Environmental Assessments

News & Analysis as of

CEQA Alert: Extensive Proposed Revisions to CEQA Guidelines Released for Public Comment

On August 11, 2015, the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research (“OPR”) released a preliminary discussion draft of comprehensive revisions to the CEQA Guidelines (“Discussion Draft”). Revisions to the CEQA...more

Federal District Court Strikes Down Eagle Act Rule

On August 11, 2015, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California struck down the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s so-called “30-Year Rule,” which had extended from 5 years to 30 years the duration of...more

Windfarm Industry Suffers Setback as Court Rejects 30 Year Eagle Permit Rule

On August 11, 2015, a district court in Silicon Valley remanded a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) rule issued in 2013 that had extended the potential term of incidental take permits under the Bald and Golden Eagle...more

Avoiding NEPA – Even for “Worthy Goals” – Is Never Advisable

From the very first day of my legal career, clients have asked me some variation of this question: “Why can’t we just prepare a shorter Environmental Assessment (EA) or even issue a Categorical Exclusion (no analysis at all)...more

Independent Study on California Fracking Released

The California Council on Science & Technology (“CCST”) recently released its Independent Study of well stimulation in California. The report was prepared for the California Natural Resources Agency in response to Senate Bill...more

Changing Protected Status of Land Requires CEQA Compliance

In Paulek v. Western Riverside County Regional Conservation Authority, the California Court of Appeals, Fourth District, held that removal of the protected status from a parcel of land still needs to comply with the...more

EPA Finds Low Potential Impacts on Drinking Water from Hydraulic Fracturing

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released a draft assessment study last week showing that hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) activities in the U.S. may have potential impacts on the water lifecycle, affecting drinking...more

Environmental Litigation, Compliance and Transactional Costs to Increase as a Result of EPA’s New Vapor Intrusion Guidance

Action Item: Vapor intrusion has been a primary concern of state and federal environmental agencies for the past decade, and, accordingly, remedial actions have included vapor migration and intrusion as an exposure pathway....more

Addressing Environmental Issues in Real Estate Development [Video]

Dealmakers sometimes overlook environmental issues when negotiating transactions, leaving important business and legal issues unaddressed until they inevitably pop up shortly before closing and send everyone scrambling. This...more

EPA Takes Positions on Vapor Intrusion

In a busy day for vapor intrusion, last week the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency made several announcements about vapor intrusion. First, it announced it had submitted a draft rule to the White House OMB seeking to...more

Emergency Work Can Modify a Project’s Environmental Baseline

CREED-21 v. City of San Diego (2015) 234 Cal.App.4th 488 - Why It Matters: This decision provides an important clarification of what constitutes the “environmental baseline” under the California Environmental Quality Act...more

When It Comes to Property Acquisitions and Private Development, Timing May Be Everything

As the old adage goes, the three most important things to consider with real estate are location, location, and location. But any developer who has lived through a real estate cycle, and any public agency that is under a...more

MARAD Issues Final Policy on Licensing Offshore Oil and LNG Export Facilities

The Maritime Administration (MARAD) issued its final policy on May 7, 2015, regarding the review and processing of applications for the export of oil and natural gas from offshore deepwater port facilities under the Deepwater...more

D.C. Circuit Upholds FERC Approval of Maryland Natural Gas Facility

On April 24, the D.C. Circuit issued its opinion in Myersville Citizens for a Rural Community v. FERC, upholding the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (“FERC” or the “Commission”) approval of Dominion Transmission’s...more

Environment Agency changes regulatory approach to existing onshore oil and gas facilities

Earlier this month, the Environment Agency (EA) published a new regulatory position statement on the environmental permitting of existing onshore oil and gas facilities (including shale gas facilities)....more

Trans Mountain Pipeline Project Hits the Courts

The Trans Mountain Expansion Project, which involves the proposed twinning of the existing Edmonton-Burnaby pipeline and the expansion of a marine terminal, was the subject of a number of court decisions last year involving...more

CEQA “Common Sense” Exemption Upheld; Environmental Baseline for Project Following Improvements Pursuant to an Emergency Exemption...

CREED-21 v. City of San Diego (2/18/2015, 4th Civil No. D064186) - The Fourth District Court of Appeal upheld a CEQA exemption related to the City of San Diego’s approval of a project comprising emergency storm drainage...more

Third District Rejects CEQA Challenge To Program EIR For California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Statewide Fish...

In a lengthy published decision filed February 10, 2015, and addressing consolidated appeals in three related actions, the Third District Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s judgment rejecting petitioner and appellant...more

North Carolina offshore wind environmental assessment

The U.S. Department of the Interior's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has released an environmental assessment of the impacts of leasing sites off the North Carolina coast for offshore wind projects. This milestone...more

California Publishes Two Statutorily Mandated Studies on Fracking and Other Oil and Gas Stimulation Methods

On January 14, 2015, the State of California released two anticipated studies concerning hydraulic fracturing, also known as “fracking,” in California pursuant to Senate Bill 4 (SB 4) enacted in 2013. The California Natural...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

Equal Access To Justice Act: Why Prevailing On Only 1 Out Of 3 Claims In Oregon Forestry Case Can Still Be Quite Rewarding

Generally, a failure rate of two-thirds would indicate that what you are doing isn't profitable. However, when dealing with environmental law, that clearly isn't the case. In Cascadia Wildlands v. Bureau of Land Management,...more

Environmental Impact Analysis — The Impact of a Project on the Environment or the Impact of the Environment on a Project?

Traditionally, environmental impact analysis, under NEPA and state analogs, has focused on the impacts that a proposed project may have on the environment. In Massachusetts, the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental...more

Significant Change to EPA’s “All Appropriate Inquiry” Rule

Performing a Phase I environmental site assessment has long been a routine, but integral part of the environmental due diligence in any transaction involving the acquisition of an interest in commercial and industrial real...more

EPA Announces Final Rule Eliminating ASTM Phase I ESA Standard E1527-05 from CERCLA “All Appropriate Inquiries Rule”

On October 6, 2014, the EPA announced a final rule amending the “All Appropriate Inquiries Rule” [40 CFR Part 312] (“AAI Rule”) for conducting environmental site investigations of potentially contaminated property....more

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