Zoning, Planning & Land Use Environmental

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Stop the Presses. Superfund is Stupid.

I know that pointing out CERCLA’s stupidity has something of a dog bites man quality, but sometimes Superfund’s stupidity bears repeating. Today’s exhibit? New York v. Next Millenium Realty, in which Judge Feuerstein held –...more

Utah oil sands mine slowed

A Canadian company developing an oil sands mining and extraction project in Utah has announced a decision to "reduce the pace of field construction in order to maintain working capital flexibility," based on low oil...more

Proposed Rule Adding Vapor Intrusion Component to Hazard Ranking System Will Likely Appear in Federal Register This Month

A proposed rule that would add a vapor intrusion component to the Hazard Ranking System (“HRS”), the primary screening tool for the CERCLA National Priorities List (“NPL”), is scheduled for publication in the Federal...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

EQT Wins a Temporary Victory, but the Future of Oil and Gas Operations in Fayette County, West Virginia, Is Still Undecided

EQT Corp. won a temporary victory in its continuing effort to defend against the potential shutdown of its 200 oil and gas wells and one wastewater injection well in Fayette County, West Virginia, after the District Court for...more

Northern Gateway: BC Supreme Court Rules that British Columbia Must Issue its Own EA Decision and Consult First Nations

In Coastal First Nations v British Columbia (Environment), 2016 BCSC 34, the court decided British Columbia must issue its own environmental decision and consult First Nations on the Northern Gateway Project (NGP), instead of...more

Alert: Gas Station Owners: State to Pursue Claims of MTBE Contamination

Over a decade ago, Connecticut, like much of the country, had concerns over groundwater contamination from gasoline containing the additive MTBE. Although much of the country had let the issue of MTBE contamination fall by...more

Maryland Environmental Reporting Regulations On Hold For Now

Property owners and developers in Maryland have dodged another bullet, at least for now, with respect to their environmental reporting obligations. On October 31, 2014, the Maryland Department of Environment (“MDE”) proposed...more

Motion to Amend CEQA Action Judgments to Make Additional Judgment Debtor Liable For Million Dollar Fee Award Not Barred By...

In a published opinion filed January 26, 2016, the Court of Appeal for the Fourth Appellate District (Division 2) reversed a trial court’s order denying CEQA plaintiffs’ motion to amend judgments entered four (4) years...more

Construction of two new 500 kV transmission lines extending from Lincoln County, New Mexico to Pinal County, Arizona

On February 3, 2016, the Arizona Corporation Commission (“Commission”) by a 3-2 vote issued a Certificate of Environmental Compatibility to SunZia Transmission, LLC to construct two new 500 kV transmission lines extending...more

Streamlining the Siting of Transmission in the West - Why Transmission and Renewable Energy Project Developers Should Care About...

Early this month, the Department of Energy (DOE) issued notice (81 FR 5283) of a proposed rule aimed at streamlining the pre-application process for transmission developers to obtain federal authorization to construct and...more

EPA Proposes to Add Vapor Intrusion Pathway Assessment to Superfund Listing System

Last week, we wrote about an audit that MassDEP is conducting of previously closed sites to look for high concentrations of TCE in soils and groundwater. The intent of the audit is to address potential vapor intrusion. The...more

Florida Considers Competing Bills Regarding Hydraulic Fracturing

A regulatory framework for hydraulic fracturing, or fracing, currently does not exist in Florida. Actually, neither does fracing itself, but both of those things could change soon. The State Affairs Committee passed a...more

Up For Debate: What’s the Real Cost of Endangered Species Predation?

On February 10, 2016, lawmakers on the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water, Power, and Oceans are scheduled to discuss several wildlife laws, including the Endangered Species Act (ESA), Marine Mammal Protection Act...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

Department of the Interior Releases Proposed Rule to Reduce Waste of Natural Gas

Advances in oil and gas production technology, such as horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, have dramatically increased the production of oil and gas in the United States by unlocking shale gas and other resources...more

Wildlife Agencies Announce Final Critical Habitat Rules and Policy

On February 5, 2016, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service (collectively, the “Services”) announced the availability of two final rules and one policy addressing critical habitat under the...more

Act 312: Federal Court Holds That Plaintiff Cannot Pocket “Additional Remediation Damages” Without Express Contractual Provision

On February 1, 2016, a federal district court issued a ruling in Moore v. Denbury, — F.3d — (W.D. La. 2016), with important implications for “legacy” lawsuits in Louisiana. ...more

Thirty States and Numerous Other Interested Parties Seek an Immediate Supreme Court Stay of the EPA’s “Clean Power Plan”

On January 26, 2016, 29 states and state agencies, including Oklahoma, Texas, West Virginia, Ohio, Colorado, and Mississippi (the “29 States”), submitted an application (the “29 States Application”) to the United States...more

Updates to CEQA Guidelines for Transportation Impacts Analysis Under SB 743

On January 20, 2016, the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research (“OPR”) released a revised draft of thresholds for measuring transportation impacts under the California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”). These draft...more

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

No Issuance of Federal Offshore Fracking Permits Until May 2016

On January 29, 2016, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (“BOEM”) and the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (“BSEE”), agencies within the federal Department of the Interior (“DOI”), agreed to put a temporary...more

EPA Plans to Ease Path to Superfund Listing: Vapor Intrusion Component to be Added to the Hazardous Ranking System

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has just announced a proposed rule to add a subsurface intrusion (SsI) component to the Superfund Hazard Ranking System (HRS). Addition of a Subsurface Intrusion Component to...more

OPR Releases Revised Proposed CEQA Guidelines Amendment To Implement SB 743 Traffic Analysis Mandates

The evolution of CEQA traffic impacts analysis from level of service (LOS) methodology to a vehicle miles traveled (VMT) analysis continues apace. The latest step in this revolutionary paradigm shift was the January 20, 2016...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

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