California Environmental Quality Act

News & Analysis as of

California Energy Legislation Year in Review 2014

INTRODUCTION - In his January 2015 inaugural address, California Governor Brown called for an ambitious expansion of the State’s renewable energy goals to 50% by 2030, a policy direction that may drive the State’s...more

Environmental Groups Dust Off NEPA and CEQA in Attempt to Halt Hydraulic Fracturing and Well Acidization

Municipal bans and other legislative measures to halt hydraulic fracturing and related well stimulation techniques have yielded mixed results across the country. In an attempt to halt hydraulic fracturing and acid well...more

SANDAG Seeks Review of CEQA Decision Invalidating EIR for Its Regional Transportation Plan/Sustainable Communities Strategy

On January 6, 2015, the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) filed a petition asking the California Supreme Court to review the decision in Cleveland National Forest Foundation, et al. v. San Diego Association at...more

San Diego MPO's Analysis Of RTP's Greenhouse Gas Emissions Rejected

In a decision with implications for all transportation projects in California, the California Court of Appeal held that the analysis of greenhouse gas emissions from transportation projects in a metropolitan transportation...more

First District Publishes Decision Rejecting CEQA Challenges To Cal Fire’s Approval of Gualala Area Nonindustrial Timber Management...

In a decision filed December 2, and later ordered published on December 30, 2014, the First District Court of Appeal affirmed the Mendocino County Superior Court’s judgment denying a petition for writ of mandate challenging a...more

California Supreme Court Poised To Decide Key CEQA Questions: The Court’s Lineup For 2015

The California Supreme Court’s involvement in CEQA cases has been relatively limited since he statute’s enactment in 1970, with the court taking  review of at most one or two appellate court decisions a year.  The last two...more

The Federal Surface Transportation Board Finds California Environmental Quality Act Preempted as Applied to High-Speed Rail...

In a surprising decision, Surface Transportation Board Decision, Docket No. FD35861, December 12, 2014 (“Docket”), the Federal Surface Transportation Board (“Board”) ruled that the application of the California Environmental...more

City of Los Angeles Outsources Defense of CEQA/Land Use Lawsuits To Private Law Firms – Developers To Foot The Bill

On December 16, the Los Angeles City Council unanimously authorized the City Attorney to establish a Land Use/CEQA Panel, which will consist of five municipal law firms, to defend the City in CEQA and land use lawsuits that...more

Second District Holds Short CEQA Statute Of Limitations Not Triggered By NOD That Fails To Provide Public Notice Of Material...

On December 15, 2014, the Second District Court of Appeal (Division 6) issued a pithy published opinion affirming the Ventura County Superior Court’s judgment. The judgment granted a peremptory writ of mandate requiring...more

Project Built at Variance With EIR Subject to Late CEQA Lawsuit

Ordinarily the threat of a lawsuit under the California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”) passes once the statute of limitation expires – in most cases 30 days after the filing of a Notice of Determination. But a recent...more

California Department of Fish and Wildlife Increases CEQA Document Filing Fees

Filing Fees for CEQA Notices of Determination Increase Effective Jan. 1 - The California Department of Fish and Wildlife will increase its filing fees for all CEQA Notices of Determination filed on or after Jan. 1. ...more

Conservation Easements Are Not Required As Mitigation For Permanent Loss Of Farmland

In Friends of the Kings River v. County of Fresno, the California Fifth District Court of Appeal upheld the County of Fresno’s adoption of an Environmental Impact Report for a mining operation that will result in a permanent...more

“Making CEQA A Federal Case? Recent Actions of California’s Supreme Court and the Federal Surface Transportation Board Set Up A...

Controversy has dogged the California high speed rail project since before its inception with the 2008 passage of Proposition 1A, the bond measure providing the project’s initial funding. The controversy has not abated in the...more

Surface Transportation Board Rules That ICCTA Preempts CEQA Review of California’s High-Speed Train System

On December 12, 2014, the Surface Transportation Board (STB) issued a decision, in response to a petition filed by the California High-Speed Rail Authority (Authority), finding that the Interstate Commerce Commission...more

Real Estate and Land Use - December 2014

San Diego Regional Sustainable Strategies Plan Invalidated; SANDAG Has Requested Supreme Court Review - Cleveland National Forest Foundation et al. v. San Diego Association of Governments (November 24, 2014) Fourth...more

High Speed Rail Moves Forward Without CEQA Review

The Surface Transportation Board (“STB”) issued a declaratory order in a 2-1 vote last Friday, finding that the California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”) is categorically preempted by federal law, as it relates to the...more

California High-Speed Rail: If You Build It, Will They Come?

“If your friends ask you what’s happening with that High-Speed Rail, you can tell them construction has started.” That’s what the Northern California Regional Director for the California High-Speed Rail Authority told us the...more

County of San Diego’s Adopted Climate Action Plan Violates CEQA: Fails to Include Enforceable GHG Reduction Measures

Sierra Club v. County of San Diego (10/29/14, D064243) - On October 29, 2014, the Fourth District California Court of Appeal unanimously affirmed the trial court’s decision in favor of Sierra Club, agreeing that the...more

Fifth District Rejects CEQA Challenge to Fresno County Aggregate Mine Project EIR In Partially Published Decision, Clarifies State...

In a lengthy, 65-page opinion filed December 8, 2014 (of which fully two-thirds was unpublished), the Fifth District Court of Appeal affirmed the Fresno County Superior Court’s judgment upholding the EIR, Conditional Use...more

Fourth District’s Split Decision Further Complicates CEQA Requirements Surrounding GHG Impact Analysis and Mitigation Measures –...

Cleveland National Forest Foundation v. San Diego Association of Governments (11/24/14, D063288) - In a split decision on November 24, 2014, the Fourth District California Court of Appeal invalidated the program EIR...more

Swing, Pendulum, Swing: California's Historic Drought and Unprecedented Responses

Most know by now that California is facing one of its driest years in recorded history. Yet droughts are not new to California, and to put things in context we can be thankful that current drought conditions are only as bad...more

Fourth District Publishes Another CEQA Decision Setting Aside San Diego Lead Agency’s EIR For Failure To Analyze And Mitigate GHG...

Having seen years of their lofty regional planning efforts come crashing back to Earth, San Diego government entities have had little to be thankful about so far this holiday season on the CEQA front. In an October 29...more

California Environmental Law and Policy Update - November 2014 #4

Environmental and Policy Focus: Coastal California residents using far less water - Associated Press - Nov 4: Residents in coastal communities use far less water than their inland counterparts, but still find ways to...more

Double Whammy for State Fuel Suppliers

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) is poised to readopt the Low-Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) regulation in early 2015. With its readoption, CARB hopes to put to rest challenges that required a redo of the environmental...more

Court Blocks Opponents’ Shot at Halting New Kings Arena

The court of appeal recently upheld legislation modifying several deadlines for CEQA review of a project that includes a proposed new arena for the Sacramento Kings, rejecting a claim the statute violates separation of...more

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