Environmental Construction Zoning, Planning & Land Use

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Governor Signs Legislation Ending the Development of Regional Impact Program for New Development

On Thursday, May 14, 2015, Governor Scott signed into law CS/CS Senate Bill 1216, now Chapter 2015-30, Laws of Florida. This historic piece of legislation eliminates the Development of Regional Impact (DRI) process...more

Northern Long-Eared Bat Listed as Threatened Species – Development Projects in Northern New England Could Be Affected

On April 2, 2015, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Fish & Wildlife) issued a final rule listing the Northern Long-Eared Bat (NLEB) as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). This listing took effect...more

Bill to Streamline Federal Permitting for Major Energy and Infrastructure Projects Advances in the US Senate

On May 6, 2015, the US Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs voted 12-1 in favor of a bill designed to streamline the Federal permitting process for major energy and infrastructure projects. The bill,...more

B.C. Court Allows Environmental Approvals Delay Claim to Proceed

In Carhoun & Sons Enterprises Ltd. v. Canada (Attorney General), the British Columbia Court of Appeal allowed a lawsuit to proceed against the federal government by a private developer for losses caused by delays in the...more

Maine DEP Revises Universal Waste Rules, Adds Regulations for Architectural Paint

In March, the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) revised the state’s hazardous waste and universal waste regulations, based on a fall 2014 proposal.  There are several particularly important changes to the...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

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

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

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

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

Beware of Citizen Suits for Storm Water Violations

In recent months several private organizations have sent letters to California businesses informing them that they are in violation of their storm water permits and threatening to sue them under the citizen suit provision of...more

Failure to Describe Project Changes Results in 180-Day Statute of Limitations for CEQA Challenge (Ventura Foothills Neighbors v....

Why it matters: When a project’s subsequent CEQA documents fail to clearly provide public notice of material changes to a project, CEQA’s short statutes of limitation may not apply....more

How CEQA’s Administrative Record Preparation Process Could Be Reformed By Eliminating CEQA Petitioners’ Statutory Option To...

I recently analyzed proposed legislation (SB 122) seeking to create an alternative procedure for preparation of the CEQA administrative record concurrently with administrative proceedings on a project and prior to any...more

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