Environmental Zoning, Planning & Land Use Civil Procedure

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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

Environmental Justice Lawsuit Accuses L.A. of Discriminatory Oil Permitting

On Friday, November 6, three environmental organizations filed suit against the City of Los Angeles in California Superior Court for the County of Los Angeles. The three groups, Youth for Environmental Justice, the Center for...more

Real Estate and Land Use - November 2015

CEQA Baseline Can Consider Historic Levels of Use - North County Advocates v. City of Carlsbad (2015)—Cal.App.4th—Case No. D066488: Why It Matters: This case addresses an important issue under CEQA relating to the...more

Land Use Matters: Alston & Bird LLP, October 2015

At its October 27, 2015, meeting, the Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to create a new dedicated Affordable Housing Program budget unit and approved setting aside $100 million for the creation and operation of both...more

Hydrocarbon Exposure Dismissal Affirmed

You might recall previous entries discussing Parr v. Aruba – a suit for personal injuries from oilfield pollution (and a $2.9MM verdict for the plaintiffs). Not all similar suits have the same result....more

Eighth Circuit Decertifies Environmental Nuisance Class Action Alleging “Fear of Contamination” Without More

The Eighth Circuit recently issued a decision reversing class certification for lack of commonality. In Smith v. ConocoPhillips Pipe Line Co., the Eighth Circuit considered a class action proceeding on a nuisance theory...more

Sixth Circuit Stays Obama Administration’s New Clean Water Rule Nationwide

On October 9, 2015, the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit stayed the implementation of the Clean Water Rule (the Final Rule) nationwide. The Final Rule defines “waters of the United States” (WOTUS), a threshold term...more

Federal Appeals Court Blocks Clean Water Rule Nationwide

In an attempt to “temporarily silence[] the whirlwind of confusion that springs from uncertainty,” the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit has blocked the new rule defining “waters of the United States” under the...more

California Adopts Comprehensive Groundwater Basin Adjudication Law

California enacts basin adjudication statutes with the goal of reducing uncertainty, costs and time of water rights litigation. On October 9, 2015, California Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 1390 (Alejo) and SB 226...more

Governor Signs New SGMA Legislation Outlining Procedures for Groundwater Adjudications

On Friday, October 9, 2015, Governor Brown signed into law two bills, Assembly Bill 1390 and Senate Bill 226, which outline procedures specific to groundwater adjudications. Last year, the legislature passed the Sustainable...more

New California Laws Will Ease Groundwater Right Battles, Yet Encourage More Litigation

On October 9, 2015 Governor Jerry Brown signed into law two bills aimed at making groundwater disputes easier and faster to resolve in court. The new laws—companion bills AB 1390 (Alejo) and SB 226 (Pavley)—streamline...more

BP has settled its Clean Water Act penalty claims, but important questions remain to be decided

The United States and BP lodged their proposed settlement of the remaining claims by the US in connection with the Deepwater Horizon explosion and spill with the US District Court today. Comments to the Justice Department are...more

Federal Judge Grants Preliminary Injunction Blocking Enforcement of New BLM Hydraulic Fracturing Rules

On September 30, 2015, the U.S. District Court for the District of Wyoming granted a motion for a preliminary injunction preventing enforcement of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) recently issued hydraulic...more

CT Law of the Land

Week of September 23 - Limits of relief possible for Intervenor under CGS 22a-19 - In Hunter Ridge LLC v. Planning & Zoning Commission Connecticut’s Supreme Court considered whether injunctive relief was available...more

Land Use Matters: Alston & Bird LLP, September 2015

The 1st District Court of Appeal invalidated the use of a statutory exemption applicable to the State Lands Commission’s (SLC) approval of a land exchange. The land exchange related to the 8 Washington Street Project, which...more

BB&K Files Appeal to U.S. Supreme Court in Threatened Santa Ana Sucker Case

A team of BB&K attorneys, working pro bono, garnered headlines this week for case of first impression. Best Best & Krieger LLP filed a petition to the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of two cities and 10 water agencies,...more

A Potential Trap for Appeals to Local Zoning Boards of Appeals

A ruling this month by the Maine Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) in Campbell v. City of South Portland, 2015 ME 125, could have fatal implications for some land use appeals. In Campbell, the building inspector issued a...more

Attorney Fees Are Improper Where The Services Were Not A Catalyst For Municipal Action Under CEQA

In Coalition for a Sustainable Future in Yucaipa v. City of Yucaipa, 2015 DJDAR 7857, the California Court of Appeal for the Fourth Appellate District decided an interesting case under the California Environmental Quality Act...more

Lesser Prairie Chicken Listing Vacated by Federal Court - What It Means for Energy Development

Last week, in a decision that surprised many, a federal court in Texas overturned the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s (Service) decision last year to list the lesser prairie chicken (LEPC) as “threatened” under the federal...more

California Supreme Court Ponders Greenhouse Gas, Fully Protected Species Issues

The California Supreme Court heard argument on September 2, 2015 in a greenhouse gas (GHG) and fully protected species case with important state-wide implications. (Center for Biological Diversity v. Department of Fish and...more

Real Estate and Land Use - September 2015

Substance Over Form—A Refreshing Application of CEQA Analysis: City of Irvine v. County of Orange (2015) 283 Cal.App.4th 526 - Why It Matters: The Court of Appeal in City of Irvine v. County of Orange elaborated...more

Court Vacates Final Rule Listing Lesser Prairie Chicken

On September 1, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, Midland Division vacated the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (“Service”) Final Rule listing the Lesser Prairie Chicken (“LPC”) as threatened. The...more

District Court Enjoins Federal Regulations Revising Scope of Clean Water Act Jurisdiction

North Dakota v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, No. 3:15-cv-00059 (D.N.D. Aug. 27, 2015) - A federal judge, Ralph R. Erickson, in North Dakota today granted several states’ request for a preliminary injunction to...more

Controversial Waters of the U.S. Rule Blocked in 13 States

The WOTUS rule is concerning to many industry sectors because it would significantly expand Clean Water Act (CWA) jurisdiction for the agencies. In particular, the rule would extend jurisdiction to broad definitions of...more

WOTUS Litigation Update: Confusion Breeds Confusion

Perhaps it is poetic justice. The litigation over the final Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule is as disjointed and confusing as the rule itself. Following a key court ruling yesterday, the WOTUS rule is now...more

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