News & Analysis as of

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

CEQA Bill to Protect Native American Cultural Resources Creates New Challenges and Opportunities for Project Applicants

On September 25, 2014, Governor Brown signed Assembly Bill 52 ("AB 52"), which modifies the California Environmental Quality Act ("CEQA") to add new protections for Native American cultural resources and enhances the role of...more

Bakken Crude-by-Rail Update: Transloading Projects Dealt a Setback in California

Recently, we covered environmental groups’ increasing array of state-law challenges to midstream and end users of Bakken crude that transport or receive oil by rail. Since then, a California regulator has admitted to...more

CEQA Alert: CEQA Does Not Apply to Approval of Proposed Railroad Operations – Express Preemption by ICCTA

California’s First Appellate District has held that federal law preempts CEQA’s application to the approval of proposed railroad operations. Although this was an issue of first impression for a California appellate court,...more

Environmental Review Required for Subdivision Map Approvals

On September 9, the Third District Court of Appeal held that tentative subdivision map approvals "always have at least the potential to cause" a direct or indirect physical change in the environment and thus are categorically...more

California Environmental Law and Policy Update - August 2014 #5

Environmental and Policy Focus: The California Supreme Court further limits the scope of CEQA review for voter-sponsored initiatives: Allen Matkins - Aug 11: Voter-driven initiatives meeting California Elections Code...more

Supreme Court Opens Escape Path From CEQA Via Citizens Initiative – Tuolumne Jobs & Small Business Alliance v. Superior Court

Why it matters: Project proponents may avoid CEQA altogether by gathering sufficient voter signatures and then having the local City Council approve the proposed project, without submitting the measure to a vote of the...more

California Supreme Court Holds No CEQA Review Required for a Voter Initiative-Sponsored Ordinance

In a relatively short decision, the California Supreme Court held in Tuolumne Jobs & Small Business Alliance v. Superior Court of Tuolumne County (Tuolumne Jobs) that the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) does not...more

Decision: Voter-Sponsored Local Land Use Initiatives Not Subject to Environmental Review

The proposed expansion of a Wal-Mart store into a Wal-Mart Supercenter in the City of Tuolumne, Calif. yielded a California Supreme Court decision that says city councils need not comply with CEQA before adopting a...more

Supreme Court Confirms CEQA Exemption for Voter-Sponsored Initiatives

In Tuolumne Jobs & Small Business Alliance v. Superior Court, No. S207173 (Supreme Court, Aug. 7, 2014), the California Supreme Court ruled that the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) does not apply when a lead...more

The California Supreme Court Further Limits the Scope of CEQA Review for Voter-Sponsored Initiatives in Tuolumne Jobs & Small...

Voter-driven initiatives meeting California Elections Code requirements may be adopted directly by local governments without first conducting a full review under the California Environmental Quality Act ("CEQA"), according to...more

CEQA Alert: California Supreme Court Holds No CEQA Review is Required for Adoption of Voter-Sponsored Initiatives

On August 7, the California Supreme Court filled the last gap in the interpretation of CEQA in the context of land use initiatives. Previously, the courts had determined that (1) CEQA compliance is required for land use...more

Will the California Supreme Court Close the Door to a CEQA Exemption the Legislature Has Refused to Close?

The California Supreme Court recently heard oral argument in Tuolumne Jobs & Small Business Alliance v. Superior Court, No. S207173 (case submitted May 28, 2014), a case that gives the Justices the opportunity to determine...more

Spring 2014 CEQA Roundup

It’s that time of year again – business mixers, the Giants in first place in the NL west, the school year winding down, the NBA and NHL playoffs in full swing, coastal whale migrations, California bursting with beautiful...more

Court Upholds Approvals for the Cadiz Valley Water Conservation, Recovery and Storage Project

Trial Court Validates Agreements and Plans for Large Public-Private Water Project and Approves CEQA Review - The Orange County Superior Court last week issued rulings rejecting all six challenges to the environmental...more

CEQA’s Standards For Subsequent Review To Be Addressed By Supreme Court

In a rare grant of review of an unpublished case, the California Supreme Court granted review on January 15, 2014 of the decision in Friends of the College at San Mateo Gardens v. San Mateo County Community College District...more

Application for State Funds Not A "Project" Under CEQA

In City of Irvine v. County of Orange (“City of Irvine”) (published and modified on November 22, 2013), the Fourth District Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s ruling that the County of Orange’s (“County”) application...more

All About “Commitment”: CEQA Review is Not Triggered By Orange County’s AB 900 Application For State Funding To Expand Existing...

In a decision recently ordered published, the Fourth District Court of Appeal added to the growing progeny of Save Tara, and affirmed the trial court’s judgment denying the City of Irvine’s writ petition seeking to compel...more

Adopting Thresholds of Significance Under CEQA Not Subject to CEQA Review

In California Building Industry Association v. Bay Area Air Quality Management District (CBIA) (Case No. A135335 (Cal. Ct. App. 1st, August 13, 2013)), the First District Court of Appeal overturned the trial court and held...more

San Francisco Takes Steps to Rationalize the CEQA Process

BOARD OF SUPERVISORS ADOPTS NEW CEQA APPEAL PROCEDURES - After nearly a year of effort (and after three previous unsuccessful tries by others), San Francisco Supervisor Scott Wiener crafted a California Environmental...more

California Supreme Court Redefines “Baseline” Under California Environmental Quality Act

The California Supreme Court has both resolved a split in the appellate courts and forged new law on the baselines agencies may use to assess projects’ environmental effects under CEQA. ...more

Like Athena From the Head of Zeus: Neighbors for Smart Rail Authorizes Future Baselines in CEQA Review

A new California Supreme Court decision, Neighbors for Smart Rail v. Exposition Metro Line Construction Authority, authorizes reliance on anticipated future conditions as the “baseline” for evaluating impacts of long-term...more

Seven Lawsuits Filed Challenging the Delta Stewardship Council’s Delta Plan and Environmental Review Document

Seven lawsuits challenging the Delta Stewardship Council’s Delta Plan and final environmental document were filed by the June 17 deadline. The groups challenging the Council’s actions represent a range of interests: export...more

The Courts Drag Parking Back into the California Environmental Quality Act - BB&K's Sarah Owsowitz and Stephanie Straka Explore...

It is a truth, universally acknowledged, that a Californian in possession of a car must be in want of a parking space. And, of course, this space should be free, just steps from your intended destination and available 24...more

Public Agency May Begin Eminent Domain Proceedings Before Completing CEQA Review, But May Not Actually Acquire The Property Until...

A racetrack landowner challenged a regional park district’s plan to condemn part of the property for construction of a bayside trail, asserting that the park district was required under eminent domain law and the California...more

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