Civil Procedure Environmental Zoning, Planning & Land Use

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Wolverine Status Review Reinitiated

The distinct population segment of the North American wolverine (Gulo gulf luscus) has had a long and difficult history with the Endangered Species Act (ESA). However, things appeared to be changing in 2013, when, after...more

U.S. Supreme Court Denies U.S. Forest Service’s Petition for Review in Canadian Lynx Case

On October 11, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court denied the U.S. Forest Service’s (“Forest Service”) petition for writ of certiorari to review the U.S. Court of Appeal for the Ninth Circuit’s decision in Cottonwood Environmental...more

An Update on Pennsylvania's Oil and Gas Law - Act 13 - After Supreme Court Decisions

While many key provisions of Act 13 have now been struck down by the Supreme Court’s two Robinson decisions, much of the Act remains. Act 13 of 2012 represented a major overhaul of Pennsylvania’s oil and gas law and...more

California Supreme Court Sets New Deferential Standard for Supplemental CEQA Review

In Friends of the College of San Mateo Gardens v. San Mateo Community College District, No. S214061 (Cal. September 19, 2016), the California Supreme Court rejected the “new project” test for determining whether a changed...more

Clean Power Plan has its day in court - Will the D.C. Circuit uphold EPA’s landmark CO2 regulations?

In a marathon day-long session before a packed courtroom (and a number of overflow rooms) on Tuesday, September 27, 2016, the full US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit heard oral arguments in a litigation challenging the...more

UPDATE: Court’s Tentative Decision Sides in Favor of DOGGR in CBD’s Wastewater Injection Lawsuit

Update: September 26, 2016 - On September 21, 2016, the Honorable George C. Hernandez, Jr. issued the final Statement of Decision, which affirmed the tentative decision denying all claims for relief. The court denied...more

California Supreme Court Rejects "New Project" Test In High Profile CEQA Suit

“Enough already!” Reading between the lines, this is what a seemingly exasperated California Supreme Court appears to be saying in its latest California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”) decision?Friends of the College of...more

My Project Changed—Is My EIR Still Valid: A New California Supreme Court Case Provides Guidance

Change is inevitable. Many times between project approval and project construction fluctuations in market conditions, financing terms or other factors mandate project changes. Do the changes require a further or modified...more

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

California Supreme Court Addresses Subsequent Review Under CEQA; Rejects Lishman “New Project” Test

In an opinion by Justice Kruger, the Supreme Court of California unanimously reversed the Court of Appeal in Friends of the College of San Mateo Gardens v. San Mateo County Community College District, Cal. Supreme Court, Case...more

California Supreme Court Rejects “New Project” Argument

Friends of the College of San Mateo Gardens v. San Mateo County Community College District (No. S214061, September 19, 2016) - Why It Matters: As land developers and investors know all too well, so-called...more

Neither CEQA Administrative Record Preparation Statute nor Case Law Precludes Award of Costs to Prevailing Real Party who...

In the published portion of an opinion filed September 12, 2016, the Fifth District Court of Appeal reversed the trial court’s order taxing costs in the amount of $44,889.71 which were claimed by prevailing real party in...more

A Lumber Mill Biomass CoGen Need Not Consider Other Fuels In Its BACT Analysis. Other Sources Should Be So Lucky.

Ever since EPA began considering how BACT analysis would be applied to greenhouse gas emissions, there has been concern that EPA would use its BACT authority to “redefine the source” – with the particular concern that BACT...more

Court Declines to Reweigh Conflicting Evidence, Holds that County Fully Considered its Land Use Policies and Extent to Which...

On August 31, 2016, the Court of Appeal for the First Appellate District affirmed a trial court decision denying a petition for writ of mandate filed by a citizens group challenging the third in a series of master use permits...more

California Court of Appeal Partially Upholds Air Quality Thresholds of Significance Following State Supreme Court Decision

In a published decision, following the Supreme Court’s decision in California Building Industry Association v. Bay Area Air Quality Management District (2015) 62 Cal.4th 369, the First District Court of Appeal upheld...more

District Court Dismisses Challenge to Biological Opinions In Light of Circuit Court’s Exclusive Jurisdiction

Primarily relying on precedent from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth and D.C. Circuits, the U.S. District Court for the District of Maine recently dismissed an Endangered Species Act (ESA) lawsuit challenging two...more

Court’s Tentative Decision Sides in Favor of DOGGR in CBD’s Wastewater Injection Lawsuit

As reported in a previous blog post, Earthjustice, on behalf of the Center for Biological Diversity (“CBD”), filed a lawsuit against the California Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources (“DOGGR”) in May 2015. The...more

The Eleventh Circuit Stays Challenge to the Clean Water Rule

On August 16, 2016, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, which is located in Atlanta, issued its stay of proceedings in the challenge before that circuit to the Clean Water Rule that was filed in the...more

Real Estate and Land Use - August 2016

Court of Appeal Holds EIR Inadequately Analyzed Energy Impacts - Ukiah Citizens for Safety First v. City of Ukiah et al. (248 Cal.App.4th 256) (partially published) - Why It Matters: The California Court of Appeal...more

Aerial Emissions Are Not “Disposal” Under CERCLA

Last year, we told you about a district court case in which air emissions from a lead smelter that ultimately settled on the land and in a water body gave rise to liability under the Comprehensive Environmental Response,...more

New Ninth Circuit Decision Precluding CERCLA Liability for Airborne Emissions

Yesterday, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued in the long-running Pakootas v. Teck Cominco Metals, Ltd. litigation another important decision further defining the scope of liability under the federal Comprehensive...more

No Doubting Thomases Allowed!

Expert appraisers have testified that the proposed development will not adversely affect values of properties adjacent to this new development. Nevertheless, the testimony does not seem right to you. You remember the Great...more

No Deference to State Settlements Under CERCLA? No Problem!

I will confess that I do enjoy being correct. In 2014, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals refused to defer to a state agency determination of the procedural and substantive fairness of a CERCLA consent decree. Various parties...more

Discovery Rule Does Not Postpone Accrual of CEQA Cause of Action; Events Specified In CEQA Statute of Limitations Provide...

In a short but significant published opinion filed July 19, 2016, the First District Court of Appeal affirmed the San Francisco County Superior Court’s judgment of dismissal following the sustaining of demurrers (without...more

Three Strikes and Mingo Logan Is Out: The D.C. Circuit Affirms EPA Withdrawal of Approval of Mountaintop Removal Disposal Sites

In 2013, the D.C. Circuit affirmed EPA’s authority to withdrawal approval of mountaintop mining disposal sites, even after the Army Corps has issued a Section 404 permit. In 2014, the District Court rejected Mingo Logan’s...more

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