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Federal Preemption May Be The Key For Calif. Railroads

Railroad operators across the U.S. are seeing a bright future due to the resurgence in freight rail traffic. Intermodal (i.e., cargo container) shipping is booming. In 2013, intermodal volume on the major railroads totaled...more

Arlington/Fairfax Streetcar Halted in Its Tracks

This latest move follows recent projections increasing the total cost of the project by tens of millions of dollars and, perhaps as a result, Arlington County election results expressing strong voter opposition to the...more

California Environmental Law and Policy Update - November 2014 #2

Environmental and Policy Focus - Heat, drought worsen smog in California, stalling decades of progress: Los Angeles Times - Nov 10: Heat and extreme drought have worsened smog in California over the last year, stalling...more

RE: Bakken Crude-by-Rail: Environmental Groups Ask New York State to Regulate DOT-111 Tank Cars

A recent state-law challenge by environmental groups to an aspect of crude-by-rail transportation has teed up the question of federal supremacy over railroad regulation. Because federal law generally preempts state regulation...more

Pierce Atwood Environmental Regulatory Compliance Calendar (RCC)

NEW REGULATORY DEVELOPMENTS - Federal - - Definition of “Waters of the United States” Under the Clean Water Act, 33 C.F.R. Part 328 - - In connection with its proposed rule regarding the definition of...more

Bakken Crude-by-Rail Update: Transloading Projects Dealt a Setback in California

Recently, we covered environmental groups’ increasing array of state-law challenges to midstream and end users of Bakken crude that transport or receive oil by rail. Since then, a California regulator has admitted to...more

Railroad Commission Chairwoman: “It’s My Job to Give Permits, Not Denton’s”

At a November 6 event, Texas Railroad Commission Chairwoman Christi Craddick unequivocally stated that the Commission would continue to issue drilling permits to operators in Denton, despite the November 4 vote making it the...more

Transportation Projects Get A Lot Of Deference in Demonstrating Compliance With Air Quality Standards

In a decision late last month, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals made clear just how much deference agencies can get under the Supreme Court decisions in Chevron and Auer. The question in NRDC v. USDOT was whether, in...more

Texas Railroad Commission Adopts Rules for Disposal Wells in Potential High-Risk Seismic Areas

On Tuesday, October 28, 2014, the Texas Railroad Commission unanimously adopted amendments to rules concerning disposal wells in areas that have experienced or are likely to experience seismic activity. As covered by the...more

All Aboard Florida to Hold Public Information Workshops

All Aboard Florida broke ground on the first phase of the development this week, beginning construction on the Fort Lauderdale station and generating even more excitement around what is already a highly anticipated project....more

Canada's Energy East Pipeline Project

A subsidiary of Canadian energy company TransCanada has proposed a crude oil pipeline running 4,600 kilometers from Alberta and Saskatchewan to Saint John, New Brunswick. The proposed Energy East Pipeline Project would...more

California’s High Speed Rail Project. Are We Done With the Drama?

Proponents of California’s high-speed rail project cleared a major hurdle this past week when the California Supreme Court declined to review a California Court of Appeals ruling which held that the state’s funding plan did...more

Environmental Groups Seek to Derail Bakersfield Crude-by-Rail Project

A coalition of environmental groups has filed a lawsuit challenging Kern County’s approval of the first substantial oil-by-rail expansion project at a California refinery, alleging that the comprehensive Environmental Impact...more

California Environmental Law and Policy Update - October 2014 #3

Environmental and Policy Focus - Environmental groups fight Southern California tar sands oil project: Courthouse News Service - Oct 13: Kern County illegally approved expansion of a local refinery that will let it...more

Update on the California High Speed Rail System

James Andrew, Assistant Chief Counsel for the California High-Speed Rail Authority (“CHSRA”), spoke Tuesday, October 14, at the Sacramento County Bar Association, Environmental Law Section Luncheon. He stated that High-Speed...more

Fall 2014 CEQA Roundup: Legislative and Regulatory Developments

A number of recent legislative and regulatory developments in or related to CEQA will impact public agencies, developers, and practitioners in the coming year. Some significant recent developments include: SB 743...more

CEQA Alert: CEQA Does Not Apply to Approval of Proposed Railroad Operations – Express Preemption by ICCTA

California’s First Appellate District has held that federal law preempts CEQA’s application to the approval of proposed railroad operations. Although this was an issue of first impression for a California appellate court,...more

Update: Comment Period for OPR Rethink of CEQA Guidelines on Transportation Impacts Extended Until November 21, 2014

The Governor’s Office of Planning and Research (OPR) has extended the comment period for its draft of changes to the way that transportation impacts are analyzed under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). The new...more

Viewpoint: Analysis of New Framework for Transportation Impact Under CEQA

Viewpoint: Analysis of New Framework for Transportation Impact Under CEQA - On August 6, the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research (OPR) released a preliminary discussion draft of amendments to the California...more

California Proposes Overhaul of Standards for Analyzing Traffic Impacts

Last month Governor Jerry Brown’s Office of Planning and Research (OPR) released for public review and debate proposed draft amendments to the California Environmental Quality Act’s implementing guidelines (CEQA Guidelines)....more

Level of Detail Adequate in High Speed Rail Authority’s Program EIR for Central Valley to Bay Area Rail Corridor

Town of Atherton v. California High-Speed Rail Authority (7/24/14, C070877) - The appellate court upheld the California High-Speed Rail Authority’s Program EIR for the Central Valley to Bay Area portion of the route,...more

Real Estate and Land Use - Sep 2014

Evidence of Economic Infeasibility of CEQA Alternatives Explained (SPRAWLDEF v. San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission) - Why it matters: In upholding the approval of a 260-acre expansion to the...more

OPR Speaks to the Impact of Proposed New CEQA Guidelines

As discussed by the California Planning and Development Report, Chris Calfee, counsel at the Governor’s Office of Planning & Research, has indicated that lead agencies will no longer be able to use General Plan congestion...more

California Environmental Law and Policy Update - August 2014 #7

Environmental and Policy Focus - Former inspector calls for state's last nuclear plant to be closed: Los Angeles Times - Aug 25 -- A former federal inspector has urged regulators to shut down California's last...more

California Environmental Law and Policy Update - August 2014 #5

Environmental and Policy Focus: The California Supreme Court further limits the scope of CEQA review for voter-sponsored initiatives: Allen Matkins - Aug 11: Voter-driven initiatives meeting California Elections Code...more

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