Environmental Impact Report

News & Analysis as of

Court Clarifies "Taking" Of Endangered Species And Highlights What's "Enough" Under CEQA

In Ctr. for Biological Diversity v. Dep’t of Fish & Wildlife, No. B245141 (Cal. Ct. App. 2d Dist. Mar. 20, 2014), the appellate court reversed the trial court’s decision, which found that the Department of Fish and Wildlife’s...more

Some CEQA Reminders From The Third District: Urban Decay Requires Actual Mitigation When Identified By EIR As A Significant...

In a lengthy opinion filed February 28, 2014, and ordered partially published on April 1, 2014, the Third District Court of Appeal reversed the Yolo County Superior Court’s judgment denying a CEQA writ petition challenging...more

City Fails to Adequately Mitigate "Urban Decay" and Energy Impacts of Big Box Retail Project

In the latest decision addressing challenges to "big box" projects under the California Environmental Quality Act ("CEQA"), on February 28, 2014, the California Court of Appeal invalidated the approval of a retail project in...more

Second District Addresses Interesting CEQA and CESA Species Mitigation Issues in Lengthy Partially Published Opinion Upholding...

In a lengthy, mostly published opinion filed on March 20, 2014, the Second District Court of Appeal reversed the trial court’s judgment granting a writ of mandate, and upheld – as against state law challenges brought by a...more

Take That! Second District Court of Appeal Clears Major Hurdles for Newhall Ranch Project, Provides Guidance on California’s...

California’s Second District Court of Appeal, Division Five, issued a decision on March 20 in Center for Biological Diversity v. Department of Fish & Wildlife (Case No. BS131347), overturning the trial court’s decision...more

Ruling May Put The Brakes On Some CEQA Investigations

For years, public agencies have utilized a statutory "right-of-entry" procedure to gain access to private property to conduct investigations and testing before deciding whether to move forward with a condemnation action....more

EPA Approves the New Phase I Standard

Many in the construction industry are familiar with Phase I testing as the first step in identifying environmental risk to any site. Since 2005, the industry standard for a Phase I has been the ASTM E 1527-05. Recently,...more

9th Circ. Reminds BOEM About The Importance Of Evidence

On Jan. 22, 2014, the Ninth Circuit held that the final environmental impact statement ("FEIS") and supplemental environmental impact statement ("SEIS") regarding the effects of proposed leases for oil and gas development in...more

Ninth Circuit Upholds NEPA and NHPA Analysis for Hawaii High-Speed Rail System

On February 18, 2014, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected challenges under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), and the Department of Transportation Act to the...more

There May Be Trouble Ahead: Legal Challenges on Home Turf Threaten U.S. Ex-Im Bank Funding for Foreign Mining Projects

The Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) is facing a new wave of legal challenges related to the financing of natural resource projects outside of the US, and which threaten to de-rail one of Western...more

Nebraska Court Stalls Keystone XL Pipeline, Declares Governor’s Approval Unconstitutional

On Wednesday, a Nebraska trial court struck down a state law allowing Governor Dave Heineman’s to approve the proposed route for TransCanada Corp.’s Keystone XL Pipeline. The decision comes just weeks after the State...more

Specific Plan EIRs and Exemptions for Follow-On Actions

The 2013 legislative session began with high hopes that California’s landmark environmental law – the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) – would be reformed. Developers, builders, and public agencies across the state...more

CEQA Requires CalTrans’ EIR to Separately Analyze Significance of Highway Project’s Impacts on Protected Old Growth Redwoods’ Root...

In a partially-published opinion filed January 30, 2014, the First District Court of Appeal, Division 3, reversed the trial court’s judgment denying a writ petition, and held that Caltrans must correct certain deficiencies in...more

CEQA Action Seeking to Avoid LAFCO Annexation and SOI Change Approvals is Dismissed for Failure to Comply with Procedural...

The lessons taught by the Fifth District Court of Appeal in its recently-published decision in Protect Agricultural Land v. Stanislaus County Local Agency Formation Commission (City of Ceres, RPI), ___ Cal.App.4th ___, 2014...more

Caltrans EIR Analysis of Impacts to Redwoods Found Inadequate

In Trisha Lee Lotus v. Caltrans (Jan. 30, 2014), the First District Court of Appeal reversed a Humboldt County Superior Court decision, and ruled that a California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) environmental impact...more

Court Tosses Challenge to Approval of Annexation and Change in Sphere of Influence

Court Decision Benefits Public Agencies and Land Developers Defending CEQA and LAFCO Challenges - A California appellate court confirmed that once a Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) approves an annexation or a...more

Ninth Circuit Finds Environmental Document for Chukchi Sea Lease Sale Violates NEPA

On January 22, 2014, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that the Final Environmental Impact Statement ("FEIS") and Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement ("SEIS") regarding the effects of...more

BOEM Gives a Lesson on How Not To Survive NEPA Review

Last week, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with the plaintiffs that the Environmental Impact Statement issued by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management to support oil and gas leasing in the Chukchi Sea was flawed. ...more

City Not Required to Analyze Impacts of Existing Soil Contamination

In Parker Shattuck Neighbors v. Berkeley City Council, the Court of Appeal determined that impacts from existing soil contamination on a project’s construction workers or future occupants was not an environmental impact under...more

Preparation of EIR Not Required for Ordinance Banning Single-Use Plastic Bags and Establishing Fee for Paper and Noncompostable...

After the City and County of San Francisco (“San Francisco”) enacted an ordinance expanding existing restrictions on the use of plastic shopping bags by retail establishments, an industry group that has filed several lawsuits...more

Contaminated but Remediated Soil and Cortese Listing Does Not Compel Preparation of EIR

As 2013 came to a close, the California court of appeal in Parker Shattuck Neighbors v. Berkeley City Council (1st Dist., Div. 4, 12/30/13, A136873) ___Cal.App.1st___, 2013, upheld the City of Berkeley’s decision not to...more

General Statements About Future Expansion Do Not Trigger NEPA “Cumulative Impact” Analysis Requirement For CWA Section 404 Permit

In a ruling that stands to benefit project proponents, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, in Jones v. National Marine Fisheries Service, Case No. 11-35954 (9th Cir., Dec. 20, 2013), found that the Army Corps of Engineers...more

Vapor Intrusion Risk Insufficient to Trigger EIR for Urban Infill Project

In Parker Shattuck Neighbors, et al. v. Berkeley City Council, et. al. (First Appellate District, December 30, 2013) (“Shattuck Neighbors”), the court upheld the City of Berkeley’s approval of a mitigated negative declaration...more

Expert Testimony Recommending Vapor Intrusion Study is Insufficient Evidence of Health Effects, Does Not Trigger Need for EIR

After the Berkeley City Council (“City”) approved a mixed-use commercial and residential project on the site of a former car dealership and service garage, a community group sued, claiming that pre-existing contamination on...more

“Bag It!” – Third Published CEQA “Bag Ban” Decision Upholds San Francisco’s Ordinance as Categorically Exempt While Slamming...

Plaintiff Save the Plastic Bag Coalition (Coalition) lost a third consecutive published appellate decision in its litigation campaign to require EIRs for virtually all local ordinances that ban or restrict the use of...more

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