News & Analysis as of

Fourth District Expounds On CEQA’s Responses To Comments Rules – And Abuses of the Process – As Well As Other Issues In Upholding...

In an opinion filed June 12 and ordered published on July 6, 2015, the Fourth District Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s judgment upholding a supplemental EIR (“SEIR 564”) for a long-planned expansion of the James A....more

California Environmental Law & Policy Update - July 2015 #2

Environmental and Policy Focus - California Approves Drought Curb on Sacramento River Flows - Sacramento Bee - Jul 8: California regulators gave final approval on Tuesday to a controversial drought plan to restrict the...more

California Superior Court Denies PANNA Petition for Writ of Mandate

On June 16, 2015, the California Superior Court for the County of Almeda denied the petition of the Pesticide Action Network North America, et al. (PANNA) for a writ of mandate to direct the California Department of Pesticide...more

Neighbors’ Noise Complaints Trigger EIR

Keep Our Mountains Quiet v. County of Santa Clara - Why It Matters: The Sixth District Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s holding that preparation of an EIR was required for the approval of a use permit to allow...more

DOGGR Releases Final Well Stimulation EIR

Yesterday, July 1, 2015, pursuant to Senate Bill 4 (“SB 4”) the State Oil & Gas Supervisor Steven Bohlen, head of the Department of Conservation’s Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources (“DOGGR”), certified a Final...more

A CEQA Trustee Agency “Muscles Up”: Third District Holds Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Newly Exercised Power To Require Notice...

Under CEQA, a “trustee agency” is a “state agency having jurisdiction by law over natural resources affected by a project which are held in trust for the people of the State of California” and “[t]he California Department of...more

CEQA Categorical Exemption Case Opinion Ordered Slightly Modified By Supreme Court; Berkeley Hillside Preservation Judgment Is...

On May 27, 2015, the California Supreme Court filed a 4-page order modifying portions of the majority and concurring opinions previously filed March 2, 2015, in Berkeley Hillside Preservation v. City of Berkeley (2015) 60...more

Court Rules Planned Development of Banning Ranch May Proceed

In Banning Ranch Conservancy v. City of Newport Beach (filed 5/20/2015, No. G049691), the California Court of Appeal, Fourth District, held the Environmental Impact Report prepared by the City of Newport Beach for the partial...more

California's Office of Planning and Research Releases Draft Technical Advisory for Formal Native American Consultations Under AB...

Comments on the Draft Advisory due by June 1 - The Office of Planning and Research released a Draft Advisory earlier this month entitled “Discussion Draft Technical Advisory: AB 52 and Tribal Cultural Resources in CEQA”...more

Sixth District Applies CEQA’s “Fair Argument” Standard, Holds That Despite Project’s Compliance With Local Noise Ordinance, EIR...

On May 7, 2015, the Sixth District Court of Appeal filed a published opinion addressing numerous issues of interest under CEQA’s “fair argument” test for preparing an Environmental Impact Report (“EIR”). Keep Our Mountains...more

CEQA Judicial Outcomes: Fifteen Years of Reported California Appellate and Supreme Court Decisions

This report analyzes all published opinions from 1997 through 2012 litigated to the California Court of Appeal or the California Supreme Court concerning the analytical validity of an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) or...more

Abuse of Discretion Not Shown By Court’s Failure To “Show Its Arithmetic” in Significantly Reducing Claimed Attorney Fees in CEQA...

In Save Our Uniquely Rural Community Environment v. County of San Bernardino, __ Cal.App.4th ___, 2015 WL 1259781 (4th Dist., Div. 2, 2015) (SOURCE) , the Fourth District Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s decision...more

Ruling Complicated Use of CEQA's Categorical Exemptions

Categorical exemptions from environmental review under the California Environmental Quality Act, or CEQA, do not apply to projects involving a reasonable possibility of a significant effect on the environment due to unusual...more

Real Estate and Land Use - March 2015

Be Careful What You Agree To (City of San Marcos v. Loma San Marcos, LLC) - Why It matters: The Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court decision upholding an agreement between the City of San Marcos and a property owner...more

Is California Really Going to Mandate an 80% Reduction in Greenhouse Gases Below 1990 Levels by 2050?

The California Supreme Court has elevated the stakes even further on what has already developed into a critically important question for the future of greenhouse gas (GHG) regulation in the state. On March 11, 2015, the...more

CEQA Alert UPDATE: Petitions for Review Filed in Greenhouse Gas and ICCTA Preemption Cases

As previously reported, two decisions by California’s Fourth Appellate District in late 2014 highlighted CEQA compliance challenges facing local governments charged with implementing state and local greenhouse gas emissions...more

CEQA Review of Sacramento Kings Downtown Arena Project Held Legally Adequate In Published Third District Opinion

In a published opinion filed February 18, 2015, the Third District Court of Appeal rejected all legal challenges to the City of Sacramento’s EIR and CEQA compliance for approval of its new downtown entertainment and sports...more

California Supreme Court Issues CEQA Ruling Regarding Categorical Exemptions - The Practical Result of the Court's Decision Is...

The California Supreme Court issued its opinion in Berkeley Hillside Preservation v. City of Berkeley (Case No. S201116), overturning the Court of Appeal and charting a course for the future application of categorical...more

California Supreme Court Construes CEQA’s “Unusual Circumstances” Exception to Categorical Exemptions in Berkeley Hillside...

In a 46-page majority opinion written by Justice Chin and joined by four other justices, punctuated by an 18-page concurring opinion (by Justice Liu, joined by Justice Werdegar) which reads like a dissent, the California...more

Big House CEQA Exemption on Firm Foundation

The Berkeley Hillside Preservation association wasn’t thrilled with a new neighbor’s plans to demolish an existing house and build a 6,478-square-foot house with an attached 3,394-square-foot 10-car garage on a slope in the...more

Sacramento Kings Win Again; Second CEQA Challenge Rejected

Saltonstall v. City of Sacramento (2/18/2015, 3d Civil No. C077772). The Court of Appeal for the Third Appellate District of California has ruled in favor of the City of Sacramento with regard to a series of challenges...more

California Supreme Court Announces New Test for CEQA “Unusual Circumstances” Exception

Berkeley Hillside Preservation v. City of Berkeley (2015) ___ Cal.4th ___, Case No. S201116 - This week the California Supreme Court issued its long-awaited decision in the Berkeley Hillside case, which considered...more

It’s Not Unusual: California Supreme Court Declines to Expand “Unusual Circumstances” Exception to CEQA Categorical Exemptions

In an important and highly anticipated decision under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), the California Supreme Court overturned a Court of Appeal’s decision that would have severely limited public agencies’...more

California Supreme Court Establishes the Standard of Review for the Unusual Circumstances Exception to CEQA Categorical Exemptions...

Breathing life into the use of CEQA categorical exemptions, on March 2, 2015, the California Supreme Court held that a reasonable possibility that a project may result in significant effects on the environment alone is not...more

Government & Regulatory Law Update March 2015: California Supreme Court Issues Decision in Berkeley Hillside Preservation v. City...

On March 2, 2015, the California Supreme Court issued its long awaited opinion in Berkeley Hillside Preservation v. City of Berkeley (“Berkeley”). The opinion clarifies two important issues relating to the California...more

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