Environmental Zoning, Planning & Land Use Civil Procedure

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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

Legislation Revamping California Groundwater Adjudications Marches Forward

AB 1390 aims in unprecedented fashion to expedite procedures and processes for groundwater adjudications, which, in California, are known to take one or two decades before reaching a final judgment. The bill would add various...more

30-year Eagle Take Permit Term Remanded on Procedural Grounds

On August 11, 2015, the United States District Court for the Northern District of California found that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service ("Service") had inappropriately relied on a categorical exclusion under the National...more

Appellate Court Notes

Supreme Court Advance Release Opinions: SC19203 - Tilcon Connecticut, Inc. v. Commissioner of Environmental Protection - Applicant sought a water diversion permit for some of its quarries for water used in its rock...more

UPDATE: CEQA’s Mitigation Requirement: California Supreme Court Agrees With EnviroStructure!

Last February, I wrote about the California State University Board of Trustees’ (CSU) unique stance concerning their responsibilities under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). CSU agrees that like every other...more

California Supreme Court Holds that State Agencies May Not Escape CEQA Mitigation Requirements Based on Failure of the Legislature...

In a decision that enhances the ability of local interests to obtain mitigation funds from state agencies, the California Supreme Court held that the California Environmental Quality Act ("CEQA") requires the Board of...more

Land Use & Natural Resources Case Law Update Second Quarter 2015

Banning Ranch Conservancy v. City of Newport Beach - 236 Cal.App.4th 1341 - This case involved the City of Newport Beach’s approval of a mixed-use development project on land located within the coastal zone. Banning...more

Who Can Sue Polluters? New Texas Law HB 1794 Stirs Debate

A perspective on new Texas legislation HB 1794 by Gerald Pels one of the leaders of the Texas environmental legal community for over 30 years....more

Ninth Circuit Holds Critical Habitat Designations Not Subject to Cost-Benefit Analysis

In Building Industry Association of the Bay Area v. U.S. Department of Commerce, a decision with significant implications for property owners, the building industry, and the development community at large, the U.S. Court of...more

Oklahoma Holds Question of Whether Fracking Causes Earthquakes is for the Courts to Decide.

The issue of whether hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” causes earthquakes has first-party insurance implications because policies typically exclude damage from tremors attributable to man-made causes as opposed to purely...more

EPA and Corps Issue Rule Defining “Waters of the U.S”

On June 29, 2015, the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (“Corps”) published a final rule defining “waters of the United States.” The rule becomes effective on August 28, 2015. Because...more

Declaration Requirement Removed from First Nation Consultation Procedures

On June 10, 2015, the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) released a revised version of the Joint Operating Procedures for First Nations Consultation on Energy Resource Activities (Procedures) and Bulletin 2015-20. While the...more

District Court Declines to Provide Injunctive Relief for Emergency Drought Salinity Barrier in the California Bay-Delta

On June 18, 2015, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California denied a motion for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction, finding the plaintiff failed to establish that an emergency...more

Ninth Circuit Holds Forest Service Violated ESA by Failing to Reinitiate Consultation for Canada Lynx

On June 17, 2015, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that the U.S. Forest Service (Service) violated section 7 of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) by failing to reinitiate consultation with the U.S. Fish...more

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