Environmental Zoning, Planning & Land Use

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Drilling Bill Fails in Assembly

SB 1096 (Jackson), which sought to foreclose the possibility of oil drilling in state waters from wells that could be drilled at Vandenberg Air Force Base, was defeated in the Assembly on Tuesday...more

Court Reluctantly Upholds Designation of Critial Habitat for Frog

Last week, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana upheld the designation of approximately 1,544 acres of privately-owned timber land located in Louisiana as critical habitat for the dusky...more

California Environmental Law and Policy Update - August 2014 #6

Environmental and Policy Focus: U.S. EPA settles case over destruction of rare Central Valley wetlands: EPA - Aug 14: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Justice today announced a...more

Parkmerced Project Upheld Against CEQA and General Plan Inconsistency Challenges In San Francisco Tomorrow v. City and County of...

In a lengthy, mostly-unpublished opinion filed on August 14, 2014, the First District Court of Appeal affirmed the superior court’s judgment denying a writ petition challenging the Parkmerced Development Project. San...more

CEQA: Are time extensions for nonconforming uses exempt from review?

Is an extension of time for an existing nonconforming use exempt from CEQA review? A new writ action just filed proposes to resolve that issue....more

Oregon wave energy project surrenders license

Ocean waves contain tremendous amounts of energy that could be harnessed by humans -- but difficulties have led a pilot project proposed off the Oregon coast to surrender a key federal license....more

Governor’s Passion For Legislative CEQA Reform Has Waned, Contra Costa Times Reports After Mercury News Interview

On August 15, 2014, the Contra Costa Times reported on a wide-ranging interview of California Governor Jerry Brown conducted by the Mercury News opinion and editorial board on that same date. While largely devoted to other...more

City of San Diego's Settlement Over Alleged MS4 Permit Violations Results in Crackdown on Out-Of-Compliance Projects

On August 13, 2014, the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board approved a two-part settlement with the City of San Diego for violations of the City's Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System ("MS4") permits. Most of the...more

A Provisional Winner of an Offshore Wind Lease is Announced and that Means the Goal Line is Still Far Off

Offshore wind took another small step forward last week when US Wind was announced as the provisional winner of the US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management's August 19 auction of development rights to nearly 80,000 acres off of...more

Renewable Energy Update -- August 2014 #4

Renewable Energy Focus - Solar plant's downside? Birds igniting in midair: CBS News - Aug 19: Workers at a state-of-the-art solar plant in the Mojave Desert have a name for birds that fly through the plant's...more

California Coastal Commission Further Solidifies Enforcement Powers

An informal Attorney General advice letter and recent legislation attempt to clarify the Coastal Commission’s powers in carrying out its enforcement authority. The extent of the California Coastal Commission’s legal...more

California Environmental Law and Policy Update - August 2014 #5

Environmental and Policy Focus: The California Supreme Court further limits the scope of CEQA review for voter-sponsored initiatives: Allen Matkins - Aug 11: Voter-driven initiatives meeting California Elections Code...more

OPR Proposes to Increase CEQA’s Costs, Complexity, and Litigation Risks with SB 743 Implementation

On August 6, 2014, the Governor's Office of Planning and Research (OPR) issued proposed revisions to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) guidelines implementing SB 743 – the Sacramento Kings arena bill – carried...more

You Can’t Estop the Government — Even When It Wants to Be Estopped

Last week, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals issued a decision that arguably explains everything from why the Tea Party exists to why otherwise calm and sane executives suddenly lose all their hair. Perhaps most astounding,...more

Real Estate and Land Use - August 2014

Chula Vista Citizens for Jobs and Fair Competition, et al. v. Donna Norris, et al. - Why it matters: With land use issues and development projects increasingly the subject of local ballot initiatives, it is imperative...more

Alberta Energy Regulator to Take Charge of Environmental Impact Assessments for Energy Resource Activities

On March 29, 2014, the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) became the entity responsible for issuing approvals pursuant to the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act (EPEA) for energy projects. However, the authority to...more

Environmental Impact Analysis Required for Natural Gas Facilities Clarified in Court Decision Denying Residents’ Challenge to...

A New York town’s challenge to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) siting authorization for a natural gas pipeline compressor station was rejected by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in Minisink...more

Tuolumne Jobs Case

The California Supreme Court has just issued an opinion which may encourage the use of initiatives. At issue in the case was an initiative to adopt a specific plan to streamline approval for construction and operation of a...more

Oil and Gas Developer Challenges an Extreme Waste Disposal Ordinance Enacted by a Pennsylvania Township

Oil and gas developer Pennsylvania General Energy Company, LLC (“PGE”) recently filed suit against Grant Township in Indiana County, Pennsylvania, alleging that a waste disposal ordinance enacted by the Township violates the...more

FDEP Touts the Success of the State’s Brownfields Redevelopment Program

Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) touts the success of the State’s Brownfields Redevelopment Program. Since its inception in 1997, Florida’s Brownfields Redevelopment Act ( Florida Statutes Sections...more

Ready for Comment: FWS Proposal Encourages Voluntary Conservation Measures for At-Risk Species

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) recently proposed a new policy – the Policy Regarding Voluntary Prelisting Conservation Actions – that would give landowners credit for undertaking voluntary conservation measures for...more

Governor Changes His Mind on CEQA Reform

In published reports, Gov. Jerry Brown discussed that he has had a spiritual conversion, of sorts, on his plans for CEQA reform. He strongly telegraphed that, if he wins a second term, he will not be making a push for CEQA...more

Critical Habitat and the Endangered Species Act: Proposed Revisions to Fundamental Regulatory Concepts

On May 12, 2014, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (“FWS”) and the National Marine Fisheries Service (collectively, the “Services”) issued notices of proposed rules and a proposed policy related to the designation of...more

Draft CEQA Guidelines Would Dramatically Alter Analysis of Transportation Impacts Under SB 743

On August 6, 2014, the California Office of Planning and Research issued a new draft guideline that could fundamentally alter the way in which transportation impacts are analyzed for purposes of review under the California...more

Mainebiz Real Estate Insider – A Field of Dreams: Imagining a Solar System in the Back Forty

In April 2014, the Maine legislature passed The Maine Solar Energy Act, finding that solar energy development in Maine would help protect and improve the well-being of its residents, as well as provide greenhouse gas...more

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