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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

In Cross-Border Contamination Case, Court Holds That CERCLA Displaces Federal Common Law Public Nuisance Claim

In yet another recent case involving the intersection of CERCLA and state law, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Washington held that CERCLA legislatively displaced federal common law public...more

Court Decisions Halt Momentum on Local Oil and Gas Regulations

Action Item: Oil and gas operators should be aware that courts recently have been paring back on the power of local municipalities to regulate their operations. ...more

Texas Legislature Takes Further Aim at Local/Municipal Fracking Bans

On Tuesday, March 11, 2015, the Texas Legislature’s 84th Session gained another bill directed at combating future local and municipal fracking bans. State Rep. Drew Darby (R-San Angelo), Chairman of the Texas House Energy...more

CEQA Update: Three New Court of Appeal Decisions Issued; Key Supreme Court Rulings Expected (and the Sacramento Kings are on a...

2015 is shaping up to be another active year for CEQA judicial review. After taking an extended holiday break, the Courts of Appeal have recently published three decisions, two of which reinforce existing case law on how to...more

California Environmental Law & Policy Update - February 2015 #2

Environmental and Policy Focus: State Water Board launches investigation into claims of senior water rights - Allen Matkins - Feb 9: On February 4, 2015, the State Water Resources Control Board issued an order seeking...more

California Environmental Law & Policy Update - January 2015 #3

Environmental and Policy Focus - Rail case heading to state Supreme Court: Willits News - Jan 27: The Supreme Court of California has accepted review of a lower court decision holding that federal law implemented by...more

Recent Cases on Clean Air Act Preemption of Common Law Torts Upend Conventional Wisdom

Two recent appellate-level decisions allowing state common law tort claims against an intrastate emitting source to avoid Clean Air Act (CAA) preemption have surprised many CAA litigators. The outcome in both Bell v....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

The Federal Surface Transportation Board Finds California Environmental Quality Act Preempted as Applied to High-Speed Rail...

In a surprising decision, Surface Transportation Board Decision, Docket No. FD35861, December 12, 2014 (“Docket”), the Federal Surface Transportation Board (“Board”) ruled that the application of the California Environmental...more

“Making CEQA A Federal Case? Recent Actions of California’s Supreme Court and the Federal Surface Transportation Board Set Up A...

Controversy has dogged the California high speed rail project since before its inception with the 2008 passage of Proposition 1A, the bond measure providing the project’s initial funding. The controversy has not abated in the...more

Surface Transportation Board Rules That ICCTA Preempts CEQA Review of California’s High-Speed Train System

On December 12, 2014, the Surface Transportation Board (STB) issued a decision, in response to a petition filed by the California High-Speed Rail Authority (Authority), finding that the Interstate Commerce Commission...more

High Speed Rail Moves Forward Without CEQA Review

The Surface Transportation Board (“STB”) issued a declaratory order in a 2-1 vote last Friday, finding that the California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”) is categorically preempted by federal law, as it relates to the...more

Fracking Preemption Fight to Play Out in San Benito County

It appears that San Benito County will be the venue for the much-anticipated legal battle over whether local jurisdictions in California can ban hydraulic fracturing. In early November, San Benito County passed a...more

Federal Preemption May Be The Key For Calif. Railroads

Railroad operators across the U.S. are seeing a bright future due to the resurgence in freight rail traffic. Intermodal (i.e., cargo container) shipping is booming. In 2013, intermodal volume on the major railroads totaled...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

RE: Bakken Crude-by-Rail: Environmental Groups Ask New York State to Regulate DOT-111 Tank Cars

A recent state-law challenge by environmental groups to an aspect of crude-by-rail transportation has teed up the question of federal supremacy over railroad regulation. Because federal law generally preempts state regulation...more

Beveridge & Diamond Wins Preemption Decision in Washington State Court of Appeals

Appellate litigators in Beveridge & Diamond’s District of Columbia office, working with the Washington Department of Ecology, secured a unanimous decision from the Washington Court of Appeals striking down a county ban on...more

State Bar, Environmental Law Section Presents Update on Fracking Regulations

The California State Bar, Environmental Law Section hosts an annual conference which welcomes attorneys and students from across the state to learn and discuss cutting edge environmental law issues. This year’s Environmental...more

Update on the California High Speed Rail System

James Andrew, Assistant Chief Counsel for the California High-Speed Rail Authority (“CHSRA”), spoke Tuesday, October 14, at the Sacramento County Bar Association, Environmental Law Section Luncheon. He stated that High-Speed...more

CERCLA Preempts Local Cleanup Bylaws; PRPs Everywhere Breath a Sigh of Relief

In an important decision yesterday, Judge Douglas Woodlock of the District of Massachusetts confirmed that CERCLA preempts local cleanup bylaws. The case involved one aspect of the cleanup of the W.R. Grace Superfund Site in...more

California High Speed Rail Dodges Legal Bullet

In Town of Atherton v. CA High Speed Rail Authority, No. C070877 (Cal. Ct. App. 3d Dist., July 24, 2014), the Third Appellate District upheld the High-Speed Rail Authority’s (HSRA) Program Environmental Impact Report/ Program...more

Of High Speed Rails and Litigation Snails: The Train Rolls On As Third District Rejects Additional CEQA Challenges To High-Speed...

While CEQA actions are statutorily designed as special proceedings with priority over other civil actions, and thus mandated to be heard and resolved expeditiously, when complex or controversial projects with dedicated...more

Reviewing Courts' Approaches to State or Local Control of Hydraulic Fracturing

While many debates over hydraulic fracturing continue throughout the oil and gas industry, a growing number of state courts are addressing the "home rule" argument, or in this case, whether local governments within the state...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

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