Environmental Assessments

News & Analysis as of

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

Prospective Real Estate Purchasers Should Demand ASTM E 1527-13 Environmental Phase I Reports

Beginning on October 6, 2015, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will require prospective purchasers of real estate to use the new ASTM E1527-13 Phase I Environmental Assessment (Phase I) standard (2013...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

EPA Deletes Reference To ASTM Phase I Assessment Standard In CERCLA “All Appropriate Inquiries” Rule

EPA on October 6, 2014, issued a final rule amending its “All Appropriate Inquiries” (AAI) rule under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) by removing a reference to a 2005 ASTM...more

The Future of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Exports under the Department of Energy’s Revised Review Process

During the last two years, we have seen the U.S. Department of Energy (“DOE”) pick up the pace in granting conditional authorizations for companies to export liquefied natural gas (“LNG”) to countries that do not have a Free...more

Environmental Due Diligence: A Practical Guide to Environmental Site Assessments Part 2

If after a Phase I ESA, the EP determines further investigation is warranted, that more invasive investigation takes the form of a Phase II ESA. The primary purpose in conducting a Phase II ESA is to evaluate any REC(s)...more

BLM Agrees to Complete Hydraulic Fracturing EIS for Leases in California

A recent agreement between environmentalists and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) may open the floodgates to challenges of the sufficiency of Environmental Assessments (EA) or Environmental Impact Statements (EIS) for oil...more

D.C. Circuit Rules that FERC May Not Segment Its Evaluation of the Environmental Impact of Related Natural Gas Pipeline...

The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals recently issued an opinion holding that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) violated the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) when it segmented its evaluation of the...more

Fish and Wildlife Announces In-Depth Review of Eagle Management Policy

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced last week that it intended to conduct either a NEPA environmental assessment (EA) or an environmental impact statement (EIS) concerning its bald and golden eagle management...more

More Pipeline Development Projects: What America Needs

National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”) challenges to pipeline projects and other natural gas infrastructure have become a commonplace tool in recent years for environmental groups seeking to defeat or delay midstream...more

EPA Proposes Change to Environmental Due Diligence Rule For Property Transactions

For the second time in a year, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed to amend the “all appropriate inquiry” rule under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA). ...more

DOE Announces Fundamental Shift in LNG Export Authorization Policy

On Thursday, 29 May 2014, the U.S. Department of Energy (“DOE”) announced a proposed change to the procedures it will use to process applications to export LNG to non-free trade agreement (“non-FTA”) countries. This is a...more

New Standard for Environmental Assessments Gaining Traction

The American Society for Testing and Materials ("ASTM") standard for Environmental Assessments was revised in 2013 for the first time since 2005. The Department of Housing and Urban Development has now adopted the updated...more

Mainebiz Real Estate Insider – Environmental Patience: Take the Time to Do It Right

Picture this: You are negotiating the purchase of commercial real estate. You are working hard to keep costs down and get the deal done. Someone – your lawyer or your lender – starts making noises about environmental due...more

Fifth District Says Show Me the Health Impacts, Not Just the Numbers

In a decision that will likely impact projects all across the state, the Court of Appeal for the Fifth Appellate District issued its second major CEQA decision of the year, finding that when a project will result in pollutant...more

Developer-Prepared Cost Comparisons Can Show Economic Infeasibility Under CEQA

SPRAWLDEF et al. v. San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission et al., (Waste Connections, Inc.) (1st Dist., Div. 1, 4/29/2014, A137619), ___Cal.App.1st, 05/28/2014 In a precedent-setting decision, the...more

Governor’s Office Looks To Fix California’s “Unsustainable” Groundwater Management System

Last week, the Office of the Governor released the first draft of proposed legislation intended to address the state’s “unsustainable” groundwater management system. According to the Governor’s Office, several factors make...more

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