Environmental Zoning, Planning & Land Use

Read need-to-know updates, commentary, and analysis on Environmental issues written by leading professionals.
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CA Lawmaker Floats a Legislative Fix to Siskiyou County Farm Bureau Case

Last summer, the Third District Court of Appeal issued a sweeping ruling in Siskiyou County Farm Bureau v. Department of Fish and Wildlife, which made any substantial diversions of water subject to the streambed alteration...more

Children’s Crusade to Combat Climate Change Continues

A federal magistrate judge in Oregon has kept alive the dreams of a group of young plaintiffs—aided by environmental advocacy groups—to compel government action against climate change. Like a similar case brought by the same...more

Court Rejects ESA Challenge to County’s Local Land Use Planning

On April 8, the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida held that Collier County’s (County) land use planning regulations were complimentary, not contrary to the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The...more

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Ordered to Reconsider Delisting of N. American Wolverine

The courts continue to be busy issuing significant Endangered Species Act (ESA) rulings. In the latest one, issued in early wolverineApril, the U.S. District Court for Montana, Missoula Division, in Defenders of Wildlife v....more

Federal dams and preliminary permits

U.S. federal entities own dams with untapped hydropower potential that could be developed by private parties -- but a recent regulatory decision highlights the difficulty of winning key approvals when the federal dam owner...more

Renewable Energy Projects Are Making Impacts in Several Ways – – Nationally and Worldwide

Renewable energy investments (primarily solar and wind generation) set a record in 2015 with a collective investment of $286 billion. This according to a report from the United Nations Environment Progamme. (Climate Central...more

What is President H.R. Clinton’s Energy Policy?

Even as the number of 2016 presidential candidates in both parties has dwindled, the media -- particularly television news -- has yet to focus on an in-depth discussion of the candidates’ policy proposals. While it was...more

The Wolverine Takes on Climate Change: Montana District Court Remands Withdrawal of Proposed Listing Rule

On April 4, 2016, the U.S. District Court for the District of Montana vacated the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (Service) August 13, 2014 withdrawal of its proposed rule to list the distinct population segment of the North...more

Sustainable Retail – Eco-Friendly Shopping at the Mall

Sustainability experts claim that “a good building- efficiency rating is quickly becoming the real estate equivalent of a motor vehicle’s miles-per-gallon rating and helps bring capital to owners and investors.” The National...more

Challenge to Ordinance Prohibiting Mobile Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Goes Up in Smoke

Union of Medical Marijuana Patients, Inc. v. City of Upland (3/25/16, D069293) In 2007, the City of Upland banned both fixed and mobile medical marijuana dispensaries from any zone within the City’s limits. Presumably...more

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Issues 12-Month Findings on Four Species

On April 5, 2016, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) issued 12-month findings on petitions to list the island marble butterfly (Euchloe ausonides insulanus), the San Bernardino flying squirrel (Glaucomys sabrinus...more

Ninth Circuit Rules Navy Satisfied NEPA in Considering Terror Threat to San Diego Facility

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit last week rejected a claim under the National Environmental Policy Act that the Navy did not adequately consider the environmental consequences of a potential terrorist threat...more

Colorado House Votes Down Bill Giving Local Authorities Power Over Fracking

Two Democrats joined the Republicans in the Colorado House of Representatives on April 4, 2016, to defeat a bill that sought to assert local government control over oil and gas drilling. Drilling operations in Colorado have...more

EPA Proposes Significant Expansions of Its Risk Management/Accidental Release Prevention Program

On March 14, 2016, The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published proposed revisionsto the Risk Management Program (RMP) (also known as Accidental Release Prevention) rule at 40 CFR Part 68, under Section 112(r) of the...more

Corner Briefing: California Land Reuse and Revitalization Act

This is the second edition in an ongoing series of "Corner Briefings" highlighting urban infill legal tools and opportunities. These updates identify new legal cases, legislative updates, grant opportunities and other urban...more

California Environmental Law & Policy Update - April 2016

Environmental and Policy Focus - Justices suggest support for landowners in wetlands case - Bloomberg - Mar 30 - U.S. Supreme Court justices across the ideological spectrum signaled in oral argument this week...more

Utah conduit hydropower project qualifies

Federal energy regulators have issued a letter determining that a proposed Utah hydropower project meets criteria for development without needing a hydropower license. Castle Valley Special Service District's proposed Ferron...more

Gas Company May Challenge Local Ordinance Prohibiting Deposit of Flowback Water into Underground Injection Wells

A Federal Magistrate Judge in Pennsylvania has ruled that an oil and gas exploration company may challenge a township ordinance that makes it unlawful to deposit flowback water into underground injection wells within the...more

California floating offshore wind project proposed

The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management is moving toward the prospect of leasing sites for commercial wind energy development in federal waters offshore California. A January 2016 request by Trident Winds, LLC for a lease...more

Does a Project’s Impact on the “Character of the Community” Need to Be Evaluated under CEQA?

Harry Rogers owned and operated a horse boarding facility called the Stock Farm, in the City of Poway, California – a city that proudly calls itself the “City in the Country.” Rogers wanted to shut down the Stock Farm and...more

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Designates Critical Habitat for 125 Hawaiian Species

On March 30, 2016, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (“Service”) issued a final rule designating critical habitat for 125 species listed as endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act (“ESA”) on the Hawaiian...more

Supreme Court Holds the Ninth Circuit Misinterpreted the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act

In 2007, National Park Service rangers stopped John Sturgeon from travelling by hovercraft on the Nation River within the boundaries of Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve. Park Service regulations ban the use of...more

Real Estate and Land Use - March 2016

A Rare Win for Former Redevelopment Agencies—State Collection Procedures Ruled Unconstitutional - City of Bellflower v. Michael Cohen, Director of the Department of Finance (245 Cal. App. 4th 438) - Why It Matters:...more

NYDEC Proposes Revisions to Brownfield Cleanup Program

The New York Department of Environmental Protection (DEC) has published notice regarding the proposed revisions to the Brownfield Cleanup Program (BCP) regulations. The revisions provide a minor revision to the term...more

Is the Corps’ Determination on Jurisdiction Over a Wetland Judicially Reversible?

The pending Supreme Court case, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers v. Hawkes Co. Inc. et al., no. 15-290, involves what constitutes a final agency action reviewable under the Administrative Procedure Act....more

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