California Environmental Quality Act

News & Analysis as of

California Court of Appeal Partially Upholds Air Quality Thresholds of Significance Following State Supreme Court Decision

In a published decision, following the Supreme Court’s decision in California Building Industry Association v. Bay Area Air Quality Management District (2015) 62 Cal.4th 369, the First District Court of Appeal upheld...more

Supreme Court Depublishes Quirky Fourth District CEQA/General Plan Decision

On August 17, 2016, the California Supreme Court ordered the Fourth District’s opinion in People for Proper Planning v. City of Palm Springs (2016) 247 Cal.App.4th 640 to be depublished, rendering it unciteable and of no...more

Statutory CEQA Reform Proposal (SB 122) Reemerges With Optional Expedited Record Preparation Provisions Unchanged; Fleshes Out OPR...

About one year after being placed in the California Legislature’s “Inactive File,” SB 122 (concerning concurrent preparation of the CEQA administrative record and OPR electronic database) is back “off the shelf.” The bill...more

Sweeping Six-Case Win For Water District Helps Secure Orange County's Water Supply

In early May, the Fourth District Court of Appeal took an important step toward helping to secure Orange County’s water supply. It issued several opinions in response to challenges to a proposed public-private partnership...more

Court’s Tentative Decision Sides in Favor of DOGGR in CBD’s Wastewater Injection Lawsuit

As reported in a previous blog post, Earthjustice, on behalf of the Center for Biological Diversity (“CBD”), filed a lawsuit against the California Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources (“DOGGR”) in May 2015. The...more

[Event] Nossaman's 2016 Environmental and Land Use Seminar - September 13th, Costa Mesa, CA

Join us for our annual Environmental and Land Use Law Update! This complimentary morning seminar will be comprised of panel discussions on a spectrum of critical federal and state environment and land use issues, including...more

“CEQA-In-Reverse” Case on Remand: First District Holds BAAQMD’s 2010 Air Pollutant Thresholds Not Facially Invalid, But Can’t Be...

In a published decision filed August 12, 2016, following remand from the California Supreme Court after its landmark “CEQA-in-reverse” decision, the First District Court of Appeal reversed the trial court’s judgment and...more

Real Estate and Land Use - August 2016

Court of Appeal Holds EIR Inadequately Analyzed Energy Impacts - Ukiah Citizens for Safety First v. City of Ukiah et al. (248 Cal.App.4th 256) (partially published) - Why It Matters: The California Court of Appeal...more

Sixth District Holds CEQA’s “Fair Argument” Test Inapplicable To City Of San Jose’s Discretionary Determination That 1922 Wooden...

A project that may cause a substantial adverse change in the significance of a “historical resource” may, for that reason, have a significant effect on the environment for purposes of CEQA. (Pub. Resources Code, § 21084.1.)...more

Holland & Knight SCAG Update Report: CEQA Litigation Abuse Hurts Infill Housing

Following up on their 2015 report covering all CEQA lawsuits filed during the 2010-2012 period, Holland & Knight lawyers Jennifer Hernandez, David Friedman and Stephanie DeHerrera recently released a portion of the sequel –...more

When Will They Ever Learn? CBD Files Another Questionable Lawsuit Against DOGGR

On August 3, 2016, the Center for Biological Diversity (“CBD”) filed suit against the California Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources (“DOGGR”) and the State Water Resources Control Board (“Water Board”),...more

First District Rejects CEQA Challenge To “Plan Bay Area” Sustainable Communities Strategy EIR As Premised On Fundamental...

In a 58-page published opinion filed June 30, 2016, the First District Court of Appeal affirmed the Alameda County Superior Court’s judgment upholding the Metropolitan Transportation Commission’s (MTC) and Association of Bay...more

California Supreme Court Upholds Right of Entry Statutes, but "Reforms" them to Comply with Constitution

When public agencies analyze a potential public project, they often need to gain access to private property for surveys, testing, and to otherwise investigate whether a particular property is suitable for a planned project. ...more

Prevailing Parties in Land Use Litigation May Recover Attorney’s Fees for Preparation of Administrative Record

On July 28, 2016, in a case of first impression, the Court of Appeal for the Sixth Appellate District held that labor costs for attorneys and paralegals to prepare the administrative record in a land use case are recoverable...more

Second District Upholds Application of CEQA’s Class 3 Categorical Exemption For New Small Structures To City’s Approval of Small...

In a published opinion filed July 21, 2016, the Second District Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s judgment rejecting plaintiffs/residential neighbors’ (“Appellants”) CEQA challenge to the City of Redondo Beach’s...more

"In the Name of the Environment" Update - 13,946 Housing Units – and 200-bed Homeless Shelter – Targeted by Recent CEQA Lawsuits...

Holland & Knight's West Coast Land Use and Environment Practice Group has provided an update to its "In the Name of the Environment" report, detailing California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) lawsuits that targeted housing...more

Discovery Rule Does Not Postpone Accrual of CEQA Cause of Action; Events Specified In CEQA Statute of Limitations Provide...

In a short but significant published opinion filed July 19, 2016, the First District Court of Appeal affirmed the San Francisco County Superior Court’s judgment of dismissal following the sustaining of demurrers (without...more

California Environmental Law & Policy Update - July 2016 #4

Environmental and Policy Focus - Metropolitan Water District completes $175-million purchase of Delta islands - Los Angeles Times - Jul 18 - Metropolitan Water District (MWD) this Monday completed the...more

Land Use Matters: Alston & Bird LLP, July 2016

Land Use Matters provides information and insights into legal and regulatory developments, primarily at the Los Angeles City and County levels, affecting land use matters, as well as new CEQA appellate decisions. Please...more

Unsubstantiated Challenges to an Agency’s Conditional Use Permit Findings Will Not Fly

Developing real property in California is notoriously difficult. Given minimal standing requirements, project opponents can and do tie up and delay new development for the mere cost of a filing fee. In order to prevail in...more

Court Rejects General Plan Consistency Challenge Regarding City’s Approval of Franchise Retail Store Where Applicable Economic...

Numerous California communities regulate broad economic development objectives through general plan goals and policies intended to encourage and support small businesses or to ensure the compatibility of new commercial...more

Fourth District Holds Non-Expert Opinion Fails To Support “Fair Argument” Under CEQA That Approval of Non-Regional Retail Store In...

In an opinion filed June 15, and ordered partially published on July 13, 2016, the Fourth District Court of Appeal reversed the trial court’s judgment requiring the County of San Bernardino to prepare an EIR instead of a...more

CEQA Remedies Statute Does Not Authorize Appellate Court To Issue Writ And Supervise Compliance On Direct Appeal, Holds Second...

In the published part of a partially published opinion filed July 11, 2016, the Second Appellate District Court of Appeal held that Public Resources Code § 21168.9 does not authorize an appellate court to issue and supervise...more

AEP Launches New CEQA Portal Website As Compliance Resource

The Association of Environmental Professionals (AEP) has developed a new CEQA reference website designed to provide detailed, authoritative, and easy to understand information on CEQA and CEQA compliance. While the site went...more

Supreme Court CEQA Subsequent Review Case Briefing Completed And Case Submitted (Apparently)

As a brief follow up to my earlier posts of April 26, May 4, and May 12, 2016, it appears that supplemental and amicus briefing has ended and that the matter has now been submitted for decision in the important Supreme Court...more

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