Environmental Constitutional Law

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An Update On Standing — Some Specifics Really Are Required

Last week, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed EPA’s approval of Nevada’s State Implementation Plan for regional haze against a challenge by WildEarth Guardians. The decision isn’t earthshaking. However, because it...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

Supreme Court Denies Review Of The California LCFS

On June 30, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court announced that it would not review the constitutionality of the California Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS). This decision is largely viewed as a win for the California Air Resources...more

Ruling That Curtails Public Agencies' Abilities to Get Order Protecting Project Planning Inspections is Decertified

Supreme Court Decides to Review Lower Court Case - An appellate court ruling that essentially curtailed the ability of public agencies to obtain a court order to conduct project planning inspections was decertified by...more

First District Court of Appeal Holds State Water Board May Restrict Beneficial Water Use by Senior Water Rights Holders, Relying...

Most Californians are well aware of the restrictions currently being placed on water use throughout the state. The ongoing drought and dwindling water supplies in California are dramatically affecting those with rights to...more

US Supreme Court Denied Certiorari Regarding the Constitutionality of California's Low Carbon Fuel Standard

Today, the US Supreme Court denied certiorari regarding the constitutionality of California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) in Rocky Mountain Farmers Union v. Corey. ...more

U.S. Supreme Court Declines to Hear Dispute over California Low Carbon Fuel Standard

Today, the U.S. Supreme Court denied petition for review in Rocky Mountain Farmers Union v. Corey. In Rocky Mountain Farmers, the Ninth Circuit addressed the constitutionality of California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS),...more

NBB Challenges Monroe Energy’s Standing To Challenge 2013 RFS

On June 20, 2014, the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) filed a petition with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit requesting that the court rehear whether Monroe Energy (Monroe), a refining subsidiary...more

Supreme Court Upholds EPA's Power to Regulate Greenhouse Gas Emissions From Large Stationary Sources – But Scolds EPA For...

On Monday, June 23, in a long-awaited decision, the U.S. Supreme Court in Utility Air Regulatory Group v. Environmental Protection Agency partially invalidated and partially upheld U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ("EPA")...more

How Courts Have Ruled on the Still-open Issue of Whether the Clean Air Act Preempts State Common Law Tort Suits

In its landmark 2011 decision in American Electric Power Co., Inc. v. Connecticut, et al., 131 S.Ct. 2527 (2011), the U.S. Supreme Court held that the Clean Air Act (CAA) and the actions by the U.S. Environmental Protection...more

Sixth Circuit Greenlights Cellulosic Ethanol Plant

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit held this week that the Department of Energy (DOE) complied with its obligations under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) in providing funding for a cellulosic ethanol...more

Schoenbrod: SCOTUS Ruling Helps EPA Deal With a "Stupid Statute" [Video]

May 15, 2014 -- David Schoenbrod, professor at New York Law School, talks about the recent ruling at the United States Supreme Court preserving the Environmental Protection Agency's power to regulate power plant pollution...more

Light at the End of the Cape Wind Tunnel? Judge Stearns Proclaims the Opponents “Vexatious”

On Friday, Judge Richard Stearns dismissed the latest challenge to Cape Wind, ruling that claims that the Massachusetts DPU coerced NSTAR into purchasing power from Cape Wind, and that such coercion violated the dormant...more

CERCLA’s Dark Pathways Around Due Process

Most people would assume that, when the United States takes action directly impacting an individual, constitutional due process would ensure that individual has an opportunity to test the government’s action in court. That...more

British Columbia’s Supreme Court Considers the Duty to Consult in the Context of an Environmental Review Process

On April 3, 2014 the British Columbia Supreme Court released its decision in Ktunaxa Nation v. British Columbia (Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations), 2014 BCSC 568. The case concerned an application for judicial...more

Dispatches From the “Sue and Settle” Front: Trade Groups Do Not Have Standing to Challenge Settlements Regarding ESA Listing...

Last week, a federal court, for the fourth time, found that property owners’ groups do not have standing to challenge a settlement between the administration and conservation groups under which the administration agreed to...more

California’s LCFS Surviving Challenges As Major Changes Loom

The Air Resources Board proposes to merge court-mandated re-adoption of the Low Carbon Fuel Standard with other significant program changes. The Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) continues to generate uncertainty due to...more

Ruling May Put The Brakes On Some CEQA Investigations

For years, public agencies have utilized a statutory "right-of-entry" procedure to gain access to private property to conduct investigations and testing before deciding whether to move forward with a condemnation action....more

Property Reserve, Inc. v. Superior Court: California Property Owners Secure Victory in New Eminent Domain Opinion

In a victory for California property owners, the California Court of Appeal, on March 13, 2014, issued a new opinion holding that the State of California's proposed entry onto hundreds of properties in Northern California for...more

Precondemnation "Right of Entry" Statutes Challenged as Unconstitutional Takings

For years, public agencies have utilized a statutory "right of entry" procedure to gain access to private property to conduct investigations and testing before deciding whether to move forward with a condemnation action. ...more

California Environmental Law and Policy Update

Environmental and Policy Focus - DWR must acquire properties before testing tunnel for diversion of water to Southern California - CourtHouse News - Mar 17: A California appellate court ruled last week that, before...more

Debates Continue Over Taxes And Fees On Hydraulic Fracturing In Ohio And Pennsylvania

In exchange for a $2.6 billion cut to Ohio’s state income taxes, Gov. John Kasich has proposed a package of tax increases in other areas. Included among those increases would be the gradual implementation of a 2.75 percent...more

Court Rejects Statute Allowing Court Ordered Entry Onto Private Property by Public Agencies for Pre-Acquisition Testing

California Eminent Domain Law allows public agencies to obtain a court order permitting access onto private property to conduct pre-acquisition testing and inspections. These tests and inspections can help an agency...more

How Powerful is the Endangered Species Act? Just Ask the Delta Smelt

The Endangered Species Act is a powerful tool for the protection of threatened and endangered species and their habitats. Just how powerful was made clear last week when the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals largely reversed a...more

Overreaching to Apply CEQA; Second District Strikes Down LA’s Attempted Mid-Game Rule Change in Tower Lane Properties

Sometimes in the land use world, municipal planners and other regulators need to be reminded of the simple things. For example, a fundamental precept of due process is that the rules cannot be changed in the middle of the...more

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