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California Environmental Law & Policy Update - May 2016 #3

Environmental and Policy Focus - In sharp reversal, California suspends mandatory water restrictions - New York Times - May 18 - The State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) on Wednesday suspended its...more

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

Fourth District Rejects CEQA Challenges To Large Mojave Desert Groundwater Pumping Project In Separate Published Opinions

In two opinions filed May 10, 2016 (one partially and the other fully published), the Fourth District Court of Appeal rejected a number of CEQA and other challenges to a project proposing to pump 50,000 acre-feet of...more

California Supreme Court Hears Oral Argument in Friends of the College of San Mateo Gardens v. San Mateo County (Case No. S214061)

On May 4, 2016, the California Supreme Court heard oral argument in Friends of the College of San Mateo Gardens v. San Mateo County Community College District (Case No. S214061), which addresses the standard of review that...more

“Hot Bench” For Advocates In Supreme Court CEQA Subsequent Review Case

The California Supreme Court held a lively oral argument session this morning (May 4, 2016), at 9:00 a.m. in its San Francisco courtroom in the case of Friends of the College of San Mateo Gardens v. San Mateo Community...more

Supreme Court Set To Hear Important CEQA Subsequent Review Case

On May 4, 2016, at 9 a.m. in its San Francisco courtroom, the California Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in yet another of the many significant CEQA cases it has tackled in recent years, this one presenting critically...more

10th Circ.: Permit Issuance Is Not State Action For Purposes of 14th Amendment

On April 19, 2016, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, in Wasatch Equality, et al., v. Alta Ski Lifts Company, et al., affirmed the lower court’s dismissal of a lawsuit claiming that the U.S. Forest Service, in...more

Children’s Crusade to Combat Climate Change Continues

A federal magistrate judge in Oregon has kept alive the dreams of a group of young plaintiffs—aided by environmental advocacy groups—to compel government action against climate change. Like a similar case brought by the same...more

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Ordered to Reconsider Delisting of N. American Wolverine

The courts continue to be busy issuing significant Endangered Species Act (ESA) rulings. In the latest one, issued in early wolverineApril, the U.S. District Court for Montana, Missoula Division, in Defenders of Wildlife v....more

The Wolverine Takes on Climate Change: Montana District Court Remands Withdrawal of Proposed Listing Rule

On April 4, 2016, the U.S. District Court for the District of Montana vacated the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (Service) August 13, 2014 withdrawal of its proposed rule to list the distinct population segment of the North...more

Supreme Court Holds the Ninth Circuit Misinterpreted the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act

In 2007, National Park Service rangers stopped John Sturgeon from travelling by hovercraft on the Nation River within the boundaries of Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve. Park Service regulations ban the use of...more

Is the Corps’ Determination on Jurisdiction Over a Wetland Judicially Reversible?

The pending Supreme Court case, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers v. Hawkes Co. Inc. et al., no. 15-290, involves what constitutes a final agency action reviewable under the Administrative Procedure Act....more

Washington tidal power license surrendered

U.S. hydropower regulators have accepted a Washington public utility district's application to surrender its license for an unconstructed tidal power project. Public Utility District No. 1 of Snohomish County, Washington...more

Environmental Notes - March 2016

U.S. Supreme Court to Decide Whether Jurisdictional Determinations May be Appealed - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers determines the presence or absence of wetlands and other “waters of the United States” on a...more

U.S. Supreme Court to Decide Whether Jurisdictional Determinations May be Appealed

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers determines the presence or absence of wetlands and other “waters of the United States” on a particular site by issuing a “jurisdictional determination” (JD). A JD is of great significance to...more

Texas Groundwater Case Opens New Front in Regulatory Takings Claims

Water rights lawsuits are not new. But a recent ruling in Texas sets new precedent in the fight for groundwater. There, a Texas trial court recently awarded pecan farmers Glenn and JoLynn Bragg $2.5 million for their lost...more

Is Their Fate Sealed? Alaska District Court Vacates Regulation Listing Arctic Ringed Seal Populations as Threatened and...

On March 15, 2016, in Alaska Oil & Gas Association v. National Marine Fisheries Service, case number 4:14-cv-00029-RRB, the U.S. District Court for the District of Alaska vacated a final regulation promulgated by the National...more

FERC denies Oregon LNG project applications

U.S. energy regulators have denied applications to site, construct, and operate the proposed Jordan Cove liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminal, an associated pipeline and related facilities slated for development in...more

Business Owner Ordered to Pay $1.3 Million for Leaking UST

The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) obtained a judgment against William Arnett for $1.3 million for underground storage tank (UST) law violations that stem back to the late 1980s. A Maricopa County Superior...more

California Environmental Law & Policy Update - March 2016

Environmental and Policy Focus - Community and environmental groups sue South Coast Air District over rules adoption - Los Angeles Times - Mar 9 - Community groups and environmentalists filed suit this week...more

Inflatable flashboards meet historic dam

A hydropower project in Lowell, Massachusetts won the right to replace wooden flashboards with an inflatable pneumatic crest gate system -- and now seeks to modify provisions requiring specific actions to mitigate impacts on...more

Horse Of A Different Color: CEQA Does Not Require EIR Due To Psychological And Social Impacts From Closure Of Beloved Equestrian...

In a March 4, 2016 published opinion, the Fourth District Court of Appeal reversed the trial court’s judgment requiring an EIR for a small 12-home rural subdivision project based on the “psychological and social” impacts of...more

In the Heart of the Rainy Season: The New (Stayed) Clean Water Rule Covers Vernal Pools in California

After years of drought, the El Niño storms have been bringing much-needed rain and snow to California–albeit in quantities significantly less than we hoped for thus far. In addition to the anticipated snow packs, flowing...more

The Statute of Limitations Narrows a Bit More on PSD Violations: Sierra Club Suffers a Self-Inflicted Wound

The law is full of fine distinctions. Today’s example? A divided 10th Circuit panel affirmed dismissal of the Sierra Club’s citizen suit claims against Oklahoma Gas and Electric concerning alleged PSD violations at OG&E’s...more

“Waters of the U.S.” Rule Still Subject to Nationwide Stay, For Now

Would you consider this a “Water of the United States” subject to the Clean Water Act? Well think again, because under a new rule, even a dry streambed or channel could be considered a “Water of the U.S.” and thus...more

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