California Environmental Quality Act

News & Analysis as of

State Lands Commission’s CEQA Review of SF Bay/Delta Sand Mining Project Approval Is Adequate, But Fails to Fulfill Obligation to...

The First District Court of Appeal held the California State Lands Commission’s (“CSLC”) EIR for a project involving the lease of sovereign lands beneath San Francisco Bay for private dredge mining of sand complied with CEQA;...more

Crude-By-Rail Update: Siting a Crude Oil Transloading Terminal in California? Developers Should Seek Old Industrial Sites and...

Proposed crude-by-rail (CBR) projects in California increasingly face opposition lawsuits designed to stall and derail the terminals. The suits often focus on alleged noncompliance with the California Environmental Quality...more

Kern County Acts to Streamline Oil & Gas Permitting

In a process that took nearly three years to complete, on Monday, November 9, the Kern County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a significant change to its oil and gas regulations....more

California Environmental Law & Policy Update - November 2015 #1

Environmental and Policy Focus - MWD will try to buy Delta islands for water storage, habitat purposes: Los Angeles Times - Nov 10: The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD) board voted on Tuesday to...more

If A Tree Falls In The (Urban) Forest … Does CEQA Apply? Sixth District Holds City Of Santa Cruz’s Amendment Of Tree Protection...

When California local governments stretch their resources too far to regulate private conduct and property rights in the name of environmental protection, CEQA can make it quite onerous to undo what has been done. And one can...more

Environmental Justice Lawsuit Accuses L.A. of Discriminatory Oil Permitting

On Friday, November 6, three environmental organizations filed suit against the City of Los Angeles in California Superior Court for the County of Los Angeles. The three groups, Youth for Environmental Justice, the Center for...more

Berkeley Hillside CEQA Cat Ex Case Redux: Kapors Get Their Mansion, First District’s Belatedly Published Opinion Upholds City’s...

On remand following a landmark California Supreme Court decision, the First District Court of Appeal filed its opinion affirming the trial court’s judgment on September 23 and later ordered it published on October 15, 2015....more

Real Estate and Land Use - November 2015

CEQA Baseline Can Consider Historic Levels of Use - North County Advocates v. City of Carlsbad (2015)—Cal.App.4th—Case No. D066488: Why It Matters: This case addresses an important issue under CEQA relating to the...more

Second District Rejects CEQA And Fair Transit Hearing Challenges To LA Metro’s Westside Subway Extension Project In Lengthy...

In a 65-page opinion certified for publication and filed October 22, 2015, the Second Appellate District Court of Appeal affirmed the Los Angeles County Superior Court’s judgment denying writ petitions by the City of Beverly...more

Land Use Matters: Alston & Bird LLP, October 2015

At its October 27, 2015, meeting, the Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to create a new dedicated Affordable Housing Program budget unit and approved setting aside $100 million for the creation and operation of both...more

Are Regulatory Delays Exacerbating Drought Conditions?

As we enter the fall season, substantial portions of California and the Pacific Northwest are experiencing extreme to exceptional drought conditions. While conditions are better in Texas and other nearby states this year,...more

Satisfying State Compensatory Mitigation Requirements Under CEQA On Federal Conservation Lands: CDFW And BLM Agree To Cooperate To...

On October 2, 2015, the Bureau of Land Management (“BLM”) and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (“CDFW”) entered into a 12-page “agree[ment] to work with each other to conserve biological and natural resources on...more

Land Use & Natural Resources Case Law Update: Third Quarter 2015

The court of appeal upheld the City of Carson’s denial of an application to convert a mobilehome rental park to a subdivision of resident-owned lots. The city’s denial of the application was based on its inconsistency with...more

California's New Climate Era: SB 350 and Beyond

Two out of three ain’t bad. Climate change policy advocates may find themselves quoting Meat Loaf with the enactment of Senate Bill (SB) 350, which California’s Legislature passed last month and which Governor Jerry...more

California Supreme Court Hears Oral Argument in Case Challenging 2010 Bay Area Air Quality Management District Air Quality...

On October 7, 2015, the California Supreme Court heard oral argument in California Building Industry Association v. Bay Area Air Quality Management District (Supreme Court Case No. S213478), a case which calls into question...more

Fourth District Addresses CEQA Baseline Issues In Partially Published Opinion Upholding EIR For Carlsbad Shopping Mall Renovation

In an opinion filed September 10, and later ordered partially published on October 9, 2015, the Court of Appeal affirmed the substance of a judgment upholding an EIR for a regional shopping center renovation project in...more

California Governor Signs Legislation Establishing Significant New Energy Goals

Law Sets Standards Aimed at Addressing Climate Change - Today, Gov. Jerry Brown signed SB 350 into law, setting two ambitious climate change-related goals: a 50 percent increase in building energy efficiency, and a...more

Proposed CEQA Guidelines Amendments: A Critique of OPR’s “Preliminary Discussion Draft” (Part II – Proposed “Substance” and Major...

On September 18, 2015, I posted a “Part I” piece on the “efficiency improvements” category of OPR’s Preliminary Discussion Draft of its “Proposed Updates to the CEQA Guidelines” (the “Discussion Draft”). This follow up post...more

CEQA Guidelines Comments: Once In a Generation Chance

The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) directs that certain proposed projects undergo environmental review to assess and mitigate significant environmental impacts. The CEQA Guidelines provide procedures and...more

Modernizing the Review Process or Just More Busy Work?

Those who have worked on the permitting and environmental review for a federally funded infrastructure project know the challenges that exist in coordinating with numerous agencies that may have oversight over a project. A...more

Real Estate and Land Use - September 2015 #2

Use It or Lose It: San Clemente Required to Refund $10 Million in Unused Impact Fees: Walker v. City of San Clemente (August 28, 2015, G050552) - Why It Matters: In a strict reading of a local agency’s...more

Land Use Matters: Alston & Bird LLP, September 2015

The 1st District Court of Appeal invalidated the use of a statutory exemption applicable to the State Lands Commission’s (SLC) approval of a land exchange. The land exchange related to the 8 Washington Street Project, which...more

First District Applies CEQA Exhaustion/Standing Rules, Upholds Judgment Rejecting Claim of Statutory Exemption for Controversial...

In a published decision filed September 17, 2015, the First District Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s judgment granting a writ of mandate and finding that a proposed land exchange agreement was not statutorily...more

California Releases its First Draft of its Alternatives Analysis Guide (AA Guide)

All manufacturers and sellers of consumer products into California should take note. California has just released its first draft of stage one of its Alternatives Analysis Guide (AA Guide). ...more

Attorney Fees Are Improper Where The Services Were Not A Catalyst For Municipal Action Under CEQA

In Coalition for a Sustainable Future in Yucaipa v. City of Yucaipa, 2015 DJDAR 7857, the California Court of Appeal for the Fourth Appellate District decided an interesting case under the California Environmental Quality Act...more

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