Elections & Politics Environmental Zoning, Planning & Land Use

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Seeking Net Benefits: President Obama Issues New Federal Policy on Addressing and Mitigating Environmental Harm Early in the...

On November 3, 2015, the White House released a Presidential Memorandum intended to encourage federal agencies to consider land use planning more holistically, clearly and consistently, addressing mitigation needs before they...more

Presidential Memorandum on Natural Resources Mitigation Policy: Avoid, Minimize and Compensate

President Barack Obama recently ordered the heads of five federal agencies (U.S. Department of Defense, U.S. Department of Interior, U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and National Oceanic...more

To Mitigate or Not to Mitigate: No Longer a Question for Environmental Reviews?

Even the casual college football observer has probably seen by now the wild final play of the Duke-Miami game on October 31. After the game ended, it was determined that Miami literally stole the win as a result of referee...more

President Issues Memo regarding Mitigation of Natural Resources Impacts

On November 3, 2015, the President issued a memorandum entitled “Mitigating Impacts on Natural Resources from Development and Encouraging Related Private Investment.” In it, he states “[t]his memorandum will encourage private...more

Congressional Challenges Loom for Clean Power Plan Final Rule

Before the end of the year, federal lawmakers are expected to undertake a series of actions to limit, amend, delay or repeal President Obama's Clean Power Plan (CPP) final rule. The final rule was formally published on Oct....more

Governor Signs Amendments to SGMA, with Provisions for Water Utilities Regulated by CPUC

In the last two months, Governor Brown has signed several bills into law, amending the 2014 Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA or the Act). Two bills, Assembly Bill 1390 and Senate Bill 226, addressed the specifics...more

Governor Brown Authorizes Streamlined Groundwater Basin Adjudications and Private Party Participation Under Sustainable...

On Friday, October 9, 2015, Governor Brown signed a suite of bills that has the potential to significantly increase litigation over groundwater rights. Together, Assembly Bill 1390 and Senate Bill 226 authorize streamlined...more

Governor Signs New SGMA Legislation Outlining Procedures for Groundwater Adjudications

On Friday, October 9, 2015, Governor Brown signed into law two bills, Assembly Bill 1390 and Senate Bill 226, which outline procedures specific to groundwater adjudications. Last year, the legislature passed the Sustainable...more

Under the Dome: Inside the Maine State House

Under the Dome: Inside the Maine State House provides a high-level overview of recent activity at the Maine State House. New Interim DEP Commissioner - On Tuesday, September 8, at 4:30 pm Avery Day was sworn in as...more

Draft EEA Environmental Justice Policy Released in Massachusetts

In January, we reported on the issuance of an executive order on environmental justice (EJ) by the administration of outgoing Massachusetts Governor Patrick, provided a survey of the EJ framework in Massachusetts, and...more

Infrastructure Battles Heat Up During the Summer of ‘15

News came this week that the Obama Administration is threatening a veto if Congress reverts to form and proposes only a temporary extension of the Highway Trust Fund instead of tackling a long-term transportation funding...more

Four Books That Should Be On Every City Official’s Summer Reading List

Cities and their metro regions are getting increased attention as sources of innovation and local collaborative leadership to address national problems ranging from the infrastructure gap to physical and social mobility and...more

In Suing Commonwealth of PA, Clean Air Council Takes A Stand For Up-To-Date Building Codes

There is a war on building codes across the United States, and Pennsylvania is ground zero. After years of regular building code updates, a law was passed in 2011 (Act 1) at the urging of the Pennsylvania Builders...more

Texas Town Repeals Voter-Approved Ban on Hydraulic Fracturing

Just seven months after voters in Denton, Texas, approved a measure banning hydraulic fracturing within city limits, the Denton City Council voted 6 to 1 to repeal the ban. Council members called the move a “strategic repeal”...more

Governor Selects David Bunn to Lead Department of Conservation

Yesterday, Governor Jerry Brown appointed David Bunn, a former fish and game official and U.C. Davis academic, to lead the California Department of Conservation. The appointment comes after the departure of Director Mark...more

EPA and the Army Corps Issue Final Clean Water Rule, but Does This New “Line in the Water” Clarify, Expand or Narrow Clean Water...

On May 27, 2015, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) and Army Corps of Engineers (“Corps”) jointly released a final rule (the “Clean Water Rule”) redefining the scope of their shared jurisdiction under...more

Summary of H.40: An Act Relating to Establishing a Renewable Energy Standard

On June 11, 2015, Governor Shumlin signed into law H. 40, An Act Relating to Establishing a Renewable Energy Standard (the “RES”). This significant renewable energy law establishes a mandatory renewable energy standard for...more

Governor Brown Nominates Two for Fish and Game Commission

Governor Brown has announced the nomination of Eric Sklar and Anthony Williams to serve on the California Fish and Game Commission (Commission). The five-member Commission is established under article IV, section 20 of the...more

Maryland's Pilot Program for Community Solar Approved

Maryland has taken a critical step forward to encourage solar energy in the state. On May 12, 2015, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan approved a law creating a pilot program for community solar projects, joining 10 other states...more

Chairmen of U.S. Congressional Environmental Committees Criticize EPA’s Failure to Consult Regarding the Potential Impacts of...

On June 15, 2015, Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, and Congressman Rob Bishop (R-Utah), Chairman of the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources, sent a...more

Texas Becomes First State to Ban Fracking Bans

On May 18, 2015, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed House Bill 40 into law, putting restrictions on the ability of municipalities to regulate the oil and gas industry in their jurisdictions. Because the bill passed both the...more

Special Session: Signed, Sealed and Delivered

The illusive Special Session lived up to its hype. Despite the close proximity of the two temporary chambers in the State Office Building, the bodies were far apart in their desired outcome for the session. After...more

Gov. Dayton Signs 2015 Jobs and Energy Bill into Law

On Saturday, June 13, Governor Dayton signed the 2015 Jobs and Energy Bill into Law. The following amendments were made after the Governor’s veto: - New definitions for “propane,” “propane storage facility,” and...more

Status of Oil and Gas-related Bills Proposed in California’s 2015-2016 Legislative Session

June 5, 2015 marked the deadline for lawmakers to pass bills out of their house to the opposite house. Bills that did not pass in their house of origin by that date have effectively died (unless such bill has been identified...more

Obama Administration Issues Final Rule on “Waters of the United States” - The Rule Will Expand The Universe Of "Waters" Subject To...

On May 27, 2015, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) (collectively, the “agencies”) issued a final rule revising the regulatory definition of “Waters of the United...more

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