Environmental Zoning, Planning & Land Use

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Texas Railroad Commission Chairman Calls Proposed Denton Fracking Ban ‘Extremely Misguided’; Asks City Council to Reject Measure

On July 11th, Texas Railroad Commission Chairman Barry Smitherman sent a letter to the mayor and city council members for Denton, Texas asking that the council reject a proposal to ban hydraulic fracturing in Denton. Chairman...more

Environmental and Energy: Hydraulic Fracturing: Courts and Localities Act Where New York State Fears To Tread (7/14)

In an opinion issued on June 24, 2014, the New York Court of Appeals upheld the zoning laws adopted by the Towns of Dryden and Middlefield to ban oil and gas production activities, including hydraulic fracturing, within their...more

Whatever the EIR’s Name, CEQA’s Rules For Substantive Content and Subsequent Review Remain The Same: First District Upholds EIR...

On July 7, 2014, the First District Court of Appeal filed its published opinion affirming the trial court’s judgment upholding the EIR for the Treasure Island/Yerba Buena Island Project. Citizens for a Sustainable Treasure...more

Fifth Circuit Limits the Reach of ESA "Take Liability" for State Regulatory Agencies Based on "Proximate Causation" Principles

The Fifth Circuit's decision provides important legal and factual guidance for whether an action will cause a "take" under the ESA. While the decision only affects states covered by the Fifth Circuit (Texas, Louisiana and...more

District Court Denies Motion to Enjoin Delta Water Transfers

Last Friday, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California denied a motion brought by environmental groups to enjoin a water transfer project in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta (Delta). Plaintiffs...more

EPA Wins Two Clean Water Cases in One Day: The Fourth Circuit Affirms a Narrow Construction of the Permit Shield Defense

Yesterday, I noted that the D.C. Circuit rejected challenges to EPA’s Enhanced Coordination Process and Final Guidance on Clean Water Act permitting for mining activities. It was not EPA’s only CWA victory. On the same day,...more

Treasure Island Update: San Francisco EIR Specific Enough

In Citizens for a Sustainable Treasure Island v. City & County of San Francisco, No. A137828 (Cal. Ct. App. 1st Dist., July 7, 2014), the First Appellate District upheld an environmental impact report (“EIR”) for the...more

Water Issues Reframe State Fracking Debate

The debate over fracking continues nationwide, but in California there is an increasing focus on one major issue: water supply. With the state facing one of the most severe droughts on record and water regulators tightening...more

Fifth District Upholds CEQA Exemptions For Ongoing Pre-CEQA Projects And Continued Operation of Existing Facilities To Reject...

In a July 3, 2014 published decision more notable for the practical importance of the water rights involved than the CEQA law applied, the Fifth District Court of Appeal rejected the CEQA challenges of various environmental...more

Two Final Rules Designate One of Largest Critical Habitat Areas in History

On Wednesday, two final rules were released designating critical habitat for the loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta), a species listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Together, the rules represent...more

The D.C. Circuit Rejects Challenge to EPA’s Final Guidance on CWA Coal Mining Permits: EPA Action Has to Be Really, Really, Final...

On Friday, the D.C. Circuit reversed Judge Reggie Walton’s decision from 2012 and affirmed EPA’s authority to adopt the “Enhanced Coordination Process” governing coordination with the Army Corps of Engineers in the processing...more

California Environmental Law and Policy Update - July 2014 #2

Environmental and Policy Focus: House holds hearing on proposed ‘Waters of the United States’ rule - Association of California Water Agencies - Jul 9: The House Science, Space, and Technology Committee held a hearing...more

President Obama Signs Water Resources Reform & Development Act of 2014 #2

President Obama recently signed into law the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2014 ("WRRDA"). The President's action follows Congressional approval of the Conference Agreement reached in May by House and Senate...more

Supreme Court’s CEQA Docket Expands With Grant of Review in Newhall Ranch Case

On July 9, 2014, the California Supreme Court granted the petition for review filed by Plaintiff/Respondent Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) in Center for Biological Diversity, et al. v. Department of Fish and Game...more

Water Board Announces Meeting to Develop SB 4 Groundwater Monitoring Criteria

On Wednesday, July 9, 2014, the State Water Resources Control Board (“Water Board”) announced that it will be holding a “Stakeholder Meeting to Develop Groundwater Monitoring Model Criteria for Oil & Gas Areas.” The meeting...more

Renewable Energy Update -- July 2014

Renewable Energy Focus - Supreme Court upholds EPA's power to regulate greenhouse gas: Allen Matkins - Jun 24: On Monday, June 23, in a long-awaited decision, the U.S. Supreme Court in Utility Air Regulatory Group v....more

The Real Developer Impact of Rising Sea Levels

Damage to coastal property and infrastructure from rising sea levels and increased storm surge is a threat that South Florida knows too well. According to a major new report released on June 24, 2014 by a coalition of senior...more

Are We There Yet? CCS and Cost-Effectiveness Analyses

In 2011, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued pioneering guidance on the Best Available Control Technology (BACT) analysis for the control of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. In that guidance, EPA acknowledged...more

Ground Control to Major Tom: Appeals Court Shuts Down CEQA Challenge to San Jose Airport Master Plan

In Citizens Against Airport Pollution v. City of San Jose, No. H038781 (Cal. Ct. App. 6th Dist., June 6, 2014), Citizens Against Airport Pollution (“CAAP”) appealed the trial court’s ruling that the City of San Jose’s...more

Will South Florida Soon be Under Water?

In South Florida, commercial real estate developers are increasingly planning projects with sea level rise in mind. Mitigating the current and future effects of rising seas is fast becoming a priority. But it's important that...more

Chemical Safety Board investigator outlines discoveries from West Fertilizer, Charleston water incidents

A fertilizer plant surrounded by homes, schools, and a hospital. A chemical tank that was externally examined but not drained of liquid for a more thorough inspection. These were some of the factors that contributed to two...more

California Environmental Law and Policy Update - July 2014

Environmental and Policy Focus - Second leg of California bullet-train line approved: SFGate.com - Jun 27: On June 27, 2014, the U.S. Department of Transportation gave its approval for work to begin on the second leg...more

U.S. Supreme Court Restricts EPA Regulation of Greenhouse Gas Emissions

On June 23, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its widely anticipated decision in Utility Air Regulatory Group v. EPA concerning the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's regulation of greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) from...more

Taking A Look At Significant Environmental Legislation This Session:

SB 38 – Amend Environmental Laws started as Emergency Management Amendments. The House added environmental amendments. The House sent the bill back to the Senate for concurrence. The Senate Clerk’s Office is holding the bill...more

Top 6 at 6: Highlights of the Top Climate Change Legal Stories in the First Half of 2014

Our semi-annual look at the top climate change legal stories is keyed on EPA. You hardly have to have been awake to be aware of the Clean Power Plan and UARG v. EPA. But other things have stirred the pot as well: three...more

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