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Bright Line Rule: Collateral Estoppel Precludes Attacks on Quasi-Judicial Permit Decisions (But Stay Tuned: Rehearing Granted on...

Simply stated: “[a] collateral attack is not a substitute for an appeal” reasoned the Second Appellate District Court in Bowman v. California Coastal Commission (2nd Dist., Div. 6, 03/18/2014, B243015) ___Cal.App.2nd___,...more

Court Clarifies "Taking" Of Endangered Species And Highlights What's "Enough" Under CEQA

In Ctr. for Biological Diversity v. Dep’t of Fish & Wildlife, No. B245141 (Cal. Ct. App. 2d Dist. Mar. 20, 2014), the appellate court reversed the trial court’s decision, which found that the Department of Fish and Wildlife’s...more

Some CEQA Reminders From The Third District: Urban Decay Requires Actual Mitigation When Identified By EIR As A Significant...

In a lengthy opinion filed February 28, 2014, and ordered partially published on April 1, 2014, the Third District Court of Appeal reversed the Yolo County Superior Court’s judgment denying a CEQA writ petition challenging...more

EPA, Army Corps Propose New Rule to Govern Federal Clean Water Act Jurisdiction

Intended to clarify confusion from prior US Supreme Court decisions, the rules could have far-reaching implications for many stakeholders. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the US Army Corps of...more

Clarification or More Regulation? Agencies Issue Proposed Waters of the United States Rulemaking

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) and United States Army Corps of Engineers (the “Corps”) on March 25, 2014 jointly issued a proposed rulemaking (Docket No. EPA-HQ-OW- 2011-0880) intended to clarify...more

Third District Construes CEQA Guidelines’ Class 23 Categorical Exemption And “Unusual Circumstances” Exception In Rejecting...

In an exceptionally thorough and well-reasoned opinion, the Third District Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s judgment denying a writ petition challenging respondent 14th District Agricultural Association’s (District)...more

Dispatches From the “Sue and Settle” Front: Trade Groups Do Not Have Standing to Challenge Settlements Regarding ESA Listing...

Last week, a federal court, for the fourth time, found that property owners’ groups do not have standing to challenge a settlement between the administration and conservation groups under which the administration agreed to...more

Second District Addresses Interesting CEQA and CESA Species Mitigation Issues in Lengthy Partially Published Opinion Upholding...

In a lengthy, mostly published opinion filed on March 20, 2014, the Second District Court of Appeal reversed the trial court’s judgment granting a writ of mandate, and upheld – as against state law challenges brought by a...more

Obama Administration Releases Proposed Rule on "Waters of the United States"

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released a proposed rule that will impact many segments of the U.S. economy, greatly expanding future permitting requirements. The proposed rule...more

Clean Water Act Jurisdiction Proposed Rule Released: Would Expand Federal Jurisdiction over Streams and Wetlands

After several years of false starts, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) have released their proposed rule, Definition of 'Waters of the United States' Under the Clean Water Act,...more

Take That! Second District Court of Appeal Clears Major Hurdles for Newhall Ranch Project, Provides Guidance on California’s...

California’s Second District Court of Appeal, Division Five, issued a decision on March 20 in Center for Biological Diversity v. Department of Fish & Wildlife (Case No. BS131347), overturning the trial court’s decision...more

California’s LCFS Surviving Challenges As Major Changes Loom

The Air Resources Board proposes to merge court-mandated re-adoption of the Low Carbon Fuel Standard with other significant program changes. The Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) continues to generate uncertainty due to...more

EPA, Army Corps Of Engineers Propose Rule Clarifying Clean Water Act Jurisdiction

On March 25, the US Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released a proposed rule to clarify Clean Water Act jurisdiction over streams and wetlands by re-defining “Waters of the United States” in...more

Bowman v. California Coastal Commission: New California Court of Appeal Decision Holds that a Collateral Attack is no Substitute...

Sometimes in land use law, the most impactful court holdings come from the simplest of cases. That may be the situation with the new California Court of Appeal decision in Bowman v. California Coastal Commission, issued by...more

California Court Recognizes Conservation Exception To Fully Protected Species Law

On an issue of first impression, a California court has created a judicial exception to the “take” prohibition in the state’s fully protected species statutes. On March 20, 2014, the California Court of Appeal held that the...more

Real World Implications of Forest Service’s New Process for Finalizing Records Of Decision

About a year ago, the Department of Agriculture (“USDA”) issued a final rule establishing a ?new and exclusive process for filing objections to certain proposed National Forest Service (“NFS”) ?projects and activities (78...more

Federal Approval of Tule Wind Project Upheld in District Court on NEPA, Migratory Bird Act, and Bald & Golden Eagle Act Claims

On March 25, 2014, in The Protect Our Communities Foundation et al. v. Jewell et al. , the US District Court for the Southern District of California issued a decision on a challenge to the Tule Wind Project and found in favor...more

CEQA’s Standards For Subsequent Review To Be Addressed By Supreme Court

In a rare grant of review of an unpublished case, the California Supreme Court granted review on January 15, 2014 of the decision in Friends of the College at San Mateo Gardens v. San Mateo County Community College District...more

Coal Companies, Don’t Look Behind; EPA May Be Gaining on You

As the lawyers among our readers know, the denial of a certiorari petition does not establish precedent. However, that doesn’t make it unimportant. Yesterday, the Supreme Court denied cert. in Mingo Logan Coal Co. v. EPA. ...more

Ninth Circuit Upholds 2008 Biological Opinion Restricting Operations Of California Water Projects

On March 13, the Ninth Circuit issued its long-awaited decision in the latest round of the delta smelt litigation, upholding the 2008 Biological Opinion prepared by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service for the combined operations...more

Court of Appeal Confirms AB 32 Target Is Proper CEQA Significance Threshold

The strongly worded opinion in Center for Biological Diversity v. California Department of Fish and Wildlife (Case Number B245131)(CBD v. CDFW) by the Court of Appeal of California, Second Appellate District has confirmed...more

Tower Lane Properties v. City of Los Angeles: JMBM Prevails in Published Court of Appeal Opinion Holding that a City's Erroneous...

JMBM has prevailed in the Court of Appeal on behalf of its client in a well-publicized and hotly-contested development project in the City of Los Angeles. The court's published opinion will come as welcome relief to property...more

Breathing New Life Into Pennsylvania’s Environmental Rights Amendment

On Dec. 19, 2013, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued a controversial decision in Robinson Township v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania addressing the injunction entered by the Commonwealth Court enjoining the enforcement of a...more

Supreme Court is Primary CEQA Reform Engine

Followers of CEQA reform efforts over the past several years will have observed two general trends: (1) Legislative reform has proven difficult, incremental, and marked by political division and dealmaking; and (2) the...more

Court of Appeal Finds Caltrans Omitted Material Necessary to Informed Decision Making by Failing to Include a Threshold of...

In Lotus v. Department of Transportation (2014) 223 Cal.App.4th 645, a California Court of Appeal found that Caltrans omitted material necessary to informed decision-making and informed public-participation when it failed to...more

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