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Ninth Circuit Holds Critical Habitat Designations Not Subject to Cost-Benefit Analysis

In Building Industry Association of the Bay Area v. U.S. Department of Commerce, a decision with significant implications for property owners, the building industry, and the development community at large, the U.S. Court of...more

EPA Issues Vapor Intrusion Guidance

Vapor Intrusion (“VI”) is the migration of vapors from contamination in the ground into overlying buildings and structures. It’s no secret that regulatory agencies have increased their focus on VI over the last decade. ...more

Fourth District Holds Losing CEQA Plaintiff’s Mooted Appeal Was Not “Catalyst” To City’s Revocation Of Project Entitlements After...

In an opinion filed June 8, and ordered published on July 6, 2015, the Fourth Appellate District Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s judgment denying a CEQA plaintiff’s motion for attorneys’ fees under CCP § 1021.5,...more

Addressing Environmental Issues in Real Estate Development

Dealmakers sometimes overlook environmental issues when negotiating transactions, leaving important business and legal issues unaddressed until they inevitably pop up shortly before closing and send everyone scrambling. This...more

New Application Process Takes Effect for New York Brownfield Cleanup Program, Additional Regulations Pending

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) has announced that as of July 1, 2015, the reformed New York State Brownfield Cleanup Program (BCP) became effective. NYSDEC transitioned to a new...more

(US) Revised Phase I Environmental Standards Will Impact Property Acquisitions this Fall

The All Appropriate Inquiries Rule (the “AAI Rule”), set forth at 40 CFR Part 312, serves as a benchmark protocol for inspecting a property’s environmental condition. If the benchmark is met, a prospective purchaser can be...more

Governor Signs Legislation Ending the Development of Regional Impact Program for New Development

On Thursday, May 14, 2015, Governor Scott signed into law CS/CS Senate Bill 1216, now Chapter 2015-30, Laws of Florida. This historic piece of legislation eliminates the Development of Regional Impact (DRI) process...more

Appellate Court Reaffirms Broad Discretion of Trial Courts to Determine Appropriate Attorneys’ Fees

The Fourth Appellate District upheld the trial court’s award of less than 10% of the fees requested by the prevailing petitioner in a CEQA case, finding no abuse of the broad discretion accorded trial courts in awarding fees....more

The Stormwater Mess Continues in Massachusetts: CLF and CRWA Sue EPA

In February, we noted that the Conservation Law Foundation and the Charles River Watershed Association had threatened to sue EPA for failing to require that “commercial, industrial, institutional, and high density residential...more

EPA Supplemental Environmental Projects Policy Updated for First Time Since 1998

For the first time in 17 years, U.S. EPA has updated its policy governing projects that can be performed as part of settlements with EPA. EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance (“OECA”) recently issued this...more

Winners Beware – Fourth District Upholds Trial Court’s Discretion To Drastically Reduce Successful CEQA Plaintiff’s Fees In...

In an opinion filed March 18 and belatedly ordered published on April 13, 2015, the Fourth District Court of Appeal upheld a trial court’s discretion to award only $19,176 in attorneys’ fees under Code of Civil Procedure §...more

Don’t Overlook the Potential Value Added By Green Buildings

It is increasingly important for buildings to be energy efficient. So-called “green buildings” can not only lead to more efficient energy use, but can also result in significant cost savings over time. Indeed, green...more

Locke Lord QuickStudy: The New York Legislature Ends The Guessing - Brownfield Tax Credits Extended And Modified

On April 1, 2015, the New York Legislature passed a budget bill for fiscal year 2015-2016, which included numerous amendments (the Amendments) to the Brownfield Cleanup Program (BCP), a state program designed to incentivize...more

Groundwater Fees in Flux Following Recent Conflicting Proposition 218 Cases

With California in the midst of a record-breaking drought (as reported in a recent Allen Matkins legal alert, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. issued an Executive Order ordering mandatory actions to reduce California's water...more

Fourth Circuit Upholds U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Finding of Jurisdiction Over 4.8 Acres of Wetlands in Chesapeake, Virginia

On March 10, 2015, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit held that the U.S. Corps of Engineers (Corps) had lawfully denied a permit to an applicant seeking to fill 4.8 acres of wetlands in order to build...more

Real Estate and Land Use - March 2015

Be Careful What You Agree To (City of San Marcos v. Loma San Marcos, LLC) - Why It matters: The Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court decision upholding an agreement between the City of San Marcos and a property owner...more

Federal Government Takes First Steps to Impose Regulation of Hydraulic Fracturing on Public Lands

On March 20, 2015, the Interior Department announced the issuance of a final rule regulating hydraulic fracturing on Federal and American Indian lands. The rule was initially proposed by the Bureau of Land Management (“BLM”)...more

Superior Court of New Jersey Pierces the “LLC” Veil, Holding Sole Member Liable for Environmental Liabilities

On February 26, 2015, in Coty US LLC v. 680 S. 17th Street LLC, the Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, pierced the veil of a New Jersey limited liability company and held its sole member liable for environmental...more

Sacramento Kings Win Again; Second CEQA Challenge Rejected

Saltonstall v. City of Sacramento (2/18/2015, 3d Civil No. C077772). The Court of Appeal for the Third Appellate District of California has ruled in favor of the City of Sacramento with regard to a series of challenges...more

EU Court limits the scope of environmental liability for new owners of polluted land

The Court of Justice of the European Union (the “CJEU”) has shed light on the application of the “polluter pays” principle in the context of the EU’s Environmental Liability Directive. The judgment, handed down on 4 March...more

Coastal Flooding and Resiliency: New Challenges and Opportunities for the Commercial Real Estate and Finance Industry

Virginia, North Carolina and other mid-Atlantic coastal communities are no strangers to severe weather and related storm surges and flooding. However, many of these communities are experiencing storm surges and tidal and...more

California Supreme Court’s CEQA Ruling Reaches Beyond Residential Development

On Monday March 2, the California Supreme Court handed down a decision allowing a Berkeley home builder to use an exemption from detailed environmental assessment under the California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”) in its...more

Quebec Environment Minister Aims to Modernize Environmental Approval Process

On February 25, 2015, the Quebec Minister of Sustainable Development, Environment and the Fight against Climate Change David Heurtel, announced a proposal to modernize the current environmental authorization regime provided...more

How CEQA’s Administrative Record Preparation Process Could Be Reformed By Eliminating CEQA Petitioners’ Statutory Option To...

I recently analyzed proposed legislation (SB 122) seeking to create an alternative procedure for preparation of the CEQA administrative record concurrently with administrative proceedings on a project and prior to any...more

New York’s Green Bank Committing to Diverse Transactions

New York State’s one-billion-dollar Green Bank opened for business in 2014 and has begun committing to transactions. The Green Bank’s self-professed sweet spot is investments between $5 million and $50 million. Examples of...more

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