Environmental Zoning, Planning & Land Use

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Prairie Dogs vs. Congress

A recent ruling by a Utah federal judge, although directed at the Endangered Species Act (ESA), may have far-reaching implications on Congress' commerce clause powers. In a first-of-its-kind ruling, U.S. District Judge Dee...more

Environmental Groups Dust Off NEPA and CEQA in Attempt to Halt Hydraulic Fracturing and Well Acidization

Municipal bans and other legislative measures to halt hydraulic fracturing and related well stimulation techniques have yielded mixed results across the country. In an attempt to halt hydraulic fracturing and acid well...more

“Final” May Be a Misnomer for California’s Final Fracking Regulations

The California Department of Conservation, Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources recently issued a “final” set of rules for regulating hydraulic fracturing in California that replace the interim rules that have been...more

Illinois Supreme Court Debates Retroactive Application of Landfill Cleanup Statute

In 2004, the Illinois legislature amended the Illinois Environmental Protection Act to authorize mandatory injunctions to require cleanups of landfills. But could the courts use the statute to order cleanups of older...more

Wisconsin Supreme Court Holds Pollution Exclusion Applicable to Cow Manure Claims

In its recent decision in Wilson Mut. Ins. Co. v. Falk, 2014 WI 136, the Wisconsin Supreme Court had occasion had occasion to consider whether cow manure generated at a dairy farm, and which migrates from the insured’s...more

Unanimous Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court rules that the Supreme Court’s interpretation of Environmental Rights Amendment in...

The Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court ruled on January 7, 2015 that the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the Environmental Rights Amendment in Robinson Township, which was backed by only three justices, is nonbinding. The...more

Major Questions Remain for Implementation of China’s Strengthened Environmental Protection Law

On January 1, 2015, China’s significantly amended Environmental Protection Law (EPL) went into effect, having been adopted on April 24, 2014. A product of three years of contentious debate, the new EPL marks the first changes...more

Flemish Soil Clean-Up Rules Amendments Enter Into Force

By virtue of the Statute dated 28 March 2014 (the Statute of 2014), the Flemish Government decided to amend the existing Soil Statute of 27 October 2006 (the Statute of 2006). The modifications were published in the Official...more

Transportation Conformity Form Over Substance

A few determined environmental advocates have attempted for years to use the Clean Air Act’s strict transportation conformity rules to tie up planned highway improvements. For the most part, courts have rebuffed those...more

Equal Access To Justice Act: Why Prevailing On Only 1 Out Of 3 Claims In Oregon Forestry Case Can Still Be Quite Rewarding

Generally, a failure rate of two-thirds would indicate that what you are doing isn't profitable. However, when dealing with environmental law, that clearly isn't the case. In Cascadia Wildlands v. Bureau of Land Management,...more

SANDAG Seeks Review of CEQA Decision Invalidating EIR for Its Regional Transportation Plan/Sustainable Communities Strategy

On January 6, 2015, the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) filed a petition asking the California Supreme Court to review the decision in Cleveland National Forest Foundation, et al. v. San Diego Association at...more

SB 4 Well Stimulation Treatment Permanent Regulations Finalized

On December 30, 2014, the California Office of Administrative Law (“OAL”) approved the Final Permanent Well Stimulation Treatment Regulations (“Permanent Regulations”). The regulations go into effect on July 1, 2015, and the...more

Pierce Atwood Environmental Regulatory Compliance Calendar (RCC)

NEW REGULATORY DEVELOPMENTS - Federal - National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Lead, 40 C.F.R. Part 50 EPA is proposing to retain the current national ambient air quality standards for lead without revision....more

Rising Sea Levels and Prohibited "Takings" - A Different Sort of Climate Change Litigation

A little noted anniversary passed this past week. The odd 2009 storm, Nor’Ida (the progeny of a nor’easter and a hurricane), swept along the east coast pounding some areas with record storm surge five years ago in the second...more

Louisiana Denies Drilling-Related Permit in Scenic Waterway

Louisiana has denied a permit to an energy company seeking to use water from a state-designated scenic river for its drilling operations. The decision represents the first time in Louisiana’s history that a permit to draw...more

San Diego MPO's Analysis Of RTP's Greenhouse Gas Emissions Rejected

In a decision with implications for all transportation projects in California, the California Court of Appeal held that the analysis of greenhouse gas emissions from transportation projects in a metropolitan transportation...more

AB 1739; SB 1168, 1319: Groundwater Management

With the passage of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act in 2014, California is on the verge of a seismic shift in how the state manages and regulates extraction of groundwater. Until now, the right to extract and use...more

EPA to Publish Rule Rescinding Greenhouse Gas Permits and Will Not Enforce Existing Permits

On December 19, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued two memos – Next Steps for Addressing EPA-Issued Step 2 Prevention of Significant Deterioration Greenhouse Gas Permits and Associated Requirements and No...more

First District Publishes Decision Rejecting CEQA Challenges To Cal Fire’s Approval of Gualala Area Nonindustrial Timber Management...

In a decision filed December 2, and later ordered published on December 30, 2014, the First District Court of Appeal affirmed the Mendocino County Superior Court’s judgment denying a petition for writ of mandate challenging a...more

Does the Public Trust Doctrine Apply to Groundwater? The California Supreme Court May Decide

The California Supreme Court is currently considering a petition that raises an important and novel issue of California water law: whether the public trust doctrine applies to groundwater. The public trust doctrine holds that...more

Greenhouse Gases “Rise” in Importance for NEPA Reviews

Just before Christmas, the White House Council on Environmental Quality (“CEQ”) published revised draft guidance intended to direct federal agencies on when and how to consider the effects of greenhouse gas (“GHG”) emissions...more

California Supreme Court Poised To Decide Key CEQA Questions: The Court’s Lineup For 2015

The California Supreme Court’s involvement in CEQA cases has been relatively limited since he statute’s enactment in 1970, with the court taking  review of at most one or two appellate court decisions a year.  The last two...more

The Federal Surface Transportation Board Finds California Environmental Quality Act Preempted as Applied to High-Speed Rail...

In a surprising decision, Surface Transportation Board Decision, Docket No. FD35861, December 12, 2014 (“Docket”), the Federal Surface Transportation Board (“Board”) ruled that the application of the California Environmental...more

Endangered Species Act Year End Roundup: FWS Issues Findings on A Listing Petition and NMFS Issues A Correction

Coming in just under the wire for the New Year, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) and National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) published new rules on December 31, 2014, making December a very busy month for Endangered...more

City of Los Angeles Outsources Defense of CEQA/Land Use Lawsuits To Private Law Firms – Developers To Foot The Bill

On December 16, the Los Angeles City Council unanimously authorized the City Attorney to establish a Land Use/CEQA Panel, which will consist of five municipal law firms, to defend the City in CEQA and land use lawsuits that...more

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