Michelle Ouellette

Michelle Ouellette

Best Best & Krieger LLP

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Evaluating a Project’s “Exacerbation” on Existing Environmental Hazards

Substantial Evidence Proving “Exacerbation” Required, California Appellate Court Says - A significant decision interpreting the scope of the California Supreme Court’s ruling in California Building Industry Association...more

11/14/2016 - CA Supreme Court CEQA Construction Project Environmental Impact Report (EIR) Environmental Site Assessment Evidence Real Estate Development Residential Property Owners

CEQA Allows Developers to Recover Administrative Record Costs when Reimbursing Agency

Appellate Victory for Developers and Public Agencies - A developer can recover the cost of preparing a California Environmental Quality Act administrative record, even when the lead agency, not the developer, actually...more

9/23/2016 - Administrative Record Appeals CEQA Environmental Impact Report (EIR) Litigation Fees & Costs Prevailing Party Real Estate Development Shopping Centers Urban Planning & Development Wal-Mart

Environmental Groups to Sue Fish & Wildlife Service Over Listing of 417 Species

Development Projects in California May be Impacted - In what could prove to have significant impacts to development and major public projects in California, the Center for Biological Diversity and other environmental...more

9/8/2016 - Conservation Critical Habitat Endangered Species Endangered Species Act (ESA) Environmental Policies Environmental Violations ESA Listings US Fish and Wildlife Service

Legislature Passes Pair of Significant New Climate Change Bills

Gov. Brown Expected to Sign Laws that Will Have CEQA Implications - In the final days of its session, the California Legislature passed two climate change bills that expand existing laws aimed at reducing statewide...more

9/7/2016 - CEQA Climate Change Environmental Policies Governor Brown Greenhouse Gas Emissions Pending Legislation

Sweeping Six-Case Win For Water District Helps Secure Orange County's Water Supply

In early May, the Fourth District Court of Appeal took an important step toward helping to secure Orange County’s water supply. It issued several opinions in response to challenges to a proposed public-private partnership...more

8/25/2016 - CEQA Environmental Impact Report (EIR) Groundwater Infrastructure Natural Resources Public Private Partnerships (P3s) Utilities Sector Water Water Rights Water Supplies

Sweeping Six-Case Win for Water District

Court Upholds Public-Private Groundwater Conservation and Recovery Project That Will Serve Customers Throughout Southern California - A proposed public-private partnership project to pump fresh groundwater, which would...more

5/16/2016 - CEQA Environmental Impact Report (EIR) Groundwater Groundwater Management Plan Memorandum of Understanding Public Private Partnerships (P3s)

California Supreme Court Addresses the Reverse CEQA Problem

CEQA Does Not Require Agencies to Consider the Impact of Existing Conditions on Future Project Users — Except in Certain Circumstances - Under what circumstances, if any, does the California Environmental Quality Act...more

12/28/2015 - Bay Area Air Quality Management District CA Supreme Court California Building Industry Association (CBIA) CEQA Contaminated Properties Environmental Review

California Supreme Court Decision Regarding Newhall Ranch Development Could Significantly Impact Developments

California Supreme Court Overturns Environmental Impact Report Related to Proposed Residential Development - In a much-anticipated decision, Center for Biological Diversity v. California Department of Fish and Wildlife,...more

12/7/2015 - CA Supreme Court CEQA Environmental Impact Report (EIR) Fully Protected Species Greenhouse Gas Emissions Incidental Take Permits Urban Planning & Development US Fish and Wildlife Service

Phase I of Final Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan Now Publicly Available

Following a public comment period and an extensive nine-month revision effort, the first phase of the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan is finalized and available to the public. The initial draft of the DRECP, which...more

12/1/2015 - Conservation DRECP Renewable Energy

Preliminary Discussion Draft of CEQA Guidelines Amendments Released

Comments Due to Office of Planning and Research by Oct. 12 - The California Office of Planning and Research has issued a preliminary discussion draft of revisions to nearly 30 different sections of the CEQA Guidelines....more

8/20/2015 - CEQA CEQA Reform Guidance Update Office of Planning & Research (OPR)

Uncertainty of Legislative Earmarks Not Enough to Deem Mitigation Infeasible

California Supreme Court Takes on CEQA Issue in State College Expansion Project - State agencies cannot declare mitigation infeasible for construction projects on the grounds that the California Legislature has not — and...more

8/12/2015 - Appropriation CA Supreme Court CEQA Duty to Mitigate Environmental Impact Report (EIR) Public Entities San Diego

California Supreme Court Makes Critical CEQA Ruling Regarding Categorical Exemptions

Court Clarifies the Unusual Circumstances Exception - In a victory for public agencies and developers, the California Supreme Court issued its heavily anticipated ruling in Berkeley Hillside Preservation v. City of...more

3/5/2015

New Law Requires Formal Consultation with Native American Tribes During CEQA Process

Agencies Must, Upon Request, Consult With Tribes About “Tribal Cultural Resources” - Assembly Bill 52, signed yesterday by Gov. Jerry Brown, seeks to protect a new class of resources under CEQA: “tribal cultural...more

9/29/2014 - CEQA Native American Issues Tribal Governments

Federal Appellate Court Upholds Environmental Review of Colorado River Water Delivery Agreement

Ninth Circuit Affirms District Court’s Decision Approving NEPA and Clean Air Act Review of Federal QSA - The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has issued its decision on the federal case challenging...more

5/21/2014 - Clean Air Act Environmental Policies Environmental Review NEPA Water

Court Upholds Approvals for the Cadiz Valley Water Conservation, Recovery and Storage Project

Trial Court Validates Agreements and Plans for Large Public-Private Water Project and Approves CEQA Review - The Orange County Superior Court last week issued rulings rejecting all six challenges to the environmental...more

5/6/2014 - CEQA Conservation Environmental Impact Report (EIR) Environmental Review Public Private Partnerships (P3s) Water

Applications for Funding are Not Necessarily Projects Under CEQA - Court Clarifies Save Tara Standard

In the recently published decision in City of Irvine v. County of Orange the Court of Appeal held that the county’s approval of an application for state funding to expand a jail facility was not a project under the California...more

12/4/2013 - CEQA Entitlements Funding Public Projects

Broad Reform of the California Environmental Quality Act Shelved for 2013 - Several CEQA Bills Await the Governor’s Signature

After promises of far-reaching reform in 2013, the state Legislature has instead proposed only a few tweaks to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). Several CEQA-related bills were passed by the Legislature and...more

9/17/2013 - CEQA Environmental Policies Jerry Brown Proposed Legislation

Court of Appeal Addresses Greenhouse Gas Emissions Analysis Under CEQA

The Court of Appeal for the Third District issued its ruling Monday in Friends of Oroville v. City of Oroville. Finding an environmental impact report’s greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) analysis deficient, the court’s ruling...more

8/21/2013 - CEQA Environmental Impact Report (EIR) Mitigation

Court of Appeal Rules Setting Thresholds is Not a "Project" Under CEQA - Air District’s CEQA Thresholds for Greenhouse Gases...

Yesterday, the Court of Appeal for the First District issued its ruling in California Building Industry Association v. Bay Area Air Quality Management District. In a win for public agencies, the court held that establishing...more

8/15/2013 - Air Pollution CEQA Environmental Claims Environmental Policies Greenhouse Gas Emissions Public Projects

State Supreme Court Makes Key CEQA Ruling Involving Baseline Analyses - Future Conditions Can Be Used as the Sole Baseline for...

In a victory for public agencies, the California Supreme Court today issued its much-anticipated ruling in Neighbors for Smart Rail v. Exposition Metro Line Construction Authority (August 5, 2013). The Court held that, in...more

8/5/2013 - CEQA Environmental Claims Environmental Impact Report (EIR)

San Bernardino County Approves Temporary Moratorium on Utility-Scale Solar Projects - County Wants Time to Consider Potential...

The San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors last week unanimously approved a 45-day moratorium on utility-scale solar energy projects to allow the County time to address potential land use compatibility issues posed by...more

6/19/2013 - Moratorium Nuisance Permits Property Valuation Solar Energy Solar Farm

Court Upholds California’s Landmark Quantification Settlement Agreement Involving Colorado River Water Transfers - Trial Court...

The Sacramento Superior Court last week issued its ruling on the long-running coordinated cases challenging the state’s landmark Quantification Settlement Agreement (QSA), validating the QSA and eleven related agreements...more

6/12/2013 - CEQA Settlement Ultra Vires Water

CEQA: Reforming California's Landmark Environmental Law

California has always been on the cutting edge when it comes to environmental protection. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the adoption and implementation of the California Environmental Quality Act, frequently referred...more

3/5/2013 - CEQA CEQA Reform NEPA Proposed Legislation Unions

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