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California Governor’s Office Releases Updated CEQA Guidelines Proposal on SB 743 Implementation

On January 20, 2016, the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research (OPR) released a new draft proposal for implementing Senate Bill 743 (Steinberg 2013) (SB 743), which would require traffic analysis to be based on vehicle...more

California Supreme Court Shifts Gears on “Reverse CEQA”

The California Supreme Court has shifted gears on so-called “reverse CEQA” under the California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”)....more

New regulations will oblige owners of buildings in Scotland to improve or report on energy efficiency of buildings

Section 63 of the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009 provides for regulations to be made for: (1) the assessment of the energy performance of existing non-domestic buildings and greenhouse gas emissions from such buildings;...more

A Good Reminder: State and Federal Wildlife Laws Have Severe Penalties for Harm to Endangered Species

Welcome to the New Year! I have decided to declare 2016 to be the year of the endangered species. Why? We ended 2015 with a bang by seeing how serious the take prohibition in the California Fish and Game Code can be for fully...more

CEQA Year In Review 2015

In 2015 the California appellate courts continued to chart new ground as they grappled with some of CEQA’s most difficult and controversial questions. The Supreme Court of California led the way, issuing four opinions on...more

Worth the Wait? The California Supreme Court Rules that CEQA Does Not Require An Analysis of the Environment's Impacts on a...

On December 17, 2015, the California Supreme Court issued its long-awaited decision in California Building Industry Association v. Bay Area Air Quality Management District (No. S213478). The sole question before the Court...more

Lost in Translation: Supreme Court Elucidates CEQA GHG Analysis, “Fully Protected” Species Take Prohibition, And Issue Exhaustion...

In a 5-2 decision filed November 30, 2015, the California Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the Court of Appeal which had upheld the EIS/EIR for the controversial Newhall Ranch development project. Center For Biological...more

Take of Fully Protected Fish Stops Large Housing Development Project in LA County

While many of us were busy hitting refresh for those great Cyber Monday deals, the California Supreme Court quietly issued its decision on the Newhall Ranch project. In a decision reminiscent of the snail darter era, the...more

Two for Further Review?

It's that time of year again. Time for "Further Review." By that, I mean it's football season, and almost every week, millions of Americans watch in anticipation as black-and-white-striped NFL arbiters retreat to the...more

Affordable Housing Permit Revoked by Massachusetts Appeals Court

In a recent ruling sure to embolden municipalities seeking to block affordable housing projects, the Massachusetts Appeals Court revoked the approval of a Comprehensive Permit issued under the Anti-Snob Zoning Act, G.L....more

Berkeley Hillside CEQA Cat Ex Case Redux: Kapors Get Their Mansion, First District’s Belatedly Published Opinion Upholds City’s...

On remand following a landmark California Supreme Court decision, the First District Court of Appeal filed its opinion affirming the trial court’s judgment on September 23 and later ordered it published on October 15, 2015....more

California Supreme Court Hears Oral Argument in Case Challenging 2010 Bay Area Air Quality Management District Air Quality...

On October 7, 2015, the California Supreme Court heard oral argument in California Building Industry Association v. Bay Area Air Quality Management District (Supreme Court Case No. S213478), a case which calls into question...more

CEQA Guidelines Comments: Once In a Generation Chance

The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) directs that certain proposed projects undergo environmental review to assess and mitigate significant environmental impacts. The CEQA Guidelines provide procedures and...more

Practical questions persist on zonal planning proposal

This month's Fixing the Foundations 'productivity plan' commits the government to 'an urban planning revolution on brownfield sites'. Ministers have already pledged to create a register of brownfield land suitable for...more

Owners and Developers Should Review Permits Now Before Time Runs Out

At the end of June, Governor Raimondo signed into law legislation that suspends the running and expiration of all development permits until June 30, 2016. This suspension further expands a permit toll that has been in place,...more

Ninth Circuit Holds Critical Habitat Designations Not Subject to Cost-Benefit Analysis

In Building Industry Association of the Bay Area v. U.S. Department of Commerce, a decision with significant implications for property owners, the building industry, and the development community at large, the U.S. Court of...more

CEQA Categorical Exemption Case Opinion Ordered Slightly Modified By Supreme Court; Berkeley Hillside Preservation Judgment Is...

On May 27, 2015, the California Supreme Court filed a 4-page order modifying portions of the majority and concurring opinions previously filed March 2, 2015, in Berkeley Hillside Preservation v. City of Berkeley (2015) 60...more

New Mandate: If you like your water heater you can keep it; but replacing it will be expensive.

Effective April 16, 2015, there will be significant changes to water heater energy factor requirements as the result of updates to the National Appliance Energy Conservation Act (“NAECA”). The new requirements call for higher...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

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

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

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