Environmental Zoning, Planning & Land Use

Read need-to-know updates, commentary, and analysis on Environmental issues written by leading professionals.
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Court Defers to City’s General Plan Consistency Findings, Upholding Infill Residential Development Project

On November 7, 2016, the Court of Appeal for the Third Appellate District reversed and remanded a trial court decision addressing a neighborhood group’s challenge to a 328-unit infill residential project in the City of...more

Renewable Energy Update - November 2016

Renewable Energy Focus - California needs to invest $5B in transmission to support renewables goals - Utility Dive - Nov 2 - Staff of the California Energy Commission have completed an assessment of the...more

Second-Ever Eagle Programmatic Take Permit Soon To Be Granted For California Wind Energy Facility

On November 1, 2016 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announced its plan to issue what will be only the second programmatic eagle take permit under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act (BGEPA) permit program...more

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Issues Regulatory Guidance Letter on Approved Jurisdictional Determinations

Seyfarth Synopsis: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has just issued a Regulatory Guidance Letter which provides to property owners (including developers) the right of appeal USACE Approved Jurisdictional...more

9th Circuit Upholds Lake Tahoe Regional Development Plan Update

Affirming the district court, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit rejected claims that the environmental impact statement (EIS) adopted by the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency supporting the Regional Plan Update...more

Nuclear Energy Returns

The first nuclear generator commissioned in the U. S. in 20 years has begun commercial operation. The Tennessee Valley Authority brought the Watts Bar 2 Reactor on line on October 19 (The Hill). Despite the long interval...more

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Adds Ten Species to the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Updates the Listings of Five...

On November 2, 2016, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) issued a final rule adding ten species to the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife, and updating the listings of five other species. Of the ten new...more

Ninth Circuit Upholds Listing Decision Based on End of Century Climate Change Predictions

On October 24, 2016, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld the National Marine Fisheries Service (Service) determination listing the Beringia Distinct Population Segment (DPS) of the Bearded Seal...more

Pennsylvania’s New Oil and Gas Regulations for Unconventional Wells – Part 1: Planning and Permitting

The new rules for unconventional oil and gas wells in Pennsylvania are finally here. The regulations in Chapter 78a, relating to unconventional wells, were publish ed in the Pennsylvania Bulletin on October 8, 2016....more

Massachusetts Environmental and Land Use Alert

Off to Court We Go: Petitioners Challenge EPA’s Small MS4 General Permit for Massachusetts - The storm of debate and criticism over the terms and conditions of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) General...more

California Environmental Law & Policy Update - October 2016 #3

Environmental and Policy Focus - Federal report recommends gas-storage safety changes - OC Register - Oct 18 - A task force commissioned by the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety...more

Wolverine Status Review Reinitiated

The distinct population segment of the North American wolverine (Gulo gulf luscus) has had a long and difficult history with the Endangered Species Act (ESA). However, things appeared to be changing in 2013, when, after...more

California DWR Releases Final Groundwater Basin Boundary Modifications

On October 18, 2016, the Department of Water Resources (DWR) released its final modifications to California’s groundwater basin boundaries in response to the emergency regulations adopted by DWR last October. The basin...more

Blowing Smoke About Impacts? Fourth District Rejects Speculative CEQA Challenge to San Diego’s Medical Marijuana Consumer...

In a 29-page published opinion filed October 14, 2016, the Fourth District Court of Appeal dispensed some good news to municipalities desiring to reasonably regulate retail medical marijuana facilities within their...more

Environmental Case Law Update

“Summer’s lease hath all too short a date.” Many important environmental and administrative law decisions were reported by the federal and state courts over the past six months. The courts are dealing with very...more

EPA Report Addresses Voluntary Strategies for Reducing Air Pollution at U.S. Ports

As part of its initiative to reduce air pollution and greenhouse gases at U.S. ports, the EPA recently released a report that assesses strategies for pollution control and sustainable growth. The “National Port Strategy...more

California Environmental Law & Policy Update - October 2016 #2

Environmental and Policy Focus - SoCal air board proposes stricter regulations for smog-reduction plan - Los Angeles Times - Oct 7 - The South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) released a...more

U.S. Supreme Court Denies U.S. Forest Service’s Petition for Review in Canadian Lynx Case

On October 11, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court denied the U.S. Forest Service’s (“Forest Service”) petition for writ of certiorari to review the U.S. Court of Appeal for the Ninth Circuit’s decision in Cottonwood Environmental...more

California Ballot 2016: Los Angeles County Measures A & M

This is the fourth and final blog in our 2016 California Election Guide Series – the first three providing brief synopses of the 17 state-wide ballot initiatives residents will see in November. In this final segment, we will...more

California Coastal Act Takes Priority Over Housing Density Laws

Court Decision Provides Guidance for Affordable Housing Units within the Coastal Zone - The Second District Court of Appeal recently held that local agencies may be required to grant affordable housing density bonuses...more

EPA Updates Penalty Calculation Guidance for Industrial Stormwater Discharges

On September 8, the EPA published Supplemental Guidance to the 1995 Interim Clean Water Act Settlement Penalty Policy for Violations of the Industrial Stormwater Requirements. This new guidance applies only to stormwater...more

UK Shale: Full Steam Ahead for Fracking?

On 6 October 2016, the UK's Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Sajid Javid, overruled local councillors on appeal and approved Cuadrilla's plans to explore for shale gas in Lancashire. Cuadrilla has been...more

CEQA News You Can Use - Vol. 1, Issue 1

Welcome to the first edition of CEQA News You Can Use, a quarterly publication of Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck’s Natural Resources lawyers. This resource will provide quick, useful bites of CEQA news that we hope can be a...more

An Update on Pennsylvania's Oil and Gas Law - Act 13 - After Supreme Court Decisions

While many key provisions of Act 13 have now been struck down by the Supreme Court’s two Robinson decisions, much of the Act remains. Act 13 of 2012 represented a major overhaul of Pennsylvania’s oil and gas law and...more

Four New California Cap and Trade Bills Fund Programs

$900 million in appropriations for fiscal year 2016-17 - With California’s cap and trade program suffering from legal challenges, decreasing auction revenue and general criticism of the program’s effectiveness, Gov....more

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