76M for illegally diverting water in Anderson Valley

#232 Post by GregT » August 6th, 2019, 12:50 pm

Calling someone a racist seems to be the popular way of saying you don't like what somebody says these days.
So what's the matter with that?

Personally, I didn't find it particularly racist as originally written. But now that it's edited, I am deeply offended by the sexism. It says "guys". That implies that they were male. Why do we have to know that? And more importantly, how do THEY identify?
Sc0tt F!tzger@ld wrote:
August 6th, 2019, 8:46 am
Wow, we’ve got the environment, accusations of racism, legalese, the whole works. Godwin’s Law should be invoked within the next few pages of posts.
And pee pee tapes.

It's a good thread, veering off in delightfully unexpected directions. [wow.gif]
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Re: Rhys fined $3.76M for illegally diverting water in Anderson Valley

#233 Post by ATaylor » August 6th, 2019, 12:52 pm

Cris Whetstone wrote:
August 6th, 2019, 12:44 pm
Alan, can you explain to us why you think regulatory agencies should be in the service of making sure companies are profitable even in cases where those companies start out by breaking said regulations? Shouldn't the companies comply with the very public regulations from the start in order to be profitable?

NOTE: I'm not speaking about Rhys specifically. Only wondering about Alan's general tenor and thoughts on this issue.
Or wonder how quickly he runs to public works for a stop order when his uphill neighbor starts using an unlicensed contractor to build a non-permitted swimming pool..............
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Re: Rhys fined $3.76M for illegally diverting water in Anderson Valley

#234 Post by Rboinski » August 6th, 2019, 1:34 pm

Alan Rath wrote:
August 6th, 2019, 9:22 am
Enough. It doesn't take a genius to read that report and recognize that the inspectors were, at best, not favorably disposed to Rhys. OMG, there's some fine sediment near the pond. OMG, there's water running down the road in the middle of rainy season in January. OMG, there's some sluffing hillside in the middle of rainy season in January. OMG, some dirt got pushed around to plant a vineyard and build a road to get to it. Spend a few minutes on Google Earth, and you'll see that the vineyard (and pond) are at about 620 meters of elevation. The highest nearby point is 654 meters. I'm having a bit of trouble imagining how those few acres at the top of a mountain constitute "permanent loss of wetlands and streams", as the OP article trumpeted.

You folks can have your opinions of regulatory agencies and their inspectors and enforcers. I have my own, based on 30 years of dealing professionally with the FDA, USDA, FCC, US Patent office, Customs, etc. Not once has it ever been a fun experience. Not once have they made it easy for the company or its customers to achieve their goals. In almost every instance, "No" was the first response, and it took months, sometimes years of prodding, negotiating, preparing additional materials. If you don't think the people in those agencies have little motivation to help, you have another thing coming. They don't get paid based on how many problems they solve, they just get paid. That's not to say they aren't good people trying to do their jobs, but it's very different when you have deadlines, budgets, development, manufacturing and delivery schedules, P&L, company jobs and customer's careers depend on completion and success. Ironically, one of my customers is the FDA (also NIH and NIST). If you think dealing with them externally is no picnic, be glad you don't have to get internal approvals to install equipment and do research.

So yeah, I'm not favorably disposed to just accept a report - which to me looks obviously inflated to achieve a goal - without knowing the details of the other side, which we will not get. At the same time, I'm familiar with the other side, and have at least some cursory knowledge of what they have done in other vineyards, how they treat their customers and employees, and the quality of their product.

I read one article that counted the number of illegal pot farms in the golden triangle at 30,000. Last year 2,200 of those had applied for permits to become legal. Punishing a vineyard owner over some infractions on a 20 acre vineyard must feel pretty good, while those 30,000 unregulated farms do orders of magnitude more damage to the environment.

We can have differences of opinion, and react differently to an incident like this. But if you call my opinions uninformed or "hot takes", I will push back.
Alan,

NOV's are public record and can be found here. If you took the time to look you would see Cannabis actually does constitute a majority of their enforcement action on the north coast.

https://www.waterboards.ca.gov/northcoa ... violation/
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Re: Rhys fined $3.76M for illegally diverting water in Anderson Valley

#235 Post by Sherri S h a p i r o » August 6th, 2019, 1:49 pm

Kelly Walker wrote:
August 6th, 2019, 12:33 pm
Calling someone a racist seems to be the popular way of saying you don't like what somebody says these days.
Sorry but I am calling BS on this. In this instance, I don't agree that the post was racist, but I understand how someone else might disagree, and it has nothing do with whether I or anyone else likes what that poster said.

Kelly - if you want to fan flames and get into politics, there is another forum for that.

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Re: Rhys fined $3.76M for illegally diverting water in Anderson Valley

#236 Post by Andrew Demaree » August 6th, 2019, 2:25 pm

Wine Berserkers certainly continues to live up to its name.

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Re: Rhys fined $3.76M for illegally diverting water in Anderson Valley

#237 Post by Gary York » August 6th, 2019, 3:25 pm

Sherri S h a p i r o wrote:
August 6th, 2019, 1:49 pm
Kelly Walker wrote:
August 6th, 2019, 12:33 pm
Calling someone a racist seems to be the popular way of saying you don't like what somebody says these days.
Sorry but I am calling BS on this. In this instance, I don't agree that the post was racist, but I understand how someone else might disagree, and it has nothing do with whether I or anyone else likes what that poster said.

Kelly - if you want to fan flames and get into politics, there is another forum for that.
Pretty amazing when someone injects politics and incorrectly calls someone else a racist. But the person that points out the fake racist card being played is told to take it to politics. Rich, very rich.
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Re: Rhys fined $3.76M for illegally diverting water in Anderson Valley

#238 Post by Anton D » August 6th, 2019, 3:35 pm

It's hard to keep up these days. Who's the racist on this thread?
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Re: Rhys fined $3.76M for illegally diverting water in Anderson Valley

#239 Post by Gary York » August 6th, 2019, 3:44 pm

If you have to ask.....
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Re: Rhys fined $3.76M for illegally diverting water in Anderson Valley

#240 Post by Kelly Walker » August 6th, 2019, 3:48 pm

Anton D wrote:
August 6th, 2019, 3:35 pm
It's hard to keep up these days. Who's the racist on this thread?
Depends on who you disagree with. [snort.gif]
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Re: Rhys fined $3.76M for illegally diverting water in Anderson Valley

#241 Post by Craig G » August 6th, 2019, 4:12 pm

Anton D wrote:
August 6th, 2019, 3:35 pm
It's hard to keep up these days. Who's the racist on this thread?
You know what they say about spotting the sucker at the poker table...
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Re: Rhys fined $3.76M for illegally diverting water in Anderson Valley

#242 Post by Alan Rath » August 6th, 2019, 4:17 pm

Rboinski wrote:
August 6th, 2019, 1:34 pm
Alan,

NOV's are public record and can be found here. If you took the time to look you would see Cannabis actually does constitute a majority of their enforcement action on the north coast.

https://www.waterboards.ca.gov/northcoa ... violation/
Thanks for the link, very enlightening. In 2019, roughly 70% of posted violations are cannabis related. That sounds impressive, until you count the number of total violations: 14. Not a typo, 14 total violations recorded (10 cannabis related).

Also enlightening is to look through the list of "Adopted Orders" for violations in all northern California coastal counties. Finding actual monetary settlements is difficult, without reading through each and every document (there is no way to search). I found a 2008 settlement for the city of Healdsburg for exceeding effluent waste limitations, in the amount of $369k.

I found a portable toilet business in violation. The order starts out by enumerating the maximum allowable fine. I'll include that text as entertainment:
9. The 2007/2008 and 2008/2009 Annual Storm Water Reports were due July 1,
2008 and July 1, 2009, respectively. Neither report has been received; both are
still due. The 2007/2008 annual report is 548 days late, as of December 31, 2009
and the 2008/2009 annual report is 183 days late, as of December 31, 2009.

10. CWC section 13385(a)(2) provides for civil liability for a violation of any waste
discharge requirements established pursuant to Chapter 5, Division 7 of the CWC.
Pursuant to CWC 13385(c)(1), the Discharger is subject to discretionary
administrative civil liabilities of up to TEN THOUSAND DOLLARS ($10,000.00) for
each day in which a violation occurs (i.e., each day the Permittee fails to submit an
annual report after July 1 of each year). The Regional Water Board may assess
discretionary administrative civil liability on a daily basis commencing with the date
that the violation(s) first occurred.

11. Pursuant to CWC section 13385, the maximum potential penalty for failure to
submit the Annual Storm Water Report for the 2007/2008 fiscal year is $5,480,000
(548 days x $10,000 per day) for violations through December 31, 2009.

12. Pursuant to CWC section 13385, the maximum potential administrative civil liability
for failure to submit the Annual Storm Water Report for the 2008/2009 fiscal year is
$1,830,000 (183 days x $10,000 per day) for violations through December 31,
2009.
After the invocation of various rules that limit payments, the company is fined $10,730.

In another, the RRV sanitation district was fined $45k for two sewage overflow discharges.

PG&E was fined $6,000 for what the water board described as "chronic" effluent discharges exceeding limitations.

The city of Ferndale waste treatment facility was cited:
According to monitoring reports submitted by the Discharger for the period from
May 1, 2005 through June 11, 2008, the Discharger exceeded effluent limitations
twenty-four times while discharging to Francis Creek. Of those twenty-four
exceedances, two were serious effluent violations, as described in CWC section
13385, subdivisions (h)(1) and (h)(2), and twenty-two were nonserious (chronic)
effluent violations, as described in CWC section 13385, subdivision (i)(1). The
total mandatory minimum penalty amount for these violations is $45,000.
And settled by paying $10,000 to the water board, and applying the remaining $35,000 on a compliance project

A private trust was fined for some kind of water storage rupture and leak, $37,000

Stephen Kistler (I assume THE Steve Kistler) was fined $580,000 for "violating section 301 of the Clean Water Act by discharging approximately 739,910 gallons of highly turbid water into the Salmon Creek watershed by pumping a pond on his property into a second pond, which overflowed into a stream April 9 to April 10, 2013". Steve got a break when the board reduced the fine to $322k, assuming he fixed the problem on the property.

A mobile home park was fined for sewage overflow:
Staff observed surfacing sewage from the Park’s septic system flowing across the property boundary and onto the neighbor’s driveway and yard area. Additionally, Staff observed surfacing sewage from the Park flowing between the two properties towards the roadside ditch, which flows to the nearby intermittent stream and thence to the Trinity River. The pumps and piping associated with the septic tank were also Administrative Civil Liability Order R1‐2014‐0005 Larry and Margaret Barcellos Trinity Dam Mobile Home Park 2 leaking onto the ground. Staff observed an unfenced effluent treatment and disposal pond at the north end of the property containing undisinfected effluent from the Park. This pond is unlined and was built by constructing an earthfill embankment across an intermittent stream.
The fine was reduced from $98k to $44k

There are a fair number more, going back to 2010 (as far as I cared to look). Almost all are violations by some city, or municipal waste treatment entity, and most are modest fines.

Then we have the Rhys violation and settlement. For moving some dirt, and building a pond and road that has some minor runoff and erosion on top of a 2,000 foot mountain top, during the height of the rainy winter season. No release of effluent, sewage, or toxic chemicals. Fine: $3.7 million. No indication that I can find of any kind of reduction in the fine.

Someone is going to have to work very hard to convince me that the egregious behavior is not with Rhys, but with the state water board.
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Re: Rhys fined $3.76M for illegally diverting water in Anderson Valley

#243 Post by Sherri S h a p i r o » August 6th, 2019, 4:19 pm

Gary York wrote:
August 6th, 2019, 3:25 pm
Sherri S h a p i r o wrote:
August 6th, 2019, 1:49 pm
Kelly Walker wrote:
August 6th, 2019, 12:33 pm
Calling someone a racist seems to be the popular way of saying you don't like what somebody says these days.
Sorry but I am calling BS on this. In this instance, I don't agree that the post was racist, but I understand how someone else might disagree, and it has nothing do with whether I or anyone else likes what that poster said.

Kelly - if you want to fan flames and get into politics, there is another forum for that.
Pretty amazing when someone injects politics and incorrectly calls someone else a racist. But the person that points out the fake racist card being played is told to take it to politics. Rich, very rich.
That's not what happened, Gary. I specifically said that I didn't think the post was racist. Kelly's comment had nothing to do with Rhys or the subject of this thread or even the actual post that others took offence to and was in my view, gratuitous and political. YMMV.

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Re: Rhys fined $3.76M for illegally diverting water in Anderson Valley

#244 Post by Anton D » August 6th, 2019, 4:19 pm

Gary York wrote:
August 6th, 2019, 3:44 pm
If you have to ask.....
Uh, oh.

[gen_fro.gif]
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Re: Rhys fined $3.76M for illegally diverting water in Anderson Valley

#245 Post by Anton D » August 6th, 2019, 4:21 pm

Craig G wrote:
August 6th, 2019, 4:12 pm
Anton D wrote:
August 6th, 2019, 3:35 pm
It's hard to keep up these days. Who's the racist on this thread?
You know what they say about spotting the sucker at the poker table...
I always figured I couldn't identify the fish because it was so hard to look out over my wall of chips and I stay so busy raking in pots.
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What is man, when you come to think upon him, but a minutely set, ingenious machine for turning, with infinite artfulness, the fine red wine of Shiraz into urine?

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Re: Rhys fined $3.76M for illegally diverting water in Anderson Valley

#246 Post by AlexS » August 6th, 2019, 4:42 pm

Doug Schulman wrote:
August 6th, 2019, 9:41 am
AlexS wrote:
August 5th, 2019, 5:31 pm
D@vid Bu3ker wrote:
August 5th, 2019, 5:24 pm
I don’t buy it Alex. The whole thing is more than a little off.
Maybe Darren's a racist, I have no clue. But as someone who has worked in semi-rural, heavily white locales with POC coworkers, I can tell you his description of how the local townies may have viewed Rhys and their minority contractors resonated with me.
You're saying that because many locals are racist, it's okay to post a racist comment. That's a terrible excuse for what was definitely a racist post.
Yeah...no.

What I'm saying is I understand what it's like to be viewed by suspicion by locals, which is true for me whether I'm with a POC or not - I'm from the city and let's just say I don't "blend in" well with local townies either. That said, I've found that 9 out of 10 times when I actually engage with the locals, that suspicion usually wavers (same when I'm with a POC).

Honestly folks, if you think it's racist to simply state that rural whites view random out-of-towners (especially POC) suspiciously y'all need to check yourselves; again, perhaps Darren could have written his passage more eloquently but if you think he had racist intent in how he painted the AV locals I don't know what else to tell you. It should also say something to you that other winemakers are defending him.
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Re: Rhys fined $3.76M for illegally diverting water in Anderson Valley

#247 Post by George Chadwick » August 6th, 2019, 5:17 pm

Mr. Harvey's team are good businesspeople. Regardless of ethics there is no way they are going to buy a property knowing they are inheriting a regulatory time bomb. It would be like knowingly paying full price for a hazmat property with no concessions from the seller.
Without knowing anything outside of this thread, my strong guess is it's a strict liability situation, and if Rhys could magically prove by telepathy they had no idea it was illegal and had nothing but the greatest intentions, they would still have to pay the three million.

Whether they have recourse or indemnification against the property seller is an entirely different situation under entirely different legal principles.

If my speculations are correct it's silly -- and ignorant - to moralize against good faith buyers who unknowingly inherit a strict liability situation. Criticize for lack of due diligence, maybe, but anything further sounds like grandstanding .

I will prove I am right with charts and diagrams at the Sept. 17 Older Rhys dinner in Los Gatos. There will be assigned reading before the dinner .

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Re: Rhys fined $3.76M for illegally diverting water in Anderson Valley

#248 Post by ATaylor » August 6th, 2019, 5:27 pm

Alan Rath wrote:
August 6th, 2019, 4:17 pm

Someone is going to have to work very hard to convince me that the egregious behavior is not with Rhys, but with the state water board.
Simply wow..........you can cheer lead for Rhys/Kevin all you want, but the report makes it crystal clear that they blatantly violated both State and Federal Clean Water laws and it does not take a genius to realize that this goes beyond a case of simply not knowing. Perhaps the wine sediment in the Horseshoe Syrah is clouding your judgement. neener

If you want to compare apples to apples in your case list (especially Kistler), I would bet at least they had all the permits in place. I am amazed that you can't see the difference between having violations occur even though you have the permits versus a case where someone thumbs their nose at the basic permitting process, and goes ahead with construction in an essentially virgin (and by definition one that will have water/runoff issues) area. Rhys is not exactly an unsophisticated operation and they have the means to hire the best in the business at everything they do. Ask any winery owner/winemaker what they would do if they were planning to develop a vineyard in an untouched area and the first thing would be to call in their environmental consultants.

• 20 acres of cleared/graded area with no apparent erosion/drainage controls
• 1480-1650 feet of fill in a stream channel in the graded area
• Nine locations where evidence of instream sediment deposits were attributable to road surface
erosion.
• At instream crossings, rock fill was placed into the active channel likely decreasing channel and
riparian functions and contributing to channel instability over time.
• Several road segments with high rates of instability as exhibited by landslides and failing cuter
banks.
• Poorly installed and/or maintained outfalls from the two existing instream ponds, with erosion and
sediment delivery in the downstream watercourse channels
• Eroded dam and stream below the larger of the two ponds
• Eroded stream channel below the pond Located at GPS9.

Like I said above, I would love to see how fast you make it to City Hall if your uphill neighbor were to start building a swimming pool with no permits and an unlicensed contractor (note: not saying Rhys used an unlicensed contractor). Nimbyism (and people begging for govt intervention) only manifests when that objectionable project is next door.....can't have it both ways.

Tinfoil hats may be in order for the next offline.
Last edited by ATaylor on August 6th, 2019, 6:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Rhys fined $3.76M for illegally diverting water in Anderson Valley

#249 Post by ATaylor » August 6th, 2019, 5:36 pm

George Chadwick wrote:
August 6th, 2019, 5:17 pm
Mr. Harvey's team are good businesspeople. Regardless of ethics there is no way they are going to buy a property knowing they are inheriting a regulatory time bomb. It would be like knowingly paying full price for a hazmat property with no concessions from the seller.
Without knowing anything outside of this thread, my strong guess is it's a strict liability situation, and if Rhys could magically prove by telepathy they had no idea it was illegal and had nothing but the greatest intentions, they would still have to pay the three million.

Whether they have recourse or indemnification against the property seller is an entirely different situation under entirely different legal principles.

If my speculations are correct it's silly -- and ignorant - to moralize against good faith buyers who unknowingly inherit a strict liability situation. Criticize for lack of due diligence, maybe, but anything further sounds like grandstanding .

I will prove I am right with charts and diagrams at the Sept. 17 Older Rhys dinner in Los Gatos. There will be assigned reading before the dinner .
George, it is not a liability issue. It is a case of proceeding with construction without having applied and received the appropriate permits. Period.
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Re: Rhys fined $3.76M for illegally diverting water in Anderson Valley

#250 Post by theocorrel » August 6th, 2019, 6:08 pm

And, as the Settlement Agreement Kevin Harvey/Rhys specifically accepted and agreed to make clear, a repeat legal violation. Andrew, thanks for taking the time in the face of all this ignorance as well as, in the case of Alan (at least as his repeated posts in this thread demonstrate), severe and ridiculous bias confirmation.

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