Environmental Zoning, Planning & Land Use

Read need-to-know updates, commentary, and analysis on Environmental issues written by leading professionals.
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California Environmental Law & Policy Update - January 2016 #4

Environmental and Policy Focus - States ask Supreme Court to block Obama carbon emissions plan - Reuters - Jan 26 - A group of states led by West Virginia and Texas asked the U.S. Supreme Court to stay...more

Deadlines Are Fast Approaching as Congress Is Already Considering Priorities for Next Water Resources Development Act (WRDA)

Stakeholders interested in U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) civil works projects, water resources policy, or funding for harbor, inland waterway, and other projects should engage Congress to advance their priorities as...more

Real Estate and Land Use - January 2016

Using Project Objectives to Select a Reasonable Range of Alternatives - North Coast Rivers Alliance v. A.G. Kawamura (January 4, 2016) Third District Court of Appeal Case No. C072067 - Why It Matters: This opinion...more

California Surface Water Diverters Now Required To Report Annually To The State

Taking effect earlier this month, Senate Bill 88 was approved overwhelmingly last legislative session and signed by the Governor as another effort to combat drought and water supply shortage conditions in the State of...more

Office of Planning and Research Proposes Revisions to State CEQA Guidelines

Comments Sought by Feb. 29 on the Transition from LOS to VMT - The California Office of Planning and Research has issued proposed revisions to the State CEQA Guidelines implementing Senate Bill 743 (2013). SB 743...more

NMFS Designates Additional Critical Habitat for North Atlantic Right Whales

On January 27, 2016, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) issued a final rule designating approximately 29,763 nautical square miles of marine habitat for the North Atlantic right whale (Eubalaena glacialis). The...more

Washington State Court of Appeals Holds Vested Permit Applications Are Not Subject to New Municipal Stormwater Requirements

The development community won a victory in Division Two of the Washington State Court of Appeals in a ruling that excludes pending permit applications from the new low-impact development stormwater regulations that large...more

The FAST Act Seeks to Streamline the Environmental Review of Infrastructure Projects

On December 4, 2015, President Obama signed into law the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act—a five-year, $305-billion transportation authorization and spending bill. The FAST Act largely focuses on funding...more

Arizona Supreme Court Affirms ADWR’s Approval of Mining Company’s Request to Sever and Transfer Its Surface Water Rights

The Arizona Supreme Court, in Arizona Department of Water Resources v. Hon Crane McClennen in and for the county of Maricopa, No. CV-15-0223-SA, reversed a ruling from Judge McClennen of the Superior Court of Maricopa County...more

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Issues Final 4(d) Rule for Northern Long-Eared Bat Under Endangered Species Act

In April 2015, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (“Service”) published a final decision to list the northern long-eared bat as threatened and, rather than publishing a final 4(d) rule, opted to publish an interim 4(d) rule...more

Environmental Policy Quarterly

Welcome to the Winter 2016 edition of Environmental Policy Quarterly, published jointly by the Environmental, Land and Natural Resources Practice Group and the Public Policy and Law Practice Group of K&L Gates. This...more

Appellate Court Notes

Supreme Court Advance Release Opinions: SC19481 - JP Morgan Chase Bank, N.A. v. Mendez - After a foreclosure sale auction took place, the defendant property owner appeared for the first time and filed a motion to...more

When CEQA Violations Are An Afterthought: Fourth District Upholds Trial Court’s Independent Judgment Determination That City Of...

CEQA and land use law in California go together like a hand in a glove. Due to CEQA’s broad scope and exacting substantive and procedural requirements, it is relatively easy to plead a cause of action for CEQA violations in...more

BLM Proposes “Commonsense” Rule to Limit Methane Emissions from Oil & Gas Operations

On Friday, January 22, 2016 the federal Department of the Interior’s (“DOI”) Bureau of Land Management (“BLM”) issued a proposed rule on reducing waste and methane emissions in oil and gas operations. The rule would limit...more

BLM Proposes to Restrict Methane Releases from Oil and Gas Leases

After five years in the making, the federal Bureau of Land Management (“BLM”) has proposed a rule to reduce the waste of natural gas from operations on federal and Indian oil and gas leases and to clarify when royalties apply...more

Who Pays to Fix the Aliso Canyon Methane Leak?

As nearly everyone has heard by now, on Octobe??r 23, 2015, a leak at a Southern California Gas Company (“SoCalGas”) natural gas storage well was discovered by crews at the Aliso Canyon storage field in Los Angeles. In a Jan...more

State Agency’s Intentional Flooding for Environmental Protection Results in Physical Taking of Private Property – Strict Liability...

Pacific Shores Property Owners Association v. Department of Fish and Wildlife (1/20/16, C070201) - On January 20, 2016, the Court of Appeal for the Second Appellate District of California ruled that where a state agency...more

California Environmental Law & Policy Update - January 2016 #3

Environmental and Policy Focus - SoCal Gas Co. expects to cap Porter Ranch gas leak ahead of schedule - CBS Los Angeles - Jan 19 An ongoing natural gas leak that has affected residents in the Porter Ranch-area...more

Shasta Lake Water Levels Subject of New Litigation

Water Contractors Challenge SWRCB Order Potentially Restricting Water - A State Water Resources Control Board order that could potentially restrict the amount of water available for export by both the Central Valley...more

Are Groundwater Pumping Fees or Charges Subject to Proposition 218? California Supreme Court to Resolve Conflicting Precedent

In 2015 California’s Sixth and Second District Courts of Appeal issued conflicting opinions regarding whether groundwater extraction fees or charges are subject to Article 13D of the California Constitution (Proposition 218)....more

U.S Fish and Wildlife Services Opts Not to Appeal 30-Year Eagle Rule Decision, Focuses on Development of Eagle Permitting Program

On January 19, 2016, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) dropped its Ninth Circuit appeal of U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh’s ruling that set aside the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (“Service”) rule to extend the maximum...more

California Supreme Court Shifts Gears on “Reverse CEQA”

The California Supreme Court has shifted gears on so-called “reverse CEQA” under the California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”)....more

New Water Law Will Affect Everyone Who Uses Water in Florida

On January 14, 2016, the officers of the Legislature presented CS/CS/SB 552 to Governor Scott for signature. More famously known as the "Water Bill," this 134-page page marvel of compromise proves that it is still possible to...more

Air Force Welcomes Comments On Red Rock Biofuels Facility Environmental Assessment

The U.S. Air Force (USAF) Research Laboratory has developed a Draft Environmental Assessment and a Draft Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for the development of the Red Rock Biofuels facility in Lake County, Oregon....more

Utah Congressmen Unveil Landmark Public Land Bill

On January 20, Congressmen Rob Bishop and Jason Chaffetz unveiled a “discussion draft” of the Utah Public Lands Initiative Act. The proposed bill undertakes the difficult task of balancing economic development and...more

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