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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

New York Court of Appeals Upholds Local Fracking Bans

The New York Court of Appeals, in a 5-2 decision, held that the New York State Oil, Gas and Solution Mining Law (“OGSML”) does not preempt municipal zoning authority. The Court explained that land use regulation is among the...more

CEQA Exemption Update: Westland Water District Two-Year Contract Renewals Ruled Exempt from CEQA Requirements

In North Coast Rivers Alliance v. Westlands Water District, No. FO67383 (Cal. Ct. App. 5th Dist. July 3, 2014), the Fifth Appellate District upheld the Westland Water District and its related distribution districts’ (Water...more

Capital Thinking: Environment and Natural Resources

REGULATORY ACTIVITY - GREENHOUSE GAS - Pursuant to President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will soon propose to prohibit certain chemicals contributing to emissions of...more

Texas Railroad Commission Chairman Calls Proposed Denton Fracking Ban ‘Extremely Misguided’; Asks City Council to Reject Measure

On July 11th, Texas Railroad Commission Chairman Barry Smitherman sent a letter to the mayor and city council members for Denton, Texas asking that the council reject a proposal to ban hydraulic fracturing in Denton. Chairman...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

Fifth Circuit Limits the Reach of ESA "Take Liability" for State Regulatory Agencies Based on "Proximate Causation" Principles

The Fifth Circuit's decision provides important legal and factual guidance for whether an action will cause a "take" under the ESA. While the decision only affects states covered by the Fifth Circuit (Texas, Louisiana and...more

District Court Denies Motion to Enjoin Delta Water Transfers

Last Friday, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California denied a motion brought by environmental groups to enjoin a water transfer project in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta (Delta). Plaintiffs...more

EPA Wins Two Clean Water Cases in One Day: The Fourth Circuit Affirms a Narrow Construction of the Permit Shield Defense

Yesterday, I noted that the D.C. Circuit rejected challenges to EPA’s Enhanced Coordination Process and Final Guidance on Clean Water Act permitting for mining activities. It was not EPA’s only CWA victory. On the same day,...more

Water Issues Reframe State Fracking Debate

The debate over fracking continues nationwide, but in California there is an increasing focus on one major issue: water supply. With the state facing one of the most severe droughts on record and water regulators tightening...more

Fifth District Upholds CEQA Exemptions For Ongoing Pre-CEQA Projects And Continued Operation of Existing Facilities To Reject...

In a July 3, 2014 published decision more notable for the practical importance of the water rights involved than the CEQA law applied, the Fifth District Court of Appeal rejected the CEQA challenges of various environmental...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 #2

Environmental and Policy Focus: House holds hearing on proposed ‘Waters of the United States’ rule - Association of California Water Agencies - Jul 9: The House Science, Space, and Technology Committee held a hearing...more

President Obama Signs Water Resources Reform & Development Act of 2014 #2

President Obama recently signed into law the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2014 ("WRRDA"). The President's action follows Congressional approval of the Conference Agreement reached in May by House and Senate...more

Supreme Court’s CEQA Docket Expands With Grant of Review in Newhall Ranch Case

On July 9, 2014, the California Supreme Court granted the petition for review filed by Plaintiff/Respondent Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) in Center for Biological Diversity, et al. v. Department of Fish and Game...more

Water Board Announces Meeting to Develop SB 4 Groundwater Monitoring Criteria

On Wednesday, July 9, 2014, the State Water Resources Control Board (“Water Board”) announced that it will be holding a “Stakeholder Meeting to Develop Groundwater Monitoring Model Criteria for Oil & Gas Areas.” The meeting...more

Renewable Energy Update -- July 2014

Renewable Energy Focus - Supreme Court upholds EPA's power to regulate greenhouse gas: Allen Matkins - Jun 24: On Monday, June 23, in a long-awaited decision, the U.S. Supreme Court in Utility Air Regulatory Group v....more

Are We There Yet? CCS and Cost-Effectiveness Analyses

In 2011, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued pioneering guidance on the Best Available Control Technology (BACT) analysis for the control of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. In that guidance, EPA acknowledged...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

Taking A Look At Significant Environmental Legislation This Session:

SB 38 – Amend Environmental Laws started as Emergency Management Amendments. The House added environmental amendments. The House sent the bill back to the Senate for concurrence. The Senate Clerk’s Office is holding the bill...more

Top 6 at 6: Highlights of the Top Climate Change Legal Stories in the First Half of 2014

Our semi-annual look at the top climate change legal stories is keyed on EPA. You hardly have to have been awake to be aware of the Clean Power Plan and UARG v. EPA. But other things have stirred the pot as well: three...more

New York's Highest Court Holds that Zoning Laws of New York Towns Banning Fracking Are Enforceable — A Brief Analysis of the Oral...

A non-profit, Food & Water Watch, reports that 421 measures against fracking have been passed by state and local governments and that communities across the nation are lobbying their local and state elected officials because...more

OSPAR Commission's Harmonized Offshore Chemical Notification Format

The OSPAR Commission's (OSPAR) Harmonized Offshore Chemical Notification Format (HOCNF) is of paramount importance for a wide range of personnel, including chemical manufacturers and product manufacturers whose products are...more

Rural Nevada Anti-Fracking Group Seeks to Enjoin Oil and Gas Lease Sale

Reese River Basin Citizens Against Fracking filed a complaint in federal court on June 27, seeking to enjoin the United States Bureau of Land Management (BLM) from holding an oil and gas lease sale. The rural group is...more

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