Environmental Construction Zoning, Planning & Land Use

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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

FHA Multifamily Rental Project Closing Document Revisions

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has released revised closing documents that must be used for all transactions with a commitment issued after August 10, 2014. HUD has instituted a grace period in...more

Dealing With NIMBYs in Local Land Use and Environmental Approval

A developer or property owner may have a permit application for a project that meets the criteria for the applicable regulations, and might receive approval from local government or environmental staff. At that point, the...more

Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan to Streamline Permitting for 20,000 Megawatts of Renewable Energy

On September 23, 2014, the California Energy Commission (“CEC”), California Department of Fish and Wildlife (“CDFW”), US Bureau of Land Management (“BLM”), and US Fish and Wildlife Service (“FWS”) released the Draft...more

FERC approves Maryland LNG project

A proposed Maryland natural gas liquefaction facility won a key federal approval yesterday, as the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission authorized Dominion Cove Point LNG, LP to build the Cove Point Liquefaction Project in...more

New Law Requires Formal Consultation with Native American Tribes During CEQA Process

Agencies Must, Upon Request, Consult With Tribes About “Tribal Cultural Resources” - Assembly Bill 52, signed yesterday by Gov. Jerry Brown, seeks to protect a new class of resources under CEQA: “tribal cultural...more

California Urban Housing Market Plagued by Higher Rents, Lower Wages, and CEQA

The economic and social impacts of the California Environmental Quality Act are significant enough that the worldwide publication, The Economist, recently reported that the law’s liberal standing requirements “allow[ing]...more

NPDES Permits Are Construed Narrowly Against the Permittee

In July, we noted that the Clean Water Act’s permit shield defense would be construed narrowly, applying only where a permittee had clearly disclosed that the relevant pollutant to the agency. This week, in Alaska Community...more

EPA Reinforces Standards to Use "Representative Data" After Sierra Club

On January 22, 2013, in Sierra Club v. EPA, the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia issued an opinion that addressed some Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) permitting program issues. Following this...more

Miami’s Future Archipelago of Floating Houses

A team of Dutch developers would like to bring a little bit of Atlantis to Miami. Earlier this month, Dutch Docklands submitted a letter of intent and request for zoning variance to the City of North Miami Beach in order to...more

Use of Phased Permits on the Rise

As cranes tower over Miami in the post-recession development upswing, developers are once again using phased permits to expedite construction while awaiting approval for building permits. Section 105.13 of the Florida...more

New Development Extension Opportunities Now Available

The Florida Legislature has provided numerous extensions for development permits and approvals over the past several years, which have typically required that the holder of the permit or approval provide notice to the issuing...more

Collateral Estoppel Bars Copy-Cat Environmental Plaintiff in New Case After Judgment

Roberson v. City of Rialto (4th Dist., Div. 2, 5/21/2014, E058187) - The Fourth District Court of Appeal affirmed a judgment denying a petition for writ of mandate to invalidate project approvals for the construction...more

Fifth Circuit Limits the Reach of ESA "Take Liability" for State Regulatory Agencies Based on "Proximate Causation" Principles

The Fifth Circuit's decision provides important legal and factual guidance for whether an action will cause a "take" under the ESA. While the decision only affects states covered by the Fifth Circuit (Texas, Louisiana and...more

The Real Developer Impact of Rising Sea Levels

Damage to coastal property and infrastructure from rising sea levels and increased storm surge is a threat that South Florida knows too well. According to a major new report released on June 24, 2014 by a coalition of senior...more

2014 Legislative Update: Environment, Growth Management and Water

CS/CS/CS/HB 325 amends statutory provisions relating to the brownfield program and modifies the procedures for establishing a brownfield area. The bill also authorizes the local government designating a brownfield area to use...more

Capital Thinking: Energy

LEGISLATIVE ACTIVITY - SENATE ENR COMMITTEE VOTES TO APPROVE FERC NOMINEES, KEYSTONE XL BILL - On Wednesday, June 18, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources (ENR) Committee held a business meeting in executive...more

Supreme Court Strikes Down Part of EPA Greenhouse Gas Permit Rule but Leaves the Rule Mostly Intact

In 2011, the Environmental Protection Agency, acting under the Clean Air Act, required all new sources that would emit more than threshold quantities of “greenhouse gases” to get a preconstruction “prevention of significant...more

10 Development Due Diligence Considerations

New development projects are on the rise again. Here is a quick checklist of 10 issues to consider before getting started on any development project...more

“CEQA-in-Reverse” Case Headed for the California Supreme Court

“CEQA-in-Reverse” - Real estate developers, public agencies and private businesses involved in land development or redevelopment may soon have to contend with a new far-reaching interpretation of the California...more

Innovation with Clean Diesel Construction

When I hear that a real estate project is faced with environmental issues, the first thought that comes to mind is not one of compromise and collaboration. Instead I imagine pitchfork yielding activists, greedy developers and...more

EPA Revises Construction And Development Stormwater

In March, EPA published a new Final Rule that revised a 2009 Final Rule addressing stormwater discharges from its Construction and Development (C&D) point source category. The March revision withdrew the numeric turbidity...more

Court Approves San Francisco's Use of Class 3 CEQA Exemption for Telecommunications Project

Opinion clarifies when projects involving the construction of hundreds of new small utility structures may be exempt from environmental review - The California Court of Appeal upheld San Francisco’s determination that...more

Bright Line Rule: Collateral Estoppel Precludes Attacks on Quasi-Judicial Permit Decisions (But Stay Tuned: Rehearing Granted on...

Simply stated: “[a] collateral attack is not a substitute for an appeal” reasoned the Second Appellate District Court in Bowman v. California Coastal Commission (2nd Dist., Div. 6, 03/18/2014, B243015) ___Cal.App.2nd___,...more

Federal Agency Approvals Beyond the Scope of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act

In the last month, two separate federal district courts have declined to extend the scope of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, 16 U.S.C. §§ 703-712 (MBTA), to federal agency approvals of projects that plaintiffs alleged could...more

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