Environmental Residential Real Estate Zoning, Planning & Land Use

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California Supreme Court Rules that Ordinance Intended to Increase Number of Affordable Housing Units is a Lawful Exercise of the...

In one of the most widely followed land use cases in recent years, the Supreme Court of California unanimously upheld the City of San Jose’s affordable housing ordinance because it was intended to advance the constitutionally...more

Texas Becomes First State to Ban Fracking Bans

On May 18, 2015, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed House Bill 40 into law, putting restrictions on the ability of municipalities to regulate the oil and gas industry in their jurisdictions. Because the bill passed both the...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

Court Rules Planned Development of Banning Ranch May Proceed

In Banning Ranch Conservancy v. City of Newport Beach (filed 5/20/2015, No. G049691), the California Court of Appeal, Fourth District, held the Environmental Impact Report prepared by the City of Newport Beach for the partial...more

Easy Cases Make Better Law — Standing Edition

In an interesting, but not really difficult, decision on Tuesday, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals found that the National Association of Home Builders did not have standing to challenge a consent decree pursuant to which...more

Five Georgia Environmental Bills to Watch in 2015

Georgia legislature warms up to solar panels, gets protective of coastal marshes, withdraws support for electric cars, and sacrifices LEED certifications in favor of jobs. April 2, 2015 marked final adjournment of the 2015...more

The Stormwater Mess Continues in Massachusetts: CLF and CRWA Sue EPA

In February, we noted that the Conservation Law Foundation and the Charles River Watershed Association had threatened to sue EPA for failing to require that “commercial, industrial, institutional, and high density residential...more

Eighth Circuit Creates Circuit Split By Holding Jurisdictional Determinations Under The Clean Water Act Constitute "Final Agency...

On April 10, 2015, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit held that the issuance of a jurisdictional determination (JD) by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) pursuant to the Clean Water Act (CWA)...more

California Environmental Law & Policy Update - March 2015 #4

Environmental and Policy Focus - EPA emissions rules face Supreme Court test: NPR - Mar 25: On April 1, the Supreme Court will hear a challenge to Obama Administration rules aimed at limiting the amount of mercury and...more

Ruling Complicated Use of CEQA's Categorical Exemptions

Categorical exemptions from environmental review under the California Environmental Quality Act, or CEQA, do not apply to projects involving a reasonable possibility of a significant effect on the environment due to unusual...more

Fourth Circuit Upholds U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Finding of Jurisdiction Over 4.8 Acres of Wetlands in Chesapeake, Virginia

On March 10, 2015, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit held that the U.S. Corps of Engineers (Corps) had lawfully denied a permit to an applicant seeking to fill 4.8 acres of wetlands in order to build...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 Announces New Test for CEQA “Unusual Circumstances” Exception

Berkeley Hillside Preservation v. City of Berkeley (2015) ___ Cal.4th ___, Case No. S201116 - This week the California Supreme Court issued its long-awaited decision in the Berkeley Hillside case, which considered...more

It’s Not Unusual: California Supreme Court Declines to Expand “Unusual Circumstances” Exception to CEQA Categorical Exemptions

In an important and highly anticipated decision under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), the California Supreme Court overturned a Court of Appeal’s decision that would have severely limited public agencies’...more

Subsurface Trespass Claims Remain an Open Question in Texas

On February 6, 2015, the Texas Supreme Court released its unanimous and long-awaited opinion in the case Environmental Processing Systems, L.C. v. FPL Farming Ltd., 2015 WL 496336 (Tex. 2015), which did not surprise many...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

Government & Regulatory Law Update March 2015: California Supreme Court Issues Decision in Berkeley Hillside Preservation v. City...

On March 2, 2015, the California Supreme Court issued its long awaited opinion in Berkeley Hillside Preservation v. City of Berkeley (“Berkeley”). The opinion clarifies two important issues relating to the California...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 Decides Significant Impact Alone Not Sufficient to Deny Use of Categorical Exemption (Berkeley Hillside...

In a landmark California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) case decided yesterday, the California Supreme Court provided guidance on the use of categorical exemptions in Berkeley Hillside Preservation v. City of Berkeley...more

California Supreme Court Strengthens CEQA’s Categorical Exemptions

The California Supreme Court has issued its long-awaited decision in Berkeley Hillside Preservation v. City of Berkeley, a case with important implications for developers and public agencies on a wide variety of projects. ...more

California Supreme Court Protects CEQA Categorical Exemptions

Court gives more deference to an agency’s decision to use a categorical exemption, likely thwarting environmental opponents. On Monday March 2, the California Supreme Court upheld the use of a California Environmental...more

California Supreme Court Creates Two-Part CEQA Exemption Test in Berkeley Hillside

Developers and agencies seeking to expedite project reviews under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) often chafe under its unique “fair argument” standard of judicial review, which sets a very low bar for...more

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