Environmental Zoning, Planning & Land Use Government Contracting

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Modernizing the Review Process or Just More Busy Work?

Those who have worked on the permitting and environmental review for a federally funded infrastructure project know the challenges that exist in coordinating with numerous agencies that may have oversight over a project. A...more

Proposed CEQA Guidelines Amendments: A Critique Of OPR’s “Preliminary Discussion Draft” (Part I – Proposed “Efficiency...

On August 11, 2015, the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research (OPR) released a 145-page “Preliminary Discussion Draft” of “Proposed Updates to the CEQA Guidelines” (the “Discussion Draft”). The Discussion Draft “contains...more

The Animas Spill: EPA Liability and Insurance Coverage

When a contractor for the Environmental Protection Agency accidentally released three million gallons of contaminated mining work wastewater into the Animas River in August 2015, the EPA immediately took responsibility, as it...more

Fourth District Expounds On CEQA’s Responses To Comments Rules – And Abuses of the Process – As Well As Other Issues In Upholding...

In an opinion filed June 12 and ordered published on July 6, 2015, the Fourth District Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s judgment upholding a supplemental EIR (“SEIR 564”) for a long-planned expansion of the James A....more

Ninth Circuit Holds that the BLM’s Grant of a Right-of-Way for a Road Over Federal Land Does Not Trigger Consultation Under the...

On May 27, 2015, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld the US Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) grant of a right-of-way over federal land for a road (the Road Project) for a wind energy project...more

Public-Private Partnerships Offer Alternative Model for Water Infrastructure Projects

In February 2012, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts completed a study of the state’s drinking, wastewater, and stormwater infrastructure needs that identified a funding gap of at least $39 billion over the next 20 years. The...more

BLM Announces New Hydraulic Fracturing Rules for Oil and Gas Wells on Federal Lands; Industry Trade Associations and the State of...

On March 26, 2015, the U.S. Interior Department's Bureau of Land Management (BLM) published its final rule setting new standards for hydraulic fracturing on onshore federal and Indian lands. The final rule, as published in...more

Virginia offshore wind research lease

The U.S. federal agency responsible for leasing offshore wind sites on the outer continental shelf has executed its first wind energy research lease, giving Virginia's state energy agency the right to pursue the Virginia...more

BLM Issues First Federal Regulations for Hydraulic Fracturing

On Thursday, March 26, 2015, the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) published in the Federal Register the Final Rule on hydraulic fracturing on federal and Indian lands. The Final Rule sets...more

Legislature Approves $1 Billion Drought Relief Legislation; Governor Brown Expected to Sign

California Legislature Enacts Bill Package on Drought - On Thursday March 26, 2015, the California Legislature adopted legislation which it describes as allocating approximately $1 billion to emergency drought relief...more

Work Done Under Unchallenged CEQA Emergency Exemption Held Part Of Existing Environment Baseline In Subsequent CEQA Challenge To...

In a decision filed January 29, and belatedly ordered published on February 18, 2015, the Fourth District Court of Appeal rejected numerous CEQA (and other) challenges to the City of San Diego’s regular, after-the-fact...more

The Early Bird Catches the Worm: A Lesson in Submitting Drilling Applications Early to Avoid Expiration of Federal Oil and Gas...

As many of you know, permitting delays are not only frustrating but can have real consequences for project applicants with contractual deadlines. In the case of a federal oil and gas lease, operators should be mindful of the...more

North Carolina offshore wind environmental assessment

The U.S. Department of the Interior's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has released an environmental assessment of the impacts of leasing sites off the North Carolina coast for offshore wind projects. This milestone...more

President Announces New Build America Initiatives; Introduces New Type of Municipal Bond

President Obama recently announced the latest steps federal agencies are taking to better incorporate private sector capital and expertise in improving the nation’s infrastructure. The announcement comes six months after the...more

Innovative P3 May Help Chesapeake Bay Stick to its Diet

Maryland’s Prince George’s County Council has approved a first-of-its kind agreement with Corvias Solutions for a 30-year stormwater management public-private partnership (P3). The novel initiative, formally announced by EPA...more

Chile Announces New Public Land Concessions for Non-Conventional Renewable Energy Projects

On October 1, 2014, Víctor Osorio, Chile’s Minister of Natural Resources, announced that 200 public land concessions were being made available, through a cooperation agreement with the Ministry of Energy, to Non-Conventional...more

One If By Land, Two If P3

“We know P3 can work.” “P3 isn’t the answer to our infrastructure crisis, but it is an important tool.” “Federal investment in P3 projects must be expanded.” “States must be encouraged to use P3 financing, even if they...more

BLM to Overhaul Solar/Wind Rights-of-Way Regulations

Last week, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) published a proposed rule that could alter the landscape of future renewable energy development, particularly in the American West, home to much of the country’s prime solar and...more

A Provisional Winner of an Offshore Wind Lease is Announced and that Means the Goal Line is Still Far Off

Offshore wind took another small step forward last week when US Wind was announced as the provisional winner of the US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management's August 19 auction of development rights to nearly 80,000 acres off of...more

Feds to auction North Carolina offshore wind sites

The U.S. Department of the Interior's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has announced plans to auction the rights to lease sites off the North Carolina coast for offshore wind projects. ...more

Renewable Energy Update -- August 2014 #3

Renewable Energy Focus - New California tax credit would benefit Tesla gigafactory: San Jose Mercury News - Jul 11: Governor Jerry Brown announced last week that he signed legislation creating a $420 million tax credit...more

Recent Ninth Circuit ESA Decision May Be Headed to the U.S. Supreme Court

On July 14, Glenn-Colusa Irrigation District (GCID) filed a petition for writ of certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court, seeking review of the Ninth Circuit’s decision in Glenn-Colusa Irrigation District v. Natural Resources...more

BLM Agrees to Complete Hydraulic Fracturing EIS for Leases in California

A recent agreement between environmentalists and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) may open the floodgates to challenges of the sufficiency of Environmental Assessments (EA) or Environmental Impact Statements (EIS) for oil...more

CEQA Exemption Update: Westland Water District Two-Year Contract Renewals Ruled Exempt from CEQA Requirements

In North Coast Rivers Alliance v. Westlands Water District, No. FO67383 (Cal. Ct. App. 5th Dist. July 3, 2014), the Fifth Appellate District upheld the Westland Water District and its related distribution districts’ (Water...more

Broad Duty To Consult Is New Norm Under ESA In 9th Circ.

Recently, the Ninth Circuit sitting en banc issued a landmark decision regarding the consultation provisions of the Endangered Species Act. The consultation provisions require any federal agency that authorizes, funds or...more

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