Conflict of Laws Zoning, Planning & Land Use

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The Supreme Court - March 2016 #4

The Supreme Court of the United States issued decisions in four cases on March 22, 2016: Tyson Foods, Inc. v. Bouaphakeo, No. 14-1146: Respondents, employees at a pork processing plant of petitioner Tyson Foods, filed a...more

Supreme Court Decides Sturgeon v. Frost

On March 22, 2016, the Supreme Court of the United States decided Sturgeon v. Frost, No. 14-1209, vacating a decision of the Ninth Circuit and leaving open the possibility that Section 103(c) of the Alaska National Interest...more

FAA Releases Guidelines For Local Regulation Of Drones

In the past few years unmanned aircraft systems, commonly known as drones, have grown in popularity and availability. With the proliferation of drones comes some difficult privacy and public safety questions for school...more

Local Wetlands Bylaw Decision Survives Pre-emption Challenge

The Massachusetts Appeals Court has again upheld the validity of a local conservation commission’s ruling under a local wetlands bylaw notwithstanding that the commission’s partial reliance on the State Wetland Protection Act...more

Northern Gateway: BC Supreme Court Rules that British Columbia Must Issue its Own EA Decision and Consult First Nations

In Coastal First Nations v British Columbia (Environment), 2016 BCSC 34, the court decided British Columbia must issue its own environmental decision and consult First Nations on the Northern Gateway Project (NGP), instead of...more

Tacoma Passes Moratorium on New Retail Stores, Medical Cooperatives

Thinking about opening a recreational store or medical cooperative in Tacoma? Better sit tight, at least for the time being. On Tuesday, January 13, 2016, the Tacoma City Council passed a “temporary moratorium on new...more

Can a City or County Make It a Crime to Cultivate or Use Medical Marijuana?

Since the legalization of medical marijuana in California 20 years ago, some cities and counties have found ways to keep it out. Are their land use powers still powerful enough to do it?...more

Supreme Engagement: CEQA’s Continuing Saga In California’s High Court

A new year often brings fresh perspective. With 2016 still in its infancy, it is natural to reflect back on what has been and also to contemplate what is yet to come. The California Supreme Court’s recent CEQA decisions, and...more

Marijuana Regulations Growing Like Weeds in California

Although California legalized medical marijuana in 1996, cities have differed widely in their response to medical marijuana dispensaries. Recently, Newport Beach joined Huntington Beach, Laguna Hills, Anaheim and Rancho Santa...more

First Circuit Court of Appeals Clarifies Limited Deference to Surface Transportation Board Views on Railroad Preemption

In two companion decisions released in October, 2015, the U.S. Court of Appeals, First Circuit, considered the extent to which federal preemption of state and local laws applies to railroad operations involving the...more

Six Things the Private Sector Should Know About EPA's Final Vapor Intrusion Guidance

The cumulative impact of the EPA guidance is to require the generation of more data, which means more sampling and analysis, more frequent and stringent remediation, and potentially higher remediation costs. At long...more

Drone on Drones: L.A. City Council Proposal Could Turn The City into a No Drone Zone

While the FAA continues its rulemaking process and state legislators propose drone regulations of their own, the City of Los Angeles is considering creating its own drone regulations rather than waiting for the state or...more

Denton, Texas at Center of Another Land Use Dispute

Less than three months after Texas House Bill 40, which limits municipalities' abilities to regulate oil and gas operations, was signed into law, and little more than a month after the City Council repealed its highly...more

Maui GMO Ban Overturned; Federal Court Remains Consistent on Preemption Analysis

This week, the federal district court in Hawaii struck down a Maui County law imposing a moratorium on the cultivation of genetically engineered organisms (GE plants, or GMOs). This decision is the third of three challenges...more

Preliminary Injunction Arguments Pour Into Litigation Against BLM’s Final Fracking Rule

Since our last update on federal litigation in Wyoming challenging the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) final rule to regulate hydraulic fracturing on public lands, the flurry of activity continues in advance of the June 23...more

Looks Like Frack is Back, Governor Abbott Signs House Bill 40

Yesterday, Governor Gregg Abbott signed into law House Bill 40, also known as the Denton Fracking Bill, which leaves municipalities with minimal power to regulate the oil and gas industry. The bill takes effect immediately...more

New Law in Texas Prohibits Local Municipalities from Banning Hydraulic Fracturing

On Monday, May 18, 2015, Texas Governor Gregg Abbott signed House Bill 40 into law, prohibiting cities, towns, and local municipalities in Texas from enacting bans on fracing. The new law provides that “oil and gas operations...more

Court Of Appeals Upholds General Permit Procedures For Storm Water Discharge

The New York State Court of Appeals, in Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc. v. New York State Department of Environmental Conservation , recently rejected a challenge to the general permit procedures adopted by New York...more

Town of East Hampton Explores Limits of Aircraft Noise Regulation

In an unprecedented action aimed at limiting or eliminating noisy helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft from use of the East Hampton Airport, in East Hampton, Long Island, New York (“Airport”), on April 6, 2015, the East...more

Recent Surface Transportation Board Preemption Decisions of Note

In the last several months, the Surface Transportation Board (STB or Board) has issued a number of decisions further defining the scope of federal preemption. As the primary agency tasked with the economic regulation of the...more

TSCA Reform: Senate Committee Holds Markup and Passes Bipartisan Substitute Bill

On April 28, 2015, the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works held a hearing to consider several bills, including the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act (S. 697). Prior to the hearing, on...more

Amended Udall-Vitter TSCA Reform Bill Reaches Senate Floor

On April 28, a modified version of the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act (S. 697), also known as the “Udall-Vitter” Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) reform bill, was approved by the Senate...more

House Subcommittee to Revise Draft TSCA Reform Bill for May 14 Markup

Legislation to amend the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), already introduced in the Senate, has taken a step forward in the House of Representatives as well. ...more

Supreme Court Rejects FERC’s Preemption Argument and Permits State Antitrust Claims Against Interstate Pipelines to Proceed

On April 21, the U.S. Supreme Court issued an opinion in ONEOK, Inc., et al., v. Learjet, Inc. et al holding that state antitrust claims are not pre-empted by the Natural Gas Act. This important decision put the brakes on an...more

Much Ado About Doing Nothing: DOJ’s Latest Memorandum Cracks Open Door to Marijuana Development on Tribal Lands

In December 2014, the Department of Justice (DOJ) released a policy statement regarding enforcement of marijuana laws in Indian Country. While some media have reported the Department’s statement as carte blanche for tribes to...more

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