Zoning, Planning & Land Use Civil Procedure Environmental

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Restoring old mill hydro sites and FERC licensure

Suppose you own an existing water powered mill complex whose hydromechanical facilities have not been operational for decades. You would like to develop a hydropower project at the site, using the existing dam, headrace, and...more

FERC requires licensure of Alaska hydropower project

What happens when federal hydropower regulators discover an unlicensed project subject to their jurisdiction? A recent case involving a dam at a remote Alaskan fish hatchery ended with an order requiring the project owner to...more

California Environmental Law & Policy Update - January 2016 #4

Environmental and Policy Focus - States ask Supreme Court to block Obama carbon emissions plan - Reuters - Jan 26 - A group of states led by West Virginia and Texas asked the U.S. Supreme Court to stay...more

Real Estate and Land Use - January 2016

Using Project Objectives to Select a Reasonable Range of Alternatives - North Coast Rivers Alliance v. A.G. Kawamura (January 4, 2016) Third District Court of Appeal Case No. C072067 - Why It Matters: This opinion...more

Washington State Court of Appeals Holds Vested Permit Applications Are Not Subject to New Municipal Stormwater Requirements

The development community won a victory in Division Two of the Washington State Court of Appeals in a ruling that excludes pending permit applications from the new low-impact development stormwater regulations that large...more

Appellate Court Notes

Supreme Court Advance Release Opinions: SC19481 - JP Morgan Chase Bank, N.A. v. Mendez - After a foreclosure sale auction took place, the defendant property owner appeared for the first time and filed a motion to...more

When CEQA Violations Are An Afterthought: Fourth District Upholds Trial Court’s Independent Judgment Determination That City Of...

CEQA and land use law in California go together like a hand in a glove. Due to CEQA’s broad scope and exacting substantive and procedural requirements, it is relatively easy to plead a cause of action for CEQA violations in...more

California Environmental Law & Policy Update - January 2016 #3

Environmental and Policy Focus - SoCal Gas Co. expects to cap Porter Ranch gas leak ahead of schedule - CBS Los Angeles - Jan 19 An ongoing natural gas leak that has affected residents in the Porter Ranch-area...more

B.C. Has Authority to Impose Conditions on Northern Gateway Pipeline

In its recent decision in Coastal First Nations v. British Columbia (Environment), the B.C. Supreme Court (Court) held that the provincial government retains authority to impose conditions on the proposed Northern Gateway...more

US Suspends Coal Leasing on Federal Lands

Legal challenges to moratorium likely as US Department of Interior considers reforms. On Friday, January 15, 2016, US Department of the Interior Secretary Sally Jewell announced that the US will “pause” federal coal...more

CDFA Program EIR Violates CEQA By Failing To Analyze Invasive Moth Control Program As Alternative To Eradication, Holds Third...

In a lengthy opinion filed December 2, 2015, and belatedly ordered published on January 4, 2016, the Third District Court of Appeal invalidated the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s (CDFA) programmatic EIR for a...more

Does the Public Trust Doctrine Apply to Groundwater? The California Appellate Courts Will Soon Decide

The California appellate courts will soon be called on to decide an important and novel issue of California water law: whether the public trust doctrine applies to groundwater. The public trust doctrine holds that the state...more

The Safest Supreme Court Bet in Years

Each December 31, my good friends from the neighborhood and I gather to ring in the New Year. To help this not-so-hard-partying group actually stay up late enough to see the Times Square ball drop, about 15 years ago we...more

California Supreme Court Addresses the Reverse CEQA Problem

CEQA Does Not Require Agencies to Consider the Impact of Existing Conditions on Future Project Users — Except in Certain Circumstances - Under what circumstances, if any, does the California Environmental Quality Act...more

California Supreme Court Rejects CEQA Guideline Requiring Analysis of the Existing Environment’s Impacts on a Proposed Project

A unanimous California Supreme Court has held that the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) generally does not require an analysis of how existing environmental conditions will impact a project’s future users or...more

“Reverse CEQA” Reversed: California Supreme Court Rejects CEQA Analysis of Impacts of the Environment on the Project

In California Building Industry Association v. Bay Area Air Quality Management District (December 17, 2015) (Case No. S213478) (CBIA v. BAAQMD), the California Supreme Court rejected a requirement for so-called “reverse CEQA”...more

California Environmental Law & Policy Update - December 2015 #3

Environmental and Policy Focus - California Supreme Court rejects mandatory "reverse CEQA" analysis Allen Matkins - Dec 18 - The California Supreme Court issued its long awaited opinion yesterday in California...more

California Supreme Court Rejects Mandatory "Reverse CEQA" Analysis

The California Supreme Court issued its long awaited opinion on December 17, 2015, in California Building Industry Association v. Bay Area Air Quality Management District (CBIA v. BAAQMD), commonly referred to as the "Reverse...more

California Supreme Court Holds “CEQA-In-Reverse” Is Not The Norm, Reverses And Remands First District’s Judgment In CBIA v. BAAQMD

In a unanimous 24-page opinion authored by newly seated Justice Cuellar and filed December 17, 2015, the California Supreme Court resolved a fundamental issue regarding CEQA’s scope, holding that – with certain specific...more

Supreme Court to Decide if Army Corps Initial Jurisdictional Determination to Regulate Wetlands Under CWA is Ripe for Judicial...

By Andrew H. Perellis, Patrick D. Joyce, and Craig B. Simonsen The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) agreed on Friday to review an important Clean Water Act (CWA) decision issued by the Eighth Circuit in Hawkes Co.,...more

U.S. Supreme Court Agrees to Decide Important Case Affecting Development in Wetlands

A critical part of the permitting process for many development projects is obtaining federal and state wetland permits. The key wetland authorization is usually a Section 404 permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers...more

Supreme Court Reaffirms Scope of CEQA Analysis in California Building Industry Association (CBIA) v. Bay Area Air Quality...

On December 17, 2015, a unanimous California Supreme Court reaffirmed that environmental analysis under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) should be concerned with a project's impact on the environment, not the...more

Testing the Waters: The U.S. Supreme Court Agrees to Hear U.S. Army Corps’ Clean Water Act Determinations Challenge

On December 11, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear a challenge to the Eighth Circuit’s April 2015 ruling that U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ (Army Corps) jurisdictional determinations are final agency actions subject to...more

Supreme Court Will Determine Whether Corps Jurisdictional Determination Can Be Appealed

Can you appeal a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ jurisdictional determination (“JD”) that a water feature constitutes waters of the United States? The Administrative Procedures Act allows such an appeal if it is determined that...more

Supreme Court to Resolve Split on Court Review of Clean Water Act Jurisdictional Determinations

The U.S. Supreme Court decided last week to review a ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit that jurisdictional determinations under the Clean Water Act are final agency actions subject to judicial...more

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