Environmental Zoning, Planning & Land Use Conflict of Laws

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Six Things the Private Sector Should Know About EPA's Final Vapor Intrusion Guidance

The cumulative impact of the EPA guidance is to require the generation of more data, which means more sampling and analysis, more frequent and stringent remediation, and potentially higher remediation costs. At long...more

Maui GMO Ban Overturned; Federal Court Remains Consistent on Preemption Analysis

This week, the federal district court in Hawaii struck down a Maui County law imposing a moratorium on the cultivation of genetically engineered organisms (GE plants, or GMOs). This decision is the third of three challenges...more

Preliminary Injunction Arguments Pour Into Litigation Against BLM’s Final Fracking Rule

Since our last update on federal litigation in Wyoming challenging the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) final rule to regulate hydraulic fracturing on public lands, the flurry of activity continues in advance of the June 23...more

Looks Like Frack is Back, Governor Abbott Signs House Bill 40

Yesterday, Governor Gregg Abbott signed into law House Bill 40, also known as the Denton Fracking Bill, which leaves municipalities with minimal power to regulate the oil and gas industry. The bill takes effect immediately...more

New Law in Texas Prohibits Local Municipalities from Banning Hydraulic Fracturing

On Monday, May 18, 2015, Texas Governor Gregg Abbott signed House Bill 40 into law, prohibiting cities, towns, and local municipalities in Texas from enacting bans on fracing. The new law provides that “oil and gas operations...more

Court Of Appeals Upholds General Permit Procedures For Storm Water Discharge

The New York State Court of Appeals, in Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc. v. New York State Department of Environmental Conservation , recently rejected a challenge to the general permit procedures adopted by New York...more

Recent Surface Transportation Board Preemption Decisions of Note

In the last several months, the Surface Transportation Board (STB or Board) has issued a number of decisions further defining the scope of federal preemption. As the primary agency tasked with the economic regulation of the...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

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

Gas Lines to Pipelines: The Case for Comprehensive Federal Energy Legislation

We’ve struggled with the consequences of an insufficient federal energy policy for nearly half a century. From the gas lines of the 1970s to the Keystone XL pipeline controversy of the past several years, the federal and...more

In Cross-Border Contamination Case, Court Holds That CERCLA Displaces Federal Common Law Public Nuisance Claim

In yet another recent case involving the intersection of CERCLA and state law, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Washington held that CERCLA legislatively displaced federal common law public...more

Court Decisions Halt Momentum on Local Oil and Gas Regulations

Action Item: Oil and gas operators should be aware that courts recently have been paring back on the power of local municipalities to regulate their operations. ...more

Texas Legislature Takes Further Aim at Local/Municipal Fracking Bans

On Tuesday, March 11, 2015, the Texas Legislature’s 84th Session gained another bill directed at combating future local and municipal fracking bans. State Rep. Drew Darby (R-San Angelo), Chairman of the Texas House Energy...more

CEQA Update: Three New Court of Appeal Decisions Issued; Key Supreme Court Rulings Expected (and the Sacramento Kings are on a...

2015 is shaping up to be another active year for CEQA judicial review. After taking an extended holiday break, the Courts of Appeal have recently published three decisions, two of which reinforce existing case law on how to...more

California Environmental Law & Policy Update - February 2015 #2

Environmental and Policy Focus: State Water Board launches investigation into claims of senior water rights - Allen Matkins - Feb 9: On February 4, 2015, the State Water Resources Control Board issued an order seeking...more

California Environmental Law & Policy Update - January 2015 #3

Environmental and Policy Focus - Rail case heading to state Supreme Court: Willits News - Jan 27: The Supreme Court of California has accepted review of a lower court decision holding that federal law implemented by...more

Recent Cases on Clean Air Act Preemption of Common Law Torts Upend Conventional Wisdom

Two recent appellate-level decisions allowing state common law tort claims against an intrastate emitting source to avoid Clean Air Act (CAA) preemption have surprised many CAA litigators. The outcome in both Bell v....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

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

“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

Surface Transportation Board Rules That ICCTA Preempts CEQA Review of California’s High-Speed Train System

On December 12, 2014, the Surface Transportation Board (STB) issued a decision, in response to a petition filed by the California High-Speed Rail Authority (Authority), finding that the Interstate Commerce Commission...more

High Speed Rail Moves Forward Without CEQA Review

The Surface Transportation Board (“STB”) issued a declaratory order in a 2-1 vote last Friday, finding that the California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”) is categorically preempted by federal law, as it relates to the...more

Fracking Preemption Fight to Play Out in San Benito County

It appears that San Benito County will be the venue for the much-anticipated legal battle over whether local jurisdictions in California can ban hydraulic fracturing. In early November, San Benito County passed a...more

Federal Preemption May Be The Key For Calif. Railroads

Railroad operators across the U.S. are seeing a bright future due to the resurgence in freight rail traffic. Intermodal (i.e., cargo container) shipping is booming. In 2013, intermodal volume on the major railroads totaled...more

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