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It’s Really Difficult to Site a Highway in a Refuge

In an important decision last week, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals made clear just how high the hurdles are in the way of building highways in wildlife refuges. The decision in Defenders of Wildlife v. North Carolina DOT...more

Kern County’s CEQA Mitigation Measure For Wind Farm Project Relying On FAA Review and Determination of Aviation Safety Impacts Is...

Alleged land use conflicts between newly proposed land uses and existing nearby airports are nothing new, and can produce heated CEQA battles as project opponents often raise “life safety” issues as potential project impacts....more

CEQA Alert: Court of Appeal Blunts Latest CEQA Attack on California’s High-Speed Train System

On July 24, 2014, California’s Third Appellate District affirmed a trial court’s ruling that the California High-Speed Rail Authority’s (Authority’s) revised final program environmental impact report/environmental impact...more

Court Signals Green to $8.6bn California High-Speed Rail Bond Issuance

The Third District Court of Appeal reversed a Sacramento Superior Court Judge’s ruling that prohibited the High Speed Rail Authority (HSRA) from selling bonds under Proposition 1A to construct the High Speed Rail Project...more

California High Speed Rail Dodges Legal Bullet

In Town of Atherton v. CA High Speed Rail Authority, No. C070877 (Cal. Ct. App. 3d Dist., July 24, 2014), the Third Appellate District upheld the High-Speed Rail Authority’s (HSRA) Program Environmental Impact Report/ Program...more

Of High Speed Rails and Litigation Snails: The Train Rolls On As Third District Rejects Additional CEQA Challenges To High-Speed...

While CEQA actions are statutorily designed as special proceedings with priority over other civil actions, and thus mandated to be heard and resolved expeditiously, when complex or controversial projects with dedicated...more

Eight Is Not Enough: CEQA Challenge To Eighth Addendum To San Jose International Airport Master Plan EIR Is Rejected By Sixth...

In a decision filed June 6, but not certified for publication until July 2, 2014, the Sixth District Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s judgment upholding the City of San Jose’s eighth addendum to its Airport Master...more

Ground Control to Major Tom: Appeals Court Shuts Down CEQA Challenge to San Jose Airport Master Plan

In Citizens Against Airport Pollution v. City of San Jose, No. H038781 (Cal. Ct. App. 6th Dist., June 6, 2014), Citizens Against Airport Pollution (“CAAP”) appealed the trial court’s ruling that the City of San Jose’s...more

California District Court Finds Biological Assessments Inconsistent And Enjoins Caltrans' Project

In Souza v. California Department of Transportation, No. 13-cv-04407 (N.D. Cal. May 2, 2014), plaintiffs sought to enjoin a project proposed by the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) to modify U.S. Route 199...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

Ninth Circuit Upholds NEPA and NHPA Analysis for Hawaii High-Speed Rail System

On February 18, 2014, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected challenges under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), and the Department of Transportation Act to the...more

Nebraska Court Stalls Keystone XL Pipeline, Declares Governor’s Approval Unconstitutional

On Wednesday, a Nebraska trial court struck down a state law allowing Governor Dave Heineman’s to approve the proposed route for TransCanada Corp.’s Keystone XL Pipeline. The decision comes just weeks after the State...more

Keystone XL Pipeline Project Halted in Nebraska

On Wednesday, a Nebraska District Court dealt the Keystone XL pipeline project a heavy blow. The court invalidated a law that allowed the state's governor to approve the pipeline's passage through Nebraska. The court ruled...more

Court Sides With Federal Government Over Santa Monica Airport

As we reported last month, the United States of America and the Federal Aviation Administration had filed a motion to dismiss a lawsuit brought by the City of Santa Monica in federal court seeking to confirm its alleged right...more

High Speed Rail Decision on Track for Review at Court of Appeal

Last Friday, Governor Brown’s administration (the “Petitioners”) filed a petition for extraordinary writ of mandate and application for temporary stay with the California Supreme Court, challenging Superior Court Judge...more

What is an Exaction?

Construction of the 485-mile-long southern portion of the TransCanada Keystone Pipeline system (known as the Gulf Coast Project) is scheduled to be completed and operational by the end of 2013, but it leaves a legacy of...more

Hearing on Nov. 8 May Determine California High Speed Rail's Future

The parties in a pending Sacramento Superior Court action, Tos, et. al. v. California High Speed Rail Authority, et al., have submitted supplemental briefing in preparation for a hearing next week...more

Virginia Supreme Court Opinions Affecting Local Government Law October 31, 2013

The Virginia Supreme Court issued new opinions this morning, some of which affect local government law. Here they are (summaries taken from the Virginia Supreme Court website, click on the Record Number to read opinion)...more

Landmark Decision Issued on Proper Environmental Baseline under

In a recent landmark California Environmental Quality Act ("CEQA") decision, Neighbors for Smart Rail v. Exposition Metro Line Construction Authority (2013) 57 Cal.4th 439 (Smart Rail), the California Supreme Court issued its...more

California Supreme Court Settles the CEQA Baseline Debate

A transportation authority planned a light-rail extension line and prepared an Environmental Impact Report (“EIR”). In analyzing traffic and air quality impacts, the EIR omitted an existing conditions baseline and instead...more

Court of Appeal Reinstates Regional Air Quality Thresholds for Greenhouse Gas Emissions

On August 13, 2013, the First District Court of Appeal reinstated controversial air quality guidelines adopted by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (the District), including numeric greenhouse gas (GHG) thresholds...more

High Court Tackles CEQA Future Baselines In Neighbors For Smart Rail Decision

In a much-anticipated decision filed August 5, 2013, the California Supreme Court held that CEQA requires a lead agency to assess a project’s environmental impacts against an “existing conditions” baseline – and consequently...more

Unusual Circumstances: California Supreme Court Upholds Limited Use of Future Conditions Baseline Under CEQA

On August 5, 2013, the California Supreme Court issued a split decision in Neighbors for Smart Rail v. Exposition Metro Line Construction Authority, et al. The court held that a lead agency may choose to avoid using an...more

CEQA Baseline Analysis: Future Conditions Baseline Should Be The Exception Not The Rule When Agency Reviews Environmental Impacts,...

In Neighbors for Smart Rail v. Exposition Metro Line Construction Authority (filed August 5, 2013) (“Neighbors”), a majority of the California Supreme Court justices announced a new rule regarding the baseline agencies may...more

Supreme Court Allows Future Conditions to Be Used as the Baseline Under Limited Circumstances

Neighbors for Smart Rail v. Exposition Metro Line Construction Authority (August 5, 2013, S202828) __ Cal.4th __(“Neighbors”). What is the baseline against which environmental impacts are measured? There has been...more

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