Environmental Zoning, Planning & Land Use

Read need-to-know updates, commentary, and analysis on Environmental issues written by leading professionals.
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State Lands Commission’s CEQA Review of SF Bay/Delta Sand Mining Project Approval Is Adequate, But Fails to Fulfill Obligation to...

The First District Court of Appeal held the California State Lands Commission’s (“CSLC”) EIR for a project involving the lease of sovereign lands beneath San Francisco Bay for private dredge mining of sand complied with CEQA;...more

CESAR Files Delta Smelt ESA Suit Against DWR, Interior and USFWS

On November 19, 2015, the Center for Environmental Science, Accuracy and Reliability (CESAR) filed a lawsuit against the California Department of Water Resources (DWR), the U.S. Department of the Interior (Interior) and the...more

Xcel Energy Reports 24 Community Solar Garden Projects are Beginning Construction

Xcel Energy filed its monthly report for the Community Solar Garden program with the Public Utilities Commission last week, revealing that 24 projects are moving to the beginning stages of construction....more

Seeking Net Benefits: President Obama Issues New Federal Policy on Addressing and Mitigating Environmental Harm Early in the...

On November 3, 2015, the White House released a Presidential Memorandum intended to encourage federal agencies to consider land use planning more holistically, clearly and consistently, addressing mitigation needs before they...more

Presidential Directive Establishes New Compensatory Mitigation Policy, Expanding Future Costs and Obligations for Federally...

On November 3, 2015, President Obama directed key federal agencies to adopt new or more extensive compensatory mitigation policies over the next six to twenty-four months. Once implemented, these policies could block...more

California Environmental Law & Policy Update - November 2015 #2

Environmental and Policy Focus: San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board amends regional MS4 permit to provide alternate compliance: Allen Matkin - Nov 19: On Wednesday afternoon, the San Diego Regional Water...more

Alberta Announces Climate Leadership Plan

Yesterday, the Alberta government announced its Climate Leadership Plan (Plan) and released to the public the Climate Leadership Report to Minister (Report) it commissioned from the Climate Change Advisory Panel. While...more

Court Rejects Some, But Not All Challenges to Critical Habitat Designation of Private Land

In 2012, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) published a final rule designating 1,724 acres as critical habitat for the endangered Riverside fairy shrimp (Streptocephalus woottoni).  Included in that designation were...more

Crude-By-Rail Update: Siting a Crude Oil Transloading Terminal in California? Developers Should Seek Old Industrial Sites and...

Proposed crude-by-rail (CBR) projects in California increasingly face opposition lawsuits designed to stall and derail the terminals. The suits often focus on alleged noncompliance with the California Environmental Quality...more

Another Season of Change in North Carolina Environmental Law - Part II

As discussed in Part I of our environmental legislative update published on November 12, 2015, the 2015 North Carolina legislative session resulted in a great deal of change for the state’s environmental programs....more

The Pennsylvania Pipeline Infrastructure Task Force Releases First Draft of Recommendations to Gov. Wolf for Future Pipeline...

Overview of the Task Force - The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Pipeline Infrastructure Task Force (PITF) recently released the first draft of its report. In May 2015, Gov. Wolf announced the...more

China Regulatory Enforcement Quarterly - Q3 2015

On August 12, a series of explosions in the northern port-city of Tianjin killed over one hundred people and injured hundreds of others. The explosions were allegedly caused by hazardous chemical materials in shipping...more

Presidential Memorandum on Natural Resources Mitigation Policy: Avoid, Minimize and Compensate

President Barack Obama recently ordered the heads of five federal agencies (U.S. Department of Defense, U.S. Department of Interior, U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and National Oceanic...more

UPDATE: Texas RRC Agrees Earthquakes Not Caused by EnerVest, XTO Injection Wells

In a November 3 decision, the Texas Railroad Commission (RRC) agreed with an administrative law judge (ALJ) that two wastewater injection wells, one operated by EnerVest Operating LLC and the other by Exxon Mobil Corp....more

Coming Soon to a Project Near You: Advance Compensation

Earlier this month, the White House released a Presidential Memorandum on “Mitigating Impacts on Natural Resources from Development and Encouraging Related Private Investment.” If that portentous title isn’t enough to make...more

New Ozone Standard: Better Than it Could Have Been, But Creates Uncertainty for Industry

EPA has issued a final rule tightening the primary ozone national ambient air quality standard (“NAAQS”) down to 70 ppb from the 75 ppb limit established in 2008. The new NAAQS takes effect on December 28, 2015 (despite the...more

Kern County Acts to Streamline Oil & Gas Permitting

In a process that took nearly three years to complete, on Monday, November 9, the Kern County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a significant change to its oil and gas regulations....more

If A Tree Falls In The (Urban) Forest … Does CEQA Apply? Sixth District Holds City Of Santa Cruz’s Amendment Of Tree Protection...

When California local governments stretch their resources too far to regulate private conduct and property rights in the name of environmental protection, CEQA can make it quite onerous to undo what has been done. And one can...more

Updates on the Site Cleanup Program in Massachusetts: TCE, LNAPL and More

The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (“MassDEP”) has been updating its policy and guidance to address improvements in scientific understanding as well as its experience in addressing site contaminants. As...more

MassDEP Agrees to Settlements with Financial Institutions to Resolve Alleged Violations of Massachusetts Environmental Laws at...

The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (“MassDEP”) recently entered into consent orders with two financial institutions to resolve alleged Massachusetts environmental law violations occurring at two bank...more

Affordable Housing Permit Revoked by Massachusetts Appeals Court

In a recent ruling sure to embolden municipalities seeking to block affordable housing projects, the Massachusetts Appeals Court revoked the approval of a Comprehensive Permit issued under the Anti-Snob Zoning Act, G.L....more

Interior Announces Blueprint for Renewable Energy and Transmission Development on Public Lands in the California Desert

Earlier this week, the Department of the Interior announced the federal component of the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP), an innovative landscape-scale plan that identifies areas best suited for...more

Another Season of Change in North Carolina Environmental Law – Part I

The 2015 North Carolina legislative session resulted in a great deal of change for the state’s environmental agency and for the statutory programs it administers. The legislative session saw fundamental organizational changes...more

Energy-Related Legislation Moves Forward

A flurry of energy-related legislation moved forward over the past week, including several measures aimed at overturning controversial rules from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). While most will not become law –...more

Two Chinese Public Interest Groups Win Landmark Environmental Lawsuit in China

In a seminal judicial decision, a court in China’s Fujian province ruled on October 29, 2015 in favor of two environmental NGOs who brought suit against four defendants under China’s revised Environmental Protection Law for...more

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