Administrative Agency Zoning, Planning & Land Use Environmental

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Environmental Liability: Relief Through Bankruptcy Or Not?

In re Appalachian Fuel, LLC, 521 B.R. 779 (Bankr. E.D. Ky. 2014) – A state department of environmental protection (DEP) filed an administrative expense application in the bankruptcy cases of coal mining debtors for...more

District Court Rejects Challenge to Wind Farm Permitting, Finds No Violation of ESA or Eagle Protection Act

This month a federal court in Maine rejected a challenge to a permit issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Army Corps) for the Oakfield wind power project. The court determined that the Army Corps did not violate the...more

EPA Environmental Appeals Board Upholds $600,000 RCRA Penalty

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Environmental Appeals Board (EAB) has upheld the results of an EPA Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) enforcement action involving hazardous waste storage that was...more

Failure to Describe Project Changes Results in 180-Day Statute of Limitations for CEQA Challenge (Ventura Foothills Neighbors v....

Why it matters: When a project’s subsequent CEQA documents fail to clearly provide public notice of material changes to a project, CEQA’s short statutes of limitation may not apply....more

Enforcement undertakings may be available for environmental permitting offences as early as 6 April 2015

On 15 December 2014, the Government laid draft Regulations before Parliament which introduce enforcement undertakings in respect of environmental permitting offences. Subject to Parliamentary approval, the draft Environmental...more

Development Of Brackish Groundwater For Hydraulic Fracturing Operations: Regulatory And Policy Issues

A. The Brackish Groundwater Resource Opportunity. According to the Texas Water Development Board (“TWDB”), more than 2.7 billion acre-feet of brackish groundwater exists within the State of Texas. Texas has numerous...more

Federal Court Remands Renewable Energy Project for Additional Explanation; Delay Ensues

Last week, a federal district court in Nevada ruled that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) failed to adequately explain a decision to authorize a proposed wind energy project. The...more

How CEQA’s Administrative Record Preparation Process Could Be Reformed By Eliminating CEQA Petitioners’ Statutory Option To...

I recently analyzed proposed legislation (SB 122) seeking to create an alternative procedure for preparation of the CEQA administrative record concurrently with administrative proceedings on a project and prior to any...more

California Land Use Lawyer: Will We See CEQA Reform In 2015?

In terms of land use regulations that have far-reaching effects on development in California, the application - or misapplication - of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) is near the top of the list. CEQA, when...more

Déjà Vu All Over Again: CLF and CWRA Try Once More to Get EPA to Regulate Stormwater Discharges to the Charles River

In 2008, EPA made a preliminary determination to use its residual designation authority (RDA) under the Clean Water Act to designate stormwater discharges from two or more acres of impervious surfaces in the Lower Charles...more

Procedures Introduced to Administer and Coordinate First Nation Consultation

On February 4, 2015, the Aboriginal Consultation Office (ACO) and the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) released the Joint Operating Procedures for First Nations Consultation on Energy Resource Activities (Procedures). ...more

Clean Water Environmental Issues for 2015

There are a handful of legal and regulatory issues on the horizon in 2015 that are worth watching. Some of these issues, like the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Cooling Water Rule and the U.S. Army Corps of...more

MassDEP Finalizes Underground Storage Tank Regulations

MassDEP’s new regulations governing Underground Storage Tanks (USTs) became effective January 2, 2015.  MassDEP took responsibility for USTs from the Department of Fire Services in 2009 and initially relied on existing...more

MEPA Climate Change Adaptation and Resiliency Policy Available for Public Comment

The Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) is accepting public comments on its proposed draft Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act (MEPA) Climate Change Adaptation and Resiliency Policy...more

California Environmental Law and Policy Update - January 2015

Environmental and Policy Focus: U.S. Supreme Court keeps in place protections for California's delta smelt - The U.S. Supreme Court last week kept in place environmental orders in California that protect the...more

CT Law of the Land

Week of January 12 - On January 7, 2015, the Planning & Zoning Section of the Connecticut Bar Association met in Cromwell, CT with special guest Judge Marshall Berger. The main focus of the meeting was Practice Book...more

D.C. Circuit Rejects Psychological Harm Theory in Deer-Culling Case

This Tuesday, the D.C. Circuit issued an opinion in No. 13-5136, Grunewald v. Jarvis, affirming the lower court’s decision that the National Park Service’s promulgation of the White-Tailed Deer Management Plan was lawful. At...more

SB 4 Well Stimulation Treatment Permanent Regulations Finalized

On December 30, 2014, the California Office of Administrative Law (“OAL”) approved the Final Permanent Well Stimulation Treatment Regulations (“Permanent Regulations”). The regulations go into effect on July 1, 2015, and the...more

First District Publishes Decision Rejecting CEQA Challenges To Cal Fire’s Approval of Gualala Area Nonindustrial Timber Management...

In a decision filed December 2, and later ordered published on December 30, 2014, the First District Court of Appeal affirmed the Mendocino County Superior Court’s judgment denying a petition for writ of mandate challenging a...more

District Court Limits Tiering of Biological Opinions

On December 5, 2014, a federal district court held that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) failed to comply with the Endangered Species Act (ESA) when it relied entirely on existing programmatic biological opinions to...more

Fifth District Rejects CEQA Challenge to Fresno County Aggregate Mine Project EIR In Partially Published Decision, Clarifies State...

In a lengthy, 65-page opinion filed December 8, 2014 (of which fully two-thirds was unpublished), the Fifth District Court of Appeal affirmed the Fresno County Superior Court’s judgment upholding the EIR, Conditional Use...more

Swing, Pendulum, Swing: California's Historic Drought and Unprecedented Responses

Most know by now that California is facing one of its driest years in recorded history. Yet droughts are not new to California, and to put things in context we can be thankful that current drought conditions are only as bad...more

Current Water Utility CCN Decertification Issues At The Public Utility Commission Of Texas

The responsibility for the regulation of water and sewer service, including the oversight of certificates of public convenience and necessity (“CCNs”), was recently transferred from the Texas Commission on Environmental...more

CEQA Lead Agencies Do Not Waive Defense that CEQA Did Not Apply Despite Proceeding under CEQA

Recently, the court in Rominger v. County of Colusa found that a lead agency which approved a mitigated negative declaration for a project, can take the seemingly inconsistent position that the proposed project was not a...more

Real Estate and Land Use - November 2014

Change of Heart – Court of Appeal Reverses Opinion in Bowman v. California Coastal Commission - Why it matters: The court in Bowman originally held that a permit condition could not be modified or deleted by a second...more

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