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California Federal District Court Grants Partial Dismissal to Suit Alleging Violations of the Endangered Species Act

Earlier this month, a federal district court in California partially granted motions to dismiss a second amended complaint filed by the Center for Biological Diversity and the Pesticide Action Network alleging that the...more

Court Reluctantly Upholds Designation of Critial Habitat for Frog

Last week, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana upheld the designation of approximately 1,544 acres of privately-owned timber land located in Louisiana as critical habitat for the dusky...more

Pennsylvania Public Utilities Commission Appeals Act 13 Ruling to State Supreme Court

The Pennsylvania Public Utilities Commission (PPUC) is asking the state Supreme Court to review a July ruling by the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court that strips PPUC of its authority to review and approve local drilling...more

California Coastal Commission Further Solidifies Enforcement Powers

An informal Attorney General advice letter and recent legislation attempt to clarify the Coastal Commission’s powers in carrying out its enforcement authority. The extent of the California Coastal Commission’s legal...more

Court of Appeal Clarifies Requirements for Public Input on Development Agreements

Due process rights to notice and a public hearing for those who may be affected do not apply to a public agency’s consideration of approval of a development agreement, an appellate court has ruled. In addition, the First...more

California District Court Dismisses ESA Section 7 Case for Failure to Allege that Agency Action Took Place on the "High Seas"

On August 12, a judge for the Northern District of California granted a motion to dismiss claims alleging that a federal agency violated section 7 of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) by failing to consult with federal...more

Fifth Circuit Holds that the Army Corps of Engineers' Jurisdictional Determination Does Not Constitute a Reviewable "Final Agency...

On July 30, 2014, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit held that the issuance of a jurisdictional determination (JD) by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) is not a final agency action subject to...more

It’s Really Difficult to Site a Highway in a Refuge

In an important decision last week, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals made clear just how high the hurdles are in the way of building highways in wildlife refuges. The decision in Defenders of Wildlife v. North Carolina DOT...more

CEQA Alert: Court of Appeal Blunts Latest CEQA Attack on California’s High-Speed Train System

On July 24, 2014, California’s Third Appellate District affirmed a trial court’s ruling that the California High-Speed Rail Authority’s (Authority’s) revised final program environmental impact report/environmental impact...more

Court Signals Green to $8.6bn California High-Speed Rail Bond Issuance

The Third District Court of Appeal reversed a Sacramento Superior Court Judge’s ruling that prohibited the High Speed Rail Authority (HSRA) from selling bonds under Proposition 1A to construct the High Speed Rail Project...more

10th Circuit Limits ESA Consultation Obligations To Boundaries Of The Agency Action

This past week, the 10th Circuit held that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had no obligation to engage in consultation pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) where the potential effects on...more

The SJC Gives “Great Deference” to the Energy Facilities Siting Board. That’s An Understatement

In two related decisions last week, the Supreme Judicial Court issued three important rulings, and handed the Brockton Power Company one major problem in its long-running effort to build a combined-cycle gas plant in...more

The Slow Grind of Justice for EPA's Carbon Emissions Regulations

It was inevitable that EPA's Clean Power Plan, regulating carbon emissions from existing power plants was going to generate law suits. Even if the suits are ultimately unsuccessful, an injunction against the Plan's adoption...more

Fifth Circuit Rejects Application of Sackett to Corps’ Jurisdictional Determination

In Belle Company, LLC et al v. USACE, No. 13-30262 (July 30, 2014), the Fifth Circuit rejected an effort to apply the Supreme Court’s decision in Sackett v. EPA, 132 S. Ct. 1367 (2012), to a determination by the Army Corps of...more

EPA Re-gains “Green Light” to Regulate Permitting Procedures - D.C. Circuit overturns lower court decisions on EPA permitting...

Two district court orders declaring the federal Environmental Protection Agency acted illegally when it implemented certain permitting procedures for coal mining operations have been vacated by a federal court of appeals....more

Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Proposed Rule Defining “Waters of the United States” Under the...

On April 21, 2014, the United States Army Corps of Engineers and the Environmental Protection Agency (collectively the “Agencies”) released a proposed rule to define the scope of waters protected under the Clean Water Act...more

Only When a Permit is Required: The Supreme Court Caps the EPA’s Authority to Regulate Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Stationary...

Utility Air Regulatory Group v. EPA et al. 573 U.S. ____ (2014) - On June 23, 2014, the United States Supreme Court held that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) overstepped its authority under the Clean Air Act...more

Water, Water everywhere …

There were two court decisions this week regarding regulation of Maine rivers, one from the Maine Supreme Judicial Court, Watts v. BEP, and one federal, Friends of Merrymeeting Bay v. Hydro Kennebec, LLC. ...more

Eight Is Not Enough: CEQA Challenge To Eighth Addendum To San Jose International Airport Master Plan EIR Is Rejected By Sixth...

In a decision filed June 6, but not certified for publication until July 2, 2014, the Sixth District Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s judgment upholding the City of San Jose’s eighth addendum to its Airport Master...more

Provincial Jurisdiction Confirmed Regarding Treaty Rights – Supreme Court of Canada’s Keewatin Decision

In Grassy Narrows First Nation v Ontario (Natural Resources), 2014 SCC 48 (Decision), also known as the Keewatin Decision, the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) confirmed that provinces have the power to take up treaty lands for...more

Supreme Court Decision in Keewatin Confirms Provincial Ability to Take up Treaty Lands

On July 11, 2014, the Supreme Court of Canada delivered its decision in Grassy Narrows First Nation v Ontario (Natural Resources), 2014 SCC 48, also known as Keewatin. The decision affirms the Court’s approach in Tsilhqot’in...more

The D.C. Circuit Rejects Challenge to EPA’s Final Guidance on CWA Coal Mining Permits: EPA Action Has to Be Really, Really, Final...

On Friday, the D.C. Circuit reversed Judge Reggie Walton’s decision from 2012 and affirmed EPA’s authority to adopt the “Enhanced Coordination Process” governing coordination with the Army Corps of Engineers in the processing...more

California Environmental Law and Policy Update - July 2014

Environmental and Policy Focus - Second leg of California bullet-train line approved: SFGate.com - Jun 27: On June 27, 2014, the U.S. Department of Transportation gave its approval for work to begin on the second leg...more

U.S. Supreme Court Restricts EPA Regulation of Greenhouse Gas Emissions

On June 23, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its widely anticipated decision in Utility Air Regulatory Group v. EPA concerning the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's regulation of greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) from...more

Where Subdivision Access Is Uncertain, Approval of the Subdivision Must Be Contingent Upon Judicial Resolution

In the case of Shinn v. Bd. of Comm’rs of Clearwater Cnty., released June 17, 2014, the Idaho Supreme Court covered some new ground and revisited some old ground....more

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