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Renewable Energy Developers ? Beware of your Land Options

Four Arrows Investments 68 v Abigail Construction (20470/2014) [2015] ZASCA 121 - In a recent judgment the Supreme Court of Appeal held that any sale of a portion of agricultural land, whether conditional or not, shall...more

Feinstein Introduces the California Emergency Drought Relief Act

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) introduced a bill last week to help address ongoing and future drought in California. The bill, known as the California Emergency Drought Relief Act (Act), is expected to be folded into broader...more

2015 Summary of Key Maine Environmental Legislation

The Pierce Atwood Environmental and Land Use Practice Group is pleased to provide the 2015 Summary of Key Maine Environmental Legislation enacted or carried over in the First Regular Session of Maine's 127th Legislature...more

Environmental Notes - July 2015

Clean Water Rule Opens Litigation Floodgates - With much fanfare, EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers (“Corps”) recently issued a final rule clarifying which bodies of water are “waters of the United States” protected...more

Joint Agency Symposium Discusses Role of Electricity Sector in California’s 2030 GHG Reduction Goals

Last week, several state agencies and the California Independent System Operator held a symposium on ways to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from electricity generation while maintaining an affordable and reliable...more

California Environmental Law & Policy Update - June 2015 #4

Environmental and Policy Focus - Most water rights holders facing cuts miss state compliance deadline: Los Angeles Times - Jun 22: The majority of California growers, irrigation districts, and others who have been...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

California Appellate Court: CDFW Notification Required for Water Diversions

Any plans to “substantially divert” water from a river or stream requires notification to the state Department of Fish and Wildlife, the California Court of Appeal found. In reversing a lower court’s decision that favored...more

California Environmental Law & Policy Update - May 2015 #5

Environmental and Policy Focus: EPA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers approve new definition of "waters of the United States" - Allen Matkins - May 27: The U.S. EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced on May...more

Farms and the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA)

Pursuant to the Clean Water Act’s Oil Spill Pollution, Prevention, Control and Countermeasures Rule (SPCC Rule), farmers and other oil storage and handling facilities are required to have an SPCC Plan to prevent oil spills...more

Corn-Based Ethanol Debate Intensifies – – A Bit

A recent article in USA Today questions whether ethanol’s days are numbered. While that article is written from the perspective of whether the stock of ethanol producing companies is a good investment, it focuses on some of...more

Georgia Governor Expected to Sign Overhaul to Soil and Water Commission (HB 397)

On Friday, March 27, 2015 the Georgia legislature passed HB 397, overhauling the State Soil and Water Conservation Commission (“Commission“). HB 397 is intended to curb the Commission’s independence and streamline its...more

California Groundwater Users Face Unpredictable Legal Frontier

In 2014, for the first time in its 164-year history, California enacted a law that comprehensively regulates the extraction and use of the state’s groundwater. This legislative action came against the dramatic backdrop of...more

CEQA Roundup – Recent Developments

Numerous CEQA-related developments have recently been in the news. Some of possible interest include: Kings and Kern Counties, the Kings County Farm Bureau, and a number of other groups filed a petition on February 9 with the...more

USDA Releases 2016 Budget Request, Continues To Support Rural Renewable Energy

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released its fiscal year 2016 budget request on February 2, 2015. The proposed budget is $156 billion total, with $6 billion going directly to loans that will encourage cleaner fossil...more

WRI Report Concludes Biofuels Competing With Food Sources

The World Resources Institute (WRI) issued a working paper, "Avoiding Bioenergy Competition for Food Crops and Land," as part of its series on "Creating a Sustainable Food Future." ...more

Wisconsin Supreme Court Holds Pollution Exclusion Applicable to Cow Manure Claims

In its recent decision in Wilson Mut. Ins. Co. v. Falk, 2014 WI 136, the Wisconsin Supreme Court had occasion had occasion to consider whether cow manure generated at a dairy farm, and which migrates from the insured’s...more

Conservation Easements Are Not Required As Mitigation For Permanent Loss Of Farmland

In Friends of the Kings River v. County of Fresno, the California Fifth District Court of Appeal upheld the County of Fresno’s adoption of an Environmental Impact Report for a mining operation that will result in a permanent...more

Fresno County Aggregate Mine Fends Off Court Challenge

In Friends of the Kings River v. County of Fresno, No. F068818 (Cal. Ct. App. 5th Dist., Dec. 8, 2014), the Fifth Appellate District upheld Fresno County’s (County) approval of the Carmelita Mine and Reclamation Project...more

Brownstein’s Annual Water Rights Compliance Checklist for 2015

This checklist provides a summary of state water right reporting requirements and applicable deadlines for users of surface or groundwater in California. If you have questions about the information contained in this...more

Fifth District Rejects CEQA Challenge to Fresno County Aggregate Mine Project EIR In Partially Published Decision, Clarifies State...

In a lengthy, 65-page opinion filed December 8, 2014 (of which fully two-thirds was unpublished), the Fifth District Court of Appeal affirmed the Fresno County Superior Court’s judgment upholding the EIR, Conditional Use...more

The Great East/West Divide

I was honored to address the recent annual meeting of the American Exploration and Mining Association (AEMA) in Reno, Nevada. Coming out west serves as a reminder of the chasm that exists between those Americans who earn...more

EPA Draft Ruling Could Mean Significant Changes to How Stormwater Systems are Categorized

The last thing that public agency leaders want to hear is that looming changes may make operating and building new public infrastructure more challenging and expensive. Unfortunately, proposed changes by the Environmental...more

Groundwater Basin Boundaries and Priorities Will Impose New Management Challenges on Local Agencies

The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, which takes effect Jan. 1, requires that the Department of Water Resources categorize each of California’s 515 alluvial groundwater basins and subbasins as high, medium, low, or...more

Growing Michigan - Third Quarter 2014

In This Issue: - Food and Drug Administration Not Required to Ban Antibiotics Given to Food-Producing Animals - U.S. Department of Agriculture Expands Crop Insurance under 2014 Farm Bill -...more

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