Environmental Zoning, Planning & Land Use Conflict of Laws

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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

Denton Becomes First Texas City to Ban Hydraulic Fracturing

On Tuesday, November 4, 2014, 59 percent of voters elected to ban the practice of hydraulic fracturing (“fracing”) in the city of Denton, which sits on top of the hydrocarbon-rich Barnett Shale. Although the ban does not...more

RE: Bakken Crude-by-Rail: Environmental Groups Ask New York State to Regulate DOT-111 Tank Cars

A recent state-law challenge by environmental groups to an aspect of crude-by-rail transportation has teed up the question of federal supremacy over railroad regulation. Because federal law generally preempts state regulation...more

Beveridge & Diamond Wins Preemption Decision in Washington State Court of Appeals

Appellate litigators in Beveridge & Diamond’s District of Columbia office, working with the Washington Department of Ecology, secured a unanimous decision from the Washington Court of Appeals striking down a county ban on...more

State Bar, Environmental Law Section Presents Update on Fracking Regulations

The California State Bar, Environmental Law Section hosts an annual conference which welcomes attorneys and students from across the state to learn and discuss cutting edge environmental law issues. This year’s Environmental...more

Update on the California High Speed Rail System

James Andrew, Assistant Chief Counsel for the California High-Speed Rail Authority (“CHSRA”), spoke Tuesday, October 14, at the Sacramento County Bar Association, Environmental Law Section Luncheon. He stated that High-Speed...more

CERCLA Preempts Local Cleanup Bylaws; PRPs Everywhere Breath a Sigh of Relief

In an important decision yesterday, Judge Douglas Woodlock of the District of Massachusetts confirmed that CERCLA preempts local cleanup bylaws. The case involved one aspect of the cleanup of the W.R. Grace Superfund Site in...more

California High Speed Rail Dodges Legal Bullet

In Town of Atherton v. CA High Speed Rail Authority, No. C070877 (Cal. Ct. App. 3d Dist., July 24, 2014), the Third Appellate District upheld the High-Speed Rail Authority’s (HSRA) Program Environmental Impact Report/ Program...more

Of High Speed Rails and Litigation Snails: The Train Rolls On As Third District Rejects Additional CEQA Challenges To High-Speed...

While CEQA actions are statutorily designed as special proceedings with priority over other civil actions, and thus mandated to be heard and resolved expeditiously, when complex or controversial projects with dedicated...more

Reviewing Courts' Approaches to State or Local Control of Hydraulic Fracturing

While many debates over hydraulic fracturing continue throughout the oil and gas industry, a growing number of state courts are addressing the "home rule" argument, or in this case, whether local governments within the state...more

New York Court of Appeals Upholds Local Fracking Bans

The New York Court of Appeals, in a 5-2 decision, held that the New York State Oil, Gas and Solution Mining Law (“OGSML”) does not preempt municipal zoning authority. The Court explained that land use regulation is among the...more

Environmental and Energy: Hydraulic Fracturing: Courts and Localities Act Where New York State Fears To Tread (7/14)

In an opinion issued on June 24, 2014, the New York Court of Appeals upheld the zoning laws adopted by the Towns of Dryden and Middlefield to ban oil and gas production activities, including hydraulic fracturing, within their...more

New York's Highest Court Holds that Zoning Laws of New York Towns Banning Fracking Are Enforceable — A Brief Analysis of the Oral...

A non-profit, Food & Water Watch, reports that 421 measures against fracking have been passed by state and local governments and that communities across the nation are lobbying their local and state elected officials because...more

New York and Colorado Confirm Local Governments' Rights to Ban Fracking

On Monday, June 30, the highest courts in both New York and Colorado confirmed local municipalities' rights to regulate land use within their jurisdictions. The New York State Court of Appeals upheld two towns' bans on shale...more

Environmental Law Alert - July 2014: New York Court Strikes Blow Against Fracking

This week the New York State Court of Appeals upheld the right of municipalities to ban hydraulic fracturing for natural gas within their borders. In Norce Energy Corp. USA v. Town of Dryden and Cooperstown Holstein...more

New York Court of Appeals Sustains Anti-hydrofracking Zoning Regulations as Permissible Exercise of Municipal Authority Under Home...

In a closely watched decision, a majority of the New York Court of Appeals has held that local anti-hydrofracking zoning rules can trump the state’s pro-energy development oil and gas law. The Court’s decision came in a pair...more

Energy Newsletter - July 2014

In This Issue: - Russia's Second Renewable Energy Auction Gives Both Glimmer of Hope and Cause for Concern - Tanzania Publishes First Draft of a Long-Awaited Local Content Policy - New York's Highest...more

NY High Court Hears Fracking Preemption Cases

Earlier this month the New York State Court of Appeals heard oral argument in Matter of Norse Energy USA v. Town of Dryden and Cooperstown Holstein v. Town of Middlefield, in which the Court has been asked to decide whether...more

Supreme Court Sends Strong Signal that Lower Courts Should Stop Interpreting CERCLA “in a liberal manner” and Focus on the...

The Supreme Court’s decision in CTS Corp. v. Waldburger, No. 13-339, 573 U.S. __ (June 9, 2014), sends a strong message to lower courts that the oft-repeated refrain that CERCLA is a “remedial statute” that must be...more

Statutes of Repose Unaffected by CERCLA Requirement that State Law Incorporate Discovery Rule in Statutes of Limitation

On June 9, in CTS Corp. v. Waldburger, et al., No. 13-339, the U.S. Supreme Court held 7-2, that the Fourth Circuit erred in holding that CERCLA Section 9658 applied to the application of the North Carolina statute of repose,...more

Fracking Heats Up in California: Moratoria and Earthquakes

The last several weeks have seen some interesting developments suggesting an increase in temperature in the debate over hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” in California. First, a couple of jurisdictions took actions...more

Time-Barred Claim . . . Or Is It? Supreme Court Agrees To Review Fourth Circuit State Statute of Repose Case

As reported on the Ogletree Deakins Environmental Law blog in July of 2013, a divided panel of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals held that the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERLCA or...more

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Declares Portions of Marcellus Shale Act Unconstitutional, Upholds Local Regulation of Oil and Gas...

On December 19, 2013, in Robinson Township v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania et al., the Pennsylvania Supreme Court declared portions of Act 13 of 2012 (Act 13), commonly known as the “Marcellus Shale Act,” unconstitutional. As...more

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