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Court of Appeal Finds Caltrans Omitted Material Necessary to Informed Decision Making by Failing to Include a Threshold of...

In Lotus v. Department of Transportation (2014) 223 Cal.App.4th 645, a California Court of Appeal found that Caltrans omitted material necessary to informed decision-making and informed public-participation when it failed to...more

Ninth Circuit Upholds NEPA and NHPA Analysis for Hawaii High-Speed Rail System

On February 18, 2014, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected challenges under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), and the Department of Transportation Act to the...more

Nebraska Court Stalls Keystone XL Pipeline, Declares Governor’s Approval Unconstitutional

On Wednesday, a Nebraska trial court struck down a state law allowing Governor Dave Heineman’s to approve the proposed route for TransCanada Corp.’s Keystone XL Pipeline. The decision comes just weeks after the State...more

Keystone XL Pipeline Project Halted in Nebraska

On Wednesday, a Nebraska District Court dealt the Keystone XL pipeline project a heavy blow. The court invalidated a law that allowed the state's governor to approve the pipeline's passage through Nebraska. The court ruled...more

Court Sides With Federal Government Over Santa Monica Airport

As we reported last month, the United States of America and the Federal Aviation Administration had filed a motion to dismiss a lawsuit brought by the City of Santa Monica in federal court seeking to confirm its alleged right...more

High Speed Rail Decision on Track for Review at Court of Appeal

Last Friday, Governor Brown’s administration (the “Petitioners”) filed a petition for extraordinary writ of mandate and application for temporary stay with the California Supreme Court, challenging Superior Court Judge...more

What is an Exaction?

Construction of the 485-mile-long southern portion of the TransCanada Keystone Pipeline system (known as the Gulf Coast Project) is scheduled to be completed and operational by the end of 2013, but it leaves a legacy of...more

Hearing on Nov. 8 May Determine California High Speed Rail's Future

The parties in a pending Sacramento Superior Court action, Tos, et. al. v. California High Speed Rail Authority, et al., have submitted supplemental briefing in preparation for a hearing next week...more

Virginia Supreme Court Opinions Affecting Local Government Law October 31, 2013

The Virginia Supreme Court issued new opinions this morning, some of which affect local government law. Here they are (summaries taken from the Virginia Supreme Court website, click on the Record Number to read opinion)...more

Landmark Decision Issued on Proper Environmental Baseline under

In a recent landmark California Environmental Quality Act ("CEQA") decision, Neighbors for Smart Rail v. Exposition Metro Line Construction Authority (2013) 57 Cal.4th 439 (Smart Rail), the California Supreme Court issued its...more

California Supreme Court Settles the CEQA Baseline Debate

A transportation authority planned a light-rail extension line and prepared an Environmental Impact Report (“EIR”). In analyzing traffic and air quality impacts, the EIR omitted an existing conditions baseline and instead...more

Court of Appeal Reinstates Regional Air Quality Thresholds for Greenhouse Gas Emissions

On August 13, 2013, the First District Court of Appeal reinstated controversial air quality guidelines adopted by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (the District), including numeric greenhouse gas (GHG) thresholds...more

High Court Tackles CEQA Future Baselines In Neighbors For Smart Rail Decision

In a much-anticipated decision filed August 5, 2013, the California Supreme Court held that CEQA requires a lead agency to assess a project’s environmental impacts against an “existing conditions” baseline – and consequently...more

Unusual Circumstances: California Supreme Court Upholds Limited Use of Future Conditions Baseline Under CEQA

On August 5, 2013, the California Supreme Court issued a split decision in Neighbors for Smart Rail v. Exposition Metro Line Construction Authority, et al. The court held that a lead agency may choose to avoid using an...more

CEQA Baseline Analysis: Future Conditions Baseline Should Be The Exception Not The Rule When Agency Reviews Environmental Impacts,...

In Neighbors for Smart Rail v. Exposition Metro Line Construction Authority (filed August 5, 2013) (“Neighbors”), a majority of the California Supreme Court justices announced a new rule regarding the baseline agencies may...more

Supreme Court Allows Future Conditions to Be Used as the Baseline Under Limited Circumstances

Neighbors for Smart Rail v. Exposition Metro Line Construction Authority (August 5, 2013, S202828) __ Cal.4th __(“Neighbors”). What is the baseline against which environmental impacts are measured? There has been...more

California Supreme Court Weighs in on the CEQA Projected Baseline Issue

On August 5, 2013, the California Supreme Court issued its decision in Neighbors for Smart Rail v. Exposition Metro Line Construction Authority (S202828), which attempted to answer once and for all whether a lead agency can...more

California Supreme Court Redefines “Baseline” Under California Environmental Quality Act

The California Supreme Court has both resolved a split in the appellate courts and forged new law on the baselines agencies may use to assess projects’ environmental effects under CEQA. ...more

Like Athena From the Head of Zeus: Neighbors for Smart Rail Authorizes Future Baselines in CEQA Review

A new California Supreme Court decision, Neighbors for Smart Rail v. Exposition Metro Line Construction Authority, authorizes reliance on anticipated future conditions as the “baseline” for evaluating impacts of long-term...more

Break Out the Crystal Ball—But Only If You Have the Evidence to Support It: California Supreme Court Affirms Agency Discretion to...

In a highly anticipated decision published today, the California Supreme Court affirmed that the use of a future baseline for analyzing certain environmental impacts is appropriate when supported by substantial evidence. The...more

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

California Supreme Court to Local Agencies: Hypothetical Future Baselines in CEQA are not per se Improper in All Cases, but likely...

An August 5, 2013, the California Supreme Court provided some additional flexibility to local agencies in deciding what conditions properly constitute the "baseline" for analysis under the California Environmental Quality Act...more

California Environmental Law and Policy Update - May 20, 2013

Environmental and Policy Focus - Federal omission in closing oyster farm broke law, court told - Los Angeles Times - May 14: The U.S. Interior Department violated federal law by failing to conduct an...more

La Mirada Resolves Last Eminent Domain Action for Valley View Underpass Project

According to an article in the Whittier Daily News, La Mirada agrees to pay $1.8 million to settle eminent domain case for new railroad underpass, the City of La Mirada has agreed to pay $1.8 million to settle the last...more

NH Supreme Court Reverses Recent Decision Regarding Restrictions On Excavation Permitting

In a November 16, 2012 alert, we discussed the New Hampshire Supreme Court’s November 9, 2012 decision in Town of Carroll v. Rines. That decision concluded that state law preempts certain municipal restrictions on excavation...more

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