Environmental Zoning, Planning & Land Use

Read need-to-know updates, commentary, and analysis on Environmental issues written by leading professionals.
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Federal Appeals Court to Determine Tribal Reserved Rights to Groundwater

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals will soon determine whether the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians has a federal reserved right to groundwater in a water rights case that could set a precedent for tribes across the...more

California Court Upholds Environmental Impact Report for Golden State Warriors Arena - Ruling Finds That CEQA Doesn't Always...

The California First District Court of Appeals issued its decision on Nov. 29, 2016, in Mission Bay Alliance v. Office of Community Investment and Infrastructure et al. The Court of Appeals decision affirmed the July 18,...more

Is There Practical Evidence of Climate Change?

A recent article in The New York Times titled: Perils of Climate Change Could Swamp Coast Real Estate, indicates that rising seas and storm-related flooding in Florida appear to be driven by climate change and may be having...more

Slam Dunked! First District Rejects All CEQA And Land Use Challenges To Golden State Warriors Event Center Project And EIR In...

In a lengthy published opinion filed November 29, 2016, the First District Court of Appeal rejected all legal challenges to the City of San Francisco’s Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Report (FSEIR) and related land...more

Early Views on the US Energy and Infrastructure Sectors Under a Trump Administration

Energy and infrastructure policy was as at the forefront of the presidential election discussion and has continued to be highlighted as a focus for the Trump administration. Here, we take an early look at how a Trump...more

District of New Hampshire Denies Remand Under CAFA’s Local Controversy Exception

On November 30th, in Brown v. Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics Corp., United States District Judge Joseph Laplante of the District of New Hampshire denied plaintiffs’ motion to remand two related class action lawsuits based...more

Pennsylvania’s New Oil and Gas Regulations for Unconventional Wells – Part 2: Recent developments; waste management,...

Part 1 of this Client Alert provided background on Pennsylvania’s new regulations for unconventional oil and gas wells – published on October 8, 2016 as Chapter 78a (the “Chapter 78a Regulations”) – and highlighted sections...more

NPS updates oil and gas rights rules

The U.S. National Park Service has adopted a final rule updating its regulations governing the exercise of non-federal oil and gas rights. The NPS states that the rule improves its ability to protect park resources, values,...more

Policy Predictions: How will Trump's 100-Day Plan Affect U.S. Energy Industry?

The American landscape is littered with failed prognostications about what new Presidential administrations would or would not ? and could or could not ? accomplish. Every new President faces the challenge of transforming...more

Wither Subsequent Review? Supreme Court Again Weighs In On CEQA Subsequent Review Standards Following Negative Declarations –...

On November 22, 2016, the California Supreme Court issued a significant Order granting review in Coastal Hills Rural Preservation v. County of Sonoma (2016) 2 Cal.App.5th 1234, and also transferring the matter back to the...more

Projecting the Future: Court Upholds Listing for Bearded Seals - Ninth Circuit Decision Based on Projections of Climate Change...

In Alaska Oil & Gas Ass'n v. Pritzker, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit recently upheld a rule listing two species of seals as "threatened" under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) based on climate change...more

USFWS Initiates Status Review for Lesser Prairie-Chicken

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (“Service”) recently published a positive 90-day finding on a petition to list the Lesser Prairie-Chicken (Tympanuchus pallidicinctus) and three distinct population segments as endangered...more

Environmental Groups Sue Federal Agencies Again in Unending Legal Battle Over Offshore Oil Development

On November 11, 2016, the Environmental Defense Center (“EDC”) and Santa Barbara Channelkeeper jointly filed suit against several federal agencies including the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and the Bureau of Safety and...more

Land Use Matters, Alston & Bird LLP, October 2016

Land Use Matters provides information and insights into legal and regulatory developments, primarily at the Los Angeles City and County levels, affecting land use matters, as well as new CEQA appellate decisions. Please...more

National Marine Fisheries Service Concludes Iliamna Lake Harbor Seals Are Not Distinct Population, Denies Endangered Species Act...

The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) recently completed its review of the status of eastern North Pacific harbor seals (Phoca vitulina richardii) in Iliamna Lake, Alaska, a large freshwater lake in Alaska connected to...more

California Environmental Law & Policy Update - November 2016 #3

Environmental and Policy Focus - BP to pay $14 million in settlement over gas storage tanks - San Jose Mercury News - Nov 17 - The BP oil company has agreed to pay $14 million to settle California...more

TVA’s Tree-Cutting Policy Gets the Axe

On November 17, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit decided the case of Sherwood, et al. v. Tennessee Valley Authority. The Court of Appeals reversed the lower court’s ruling that a complaint filed by many...more

Renewable Energy Update - November 2016 #2

Renewable Energy Focus - New solar, wind competitive leasing program to start for U.S. public lands - Renewable Energy World - Nov 15 - The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has finalized a rule that...more

Appellate Court Rejected EIR That Found Insignificant Traffic Impacts, Despite Consistency With Infill-Promoting General Plan...

The Court of Appeal of the State of California, Third Appellate District, overturned an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) prepared under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). The appellate court rejected the EIR's...more

The Department of Energy’s Simplified IIP Process Goes Into Effect in November

On November 28, 2016, the Department of Energy’s (DOE) simplified Integrated Interagency Pre-Application (IIP) Process will go into effect. The IIP is a voluntary, pre-application process intended to streamline and...more

Final D.C. Groundwater Well Requirements Will Impact Many Property Owners

The District of Columbia Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE) on Oct. 28, 2016, published final rules governing the construction, maintenance and abandonment of wells. The new regulations became effective immediately...more

Adding micro-hydro to licensed hydropower project

What happens when a FERC hydropower licensee applies for a preliminary permit to study the feasibility of developing a micro-hydro project, where the new project will be sited at an existing project's dam? In a recent case...more

Fish and Wildlife Service, Park Service Overhaul Decades-Old Regulations on Oil and Gas Operations in Wildlife Refuges and...

The US Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) yesterday announced its final rule governing oil and gas development in wildlife refuges, updating the regulations for the first time in over 50 years. The final rule will be...more

California Environmental Law & Policy Update - November 2016 #2

Environmental and Policy Focus - Trump victory reverses U.S. energy and environmental priorities - Washington Post - Nov 9 - Donald J. Trump comes into office with a plan to toss out most of what...more

Just Compensation for Contaminated Land

When a government agency or private party involuntarily takes your property (a proceeding called eminent domain or condemnation), you are entitled to receive "just compensation" for the property. In North Carolina, "just...more

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