Zoning, Planning & Land Use Civil Procedure

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No Deference to State Settlements Under CERCLA? No Problem!

I will confess that I do enjoy being correct. In 2014, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals refused to defer to a state agency determination of the procedural and substantive fairness of a CERCLA consent decree. Various parties...more

Department of Justice Sues Bensalem Township, PA Over Mosque Denial

On July 21, the United States Department of Justice sued Bensalem Township, Pennsylvania, in federal court alleging violations of each of RLUIPA’s provisions following the Township’s 2014 denial of a variance application...more

Two Decisions out of San Diego Remind Us to Follow the Rules

We don’t often see multiple takings-related cases in one week, but last week we saw three. The California Supreme Court’s decision in Property Reserve was obviously the most important, but the Fourth Appellate District Court...more

Discovery Rule Does Not Postpone Accrual of CEQA Cause of Action; Events Specified In CEQA Statute of Limitations Provide...

In a short but significant published opinion filed July 19, 2016, the First District Court of Appeal affirmed the San Francisco County Superior Court’s judgment of dismissal following the sustaining of demurrers (without...more

Three Strikes and Mingo Logan Is Out: The D.C. Circuit Affirms EPA Withdrawal of Approval of Mountaintop Removal Disposal Sites

In 2013, the D.C. Circuit affirmed EPA’s authority to withdrawal approval of mountaintop mining disposal sites, even after the Army Corps has issued a Section 404 permit. In 2014, the District Court rejected Mingo Logan’s...more

Environmental Notes - July 2016

CONGRESS FINDS THE FORMULA TO REFORM CHEMICAL REGULATION - The Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA) is the primary federal law by which the manufacture, import and use of chemical substances are regulated in the United...more

D.C. Circuit Holds Informational Standing Nonexistent Prior to 12-Month Finding

In a recent decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia affirmed the dismissal of an environmental organization’s Endangered Species Act (ESA) claim, concluding that the organization lacked standing...more

Not Just About the Money

Early intervention by property owner counsel can sometimes result in convincing condemning authorities to alter either their project or the rights sought to prevent catastrophic consequences to the owner and massive just...more

Fifth Circuit Upholds USFWS Designation of “Uninhabitable” Critical Habitat for Endangered Dusky Gopher Frog

In a 2-1 decision, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit rejected challenges to the final rule designating critical habitat for the dusky gopher frog under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and National...more

Lack of Court Direction Requires Developers and Lenders to Estimate Their Own Significance Thresholds for GHG Emissions Past 2020

This June, the California Supreme Court heard the last set of oral arguments before breaking for the summer. Cleveland National Forest Foundation v. San Diego Association of Governments, 231 Cal.App.4th 1056 (2014)...more

Wetlands Determinations - Uncertainty for the Clean Water Rule?

On May 31, 2016, the United States Supreme Court issued its decision in United States Army Corps of Engineers v. Hawkes Co., Inc. holding that approved judicial determinations as to the presence of wetlands issued by the...more

Ninth Circuit Rules Tribal Treaty Rights Obligate State to Ensure Harvestable Fish Are Available

Last week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that the state of Washington violated tribal treaty obligations by building and maintaining barrier culverts that block 1,000 linear miles of streams suitable...more

Wyoming Federal Court Strikes Down BLM Fracking Rule

U.S. District Court Judge Scott Skavdahl in State of Wyoming et al v. U.S. Department if Interior et al. struck down Bureau of Land Management regulations applying to hydraulic fracking on federal and Indian lands. He...more

Appellate Court Notes

Appellate Court Advance Release Opinions: AC37813 - Santarsiero v. Planning & Zoning Commission - A planning and zoning commission (PZC) was entitled to use its discretion in waiving a landscape buffer requirement...more

Classic Private Property Rights and Public Coffers

In April 2014, we posted a blog discussing the North Carolina Supreme Court’s opinion in Beroth Oil v. NCDOT, 367 N.C. 33, 757 S.E. 2d 466 (2014). (See here) In that post, we compared high frequency stock market trading and...more

D.C. Circuit Upholds FERC’s NEPA Analysis in Sabine Pass and Freeport LNG Projects

On June 28, 2016, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit rejected two related challenges to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s environmental review of the Sabine Pass LNG and Freeport LNG...more

Defeated North Carolina Class Action Ultimately Results in Victory for Landowners – NCDOT Loses Map Act Fight

What began several years ago as a defeated attempt at a class action against the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) ultimately resulted in a win this month for plaintiff landowners in Kirby v. NCDOT (No....more

SCOTUS Gives Landowners New Tools to Challenge Wetlands Permitting Decisions

The United States Supreme Court handed landowners and developers a win this month in a unanimous decision allowing appeals to federal courts of Army Corps of Engineers determinations that a body of water or wetland is subject...more

Court Strikes Down BLM Hydraulic Fracturing Rule

US District Court rejects US Bureau of Land Management’s rule regarding hydraulic fracturing operations on federal and Tribal lands. On June 21, 2016, the US District Court for the District of Wyoming (District Court)...more

Drilling to the Essence of a Land Use Proceeding

What type of land use proceeding is this? Finding the correct answer to this question is critical to knowing your client’s rights and avoiding legal error. Like different sports, there are distinct types of land use...more

NCDOT’s Use of Map Act Was a Taking Subject to Just Compensation

On June 10, 2016, the Supreme Court of North Carolina, in Kirby, et al., v. North Carolina Department of Transportation, Highwayissued a unanimous ruling affirming the decision of the intermediate Court of Appeals that the...more

NEPA Does Not Require An Agency To Guarantee Project Compliance with Environmental Laws

In an interesting decision last week, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected challenges to BLM’s decision to issue a right-of-way permit for Tule Wind’s plan for a wind farm southeast of San Diego. It’s not exactly...more

Distressed Download

Lessons from Sabine - In March, Bankruptcy Judge Shelley Chapman held that Sabine Oil & Gas Corp. satisfied the standards for rejection of several gathering and handling agreements between Sabine and its midstream...more

Supreme Court Update: U.S. Army Corps Of Engineers V. Hawkes (15-290), Johnson V. Lee (15-789), Lynch V. Arizona (15-8366) And...

As we settle into June, the Eight seem to be clearing out the less difficult decisions in preparation for what could be a messy end to the term, given some controversial issues (abortion, affirmative action, immigration) and...more

Supreme Court Rules Landowners Can Challenge Jurisdictional Determinations

On May 31, 2016, in a unanimous ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court held in USACE v. Hawkes Co. that approved jurisdictional determinations (“JD”) are final actions which can be reviewed by the courts. Under the Clean Water Act a...more

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