News & Analysis as of

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

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

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

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

City’s Decision to Not Prepare an EIR Upheld Under Substantial Evidence Standard

Earlier this month, in Latinos Unidos De Napa v. City of Napa, the California Court of Appeals upheld the city of Napa’s determination that it did not have to prepare an environmental impact report (EIR) under the California...more

Agricultural Sector Companies Face Increased Scrutiny on Human Rights-Related Risks

Agricultural sector companies, and companies with large agricultural supply chains, face new scrutiny from investors and other stakeholders concerning human rights-related risks in their corporate supply chains. Key issues...more

What Due Diligence is Due?

EPA answered the question in 2006 when it outlined All Appropriate Inquiry (AAI) in response to CERCLA revisions that made new defenses available to some categories of landowners. In its AAI Rule, EPA accepted ASTM Standard...more

Minor General Plan Housing Element Update Does Not Require New EIR

In the interests of finality, the California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”) places limits on additional environmental review once a government agency has already completed environmental review for a project. After an...more

The Oil and Gas Law Review: United States: California

In This Review: - I Introduction - II Legal And Regulatory Framework - III Licensing - IV Production Restrictions - V Assignments Of Interests - VI Tax - VII Environmental...more

Substantial Evidence Test Applies to Decision Not to Require Additional EIR

In Latinos Unidos de Napa v. City of Napa (1st Dist., Div. 1, 10/10/13, A134959), ___ Cal.App.4th ___, 2013, the court of appeal found no abuse of discretion in the City of Napa’s approval of revisions to the housing element...more

The EU looks at fracking: regulations taking shape

Hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," to extract shale gas from deep rock formations, has recently been much in the news in Europe. In October, the European Parliament, which was considering proposals for a revision of...more

Third District Holds CEQA Does Not Require Recirculation Based On Staff-Recommended Alternative Raised After Preparation of Final...

In a recent decision extensively analyzing and applying CEQA’s rules on alternatives analysis, recirculation, and a petitioner’s burden to show agency error, the Third District Court of Appeal affirmed the Nevada County...more

U.S. Bureau Of Land Management Issues Draft Proposal To Protect Nevada And Northeast California Greater Sage-Grouse

On November 1, 2013, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM), as lead agency, and the U.S. Forest Service (Service), as cooperating agency, issued the Nevada and Northeast California Greater Sage-Grouse Draft Land Use Plan...more

Environmental Groups Set Stage for Litigation Challenging BLM’s Proposed Hydraulic Fracturing Rulemaking with Claim That BLM Is...

Eighteen environmental organizations – lead by the Sierra Club – are claiming that the Bureau of Land Management (“BLM”) will violate the National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”) if it finalizes its proposed rulemaking...more

California Supreme Court Settles the CEQA Baseline Debate

A transportation authority planned a light-rail extension line and prepared an Environmental Impact Report (“EIR”). In analyzing traffic and air quality impacts, the EIR omitted an existing conditions baseline and instead...more

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