Zoning, Planning & Land Use Civil Procedure Environmental

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Maine Supreme Court Affirms Broad Review Powers for BEP in Clearing Way for Wind Project

The Maine Supreme Judicial Court (the Law Court) recently issued an important decision that confirms the broad authority of the Maine Board of Environmental Protection (BEP) to review decisions of the Commissioner of the...more

Court Affirms FEMA’s Efforts to Implement Actions to Avoid Jeopardizing Listed Species

On October 23rd the Federal District Court for the Western District of Washington upheld the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) National Flood Insurance Program’s (NFIP) compliance with a 2008 reasonable and prudent...more

California Environmental Law and Policy Update - October 2014 #4

Environmental and Policy Focus - Groups sue EPA over failure to reduce air pollution: KPCC - Oct 17: Environmental groups have filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in San Francisco against the U.S. Environmental...more

Supreme Court Adds Another CEQA Case To Its Docket, Will Review Fifth District’s Sierra Club v. County of Fresno (“Friant Ranch”)...

On October 1, 2014, the California Supreme Court granted the Real Party in Interest developer’s petition for review in Sierra Club v. County of Fresno (5th Dist. 2014) 226 Cal.App.4th 704, now unciteable and pending review...more

Maine Supreme Court Backs Passadumkeag Windpark LLC

The Maine Supreme Judicial Court issued a decision this week that upholds a decision by the Board of Environmental Protection that approved a wind energy project proposed by Passadumkeag Windpark, LLC....more

Uncertainty Prevails as Illinois Delays a Decision on Fracing Regulations

Last week, Illinois’s Joint Committee on Administrative Rules voted to push back its decision about whether to approve proposed rules governing horizontal fracturing operations until November 6. The delay promises to fuel...more

City of Pittsburg, CA moves forward on controversial Donlon Blvd. Project

The Contra Costa Times reported last week that the City of Pittsburg certified the environmental document for the Donlon Boulevard extension after nearly two decades of trying. Although the vote was unanimous, the project...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

Court Dismisses Request That NEB Review Upstream and Downstream Effects of Pipeline

On May 16, 2014, the National Energy Board received a motion from the City of Vancouver, among others, requesting that the List of Issues for the Trans Mountain Expansion Project hearing be expanded to include environmental...more

Real Estate and Land Use - October 2014

Accepting a Permit “Under Protest” Does Not Work in the Coastal Zone - (Lynch v. California Coastal Commission (2014) 229 Cal. App. 4th 658): Why it matters: Lynch v. California Coastal Commission firmly dispels the...more

EPA Really Does Have Authority To Withdraw Specifications Under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act

Last year, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that EPA has authority to withdraw its approval for the specification of sites for the disposal of fill material, even after the Army Corps has issued a permit for the...more

Tribe’s Gamble That Casino Land Transfer Approval Not Subject to CEQA Pays Off

Picayune Rancheria of Chukchansi Indians v. Brown, C074506 (9/24/2014) - In a recent Third District Court of Appeal published opinion, the court in Picayune Rancheria of Chukchansi Indians v. Edmund G. Brown, Jr. (3rd....more

Public Agency May Recover the Cost of Supplementing Administrative Record

In CEQA litigation, the party challenging the project can either request that the agency prepare the record of proceedings (“Record”), or prepare the Record itself, subject to certification by the lead agency. In either case,...more

Attorney Labor For Preparing CEQA Administrative Record Is Recoverable Cost Where Specialized Knowledge Required, Holds Fourth...

In a partially-published opinion filed September 29, 2014, the Fourth District Court of Appeal affirmed an order and judgment permitting the County of San Diego to recover actual labor costs incurred for an attorney and...more

Substantive Dispute over Land Application of Biosolids Remains Unresolved

Form over substance continues to obscure the substantive issue presented in the case of the City of Los Angeles (City) vs. Kern County (County). At its core, the dispute involves the land application of biosolids. Biosolids...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

The Expanding Availability of Apportionment To Limit Liability in Superfund Cases

In Burlington Northern in 2008, the US Supreme Court ruled that Superfund liability could be apportioned whenever there was a reasonable basis for showing that the harm was divisible, such as by considering the length of time...more

District Court Rules that Claims Challenging Forest Management Are Ripe and Final

Last week, the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida determined that a group of plaintiffs could bring a claim against the U.S. National Park Service challenging actions that were characterized by...more

CEQA Reform in the Courts – Public Agency Can Recover Costs Despite Petitioner's Election

After Governor Brown took office for the second time, CEQA reform through the Legislature seemed like a distinct possibility. While that possibility has all but evaporated, recent rulings suggest that courts are taking a...more

CEQA Administrative Record Preparation Costs – Who Pays and When? First District Provides Guidance In Coalition For Adequate...

In a published decision filed September 15, 2014, the First District Court of Appeal reversed and remanded a trial court’s post-judgment order granting an unsuccessful CEQA petitioner’s motion to tax the entire $64,144 cost...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

CT Law of the Land

SC19090, SC19091 - FairwindCT, Inc. v. Connecticut Siting Council - This decision upheld the Siting Council’s authorization to a Pullman & Comley client to install wind turbine electrical generation facilities in...more

Aurora Energy Decision Deems Discharges Prohibited, Leaves Open Question of Permit Shield Applicability

On September 3, 2014, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued its opinion in Alaska Community Action on Toxics v. Aurora Energy Services, LLC, holding that the Clean Water Act General Permit for...more

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