Environmental Zoning, Planning & Land Use

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The Saga of Pennsylvania's Act 13 Comes to an End

With a bang, rather than a whimper, the saga of Pennsylvania’s Act 13 appears to have finally come to an end. On September 28, 2016, nearly three years after giving teeth to the long-dormant environmental rights amendment to...more

Florida Department of Environmental Protection Adopts Emergency Rule Imposing New Notice Requirements

In response to the storm-related sewage and sinkhole-related discharges at the Mosaic facility in Mulberry, Florida, the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) published two rulemaking notices on September 27, both...more

California Supreme Court Sets New Deferential Standard for Supplemental CEQA Review

In Friends of the College of San Mateo Gardens v. San Mateo Community College District, No. S214061 (Cal. September 19, 2016), the California Supreme Court rejected the “new project” test for determining whether a changed...more

MassDEP: The Rising Tide May Steal Your Development Rights

Does a pile field exist if it’s covered at high tide? MassDEP seems to think not. Through the Commonwealth’s Chapter 91 program, MassDEP regulates what can be built over tidelands. In last week’s Environmental...more

Courts Must Defer to Agency Determination on Whether a Changed Project is a New Project

In Friends of the College of San Mateo Gardens v. San Mateo County Community College District (Supreme Court No. S214061, filed Sept. 19, 2016), the California Supreme Court resolved the vexing question of whether a change to...more

New California Law Amends Water Supply Planning Laws

Water Supply Sufficiency Analyses Must Consider Groundwater Sustainability - Gov. Jerry Brown has signed Senate Bill 1262 into law, representing an initial attempt to incorporate groundwater management requirements under...more

Clean Power Plan has its day in court - Will the D.C. Circuit uphold EPA’s landmark CO2 regulations?

In a marathon day-long session before a packed courtroom (and a number of overflow rooms) on Tuesday, September 27, 2016, the full US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit heard oral arguments in a litigation challenging the...more

WORD OF THE DAY® – Farm Out [Video]

Latham & Watkins' partner Stephen Szalkowski explains the term Farm Out from the Book of Jargon® – Oil & Gas. The Book of Jargon® – Oil & Gas is one of a series of practice area-specific glossaries published by Latham &...more

US Fish and Wildlife Service Moves Forward With Proposed Eagle Rule Revision

On July 5, 2016, the public comment period closed for the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s (FWS) proposed revisions to the rules authorizing eagle take permits under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act (Eagle Act) and...more

UPDATE: Court’s Tentative Decision Sides in Favor of DOGGR in CBD’s Wastewater Injection Lawsuit

Update: September 26, 2016 - On September 21, 2016, the Honorable George C. Hernandez, Jr. issued the final Statement of Decision, which affirmed the tentative decision denying all claims for relief. The court denied...more

California Supreme Court Rejects "New Project" Test In High Profile CEQA Suit

“Enough already!” Reading between the lines, this is what a seemingly exasperated California Supreme Court appears to be saying in its latest California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”) decision?Friends of the College of...more

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service Revise Endangered Species Act Petition Process

On September 27, 2016, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service (Agencies) published a final rule that revises the regulations governing the Endangered Species Act’s (ESA) petition process. ...more

My Project Changed—Is My EIR Still Valid: A New California Supreme Court Case Provides Guidance

Change is inevitable. Many times between project approval and project construction fluctuations in market conditions, financing terms or other factors mandate project changes. Do the changes require a further or modified...more

California Supreme Court Rejects "New Project" Test for Modifications to Previously Approved Projects

On September 19, 2016, the California Supreme Court issued its long awaited decision in Friends of the College of San Mateo Gardens v. San Mateo Community College District (Case No. S214061). The Supreme Court held that...more

“New and Improved” is Not Always a Good Slogan Under CEQA

Marketing departments in major corporations love to describe products as “new and improved” in order to convince you that the product is something you need. In many cases though, you already have the product; the new and...more

CEQA Allows Developers to Recover Administrative Record Costs when Reimbursing Agency

Appellate Victory for Developers and Public Agencies - A developer can recover the cost of preparing a California Environmental Quality Act administrative record, even when the lead agency, not the developer, actually...more

Supreme Court Addresses CEQA Subsequent Review Rules in San Mateo Gardens Case

The California Supreme Court provided needed clarification to some aspects of the operation of CEQA’s “subsequent review” rules (Pub. Resources Code, § 21166; CEQA Guidelines, § 15162) in its highly anticipated opinion, filed...more

BLM Moves Forward with Phase I of Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan

Phase I of the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP) has now been approved, paving the way for streamlined permitting and environmental review of qualified renewable energy projects on Bureau of Land Management...more

Developer Awarded Cost of Preparing Administrative Record in CEQA Lawsuit

Lawsuits under the California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”) typically proceed as petitions for administrative mandamus. This means the petitioner is asking the court to review an agency’s decision and ultimately issue a...more

California Supreme Court Addresses Subsequent Review Under CEQA; Rejects Lishman “New Project” Test

In an opinion by Justice Kruger, the Supreme Court of California unanimously reversed the Court of Appeal in Friends of the College of San Mateo Gardens v. San Mateo County Community College District, Cal. Supreme Court, Case...more

California Supreme Court Invalidates "New Project" Test - Court Upholds Use of Addendum to Mitigated Negative Declaration Under...

In a major win for agencies and project sponsors, the Supreme Court of California affirmed that addenda can appropriately be used to consider modifications to a previously approved negative declaration or Environmental Impact...more

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Proposes Threatened Status for San Fernando Valley Spineflower

On September 15, 2016, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) proposed to list as threatened the San Fernando Valley spineflower (Chorizanthe parryi var. fernandina), a plant species native to Southern California, under...more

WORD OF THE DAY® – Tripping [Video]

Latham & Watkins' partner Michael Darden explains the term Tripping from the Book of Jargon® – Oil & Gas. The Book of Jargon® – Oil & Gas is one of a series of practice area-specific glossaries published by Latham &...more

National Marine Fisheries Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Propose Listing One Hawaiian Species and Four Marine Species

On September 19, 2016, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) published proposed rules to list two species of dolphin and two species of guitarfish under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). NMFS proposes to list the...more

California Supreme Court Rejects “New Project” Argument

Friends of the College of San Mateo Gardens v. San Mateo County Community College District (No. S214061, September 19, 2016) - Why It Matters: As land developers and investors know all too well, so-called...more

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