Environmental Zoning, Planning & Land Use

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News & Analysis as of

Corn-Based Ethanol Debate Intensifies – – A Bit

A recent article in USA Today questions whether ethanol’s days are numbered. While that article is written from the perspective of whether the stock of ethanol producing companies is a good investment, it focuses on some of...more

National Defense Authorization Act Would Restrict Federal Greater Sage-Grouse Protections

On April 27, 2015, the Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, released the text of the National Defense Authorization Act (Act), including language that would ban the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) from...more

NERC's Polite Review of the Clean Power Plan: A "Challenge"

When the draft of EPA's Clean Power Plan was promulgated in the Federal Register last June, one of the critical questions raised by those in the electricity space was: what about reliability? If you shut down all those coal...more

Oil on the Rails: States Increasing Regulation of Oil Trains

The increase in North American petroleum production in recent years, coupled with inadequate pipeline infrastructure, has resulted in a significant rise of, and reliance on, the transport of crude oil by rail. Public...more

CEQA Judicial Outcomes: Fifteen Years of Reported California Appellate and Supreme Court Decisions

This report analyzes all published opinions from 1997 through 2012 litigated to the California Court of Appeal or the California Supreme Court concerning the analytical validity of an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) or...more

D.C. Court Upholds Forest Service’s 2012 Planning Rule

In a decision issued April 28, 2015, a U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia dismissed an action challenging the U.S. Forest Service’s (Service) 2012 National Forest Planning Rule (Planning Rule). The Service is...more

Water Board Issues Proposed Draft Model Criteria for Groundwater Monitoring

On April 29, 2015, the State Water Resources Control Board (“Water Board”) issued a Notice of Opportunity for Public Comment and Notice of Public Workshop regarding the proposed Draft Model Criteria for Groundwater Monitoring...more

FERC Policy Statement Regarding Pipeline Recovery of System Modernization Costs

On April 16, 2015, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC” or the “Commission”) issued a Policy Statement on Cost Recovery Mechanisms for Modernization of Natural Gas Facilities (the “Policy­­­.Statement”), opening...more

California Governor Aims to Reduce Emissions 40 Percent Below 1990 Levels by 2030

In an Executive Order issued yesterday, California Governor Jerry Brown set “a new interim statewide greenhouse gas emission reduction target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030 is...more

B.C. Court Allows Environmental Approvals Delay Claim to Proceed

In Carhoun & Sons Enterprises Ltd. v. Canada (Attorney General), the British Columbia Court of Appeal allowed a lawsuit to proceed against the federal government by a private developer for losses caused by delays in the...more

Georgia General Assembly Ends Water and Land Conservation Tax Credits

At the end of its recent session, the Georgia General Assembly passed HB 464 by unanimous votes to cap the land conservation tax credit at $30 million for 2016 and then eliminate it altogether at the end of 2016. ...more

Stormwater Alert: Maryland Fee Program No Longer Mandatory

In April 2015, the Maryland General Assembly enacted a law – known as SB 863 – that substantially amended legislation enacted in 2012 requiring each of the 10 most populous jurisdictions in Maryland to establish an annual...more

Your Texas Legislature at Work, Part 2

The Texas legislature is still busy on energy issues. Is that good or bad? It depends on your situation; oil patch thieves won’t like it. Wind Energy - Senate Bill 931 would blow away the Renewable Portfolio...more

D.C. Circuit Upholds FERC Approval of Maryland Natural Gas Facility

On April 24, the D.C. Circuit issued its opinion in Myersville Citizens for a Rural Community v. FERC, upholding the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (“FERC” or the “Commission”) approval of Dominion Transmission’s...more

Governor Brown Announces New 2030 Greenhouse Gas Reduction Target for California

This morning, California Governor Jerry Brown announced Executive Order B-30-15, setting a target to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the state to 40% below 1990 levels by 2030. The 2030 target acts as an interim goal...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

TSCA Reform: Senate Committee Holds Markup and Passes Bipartisan Substitute Bill

On April 28, 2015, the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works held a hearing to consider several bills, including the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act (S. 697). Prior to the hearing, on...more

Amended Udall-Vitter TSCA Reform Bill Reaches Senate Floor

On April 28, a modified version of the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act (S. 697), also known as the “Udall-Vitter” Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) reform bill, was approved by the Senate...more

Environmental Alert: "Potential Seismic Activity from Injection Wells Prompts Railroad Commission of Texas to Order Hearings"

On Friday, April 24, the Railroad Commission of Texas (RRC) ordered hearings regarding two waste injection well permits. The hearings are to address an alleged connection between the injection wells and seismic activity in...more

Texas Changes the Goal(s)

The news in 2015 is the proposed repeal of the renewable portfolio standard (RPS). Back in 1999, when they deregulated the electric market, Texas adopted an aggressive RPS of 10,000 MW by 2025 (including 500 MW of non-wind...more

Energy & Environment Update - April 2015 #3

In This Issue: - Energy and Climate Debate - Congress - Administration - Department of Agriculture - Department of Energy - Department of Interior - Department of...more

The Most Influential, Unimplemented Federal Rule in History

The Clean Power Plan, as proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency last year, would limit carbon dioxide emissions from power plants for the first time in history. The proposal, slated to go final this summer, is...more

Third Gray Wolf Delisting Bill Introduced in House

Last week, Washington State Representative Dan Newhouse introduced the “Pacific Northwest Gray Wolf Management Act” (H.R. 1985), which would remove Endangered Species Act (ESA) protection for the gray wolf (Canis lupus)...more

House Subcommittee to Revise Draft TSCA Reform Bill for May 14 Markup

Legislation to amend the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), already introduced in the Senate, has taken a step forward in the House of Representatives as well. ...more

DPR Proposal for Right-to-Know Notifications Prior to Soil Fumigant Applications Could Have Far-Reaching Implications

On April 9, 2015, the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) held the first of a planned series of workshops intended to help DPR develop “regulation concepts” for possible notifications prior to field...more

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