Environmental Assessments

News & Analysis as of

Real Estate and Land Use - August 2016 #2

Proactive Predevelopment for Successful P3s - A new report was recently published by the Urban Land Institute (ULI) called Successful Public/Private Partnerships: From Principles to Practice. The report provides valuable...more

The Social Cost of Carbon Passes Its First Judicial Test

Earlier this week, the 7th Circuit affirmed the Department of Energy’s new energy efficiency requirements for commercial refrigeration equipment. This is a big deal in its own right, simply because the numbers are really...more

New Alternative for Widening 55 Freeway Reduces Right-of-Way Impacts

For years, we’ve been working with our public agency clients during the environmental and design-phase to minimize right-of-way impacts with new infrastructure projects. Yet for many agencies, property acquisitions are an...more

CEQ Instructs Federal Agencies to Consider Climate Change Impacts During NEPA Reviews

On August 2, 2016, the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) released a Final Guidance for Federal Departments and Agencies on Consideration of Greenhouse Gas Emissions and the Effects of Climate Change in National...more

Aerial Emissions Are Not “Disposal” Under CERCLA

Last year, we told you about a district court case in which air emissions from a lead smelter that ultimately settled on the land and in a water body gave rise to liability under the Comprehensive Environmental Response,...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

California’s Precondemnation Right of Entry Statutes Upheld — With a Slight Judicial Tweak

For the last two-plus years, we have been waiting for guidance from the California Supreme Court on whether public agencies could utilize the statutory “right of entry” procedure to gain access to private property to conduct...more

Climate Change Opinions Don't Help Business; Data Do

We try to stay away from politics on the blog, so we were reluctant to take up the Sierra Club’s recent report concluding that if Donald Trump became president he would be unique among world leaders in his refusal to...more

D.C. Circuit Upholds FERC’s NEPA Analysis in Sabine Pass and Freeport LNG Projects

On June 28, 2016, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit rejected two related challenges to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s environmental review of the Sabine Pass LNG and Freeport LNG...more

Changed Dam Operations Not Subject to an Environmental Impact Statement Under NEPA

On June 21, 2016, a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit denied a petition for review of a decision of the Bonneville Power Administration to proceed with a change in the operation of the Albeni Falls Dam during the winter...more

NY offshore wind leasing advances

The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management is moving closer to leasing ocean sites offshore New York for commercial offshore wind development. On June 2, 2016, the Department of the Interior and BOEM announced the...more

Ontario Announces Five-Year Climate Change Action Plan

On June 8, 2016, the Ontario government (Government) released a five-year Climate Change Action Plan (Action Plan), which builds on the Government’s Climate Change Strategy released in November 2015, that set the long-term...more

B.C. Increases Potential Fines, Adds Administrative Penalties for Mining Law Violations

Since the 2014 Mount Polley tailings dam breach, the British Columbia government has made numerous changes to its mining regulatory regime. The most recent amendments, some of which came into force late last week,...more

The Great Debate, Part II: Canadian Government Appoints More People to Examine Proposed Trans Mountain Expansion Project

In January 2016, I wrote an article about the commencement of the new federal government’s promised review of its environmental assessment process. Given that the existing process has been an issue that has seriously divided...more

"SEC Issues Concept Release Seeking Feedback on Business and Financial Disclosure Requirements"

On April 13, 2016, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued a concept release seeking feedback on ways to modernize the business and financial disclosure requirements of Regulation S-K. The 341-page release...more

Ninth Circuit Rules Navy Satisfied NEPA in Considering Terror Threat to San Diego Facility

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit last week rejected a claim under the National Environmental Policy Act that the Navy did not adequately consider the environmental consequences of a potential terrorist threat...more

West Branch storage project relicensed

Earlier this month U.S. hydropower regulators issued a new license for the West Branch Project, which includes water storage facilities on the West Branch of the St. Croix River in Maine. The Federal Energy Regulatory...more

U.S.-Canada Arctic Partnership Calls for Collaboration with Native Americans, Alaska Natives

President Barack Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced in early March 2016 a new partnership to confront the challenges of a changing Arctic. The partnership calls for the involvement of key stakeholders...more

Williams Mullen Construction Industry Newsletter - Spring 2016

2016 begins with the issuance of this Construction Industry Newsletter, our fifth. In this issue, we have articles on vapor intrusion, liability for project design, enforcement of mechanic’s lien and bond waiver clauses, and...more

Estimating Upstream GHG Emissions

On Saturday, March 19, 2015, the Department of Environment and Climate Change Canada (“ECCC“) published its proposed methodology for estimating the upstream greenhouse gas (“GHG“) emissions associated with “major oil and gas...more

“Citizen Suits” Under China’s Revised Environmental Protection Law: A Watershed Moment In Chinese Environmental Litigation?

A little over a year ago, on January 1, 2015, China’s amended Environmental Protection Law (“EPL”) went into effect, representing a significant aspect of China’s concerted effort to place greater emphasis on environmental...more

Northern Gateway: British Columbia must Issue its Own Approval and Consult with First Nations

In Coastal First Nations v British Columbia (Environment), 2016 BCSC 34, the Court decided British Columbia must issue its own environmental decision and consult First Nations on the Northern Gateway Project (NGP), instead of...more

Interim Approach for Environmental Assessments

The newly elected Liberal federal government recently announced an interim approach for dealing with major projects subject to environmental assessments. The approach is part of the government’s effort to restore public...more

How Secure is that Government Order? Recent Case Law Says Not Very

Many manufacturers have found themselves in the position of negotiating an order with an environmental agency over environmental conditions at a site. Oftentimes, these orders are the result of extensive negotiations, and...more

Northern Gateway: BC Supreme Court Rules that British Columbia Must Issue its Own EA Decision and Consult First Nations

In Coastal First Nations v British Columbia (Environment), 2016 BCSC 34, the court decided British Columbia must issue its own environmental decision and consult First Nations on the Northern Gateway Project (NGP), instead of...more

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