Environmental Zoning, Planning & Land Use Civil Procedure

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January 2015, Court of Justice Decision on Aarhus Convention Applicability

On January 13, 2015, the Court of Justice (Grand Chamber) of the European Union (EU) overturned a judgment of the General Court of the European Union (General Court) in Stichting Natuur en Milieu and Pesticide Action Network...more

D.C. Circuit Rejects Psychological Harm Theory in Deer-Culling Case

This Tuesday, the D.C. Circuit issued an opinion in No. 13-5136, Grunewald v. Jarvis, affirming the lower court’s decision that the National Park Service’s promulgation of the White-Tailed Deer Management Plan was lawful. At...more

Supreme Court Denies Review of Ninth Circuit Delta Smelt Decision

On Monday, January 12, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court denied two petitions seeking review of a Ninth Circuit decision upholding limits on water diversions from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to protect the endangered Delta...more

Prairie Dogs vs. Congress

A recent ruling by a Utah federal judge, although directed at the Endangered Species Act (ESA), may have far-reaching implications on Congress' commerce clause powers. In a first-of-its-kind ruling, U.S. District Judge Dee...more

Illinois Supreme Court Debates Retroactive Application of Landfill Cleanup Statute

In 2004, the Illinois legislature amended the Illinois Environmental Protection Act to authorize mandatory injunctions to require cleanups of landfills. But could the courts use the statute to order cleanups of older...more

Equal Access To Justice Act: Why Prevailing On Only 1 Out Of 3 Claims In Oregon Forestry Case Can Still Be Quite Rewarding

Generally, a failure rate of two-thirds would indicate that what you are doing isn't profitable. However, when dealing with environmental law, that clearly isn't the case. In Cascadia Wildlands v. Bureau of Land Management,...more

San Diego MPO's Analysis Of RTP's Greenhouse Gas Emissions Rejected

In a decision with implications for all transportation projects in California, the California Court of Appeal held that the analysis of greenhouse gas emissions from transportation projects in a metropolitan transportation...more

First District Publishes Decision Rejecting CEQA Challenges To Cal Fire’s Approval of Gualala Area Nonindustrial Timber Management...

In a decision filed December 2, and later ordered published on December 30, 2014, the First District Court of Appeal affirmed the Mendocino County Superior Court’s judgment denying a petition for writ of mandate challenging a...more

Does the Public Trust Doctrine Apply to Groundwater? The California Supreme Court May Decide

The California Supreme Court is currently considering a petition that raises an important and novel issue of California water law: whether the public trust doctrine applies to groundwater. The public trust doctrine holds that...more

California Supreme Court Poised To Decide Key CEQA Questions: The Court’s Lineup For 2015

The California Supreme Court’s involvement in CEQA cases has been relatively limited since he statute’s enactment in 1970, with the court taking  review of at most one or two appellate court decisions a year.  The last two...more

The Federal Surface Transportation Board Finds California Environmental Quality Act Preempted as Applied to High-Speed Rail...

In a surprising decision, Surface Transportation Board Decision, Docket No. FD35861, December 12, 2014 (“Docket”), the Federal Surface Transportation Board (“Board”) ruled that the application of the California Environmental...more

City of Los Angeles Outsources Defense of CEQA/Land Use Lawsuits To Private Law Firms – Developers To Foot The Bill

On December 16, the Los Angeles City Council unanimously authorized the City Attorney to establish a Land Use/CEQA Panel, which will consist of five municipal law firms, to defend the City in CEQA and land use lawsuits that...more

Ninth Circuit Panel Holds NMFS Biological Opinion regarding California Water Projects Passes Legal Muster

As numerous news outlets reported, see L.A. Times and S.F. Chronicle, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued a decision reversing a lower court and affirming a biological opinion and reasonable and...more

“Making CEQA A Federal Case? Recent Actions of California’s Supreme Court and the Federal Surface Transportation Board Set Up A...

Controversy has dogged the California high speed rail project since before its inception with the 2008 passage of Proposition 1A, the bond measure providing the project’s initial funding. The controversy has not abated in the...more

Construction E-Note - December 2014

In this issue: - Construction Expected to Increase in 2015 - What Now? Why Maryland's Decision to Recognize the International Green Construction Code May Signal a Major Shift in the Means Utilized to Implement...more

Real Estate and Land Use - December 2014

San Diego Regional Sustainable Strategies Plan Invalidated; SANDAG Has Requested Supreme Court Review - Cleveland National Forest Foundation et al. v. San Diego Association of Governments (November 24, 2014) Fourth...more

District Court Limits Tiering of Biological Opinions

On December 5, 2014, a federal district court held that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) failed to comply with the Endangered Species Act (ESA) when it relied entirely on existing programmatic biological opinions to...more

Utah Prairie Dog Could Narrow Endangered Species Act

A Utah federal court has created the potential for a constitutional showdown that could result in a significant narrowing of the Endangered Species Act and further limiting Congress’ power to legislate. In an unprecedented...more

County of San Diego’s Adopted Climate Action Plan Violates CEQA: Fails to Include Enforceable GHG Reduction Measures

Sierra Club v. County of San Diego (10/29/14, D064243) - On October 29, 2014, the Fourth District California Court of Appeal unanimously affirmed the trial court’s decision in favor of Sierra Club, agreeing that the...more

Fourth District’s Split Decision Further Complicates CEQA Requirements Surrounding GHG Impact Analysis and Mitigation Measures –...

Cleveland National Forest Foundation v. San Diego Association of Governments (11/24/14, D063288) - In a split decision on November 24, 2014, the Fourth District California Court of Appeal invalidated the program EIR...more

American Tower Corporation v. City of San Diego (2014): Further Guidance From The Ninth Circuit On The Regulation Of Data Towers...

The Ninth Circuit recently addressed cell phone tower issues in the matter of American Tower Corporation v. City of San Diego (2014) 763 F.3d 1035, affirming that a local government has a wide degree of discretion to regulate...more

Fourth District Publishes Another CEQA Decision Setting Aside San Diego Lead Agency’s EIR For Failure To Analyze And Mitigate GHG...

Having seen years of their lofty regional planning efforts come crashing back to Earth, San Diego government entities have had little to be thankful about so far this holiday season on the CEQA front. In an October 29...more

California Environmental Law and Policy Update - November 2014 #4

Environmental and Policy Focus: Coastal California residents using far less water - Associated Press - Nov 4: Residents in coastal communities use far less water than their inland counterparts, but still find ways to...more

CEQA Alert: Court of Appeal Rules Against San Diego Agencies in Two Separate CEQA Challenges Involving Greenhouse Gas Emissions...

Two recent decisions by California’s Fourth Appellate District highlight the CEQA compliance challenges facing local governments charged with implementing state and local greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction mandates....more

Analysis Of GHGs Under CEQA Just Got More Complex: Fourth District’s Split Decision Invalidates Program EIR For SANDAG’s 2050...

In a 2-1 published opinion filed November 24, 2014, the Fourth District Court of Appeal, Division 1, affirmed and modified the trial court’s judgment granting writ petitions by plaintiff groups challenging the EIR for the San...more

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