Environmental Zoning, Planning & Land Use

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Climate Change Adaptation: Massachusetts Releases New Policies to Address

In one of our prior posts, we reported on efforts by Boston and New York City, in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, to undertake comprehensive climate change preparedness planning to review the vulnerabilities of each city’s built...more

Final Rules Released for Hydraulic Fracturing on Federal and Tribal Lands

The Bureau of Land Management contends that its new rules are consistent with state regulations and industry standards, but stakeholders believe that the rules are unnecessary or simply miss the mark. ...more

Ninth Circuit Dismisses Action Alleging San Francisco Violated the Endangered Species Act

In a three-page memorandum decision, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit dismissed Wild Equity and other groups’ appeal from a lower court decision, dismissing as moot a lawsuit alleging that the City and...more

Texas small hydro project loses exemption

What happens to a proposed hydroelectric project takes longer than anticipated to be built, due to difficulties with project financing and severe flooding? As the developer of a proposed project in Texas recently found out,...more

Gas Lines to Pipelines: The Case for Comprehensive Federal Energy Legislation

We’ve struggled with the consequences of an insufficient federal energy policy for nearly half a century. From the gas lines of the 1970s to the Keystone XL pipeline controversy of the past several years, the federal and...more

New Fracking Regulations on Disclosure and Disposal Could Cost Industry $32M Per Year

New regulations setting standards for hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as fracking, in oil and gas wells drilled on federal lands were issued recently by the Obama administration through the U.S. Department of the...more

Interior Department Releases Final Rule Regulating Fracking on Federal and Tribal Lands

On Friday, March 20 the Obama Administration announced a final rule from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) regulating hydraulic fracturing on federal and tribal lands. Key components of the rule, which will take effect in...more

Court Upholds Endangered Species Act Incidental Take Permit for Windfarm

On March 17, 2015, Judge Leon of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia issued a memorandum opinion upholding the United States Fish and Wildlife Service's (USFWS) issuance of an incidental take permit...more

Locke Lord QuickStudy: BLM Issues Final Rule on Hydraulic Fracturing Operations on Federal and Indian Lands

On March 20, 2015, the Bureau of Land Management (“BLM”) released its long-awaited final rule for hydraulic fracturing on federal and Indian land. The rule establishes new requirements to ensure wellbore integrity, protect...more

California’s Class II Underground Injection Wells Subject to Increased Scrutiny

EPA sets new requirements and compliance deadlines for a stricter regulatory oversight program. On March 9, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a letter to the California State Water Resources Control...more

Ruling Complicated Use of CEQA's Categorical Exemptions

Categorical exemptions from environmental review under the California Environmental Quality Act, or CEQA, do not apply to projects involving a reasonable possibility of a significant effect on the environment due to unusual...more

California Environmental Law & Policy Update - March 2015 #3

Environmental and Policy Focus - Governor Brown, top lawmakers unveil emergency drought legislation: Los Angeles Times - Mar 19: Governor Jerry Brown and top lawmakers from both parties announced Thursday a $1 billion...more

Obama Administration Releases Federal Fracking Regulations

Today, Friday, March 20, the Bureau of Land Management (“BLM”), an agency within the Department of the Interior, published regulations for hydraulic fracturing on Federal and Indian lands.  The Final Rule becomes effective in...more

In Cross-Border Contamination Case, Court Holds That CERCLA Displaces Federal Common Law Public Nuisance Claim

In yet another recent case involving the intersection of CERCLA and state law, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Washington held that CERCLA legislatively displaced federal common law public...more

Energy Update - March 2015

This week marked the first policy deadline for policy bills. The Senate Energy and Environment Committee spent considerable time this week working through policy measures, including SF 1431 (Marty-D), the Senate Omnibus...more

BLM Issues Final Rule Governing Hydraulic Fracturing on Federal and Indian Lands

On March 20, Department of the Interior Secretary Sally Jewell announced the release of the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) final rule, titled, “Hydraulic Fracturing on Federal and Indian Lands,” which BLM announced will...more

Monterey County Rejects Fracking Moratorium

On Tuesday, March 17, Monterey County’s Board of Supervisors voted against a temporary ban on hydraulic fracturing.  In the 3-2 vote, the majority of Supervisors stated that there is “no evidence of an immediate threat to...more

Fourth Circuit Upholds U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Finding of Jurisdiction Over 4.8 Acres of Wetlands in Chesapeake, Virginia

On March 10, 2015, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit held that the U.S. Corps of Engineers (Corps) had lawfully denied a permit to an applicant seeking to fill 4.8 acres of wetlands in order to build...more

Regulators Confirm: No Drinking Water Contamination from Oil & Gas Disposal Wells

On Tuesday, March 10, California Environmental Protection Agency Secretary Matthew Rodriquez and California Natural Resources Agency (“CNRA”) Secretary John Laird testified before a joint State Senate committee hearing. At...more

Pacific Northwest Water Wars

It may come as a surprise that people fight over water in soggy Oregon and Washington. To be sure, we have not experienced the same level of conflict over competing water needs as our neighbors in the southwest, but in fact...more

Independent Producers Lead Legal Challenge Against BLM’s Hydraulic Fracturing Rule

After a regulatory review process lasting more than three years, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) issued today a final rule purporting to govern hydraulic fracturing on federal and Indian lands. Given BLM’s failure to...more

Court Decisions Halt Momentum on Local Oil and Gas Regulations

Action Item: Oil and gas operators should be aware that courts recently have been paring back on the power of local municipalities to regulate their operations. ...more

Real Estate and Land Use - March 2015

Be Careful What You Agree To (City of San Marcos v. Loma San Marcos, LLC) - Why It matters: The Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court decision upholding an agreement between the City of San Marcos and a property owner...more

New Source Review Update: Courts Limit Aggregation for Major Source Determination and Challenges to NSR Pre-Project Emissions...

Pennsylvania Court Limits NSR Permit Aggregation - In February, the Middle District of Pennsylvania struck down an environmental group’s challenge that Ultra Resources should have aggregated eight compressor stations...more

D.C. District Court Denies Utility’s Intervention Because of Timing

On March 17, 2015, the D.C. District Court denied the Public Service Company of New Hampshire’s (PSNH’s) motion to intervene in a Sierra Club-initiated proceeding urging the U.S. EPA to object to a Title V permit for one of...more

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