Constitutional Law Conflict of Laws Zoning, Planning & Land Use

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New Article Explores RLUIPA’s “Safe Harbor” Provision

Evan recently wrote the article “Finding Salvation in Religious Law’s Safe Harbor; Municipal Governments Can Take Steps to Mitigate RLUIPA Claims,” published in the March 23, 2015 edition of the Connecticut Law Tribune. ...more

Gas Lines to Pipelines: The Case for Comprehensive Federal Energy Legislation

We’ve struggled with the consequences of an insufficient federal energy policy for nearly half a century. From the gas lines of the 1970s to the Keystone XL pipeline controversy of the past several years, the federal and...more

Ohio Supreme Court Strikes Down Local Oil & Gas Regulations – How State Law Preemption Is Shielding the Oil and Gas Industry

In a closely watched, 4-3 decision issued yesterday, February 17, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled that the ‘Home Rule Amendment’ to the Ohio Constitution does not grant the city of Munroe Falls the power to enforce its own oil...more

Prairie Dogs vs. Congress

A recent ruling by a Utah federal judge, although directed at the Endangered Species Act (ESA), may have far-reaching implications on Congress' commerce clause powers. In a first-of-its-kind ruling, U.S. District Judge Dee...more

Denton Becomes First Texas City to Ban Hydraulic Fracturing

On Tuesday, November 4, 2014, 59 percent of voters elected to ban the practice of hydraulic fracturing (“fracing”) in the city of Denton, which sits on top of the hydrocarbon-rich Barnett Shale. Although the ban does not...more

City of Fort Collins, Colorado, Appeals Ruling Striking Down Fracking Bans

The week of September 22, the Fort Collins, Colorado, City Council voted to appeal a decision rendered last month that struck down the city’s fracking ban. In that August 2014 decision, a Larimer County District Court...more

Illinois Court: Municipal Zoning and Stormwater Laws Apply to School District's Construction Project

Much of land use law involves questions over the breadth of local government powers. Today, we're looking at a spat between two units of local government: a municipality and a school board. The decision in Gurba v....more

Industry Group Sues Compton for Moratorium on Hydraulic Fracturing

The City of Compton is being sued for its ordinance banning hydraulic fracturing, effective on April 22, 2014. (Western States Petroleum Association v. City of Compton, et al., Case No.BC552272.) Although Compton is not...more

Environmental and Energy: Hydraulic Fracturing: Courts and Localities Act Where New York State Fears To Tread (7/14)

In an opinion issued on June 24, 2014, the New York Court of Appeals upheld the zoning laws adopted by the Towns of Dryden and Middlefield to ban oil and gas production activities, including hydraulic fracturing, within their...more

Colorado Supreme Court Clears Ballot Initiative Aimed at Bolstering Local Control of Oil and Gas Drilling

On June 30, the Colorado Supreme Court issued its opinion In the Matter of the Title, Ballot Title, and Submission Clause for 2013–2014 #89[1] (Initiative 89). In affirming the finding of the state’s Ballot Title Setting...more

New York’s Highest Court Affirms Zoning Ordinances Banning Hydrofracking

The Insurance Law Blog has been following decisions related to hydraulic fracturing for potential impacts on insurance coverage issues. As we previously reported in May 2013, the New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division,...more

California Supreme Court Declines Review of Cases Invalidating Local Bans on Sex Offenders

Supreme Court Leaves Intact Court of Appeal Cases Holding That State Law Preempts Some Local Sex Offender Ordinances - Local laws regulating where sex offenders may go are likely now invalid following the California...more

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Declares Portions of Marcellus Shale Act Unconstitutional, Upholds Local Regulation of Oil and Gas...

On December 19, 2013, in Robinson Township v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania et al., the Pennsylvania Supreme Court declared portions of Act 13 of 2012 (Act 13), commonly known as the “Marcellus Shale Act,” unconstitutional. As...more

PA Supreme Court Holds Portions of Oil and Gas Act Unconstitutional

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court recently held that several provisions of Act 13 of the Pennsylvania Oil and Gas Act are unconstitutional as it gives Marcellus Shale and natural gas drillers unfettered access to drilling...more

Florida Supreme Court Declares "Superpriority" Municipal Liens Invalid

It has become increasingly common in recent years for Florida municipalities to enact local ordinances granting so-called “superpriority” status to liens for municipal assessments. These types of ordinances typically state...more

N.Y. Appellate Court: Municipalities Can Ban O&G Activity

An intermediate appellate court in New York recently affirmed that a local government has the authority to enact zoning ordinances banning all oil and natural gas activities within municipal limits. In 2011, the Town of...more

Florida to Government: Your Lien Doesn't Foreclose This Old Mortgage

The Florida Supreme Court has ruled that cities cannot create ordinances that subject prior recorded mortgages to their subsequently recorded county or governmental liens, because it conflicts with Florida's state statutes on...more

Federal Court Holds Local Law Preempted By ESA Settlement

The Palila (Loxioides bailleui) is a small bird native to Hawaii that was listed as endangered in 1967. In 1998, the U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii, pursuant to a stipulation submitted by the parties, issued...more

Federal Government's Eminent Domain Power Trumps California's Sovereign Public Trust Title

The United States condemned tide and submerged lands leased by the Port of San Diego to the U.S. Navy. The Port held the lands under a trust grant from the State of California, and therefore defending the state’s sovereign...more

Preemption, Standing and Vexatious Litigants on California Supreme Court's May Argument Docket

The California Supreme Court has scheduled oral arguments for May, including four civil cases. • Brown v. Mortensen: The Court will address whether the Federal Credit Reporting Act (15 U.S.C. § 1681 et seq.) preempts...more

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