Environmental Zoning, Planning & Land Use Transportation

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Wrap-Up of Federal and State Chemical Regulatory Developments, May 2015.

EPA Releases TSCA Work Plan Chemical Problem Formulation, Initial Assessment For 1,4-Dioxane: On April 28, 2015, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Work Plan...more

Renewable Energy Update - May 2015 #2

Renewable Energy Focus - Wyoming-to-California lines for wind power clear hurdle: REVE Wind News - May 2: A planned 730-mile power line project to export Wyoming wind power to Southern California has passed a...more

Sixth District Applies CEQA’s “Fair Argument” Standard, Holds That Despite Project’s Compliance With Local Noise Ordinance, EIR...

On May 7, 2015, the Sixth District Court of Appeal filed a published opinion addressing numerous issues of interest under CEQA’s “fair argument” test for preparing an Environmental Impact Report (“EIR”). Keep Our Mountains...more

Lipsky Revisited – Details and Debate

Lipsky was not Range’s lessor, therefor I know nothing about the case. Surely, this person lives in my house, where I enjoy a long history of knowing nothing about anything. (Memo to self: check progress on subpoena for kids’...more

DOT Tank Car Rule Reflects Refined Cost-Benefit Analysis

On May 1, 2015, the U.S. Department of Transportation, acting through the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, issued a much-anticipated final rule on the enhanced tank car standards and operational...more

New Federal Oil-By-Rail Regulations Published

Today, May 8, 2015, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration published a final rule for rail transport of crude oil in the Federal Register. These rules come after several high-profile oil train derailments,...more

Recent Surface Transportation Board Preemption Decisions of Note

In the last several months, the Surface Transportation Board (STB or Board) has issued a number of decisions further defining the scope of federal preemption. As the primary agency tasked with the economic regulation of the...more

Oil on the Rails: States Increasing Regulation of Oil Trains

The increase in North American petroleum production in recent years, coupled with inadequate pipeline infrastructure, has resulted in a significant rise of, and reliance on, the transport of crude oil by rail. Public...more

CEQA Judicial Outcomes: Fifteen Years of Reported California Appellate and Supreme Court Decisions

This report analyzes all published opinions from 1997 through 2012 litigated to the California Court of Appeal or the California Supreme Court concerning the analytical validity of an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) or...more

FERC Policy Statement Regarding Pipeline Recovery of System Modernization Costs

On April 16, 2015, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC” or the “Commission”) issued a Policy Statement on Cost Recovery Mechanisms for Modernization of Natural Gas Facilities (the “Policy­­­.Statement”), opening...more

California Governor Aims to Reduce Emissions 40 Percent Below 1990 Levels by 2030

In an Executive Order issued yesterday, California Governor Jerry Brown set “a new interim statewide greenhouse gas emission reduction target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030 is...more

Environmental Alert: "Potential Seismic Activity from Injection Wells Prompts Railroad Commission of Texas to Order Hearings"

On Friday, April 24, the Railroad Commission of Texas (RRC) ordered hearings regarding two waste injection well permits. The hearings are to address an alleged connection between the injection wells and seismic activity in...more

Tenth Circuit Upholds Roadway Project On Lands Formerly Used To Manufacture Nuclear Weapons

On April 17, 2015, the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit affirmed a district court decision upholding the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (FWS) approval of a roadway project in the Rocky Flats area of...more

California Environmental Law & Policy Update - April 2015 #3

Environmental and Policy Focus - Army Corps jurisdictional determinations subject to pre-permit judicial review, Eighth Circuit says - Allen Matkins - Apr 13: EPA and Army Corps of Engineers imposition of federal...more

A Skimmed Plan Nord: Keeping in Line with Quebec’s Current Economic Landscape

The Quebec government first launched its Northern Plan, le “Plan Nord”, in 2011 with great fanfare. The Plan Nord seeks to develop Quebec’s vast territory north of the 49th parallel, which covers 72 per cent of the province...more

U.S. Climate Policy That Will Actually Matter in the Short Term

Lost in a series of higher-profile actions concerning his Administration’s climate change initiatives, President Obama’s Executive Order on Floodplain Management will have a profound impact on any future federally-funded...more

“Beyond Traffic”: Imagining a Brighter Infrastructure Future

U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx has a favorite saying that he attributes to one of his public school teachers: “Having no plan is a plan.” Well, now the USDOT has a plan, or, as it calls it, a...more

Renewable Energy Update - March 2015 #3

Renewable Energy Focus: Carbon Emissions Stop Rising for First Time in 40 Years - Renewable Energy World - Mar 16: Global emissions were unchanged last year. This was the first time in four decades that emissions...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

Coal and Transportation Companies Challenge Ninth Circuit Decision Limiting CWA Permit Shield Defense

On March 3, 2015, Aurora Energy Services, LLC and the Alaska Railroad Corp. filed a petition for writ of certiorari asking the United States Supreme Court to resolve a circuit split regarding the scope of the Clean Water...more

Is California Really Going to Mandate an 80% Reduction in Greenhouse Gases Below 1990 Levels by 2050?

The California Supreme Court has elevated the stakes even further on what has already developed into a critically important question for the future of greenhouse gas (GHG) regulation in the state. On March 11, 2015, the...more

CEQA Alert UPDATE: Petitions for Review Filed in Greenhouse Gas and ICCTA Preemption Cases

As previously reported, two decisions by California’s Fourth Appellate District in late 2014 highlighted CEQA compliance challenges facing local governments charged with implementing state and local greenhouse gas emissions...more

California Supreme Court Grants Review of Decision Invalidating SANDAG Regional Transportation Plan

The California Supreme Court has agreed to review the appellate court decision Cleveland National Forest Foundation v. San Diego Association of Governments. As we previously reported, the court of appeal in that case...more

CEQA Review of Sacramento Kings Downtown Arena Project Held Legally Adequate In Published Third District Opinion

In a published opinion filed February 18, 2015, the Third District Court of Appeal rejected all legal challenges to the City of Sacramento’s EIR and CEQA compliance for approval of its new downtown entertainment and sports...more

Texas Legislature Takes Further Aim at Local/Municipal Fracking Bans

On Tuesday, March 11, 2015, the Texas Legislature’s 84th Session gained another bill directed at combating future local and municipal fracking bans. State Rep. Drew Darby (R-San Angelo), Chairman of the Texas House Energy...more

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