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Environmental Review Required for Subdivision Map Approvals

On September 9, the Third District Court of Appeal held that tentative subdivision map approvals "always have at least the potential to cause" a direct or indirect physical change in the environment and thus are categorically...more

Supreme Court Roundup: Recent Environmental Law Rulings and Pending Cases

Scaling back considerably from the October 2012 Term, the United States Supreme Court issued only a few rulings affecting environmental law during the October 2013 Term. With significant pronouncements regarding EPA’s Clean...more

OPR Speaks to the Impact of Proposed New CEQA Guidelines

As discussed by the California Planning and Development Report, Chris Calfee, counsel at the Governor’s Office of Planning & Research, has indicated that lead agencies will no longer be able to use General Plan congestion...more

Court of Appeal Confirms Subdivision is a CEQA Project

In Rominger v. County of Colusa (2014) (September 9, 2014, C073815) __ Cal.App.4th___, the Court of Appeal reversed the trial court and held that a tentative subdivision map is a project under the California Environmental...more

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Extends Protection for Canada Lynx

On Friday, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) issued a final rule revising the critical habitat designation for the contiguous United States distinct population segment (DPS) of the Canada lynx (Lynx canadensis) and...more

Tentative Map Approval Is CEQA “Project”, Holds Third District In Published Opinion Also Addressing Prejudicial Error, Agency...

In a lengthy published decision filed September 9, 2014, the Third District Court of Appeal affirmed in part and reversed in part the trial court’s judgment denying a writ petition challenging Colusa County’s adoption of a...more

Industry Group Opposes Illinois Fracking Rules

Labor groups and members of the oil and gas industry have joined together in calling for the overhaul of recently proposed rules governing fracking in the state. The pro-fracking coalition, known as Grow-IL, argues that the...more

Aboveground Storage Tank Act Interpretive Rule

This morning, the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (“DEP”) filed a proposed interpretive rule (the “Interpretive Rule”) with the West Virginia Secretary of State’s office implementing, in part, the recent...more

Legislature Passes Historic Groundwater Management Act

On August 29, 2014, the California Legislature cast the final votes necessary to move three companion groundwater management bills to the Governor's desk. If signed by Governor Brown, the bills will establish the...more

Keystone XL Pipeline Faced Scrutiny in Nebraska Supreme Court September 5, 2014 Hearing

The Keystone XL pipeline project faced a major hurdle in the Nebraska Supreme Court last Friday, as federal approval of the pipeline may be influenced by the court’s decision regarding the constitutionality of the process by...more

EPA Releases Document Seeking To Clarify “Waters Of The U.S.” Rule

EPA on September 8, 2014, released a question and answer (Q&A) document seeking to clarify the scope and purpose of its proposed “Waters of the U.S.” rule. Issued jointly by EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) on...more

Historic Groundwater Legislation Bills Awaiting Governor Approval

A triumvirate of bills that would establish California’s first-ever groundwater regulation law are now awaiting Gov. Jerry Brown’s signature. The bills, passed by the state Legislature on August 29, would establish the...more

Fifth District Reaffirms Its CEQA Historicity Rules in Citizens for the Restoration of L Street v. City of Fresno

In a published opinion filed August 29, 2014, the Fifth District Court of Appeal affirmed a judgment granting a writ of mandate and finding that the City of Fresno erred in approving a mitigated negative declaration (MND) for...more

Historic Bills Designed To Sustainably Manage California’s Groundwater Head To Governor

Last Friday, the California Legislature passed three bills that provide for the regulation of groundwater for the first time in the state’s history. Once signed by Gov. Jerry Brown, the bills—currently known as AB 1739...more

Is It Historical Under CEQA? Court Confirms Substantial Evidence Remains the Standard

Citizens for the Restoration of L Street v. City of Fresno, et al., No. F066498,(Cal. Ct. App. 5th Dist., August 28, 2014) - In a two-part opinion, the Fifth District Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s judgment...more

Nova Scotia Bans Hydraulic Fracturing

On September 3, Nova Scotia’s government announced that it will indefinitely ban high volume hydraulic fracturing onshore. According to Energy Minister Andrew Younger, “Nova Scotians have overwhelmingly expressed concern...more

California Urban Housing Market Plagued by Higher Rents, Lower Wages, and CEQA

The economic and social impacts of the California Environmental Quality Act are significant enough that the worldwide publication, The Economist, recently reported that the law’s liberal standing requirements “allow[ing]...more

NPDES Permits Are Construed Narrowly Against the Permittee

In July, we noted that the Clean Water Act’s permit shield defense would be construed narrowly, applying only where a permittee had clearly disclosed that the relevant pollutant to the agency. This week, in Alaska Community...more

Judge Overturns Kauai County Pesticide and GMO Law

On August 25, the federal district court for Hawaii vacated Kauai County’s Ordinance 960, which imposed mandatory disclosure obligations regarding the use of certain pesticides and the cultivation of genetically modified...more

Massive California Water Bond Slated for November 4 General Election as Proposition 1

2014 Water Bond targets state’s long-term water needs and aquatic ecosystems. Two months from today, the California electorate will vote up or down on a massive water bond which Governor Jerry Brown signed on August...more

Yes, Virginia, It Is Possible To Win A Fee Award Against An Environmental NGO

Last week, Judge Walter Smith, Jr., ordered the Sierra Club to pay more than six million dollars – yes, you read that correctly – to Energy Future Holdings and Luminant Generation, after finding that the Sierra Club’s Clean...more

California Federal District Court Grants Partial Dismissal to Suit Alleging Violations of the Endangered Species Act

Earlier this month, a federal district court in California partially granted motions to dismiss a second amended complaint filed by the Center for Biological Diversity and the Pesticide Action Network alleging that the...more

California Environmental Law and Policy Update - August 2014 #7

Environmental and Policy Focus - Former inspector calls for state's last nuclear plant to be closed: Los Angeles Times - Aug 25 -- A former federal inspector has urged regulators to shut down California's last...more

Comments to Forest Service Groundwater Management Directive Due September 3, 2014

Comments to the Groundwater Resource Management Directive proposed by the United States Forest Service to modify Chapter 2560 of the Forest Service Manual are due September 3, 2014. The proposed directive was published in the...more

Legislature Adopts Historic Sustainable Groundwater Management Act

Act Imposes Groundwater Management and Reporting Requirements on Local Agencies - On Friday night, the California Legislature adopted a lawmaking package, including Senate Bills 1168 and 1319 and Assembly Bill 1739,...more

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