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"Rails to Trails" or "Rails to Trespass": Supreme Court Speaks on the Abandonment of Certain Railroad Rights of Way

Last month, the Supreme Court of the United States (please, there is no such thing as the "United States Supreme Court") decided a very interesting case about easements. "Easements?", you ask. Yes, easements. We use them...more

Brandt Revocable Trust v. U.S. – the United States’ theory of land ownership derailed

In Brandt Revocable Trust v. U.S., the United States Supreme Court held that abandoned railway rights-of-way that had been granted to railroad companies under the General Railroad Right-of-Way Act of 1875 left underlying...more

Anticipating Washington State’s New Industrial Stormwater General Permit

The Washington Department of Ecology is in the process of renewing the current Industrial Stormwater General Permit (ISGP), which is set to expire on January 1, 2015. Current permit holders will need to reapply for continued...more

SCOTUS: Federal Government Retains No Interest in Abandoned Railroad Rights-of-Way

Congress grants a railroad a right-of-way across public land. The federal government then grants the land to a private landowner, who takes the parcel subject to the railroad right-of-way. The railroad later...more

California High Speed Rail Authority Gains New Approvals to Move Project Forward: Eminent Domain Proceedings Commenced on Eight...

Despite recent obstacles, the California High Speed Rail Authority (the “Authority”) remains steadfast in its determination to complete the high-speed rail project (the “Project”), bolstered by recent approvals from various...more

Supreme Court Ruling Represents Major Shift for Railroad Rights of Way

This week, the Supreme Court ruled that the United States Forest Service could not construct a trail on an abandoned railroad right of way (ROW) that crosses through private property. Brandt v. United States, No. 12-1173,...more

4 Key Questions For Evaluating PPP Opportunities

Public-private partnerships are all the rage, as governments seek new ways to deliver public infrastructure, facilities and services in the face of daunting budget limitations and doubts about older procurement modes. PPP...more

California Environmental Law and Policy Update - March 11, 2014

Environmental and Policy Focus - California lawmakers pass $687 billion drought plan -- San Francisco CBS Local - Feb 27: California lawmakers have passed a $687 million plan to provide immediate relief to...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

Texas Environmental Update - February 28, 2014

We are pleased to provide you with this issue of Bracewell's Texas Environmental Update, offering the latest news about permitting, enforcement, regulatory developments, and other matters of interest to the regulated...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

The Ninth Circuit Addresses NEPA’s Goldilocks Problem: How Many Alternatives Are Just Enough?

One of the critical elements of NEPA is that project proponents must assess the feasibility and impacts of not only the preferred alternative, but also a range of alternatives. However, there is a tension in NEPA, because it...more

$5 Billion Honolulu Rail Transit Project Gets Green Light

In a decision of national importance for rail transit and highway projects, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected NEPA and Section 4(f) challenges to the 20-mile Honolulu Rail Transit Project. HonoluluTraffic.Com v....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

Texas Environmental Update - February 14, 2014

We are pleased to provide you with this issue of Bracewell's Texas Environmental Update, offering the latest news about permitting, enforcement, regulatory developments, and other matters of interest to the regulated...more

OPR Mulls Changes in CEQA Traffic Metrics

As previously discussed in this blog, last year’s passage of SB 743 added a requirement in Public Resources Code § 21099(b) that the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research (OPR) develop new CEQA guidelines “for...more

Caltrans EIR Analysis of Impacts to Redwoods Found Inadequate

In Trisha Lee Lotus v. Caltrans (Jan. 30, 2014), the First District Court of Appeal reversed a Humboldt County Superior Court decision, and ruled that a California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) environmental impact...more

There is an amendment to Railroad Law that could boost the market

Last Tuesday, House of Representatives approved a bill to amend the Law for Railroad Service in order to open competition, and to keep up with the upcoming train projects in Mexico. According to the Minutes of the...more

State Department Paves Way for Keystone XL Pipeline Approval

On Friday, State Department officials released the final environmental impact statement for TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline, concluding that the project would not substantially increase carbon emissions, and clearing the...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

Infrastructure Alert - January 30, 2014

In Tuesday’s State of the Union address, President Obama urged Congress to pass a reauthorization for the Water Resources Development Act. President Obama also called for corporate tax reform as a method to finance...more

California Environmental Law and Policy Update - January 2014

Gov. Brown wants to use cap-and-trade fees to fund high speed rail project - Insurance For Less - Jan 8: Gov. Jerry Brown announced plans to provide new funding for California’s high speed rail project from corporate...more

Governor's Budget Proposal Throws a Life Preserver to the High-Speed Rail Project

On the heels of Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Michael Kenney’s decision halting an $8 billion bond sale for the construction of the California high-speed rail (“HSR”) project, Governor Jerry Brown has submitted a...more

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