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California Supreme Court Upholds Precondemnation Procedures

On July 21, 2016, the California Supreme Court in Property Reserve v. Superior Court upheld the state’s precondemnation entry and testing statutes provided they were reformed to allow impacted property owners the ability to...more

California Environmental Law & Policy Update - August 2016 #4

Environmental and Policy Focus - Lawmakers and Governor Brown claim major victory on climate change bills - Sacramento Bee - Aug 24 - California lawmakers on Wednesday advanced a pair of bills to sustain the...more

The Arbitrary and Capricious Standard Remains Deferential: The Corps’ Nationwide Permit 21 Survives Review

Late last week, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected challenges to the Army Corps’ Nationwide Permit 21, which allows small surface mining projects to proceed without individual permits under § 404. ...more

Alameda Fracking Ban: All Bark with No Bite

On July 19, 2016, Alameda County, California (“County”) became the first county in the Bay Area to approve a ban on hydraulic fracturing (or “fracking”). The County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the ban through...more

California’s Precondemnation Right of Entry Statutes Upheld — With a Slight Judicial Tweak

For the last two-plus years, we have been waiting for guidance from the California Supreme Court on whether public agencies could utilize the statutory “right of entry” procedure to gain access to private property to conduct...more

Sikh Temple files suit after Oyster Bay, NY ordered it to stop work and then required SEQRA review

Guru Gobind Singh Sikh Center, Inc. (the “Temple”), on June 29, 2016 in the Eastern District of New York, sued the Town of Oyster Bay, New York, the Town Board, and several Town Officials (together, the “Defendants”) after...more

D.C. Circuit Holds Informational Standing Nonexistent Prior to 12-Month Finding

In a recent decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia affirmed the dismissal of an environmental organization’s Endangered Species Act (ESA) claim, concluding that the organization lacked standing...more

Controversy Over Interior’s Trust Authority in Alaska Remains Unresolved

A majority panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit recently dismissed the State of Alaska’s challenge to the U.S. Secretary of the Interior’s authority to acquire land in trust for Alaska...more

Coal Plant Shutdowns: Operators Need to Manage Community Relationships

Imagine this scenario: A company operates a coal ash landfill. Local citizens protest and organize an advocacy group against it and create a Facebook page. The company responds by suing the individual members of the group for...more

Supreme Court Update: U.S. Army Corps Of Engineers V. Hawkes (15-290), Johnson V. Lee (15-789), Lynch V. Arizona (15-8366) And...

As we settle into June, the Eight seem to be clearing out the less difficult decisions in preparation for what could be a messy end to the term, given some controversial issues (abortion, affirmative action, immigration) and...more

D.C. Circuit Holds Injury Exists Where Statutory Enactment Denies Plaintiff’s Right to Information; Upholds Section 9 Exemption...

On June 3, 2016, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit held in Friends of Animals v. Jewell (No. 1:14-cv-00357) that Plaintiff Friends of Animals (“Plaintiff”) had Article III standing to pursue a constitutional...more

The Supreme Court - May 2016 #4

The Supreme Court of the United States issued decisions in three cases on May 31, 2016: Army Corps of Engineers v. Hawkes, No. 15-290: Three mining companies sought a permit under the Clean Water Act seeking to...more

Oakley to Condemn Century-Old Building for Street Widening Project

As cities become more dense and urbanized, it is common for infrastructure to get outdated or insufficient to handle increased demand. We see this with roads, highways, schools, and even utilities. When new infrastructure...more

10th Circ.: Permit Issuance Is Not State Action For Purposes of 14th Amendment

On April 19, 2016, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, in Wasatch Equality, et al., v. Alta Ski Lifts Company, et al., affirmed the lower court’s dismissal of a lawsuit claiming that the U.S. Forest Service, in...more

Children’s Crusade to Combat Climate Change Continues

A federal magistrate judge in Oregon has kept alive the dreams of a group of young plaintiffs—aided by environmental advocacy groups—to compel government action against climate change. Like a similar case brought by the same...more

Gas Company May Challenge Local Ordinance Prohibiting Deposit of Flowback Water into Underground Injection Wells

A Federal Magistrate Judge in Pennsylvania has ruled that an oil and gas exploration company may challenge a township ordinance that makes it unlawful to deposit flowback water into underground injection wells within the...more

Real Estate and Land Use - March 2016

A Rare Win for Former Redevelopment Agencies—State Collection Procedures Ruled Unconstitutional - City of Bellflower v. Michael Cohen, Director of the Department of Finance (245 Cal. App. 4th 438) - Why It Matters:...more

Federal Court Refuses To Reinstate Lesser Prairie Chicken Listing: What Now, And What’s Next?

Last fall a federal court in the Western District of Texas upheld a challenge to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s (Service) decision to list the lesser prairie chicken (LEPC) as a threatened species under the federal...more

Maryland Court of Appeals Opens Door to New Class of Inverse Condemnation Claims

A property owner states a valid claim for inverse condemnation where the owner alleges that its property was taken by the government's failure to act in the face of an affirmative duty to act, the Maryland Court of Appeals...more

Justice Scalia’s Enduring CEQA and Land Use Law Legacy

With the February 13 passing of U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia, American jurisprudence lost an intellectual giant. But Justice Scalia will not be forgotten; the legacy of his life’s work lives on. While...more

Renewable Energy Case Law Update

This case law update describes a selection of renewable energy cases from 2015. It is not intended to address all renewable energy cases over the previous year, but rather, highlight a few that are more likely to be of...more

Eminent Domain: Be Careful What You Ask For

The condemnation of property for public works may not always be as clean and easy as the government would like. Although local governments are often critical players in the cleanup and redevelopment of contaminated...more

Are Groundwater Pumping Fees or Charges Subject to Proposition 218? California Supreme Court to Resolve Conflicting Precedent

In 2015 California’s Sixth and Second District Courts of Appeal issued conflicting opinions regarding whether groundwater extraction fees or charges are subject to Article 13D of the California Constitution (Proposition 218)....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

Pennsylvania State Trial Court Dismisses Appeal Challenging Constitutionality of Local Ordinance Regulating Natural Gas Drilling

In Delaware Riverkeeper Network, et al. v. Middlesex Township Zoning Hearing Board, A.D. No. 15-10429 (Nov. 19, 2015), Butler County Judge S. Michael Yeager upheld a gas drilling ordinance that was challenged by residents and...more

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