Environmental Policies

News & Analysis as of

Bright Line Rule: Collateral Estoppel Precludes Attacks on Quasi-Judicial Permit Decisions (But Stay Tuned: Rehearing Granted on...

Simply stated: “[a] collateral attack is not a substitute for an appeal” reasoned the Second Appellate District Court in Bowman v. California Coastal Commission (2nd Dist., Div. 6, 03/18/2014, B243015) ___Cal.App.2nd___,...more

Ohio Links Earthquakes to Fracking, Toughens Drilling Rules Near Fault Lines

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) is tightening permit conditions for horizontal drillers after a report from state geologists found a “probable connection” between hydraulic fracturing and a string of small...more

Wrap-up of Federal Chemical Regulatory Developments for April 2014

EPA Makes TSCA Notifications Of Substantial Risk Amendable To Electronic Reporting: On March 19, 2014, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that notifications of substantial risk under Section 8(e) of the...more

Improvements Proposed to Regulations Governing Petitions to the California State Water Resources Control Board

Anyone who has challenged the action or inaction of a Regional Water Quality Control Board (“Regional Board”) knows that more often than not, by the time the State Water Resources Control Board (“State Board”) takes action on...more

Enforcement of Municipal Stormwater Ordinances Is Tricky Business: Failure to Enforce an Ordinance Required Under a Permit Is Not...

Stormwater pollution has become an increasingly important problem. Part of the difficulty in solving it is that it’s not obvious who should be responsible. Should cash-strapped municipalities be on the hook or should it be...more

Second Chance at a Hydraulic Fracturing Moratorium Moves Past First Major Obstacle

Senator Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles) and other supporters of SB 1132 cleared their first major hurdle in their renewed effort to place a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing and other forms of well stimulation treatment in...more

EPA Asks STB to Resolve Preemption Question

The Administrator of Region IX of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has petitioned the Surface Transportation Board (STB) for a declaratory order to address whether locomotive idling rules issued by the South Coast...more

Ohio Imposes New Fugitive Emissions Rules on Horizontal Drillers

The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA) has announced new requirements for horizontal drillers aimed at reducing air pollution from so-called “fugitive emissions,” which are generally caused by leaking valves or...more

EPA’s Residual Permitting Authority

Continuing on the stormwater theme I began in my last post, the next topic I intend to cover is EPA’s so-called “residual” authority under the Clean Water Act. The statute specifically requires stormwater permits for...more

Hydraulic Fracturing Update: Legal Developments and Trends

On a March 18, 2014 webcast, a panel of senior US Latham & Watkins lawyers from our Environmental Department provided an overview of recent key developments related to hydraulic fracturing. Presented below are answers to some...more

SB 743: Tinkering with CEQA for the future

After more than 40 years on the books, the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) continues to be the focus of contentious legislation seeking to reform the environmental law that dominates land development throughout...more

Virginia Environmental Regulatory Developments (February 2014)

A. Fast Track Regulations - 1. 9VAC5-10. General Definitions (Rev. D13) (amending 9VAC5-10-20). Statutory Authority: § 10.1-1308 of the Code of Virginia; federal Clean Air Act (§§ 110, 111, 123, 129, 171, 172,...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

CEQA Alert: Court of Appeal Addresses Inadequate Blight/Urban Decay Mitigation and Energy Impact Analyses

In California Clean Energy Committee v. City of Woodland (opinion filed 2/28/14; partial publication ordered 4/1/14), the Third Appellate District ruled that the City of Woodland violated the California Environmental Quality...more

Harrisburg Highlights from Second and State – The Week of April 7

Both the House and Senate will convene for voting sessions Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday this week. On Tuesday, be prepared to see red in and about the Capitol Building as part of the 7th annual Bayada Home Health Care...more

No Bull: Santa Cruz County Rodeo Qualifies for CEQA Exemption

In Citizens for Environmental Responsibility v. State of California ex rel. 14th District Agricultural Association, et al. (3rd App. Dist., March 26, 2014), the appellate court affirmed the trial court’s decision to exempt a...more

District Court Upholds Controversial Settlement Agreements Between U.S. Fish And Wildlife Service And Environmental Groups

This week, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia upheld two settlement agreements – one between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) and WildEarth Guardians, and the other between the Service...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

EPA Issues Guidance On American Iron And Steel Requirement For $2.4 Billion In FY 2014 Clean Water And Drinking Water State...

On January 17, 2014, President Obama signed into law the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2014 (the "2014 Appropriations Act"), which requires the use of specific American iron and steel ("AIS") products in (1) all...more

EU Environment Report

In This Issue: - Climate Change: ..ETS exemption for flights outside Europe rejected by EP Environment Committee - Chemicals: ..ECHA sends legally binding letters to companies which have registered...more

White House Unveils Plan to Curb Methane Emissions

Last week, the White House announced its new plan to cut methane emissions, the tenants of which could have far reaching implications for the oil and gas industry. Titled the “Strategy to Reduce Methane Emissions,” the plan...more

California Water Board Finalizes New Water Quality Requirements for Industrial Facility Storm Water Discharges

For the first time in 17 years, industrial facilities in California must contend with a new set of legal requirements controlling storm water. On April 1, 2014, the California State Water Resources Control Board (State...more

Clean Water Act Update: EPA and Army Corps Propose Significant Changes to the Definition of "Waters of the United States"

On March 25, 2014, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Army Corps of Engineers announced the release of their proposed rule clarifying which waters will be governed by the federal water pollution laws. The...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

Environment Minister Tasked With Reviewing The Environmental Assessment Office For Effectiveness And Efficiency

In a speech to the Association for Mineral Exploration of British Columbia, Premier Christy Clark advised that the environment minister, Mary Polak, has been given the task of reviewing The Environmental Assessment Office to...more

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