Take That! Second District Court of Appeal Clears Major Hurdles for Newhall Ranch Project, Provides Guidance on California’s “Fully Protected Species”


California’s Second District Court of Appeal, Division Five, issued a decision on March 20 in Center for Biological Diversity v. Department of Fish & Wildlife (Case No. BS131347), overturning the trial court’s decision setting aside the 5,828-page environmental impact report (EIR) and related approvals for the Newhall Ranch project, a large-scale residential project that has been in the planning process for 20 years. The Court of Appeal concluded that the EIR adequately analyzed the project’s potential impacts to fish, wildlife and plants, and that the related approvals were lawful, clearing a major hurdle for the project. Morrison & Foerster was one of four firms representing The Newhall Land and Farming Company in the Court of Appeal.


The primary issue on appeal was whether the EIR adequately analyzed the impact of the Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (DFW) approval of a resource management plan, conservation plan, master streambed alteration agreement and two incidental take permits (ITPs) issued under the California Endangered Species Act (CESA).

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