Environmental Zoning, Planning & Land Use

Read need-to-know updates, commentary, and analysis on Environmental issues written by leading professionals.
News & Analysis as of

Affordable Housing Permit Revoked by Massachusetts Appeals Court

In a recent ruling sure to embolden municipalities seeking to block affordable housing projects, the Massachusetts Appeals Court revoked the approval of a Comprehensive Permit issued under the Anti-Snob Zoning Act, G.L....more

Interior Announces Blueprint for Renewable Energy and Transmission Development on Public Lands in the California Desert

Earlier this week, the Department of the Interior announced the federal component of the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP), an innovative landscape-scale plan that identifies areas best suited for...more

Another Season of Change in North Carolina Environmental Law – Part I

The 2015 North Carolina legislative session resulted in a great deal of change for the state’s environmental agency and for the statutory programs it administers. The legislative session saw fundamental organizational changes...more

Energy-Related Legislation Moves Forward

A flurry of energy-related legislation moved forward over the past week, including several measures aimed at overturning controversial rules from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). While most will not become law –...more

Two Chinese Public Interest Groups Win Landmark Environmental Lawsuit in China

In a seminal judicial decision, a court in China’s Fujian province ruled on October 29, 2015 in favor of two environmental NGOs who brought suit against four defendants under China’s revised Environmental Protection Law for...more

Environmental Justice Lawsuit Accuses L.A. of Discriminatory Oil Permitting

On Friday, November 6, three environmental organizations filed suit against the City of Los Angeles in California Superior Court for the County of Los Angeles. The three groups, Youth for Environmental Justice, the Center for...more

To Mitigate or Not to Mitigate: No Longer a Question for Environmental Reviews?

Even the casual college football observer has probably seen by now the wild final play of the Duke-Miami game on October 31. After the game ended, it was determined that Miami literally stole the win as a result of referee...more

Berkeley Hillside CEQA Cat Ex Case Redux: Kapors Get Their Mansion, First District’s Belatedly Published Opinion Upholds City’s...

On remand following a landmark California Supreme Court decision, the First District Court of Appeal filed its opinion affirming the trial court’s judgment on September 23 and later ordered it published on October 15, 2015....more

Compliance with the Clean Air Act Increasingly Unlikely to Protect Companies from Nuisance Suits

A recent decision out of the Sixth Circuit found that the Clean Air Act (“CAA”) does not preempt common law claims brought against an emitter based on the law of the state in which the emitter operates. This decision, Merrick...more

Do You Dare to Flare? A North Dakota Field Office Provides a View Into the Federal Regulatory Future

While high-profile regulatory efforts focused on hydraulic fracturing, waters of the United States, sage grouse, and greenhouse gas emissions have grabbed media headlines over the last several months, a potent stew of...more

CERCLA Update: Court Reverses Divisibility Ruling

Earlier this year, we reported on a case that seemed to breathe new life into the divisibility defense under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA).  Under CERCLA, a party that...more

Real Estate and Land Use - November 2015

CEQA Baseline Can Consider Historic Levels of Use - North County Advocates v. City of Carlsbad (2015)—Cal.App.4th—Case No. D066488: Why It Matters: This case addresses an important issue under CEQA relating to the...more

President Issues Memo regarding Mitigation of Natural Resources Impacts

On November 3, 2015, the President issued a memorandum entitled “Mitigating Impacts on Natural Resources from Development and Encouraging Related Private Investment.” In it, he states “[t]his memorandum will encourage private...more

Presidential Memo Imparts “Moral Obligation” on Agencies to Mitigate Impacts of Natural Resource Development

On Tuesday, November 3, the White House released a Presidential Memorandum: “Mitigating Impacts on Natural Resources from Development and Encouraging Related Private Investment” (“Memorandum”). The Memorandum was sent to the...more

Administration Announces New Mitigation Policies

This afternoon, the Administration issued two policies intended to encourage private investment in natural resource conservation and to facilitate application of the mitigation hierarchy—avoiding, minimizing and compensating...more

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Issue Final Rule Defining “Waters of the United States”...

On May 27, 2015, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) and U.S. Army Corp of Engineers (collectively, the “Agencies”) issued a final rule defining “Waters of the United States” (“WOTUS”) under the Clean Water Act....more

Second District Rejects CEQA And Fair Transit Hearing Challenges To LA Metro’s Westside Subway Extension Project In Lengthy...

In a 65-page opinion certified for publication and filed October 22, 2015, the Second Appellate District Court of Appeal affirmed the Los Angeles County Superior Court’s judgment denying writ petitions by the City of Beverly...more

Climate Change and Creative Problem Solving

A story in the New York Times recently portrays the ice cap in Greenland as rapidly disappearing. (NYT). Indeed, the pictures are dramatic. The story is based on experiences and observations from scientists working in the...more

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife Recommends Delisting the Gray Wolf

On October 29, 2015, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) announced that it believes that the gray wolf (Canis lupus) has met the criteria to be delisted from the state Endangered Species Act (Oregon ESA). Under...more

Pennsylvania Township Moves to Revive an Ordinance Banning Disposal of Wastewater from Hydraulic Fracturing Activities, After...

On October 26, 2015, Grant Township, Pennsylvania, filed a Motion for Reconsideration of Western District of Pennsylvania District Court Magistrate Judge Susan Baxter’s October 14, 2015, ruling invalidating several elements...more

Electronic Reporting to be the NPDES Rule

After a lengthy public notice and comment period, the final National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (“NPDES”) Electronic Reporting Rule was published in the Federal Register on October 22, 2015, and will become...more

Land Use Matters: Alston & Bird LLP, October 2015

At its October 27, 2015, meeting, the Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to create a new dedicated Affordable Housing Program budget unit and approved setting aside $100 million for the creation and operation of both...more

New Buffalo Green Code May Make It Easier to Build in the Queen City

On Thursday, October 22, 2015, Mayor Byron Brown submitted the Buffalo Green Code to Buffalo’s Common Council. The Green Code is a modern development strategy that will build on “Queen City in the 21st Century,” Buffalo’s...more

EPA'S Hazardous Waste Pharmaceuticals Rules May Impose Significant Burdens on Health Care Facilities - Comment Period Runs Until...

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has promulgated its proposed regulation of “hazardous waste pharmaceuticals,” i.e., pharmaceutical residues discarded from health care facilities which also meet EPA’s long-standing...more

Brave New World: SB 350 Increases CA’s Renewable Energy and Efficiency Goals

California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law Senate Bill 350, the “Clean Energy and Pollution Reduction Act of 2015” on October 7, 2015. SB 350 reflects some of Governor Brown’s bold commitments from his inaugural speech...more

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