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Calsport Torturing KKMI

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  • Calsport Torturing KKMI

    What's the backstory here? Why pick on KKMI? Of all the yards on the Bay, I'd trust those guys to be running a clean shop. Ulterior motive or legal payoff troll?

  • #2
    What's the front story?


    • #3
      As a recipient of KKMI's Knewsletter, you are probably aware that a nonprofit organization (NGO) called California Sportfishing Protection Alliance (CSPA) has filed suit against our Pt. Richmond location over alleged violations of the Clean Water Act. This suit is reminiscent of the nuisance "drive-by" lawsuits brought against businesses over alleged violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act. When KKMI was notified of this lawsuit last year, Paul Kaplan, co-founder of KKMI, spoke with both the Chairman and President of CSPA who personally assured him that CSPA would settle this matter "quickly and amicably." Unfortunately, after nine months and hundreds of thousands of dollars spent by KKMI in an attempt to appease CSPA's lawyers, CSPA has remained unrelenting in their demands. This Friday we have a settlement conference. If we are unable to resolve this dispute it may become necessary to seek a jury trial in federal court, which will only cost KKMI, and ultimately our customers, more money.

      The response to this lawsuit has brought a strong and unanimous outcry in our defense from our customers--and we thank you for your support. Comments sent to the Chairman of CSPA include, "I was surprised and saddened to hear about the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance's (CSPA) lawsuit against the KKMI Boatyard in Richmond. If you have a problem with KKMI, then you have a problem with every boatyard in the Bay Area because in every area of the business, they are in the forefront of best practices." We also heard from a long-time customer who was recognized by the US Senate for his efforts responding to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion, who wrote, "...I have not witnessed any activities that support the water pollution allegations cited. Rather, I have observed exceptional practices by KKMI devoted to preventing excessive air and water pollution during their boatyard work activities."

      We are very grateful for the outpouring of support from the boating community. If you have not yet sent your message to CSPA and would like to voice your opinions, you still have time. Please email CSPA by the close of business tomorrow, February 14th.

      To further understand the allegations, please click here.

      For inspiration and pertinent talking points, click here.

      Please send your emails to and copy me at and Latitude 38 at


      • #4
        Clicky things not working


        • #5

          Has the details:

          On Friday, Keefe Kaplan Maritime, Inc., or KKMI, will face off against the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance (CSPA) in federal court at a settlement hearing to resolve allegations made by CSPA that KKMI is violating the federal Clean Water Act and its discharge permit with the San Francisco Regional Water Control Board. This settlement conference follows nine months of fruitless negotiations to resolve the conflict. In its lawsuit, CSPA alleges that KKMI’s discharge of pollutants threatens or impairs the ability of its members to ” . . . fish, sail, boat, kayak, swim, bird watch and engage in scientific study . . .” in the Santa Fe Channel, where KKMI is located. In addition, CSPA alleges that KKMI is discharging more copper into the water than is allowable under California Toxics Rule guidelines, which they say is a violation of the terms of its discharge permit.

          Neither of these claims withstands serious scrutiny, but the costs incurred by KKMI in defending itself will ultimately be borne by the boating public, adding to the costs of boat ownership in the Bay Area and beyond. By raising the costs of ownership, the CSPA lawsuit may very well prove to be counterproductive, undermining sportfishing, environmental stewardship, and water quality in and around the Bay Area. Furthermore, by filing such a lawsuit, CSPA may itself be violating the terms of its own nonprofit charter, which requires that it operate for the public good.

          The first allegation, that KKMI impairs the use of the Santa Fe Channel, is nonsense. There is a kayak launch ramp open to the public immediately adjacent to KKMI, and nothing that KKMI does impairs the use of that ramp. For many years, we had a friend who lived aboard his boat in the Santa Fe Channel, and we sailed there many times to visit. The channel is, however, a deepwater port, and we have often had to wait for tugboats and large ships to clear the channel before being able to proceed.

          The second allegation is more complicated, but KKMI has been notably forthright in documenting their discharges and submitting their data to the Regional Board. Hence, the governmental unit tasked with overseeing the discharge permit is fully aware of KKMI’s activities, and does not believe that KKMI is violating the law.

          The Clean Water Act is a complicated piece of legislation, and complying with its requirements can be extremely challenging. However, KKMI has demonstrated a strong commitment to meeting the requirements of the law, and in many cases, sets the standard for environmental stewardship among boatyards in the Bay Area and across California.

          Efforts to contact CSPA to better understand what they are trying to accomplish with their lawsuit were unsuccessful, but it’s our opinion that their actions have nothing to do with protecting either sportfishing or water quality. By raising the costs of boat ownership, they run the risk of undermining both of these professed goals.

          Many of the resource management programs supported by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife are supported by fishing and big game licenses. If the cost of boat ownership becomes too prohibitive, the people who buy fishing licenses will stop buying, and the revenues used to manage fishery resources will be reduced. This will have a detrimental impact on fisheries and sportfishing.

          Likewise, due to the increased costs of yard services at a yard that is continually striving to improve the environmental quality of its operations, boat owners may forego boatyard services altogether — or worse, give up sailing because it’s become too expensive. This would be unfortunate for many reasons, not least because well-maintained boats are invariably cleaner than boats that are poorly maintained. This will have a detrimental impact on water quality, and on the quality of the experience we sailors and boaters have when we are out on the water.

          Ahead of the settlement hearing on Friday, February 15, we urge our readership to support KKMI in this matter. As sailors and stewards of our environment, let us hope that the parties reach an agreement.


          • #6
            I smell shakedown.


            • #7
              Sometimes the do gooder groups get a little over zealous and need to be reigned in.


              • #8
                Hopefully the transcript of the legal proceeding becomes public somehow. It would be interesting to understand whether Calsport has some kind of specific evidence of wrongdoing or whether this really was a shakedown.


                • #9

                  Too bad Kamala Harris just had lying outlawed


                  • #10
                    It's not like there aren't other potential sources of pollution in the neighborhood...


                    • #11
                      Any word from the mediation?