Environmental Zoning, Planning & Land Use

Read need-to-know updates, commentary, and analysis on Environmental issues written by leading professionals.
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Virginia DEQ to Revise Risk Assessment Protocols

The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (“DEQ”) is preparing to implement revised risk assessment protocols for many of its site cleanup programs. DEQ’s new approach is called the Virginia Unified Risk Assessment...more

Ninth Circuit Finds Navy’s Low Frequency Active Sonar Program Violates Marine Mammal Protection Act

In NRDC v. Pritzker, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit confirmed that the Marine Mammal Protection Act’s (MMPA) incidental take authorizations will be construed narrowly and conservatively, giving the benefit of...more

NEPA guidance on greenhouse gas emissions

Federal agencies have new guidance on how to address the effects of greenhouse gas emissions and climate change as those agencies satisfy their duties under the National Environmental Policy Act. This month the White House...more

White House Issues Guidance Advising Agencies to Assess Climate Change in NEPA Reviews

On August 1, the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) issued its final guidance for federal agencies on considering greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and the effects of climate change in National Environmental...more

Environmental Notes - August 2016

Time to Pay More: EPA Increases Maximum Civil Penalties - Remember the days when the maximum civil penalty EPA could assess for a violation of environmental law was $25,000 per day? Those days disappeared 26 years ago...more

Texas Hornshell Mussel Proposed for Listing Under Endangered Species Act

On August 10, 2016, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) issued a proposed rule to list the Texas hornshell (Popenaias popeii), a freshwater mussel, as an endangered species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The...more

EPA Decides No Additional Regulations Are Needed to Address Stormwater Discharges from Forest Roads Under the Clean Water Act

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has determined that, at this time, no additional regulations are needed to address stormwater discharges from forest roads under Section 402(p)(6) of the Clean Water Act (CWA). The...more

EPA Declines to Regulate Forest Road Discharges Under the Clean Water Act

The Environmental Protection Agency issued a decision on July 5, 2016, that declined to regulate discharges from forest roads for regulation under Section 402 of the Clean Water Act. As such, it remains the case that...more

August 4th Endangered Species Act Rulemakings

On August 4, 2016, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) issued a final rule confirming its 2011 revision to the designation of critical habitat for the marbled murrelet (Brachyramphus marmoratus). The Service listed...more

When Will They Ever Learn? CBD Files Another Questionable Lawsuit Against DOGGR

On August 3, 2016, the Center for Biological Diversity (“CBD”) filed suit against the California Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources (“DOGGR”) and the State Water Resources Control Board (“Water Board”),...more

Pierce Atwood Environmental Regulatory Compliance Calendar

Federal - Notice of Availability of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Two Updated Chapters in the EPA Air Pollution Control Cost Manual - EPA is making two finalized chapters of the EPA Air Pollution Control...more

California Environmental Law & Policy Update - August 2016

Environmental and Policy Focus - BNSF to appeal ruling blocking California rail yard - Wall Street Journal - Aug 2 - BNSF Railway Co. and the Port of Los Angeles on Tuesday appealed a court ruling against...more

New Climate Change Guidance for NEPA Reviews

In the United States, federal agencies that license, permit or finance energy and infrastructure projects must, with some limited exceptions, analyze the environmental impacts of those projects before they approve them,...more

EPA Cuts to Landfill Methane Emissions Create New Opportunities for Credit Trading and Gas–to-Energy Projects

On July 14, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued its latest set of methane regulations as part of the Obama Administration’s Climate Action Plan: Strategy to Reduce Methane Emissions. The Administration issued two...more

New Eye-Popping Statistics: Multinationals Operating in China Should be Aware of Increased Enforcement of Chinese Environmental...

Seyfarth Synopsis: The Chinese Ministry of Environmental Protection has just announced criminal, civil, and administrative enforcement statistics, and put companies on notice that those who violate environmental laws and...more

EPA's Clean Energy Incentive Program

Expansion of Eligible Low Income Community Projects to Include Solar Projects - The Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Energy Incentive Program (CEIP) allows participants to earn tradeable emissions credits for...more

Sustainable Development Update - August 2016

Sustainable Development Focus - REIT reporting standards for sustainability lack consensus REIT.com - Jul 29 - There are roughly a dozen or so real estate sustainability standards competing for the attention...more

CEQ Instructs Federal Agencies to Consider Climate Change Impacts During NEPA Reviews

On August 2, 2016, the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) released a Final Guidance for Federal Departments and Agencies on Consideration of Greenhouse Gas Emissions and the Effects of Climate Change in National...more

Aerial Emissions Are Not “Disposal” Under CERCLA

Last year, we told you about a district court case in which air emissions from a lead smelter that ultimately settled on the land and in a water body gave rise to liability under the Comprehensive Environmental Response,...more

Final Guidance Released on Considering Climate Change in Environmental Reviews

The President's Council on Environmental Quality has issued its finalized guidance on how federal agencies should consider greenhouse gas emissions and the effects of climate change in reviews of federal actions under the...more

ESA Round-Up – Summer 2016

In the past few weeks, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) published several Endangered Species Act (ESA) listing decisions, including the following...more

Alameda Fracking Ban: All Bark with No Bite

On July 19, 2016, Alameda County, California (“County”) became the first county in the Bay Area to approve a ban on hydraulic fracturing (or “fracking”). The County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the ban through...more

U.S. DOT Unveils Build America Bureau

U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, senior Department staff, and even an official from the White House gathered at U.S. Department of Transportation headquarters on July 20th to celebrate the grand opening of the...more

First District Rejects CEQA Challenge To “Plan Bay Area” Sustainable Communities Strategy EIR As Premised On Fundamental...

In a 58-page published opinion filed June 30, 2016, the First District Court of Appeal affirmed the Alameda County Superior Court’s judgment upholding the Metropolitan Transportation Commission’s (MTC) and Association of Bay...more

California Environmental Law & Policy Update - July 2016 #5

Environmental and Policy Focus - State Supreme Court rules in state’s favor on Delta property rights - Sacramento Bee - Jul 21 - The California Supreme Court ruled last Thursday that the state has the right to...more

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