Environmental Zoning, Planning & Land Use

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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

Fracking Hearings Set to Begin in North Carolina

This Wednesday in Raleigh will see the first of four upcoming public hearings in North Carolina over the state’s proposed fracking rules. The hearings are part of the final phase of rule making, coming after two years of...more

Court of Appeal Clarifies Requirements for Public Input on Development Agreements

Due process rights to notice and a public hearing for those who may be affected do not apply to a public agency’s consideration of approval of a development agreement, an appellate court has ruled. In addition, the First...more

Feds to auction North Carolina offshore wind sites

The U.S. Department of the Interior's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has announced plans to auction the rights to lease sites off the North Carolina coast for offshore wind projects. ...more

Solid Waste and Water Planning Dominate 2014 Connecticut Public Acts Concerning the Environment

The Connecticut General Assembly’s 2014 “short session” yielded a modest crop of public acts concerning the environment. Nevertheless, the bills introduced in the session included three sweeping initiatives with multi-year...more

California District Court Dismisses ESA Section 7 Case for Failure to Allege that Agency Action Took Place on the "High Seas"

On August 12, a judge for the Northern District of California granted a motion to dismiss claims alleging that a federal agency violated section 7 of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) by failing to consult with federal...more

What Remains of Act 13 in Pennsylvania after Robinson? Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court Strikes Further Provisions of Act 13 as...

Earlier this year, we reported in our Client Alert dated January 15, 2014, on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s decision in Robinson v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, 83 A.3d 901 (Pa. 2013). In Robinson, the Supreme Court...more

Other 2014 Environmental and Land Use Legislation: Fracking, Brownfields, State Land Conservation, Private Easements, Wood Burning...

The General Assembly passed noteworthy bills on six diverse environmental and land use subjects. Hydraulic Fracturing Waste - A deceptively simple bill concerning hydraulic fracturing waste, PA 14-200, emerged...more

California Development: Proposed Amendments to CEQA Guidelines Significantly Change Transportation Analyses

Developers of infill projects could face additional uncertainty and legal vulnerability under new requirements to analyze impacts on transportation. On August 6, the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research (OPR)...more

Texas Railroad Commission Proposes New Regulations for High-Risk Seismic Areas

On Tuesday, amidst claims that hydraulic fracturing could be causing earthquakes in some parts of Texas, the Texas Railroad Commission proposed amendments to permitting regulations for injection wells. The proposed rules...more

CEQA Alert: The End of Level of Service (“LOS”) Analysis? OPR Proposes New Guidelines for Evaluating Transportation Impacts

On August 6, 2014, the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research (OPR) released its preliminary recommendations for changing how transportation impacts are analyzed under CEQA: Updating Transportation Impacts Analysis in the...more

Fifth Circuit Holds that the Army Corps of Engineers' Jurisdictional Determination Does Not Constitute a Reviewable "Final Agency...

On July 30, 2014, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit held that the issuance of a jurisdictional determination (JD) by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) is not a final agency action subject 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

EPA Approves Maine's NOx Waiver Request – VOC Waiver Request Still Pending

Since the mid-1990s, Maine has had an EPA-approved waiver from the ozone nonattainment new source review (NNSR) requirements for NOx covering, at a minimum, areas of the state that attain the ozone standard. The NOx waiver...more

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