Environmental Zoning, Planning & Land Use

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Landowners, Developers Win Big In Wetlands Case

Building on a 2012 U.S. Supreme Court decision, the Eighth Circuit ruled on April 10th that Clean Water Act jurisdictional determinations made by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers can be challenged in a “pre-enforcement”...more

Non-Settling CERCLA Defendants Beware: Ninth Circuit Provides Lower Courts with Discretion to Allocate Liability Using Equitable...

There is a split of authority on how credits for settlements under the Comprehensive Response, Compensation and Liability Act (“CERCLA”) are allocated to non-settlors. Some courts have applied the proportionate share...more

Winners Beware – Fourth District Upholds Trial Court’s Discretion To Drastically Reduce Successful CEQA Plaintiff’s Fees In...

In an opinion filed March 18 and belatedly ordered published on April 13, 2015, the Fourth District Court of Appeal upheld a trial court’s discretion to award only $19,176 in attorneys’ fees under Code of Civil Procedure §...more

Suit by “Interested,” Neighboring Municipalities to Enforce SEQRA Requirements Does Not “Impose or Implement” a Land Use...

On March 27, 2015, the Southern District of New York granted summary judgment in favor of all defendants in the consolidated action Bernstein v. Wesley Hills, 08-CV-156; 12-CV-8856 (KMK), (the “Wesley Hills” Action). The...more

Public Comment Period on PA Department of Environmental Protection’s Oil and Gas Rulemaking Closes May 19

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP’s) rulemaking regarding surface activities for oil and gas wells, Environmental Protection Performance Standards at Oil and Gas Well Sites (Chapters 78 and 78a),...more

Ninth Circuit Widens Judges’ Discretion to Allocate CERCLA Contribution Damages

Trial court may select the method of accounting for prior settlement in allocating response costs among liable parties, but claims to recover settlement payments are limited to costs consistent with the National Contingency...more

Letter Urges Oil & Gas Wastewater Well Shut-Ins due to Risk of Groundwater Contamination; Regulators Stick to Rulemaking

On March 20, Senator Fran Pavley (D-Agoura Hills) wrote a letter to Governor Jerry Brown requesting that his administration immediately shut down approximately 2,500 underground injection wells. The letter was signed by...more

Ontario Unveils Plan to Join Greenhouse Gas Emissions Cap-and-Trade System

On the eve of a provincial premiers summit on climate change, the Ontario Government has announced it is joining with Quebec and California in a greenhouse gas ("GHG") cap-and-trade system. Ontario, Quebec and California are...more

Army Corps Jurisdictional Determinations Subject to Pre-Permit Judicial Review, Eighth Circuit Says

EPA and Army Corps of Engineers imposition of federal Clean Water Act requirements can now be challenged in court without waiting for the agencies to bring an enforcement action, at least in the Eighth Circuit. On April 10,...more

Federal Court Strikes Down HCP: No Piggybacks Under Section 10

While decisions dealing with lawsuits alleging violations of section 7 or section 9 of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) are rather common, it is far less common for courts to address suits under section 10. In fact, in any...more

USEPA Releases Proposed Rule on Fracking Wastewater Treatment; Says There Will be No Costs to Industry

On Tuesday, April 7, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“USEPA”) published a proposed rule in the Federal Register for regulation of wastewater from unconventional oil and gas operations (“UOG”), which includes...more

Federal Court Strikes Down Habitat Conservation Plan and Biological Opinion for Logging Project in Northern California

On April 3, 2015, a federal district court in California put the brakes on a proposed logging project, invalidating a habitat conservation plan and incidental take permit issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and...more

California Environmental Law & Policy Update - April 2015 #2

Environmental and Policy Focus: Desperate from drought, California turns to desalination: Bloomberg - Apr 8: As California battled its last severe drought in the early 1990s, Santa Barbara spent $34 million on a...more

Don’t Overlook the Potential Value Added By Green Buildings

It is increasingly important for buildings to be energy efficient. So-called “green buildings” can not only lead to more efficient energy use, but can also result in significant cost savings over time. Indeed, green...more

Renewable Energy Update - April 2014

Renewable Energy Focus: Short staffing at LADWP blamed for slow solar rollout - KPCC - Mar 27: Los Angeles has the largest municipal solar program in the country, but its growth is being limited by backlogs at the Los...more

Citadel Drops Lawsuit Against San Benito Fracking Ban

On Friday, April 3, Citadel Exploration filed a request for dismissal in its suit against San Benito County’s Measure J.  Measure J was passed in the November 2014 election and is a ban on high-intensity petroleum operations,...more

Maryland Appellate Court: County Stormwater Permit Violates CWA and State Law - Ruling Throws into Question Numerous State-Issued...

The Maryland Court of Special Appeals (CSA) issued a significant decision in Maryland Department of the Environment, et al. v. Anacostia Riverkeeper, et al., holding that the Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Permit (MS4) issued...more

A Skimmed Plan Nord: Keeping in Line with Quebec’s Current Economic Landscape

The Quebec government first launched its Northern Plan, le “Plan Nord”, in 2011 with great fanfare. The Plan Nord seeks to develop Quebec’s vast territory north of the 49th parallel, which covers 72 per cent of the province...more

Locke Lord QuickStudy: The New York Legislature Ends The Guessing - Brownfield Tax Credits Extended And Modified

On April 1, 2015, the New York Legislature passed a budget bill for fiscal year 2015-2016, which included numerous amendments (the Amendments) to the Brownfield Cleanup Program (BCP), a state program designed to incentivize...more

Northern Long-Eared Bat Listed as Threatened

On April 2, 2015, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) issued a final rule listing the northern long-eared bat (Myotis septentrionalis) as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The Service determined...more

Strengthening of enforcement powers under the environmental permitting regime and tackling waste crime - what changes are...

The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs ("Defra") and the Welsh Government are currently consulting on strengthening the powers of the regulators in respect of those facilities which operate under environmental...more

Maine DEP Finalizes Amendments to Revamp Solid Waste Rules

We recently reported on the Maine Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) numerous proposed changes to Maine’s solid waste rules. These changes were proposed largely in response to legislation passed during the past...more

Second District Holds First Tier CEQA Analysis Suffices For Regional Board’s Setting of Novel TMDL For Lake Bed Sediment

In a short published opinion, the Second District Court of Appeal rejected federal Clean Water Act, state Porter Cologne Water Quality Control Act, and CEQA challenges to a regional board’s Basin Plan Amendment establishing a...more

New York State Governor and Legislature Amend and Extend Brownfield Cleanup Program

Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature have reached an agreement to amend and extend the State's Brownfield Cleanup Program (BCP) in advance of December 31, 2015, when tax credit eligibility under the...more

Groundwater Fees in Flux Following Recent Conflicting Proposition 218 Cases

With California in the midst of a record-breaking drought (as reported in a recent Allen Matkins legal alert, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. issued an Executive Order ordering mandatory actions to reduce California's water...more

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