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Williams Mullen Construction Industry Newsletter - Winter/Spring 2015

In this Issue: - Welcome - Williams Mullen Announces Coastal Flooding Practice - Federal Government Contracts - New Challenges - Green Certification - Bankruptcy and Virginia...more

Climate Change Adaptation: Massachusetts Releases New Policies to Address

In one of our prior posts, we reported on efforts by Boston and New York City, in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, to undertake comprehensive climate change preparedness planning to review the vulnerabilities of each city’s built...more

Texas small hydro project loses exemption

What happens to a proposed hydroelectric project takes longer than anticipated to be built, due to difficulties with project financing and severe flooding? As the developer of a proposed project in Texas recently found out,...more

IRS Issues Additional Guidance on Beginning of Construction Rules for Renewable Projects

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued Notice 2015-25 (Notice) on March 11, 2015, to provide further guidance on meeting the beginning of construction requirements for wind and other qualified facilities (biomass,...more

Executive Order Mandates Clean Energy Consumption at Federal Buildings

Yesterday, President Obama released an Executive Order entitled “Planning for Federal Sustainability in the Next Decade.” In short, the order mandates that heads of agency take action to promote energy conservation and...more

Federal Government Takes First Steps to Impose Regulation of Hydraulic Fracturing on Public Lands

On March 20, 2015, the Interior Department announced the issuance of a final rule regulating hydraulic fracturing on Federal and American Indian lands. The rule was initially proposed by the Bureau of Land Management (“BLM”)...more

Are You Continuing Construction? IRS Issues Fourth Renewable Energy Tax Credit Beginning of Construction Notice

On March 11, 2015, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued Notice 2015-25, which provides further guidance to assist renewable energy facility developers and investors in evaluating whether such facilities satisfied the...more

Energy and Infrastructure Companies Aren’t Waiting for the FAA’s New Drone Rules

With a little over one month to go in the comment period on the FAA’s proposed rules for the Operation and Certification of Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems, and facing the prospect of at least another year before those rules...more

What’s a Significant Nexus? The Answer, My Friend, Is Flowin’ Through the Ditch.

Even assuming that the “significant nexus” test from Justice Kennedy’s concurring opinion in Rapanos defines waters of the United States subject to Clean Water Act jurisdiction, the question remains what establishes a...more

IRS Issues Notice 2015-25 Extending Safe Harbor for Continuous Construction in Order to Take Advantage of Renewable Energy Tax...

Thursday, the IRS issued Notice 2015-25, which updates the guidance in Notices 2013-29, 2013-60, and 2014-46. These Notices provide that a taxpayer can show that it has “begun construction” of its qualified renewable energy...more

California Environmental Law & Policy Update - March 2015 #2

Environmental and Policy Focus: California renewable energy zone plan gets revamp after criticism: Reuters - Mar 10: An ambitious plan to put California's renewable energy projects in areas where the environment will...more

IRS Extends Safe Harbor for Completion of PTC-Qualifying Facilities to Jan. 2017

Yesterday, March 11, 2015, the Internal Revenue Service issued Notice 2015-25, which extends by one year certain tests taxpayers can use to establish that a qualifying renewable energy facility is eligible for the production...more

IRS Extends Continuous Construction/Continuous Efforts Safe Harbors for Production Tax Credit/Investment Tax Credit Qualification

Production tax credits (“PTCs”) are available for wind, biomass, geothermal, landfill gas, trash, hydropower, and marine and hydrokinetic facilities, if construction of the facility began before January 1, 2015....more

California Supreme Court Issues CEQA Ruling Regarding Categorical Exemptions - The Practical Result of the Court's Decision Is...

The California Supreme Court issued its opinion in Berkeley Hillside Preservation v. City of Berkeley (Case No. S201116), overturning the Court of Appeal and charting a course for the future application of categorical...more

California Supreme Court Construes CEQA’s “Unusual Circumstances” Exception to Categorical Exemptions in Berkeley Hillside...

In a 46-page majority opinion written by Justice Chin and joined by four other justices, punctuated by an 18-page concurring opinion (by Justice Liu, joined by Justice Werdegar) which reads like a dissent, the California...more

Big House CEQA Exemption on Firm Foundation

The Berkeley Hillside Preservation association wasn’t thrilled with a new neighbor’s plans to demolish an existing house and build a 6,478-square-foot house with an attached 3,394-square-foot 10-car garage on a slope in the...more

Coastal Flooding and Resiliency: New Challenges and Opportunities for the Commercial Real Estate and Finance Industry

Virginia, North Carolina and other mid-Atlantic coastal communities are no strangers to severe weather and related storm surges and flooding. However, many of these communities are experiencing storm surges and tidal and...more

California Supreme Court Establishes the Standard of Review for the Unusual Circumstances Exception to CEQA Categorical Exemptions...

Breathing life into the use of CEQA categorical exemptions, on March 2, 2015, the California Supreme Court held that a reasonable possibility that a project may result in significant effects on the environment alone is not...more

Developer Catches a Break in California Supreme Court CEQA Ruling

In Berkeley Hillside Preservation v. City of Berkeley, No. S201116 (Cal. Mar. 2, 2015) (slip op), the California Supreme Court overturned an appeals court ruling that banned developers from using an exemption under the...more

California Supreme Court’s CEQA Ruling Reaches Beyond Residential Development

On Monday March 2, the California Supreme Court handed down a decision allowing a Berkeley home builder to use an exemption from detailed environmental assessment under the California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”) in its...more

CA Supreme Court Provides Key CEQA Guidance Regarding Categorical Exemptions

The California Supreme Court issued a long-awaited ruling regarding categorical exemptions under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) reversing a court of appeal decision that would have sharply curtailed the use...more

Development Trend to Circumvent CEQA Through Ballot Initiative Emphasizes Need for Reform

The Los Angeles Times recently reported that proposed football stadium developers have chosen to incur the cost of collecting signatures to qualify an initiative for the ballot to obtain land use approvals rather than face...more

California Supreme Court Upholds Most Commonly Used CEQA Categorical Exemptions

The California Supreme Court has issued its long-awaited decision in Berkeley Hillside Preservation v. City of Berkeley, No. S201116 (March 2, 2015). The Court’s decision clears up some of the ambiguity that surrounded the...more

Sacramento Kings – 2, Opponents – 0: Court Rules that the Downtown Arena Satisfies Environmental Review Requirements

In Saltonstall, et al. v. City of Sacramento, No. C077772 (Cal. Ct. App. 3rd Dist., Feb. 18, 2015), the Third Appellate District affirmed the judgment of the Superior Court in holding that the City of Sacramento did not...more

Land Subsidence Damage Caused by Groundwater Withdrawals in Arizona: Who Pays?

Land subsidence is a problem that affects many areas of the world, with well-publicized case studies in Mexico City, Tokyo, and certain areas within California and Arizona. ...more

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