Civil Procedure Environmental Zoning, Planning & Land Use

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“Making CEQA A Federal Case? Recent Actions of California’s Supreme Court and the Federal Surface Transportation Board Set Up A...

Controversy has dogged the California high speed rail project since before its inception with the 2008 passage of Proposition 1A, the bond measure providing the project’s initial funding. The controversy has not abated in the...more

Construction E-Note - December 2014

In this issue: - Construction Expected to Increase in 2015 - What Now? Why Maryland's Decision to Recognize the International Green Construction Code May Signal a Major Shift in the Means Utilized to Implement...more

Real Estate and Land Use - December 2014

San Diego Regional Sustainable Strategies Plan Invalidated; SANDAG Has Requested Supreme Court Review - Cleveland National Forest Foundation et al. v. San Diego Association of Governments (November 24, 2014) Fourth...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

Utah Prairie Dog Could Narrow Endangered Species Act

A Utah federal court has created the potential for a constitutional showdown that could result in a significant narrowing of the Endangered Species Act and further limiting Congress’ power to legislate. In an unprecedented...more

County of San Diego’s Adopted Climate Action Plan Violates CEQA: Fails to Include Enforceable GHG Reduction Measures

Sierra Club v. County of San Diego (10/29/14, D064243) - On October 29, 2014, the Fourth District California Court of Appeal unanimously affirmed the trial court’s decision in favor of Sierra Club, agreeing that the...more

Fourth District’s Split Decision Further Complicates CEQA Requirements Surrounding GHG Impact Analysis and Mitigation Measures –...

Cleveland National Forest Foundation v. San Diego Association of Governments (11/24/14, D063288) - In a split decision on November 24, 2014, the Fourth District California Court of Appeal invalidated the program EIR...more

American Tower Corporation v. City of San Diego (2014): Further Guidance From The Ninth Circuit On The Regulation Of Data Towers...

The Ninth Circuit recently addressed cell phone tower issues in the matter of American Tower Corporation v. City of San Diego (2014) 763 F.3d 1035, affirming that a local government has a wide degree of discretion to regulate...more

Fourth District Publishes Another CEQA Decision Setting Aside San Diego Lead Agency’s EIR For Failure To Analyze And Mitigate GHG...

Having seen years of their lofty regional planning efforts come crashing back to Earth, San Diego government entities have had little to be thankful about so far this holiday season on the CEQA front. In an October 29...more

California Environmental Law and Policy Update - November 2014 #4

Environmental and Policy Focus: Coastal California residents using far less water - Associated Press - Nov 4: Residents in coastal communities use far less water than their inland counterparts, but still find ways to...more

CEQA Alert: Court of Appeal Rules Against San Diego Agencies in Two Separate CEQA Challenges Involving Greenhouse Gas Emissions...

Two recent decisions by California’s Fourth Appellate District highlight the CEQA compliance challenges facing local governments charged with implementing state and local greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction mandates....more

Analysis Of GHGs Under CEQA Just Got More Complex: Fourth District’s Split Decision Invalidates Program EIR For SANDAG’s 2050...

In a 2-1 published opinion filed November 24, 2014, the Fourth District Court of Appeal, Division 1, affirmed and modified the trial court’s judgment granting writ petitions by plaintiff groups challenging the EIR for the San...more

Sale of Property for Secular Use Does Not Constitute “Religious Exercise”

The Northern District of California recently dismissed RLUIPA claims filed by the California-Nevada Annual Conference of the Methodist Church (the “Conference”) against the City of San Francisco. The case revolves around the...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

Opponents of Arena Project Foul Out

On November 20, 2014, the Third District Court of Appeal (Court) handed a partial victory to the City of Sacramento (City), rejecting petitioners' appeal and thereby authorizing the continued construction of the Sacramento...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

Federal Preemption May Be The Key For Calif. Railroads

Railroad operators across the U.S. are seeing a bright future due to the resurgence in freight rail traffic. Intermodal (i.e., cargo container) shipping is booming. In 2013, intermodal volume on the major railroads totaled...more

Utah Federal Court Strikes Down as Unconstitutional a Regulation Under the Endangered Species Act Protecting Utah Prairie Dogs on...

The Utah Prairie Dog is a species that exists only in Utah, where it lives on both federal and private land. The species is listed as threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act of 1973, and a federal regulation...more

District Court Strikes Down Regulation of Purely Intrastate Species on Private Land

In a significant Endangered Species Act case, the Utah District Court has ruled that Congress may not regulate take of the threatened Utah prairie dog, a purely intrastate species, on non-federal land. The court found that...more

High Court Denies Petition by Parties with Reclamation Contracts Seeking to Avoid ESA Consultation

On November 17, the U.S. Supreme Court denied the petition for writ of certiorari filed by Glenn Colusa Irrigation District and others seeking to overturn a decision by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit...more

Court Finds Endangered Species Act Cannot Regulate Species on Private Lands Within a Single State

In a win for property owners and project proponents, a Utah federal district court has ruled that the United States Constitution does not authorize the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (“FWS”) to regulate impacts to the Utah...more

Supreme Court Asked to Allow Immediate Judicial Review of Clean Water Act Jurisdictional Determinations

A landfill developer has asked the Supreme Court to review a decision of the Fifth Circuit holding that a jurisdictional determination by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is not final agency action subject to judicial review....more

CEQA Lawsuit to Enforce Climate Change Mitigation Measure Prevails

On October 29, 2014 the California Court of Appeal affirmed a trial court’s judgment enforcing a mitigation measure adopted by a county in its program environmental impact report (PEIR). As of the date of this blog post,...more

Climate Action Plan for San Diego County Struck Down Under CEQA by Court of Appeal for Failure to Comply with Requirements for...

On October 29, 2014, the Fourth District Court of Appeal of California upheld the Sierra Club’s challenges to the County of San Diego’s (“County”) approval of a climate action plan (“CAP”) and related significance thresholds...more

Utah Court Bucks the Trend: Holds Congress Lacks Power to Regulate Intrastate Species on Private Land

Contrary to every federal court of appeal decision that has addressed the issue, a federal court in Utah has held that the broad authority of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) to regulate "take" of threatened...more

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