Environmental Policies

News & Analysis as of

Governor’s Passion For Legislative CEQA Reform Has Waned, Contra Costa Times Reports After Mercury News Interview

On August 15, 2014, the Contra Costa Times reported on a wide-ranging interview of California Governor Jerry Brown conducted by the Mercury News opinion and editorial board on that same date. While largely devoted to other...more

City of San Diego's Settlement Over Alleged MS4 Permit Violations Results in Crackdown on Out-Of-Compliance Projects

On August 13, 2014, the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board approved a two-part settlement with the City of San Diego for violations of the City's Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System ("MS4") permits. Most of the...more

DOT Issues Proposed Rule to Harmonize HMR with International Standards

On August 25, 2014, the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) issued a proposed rule seeking to harmonize the hazardous materials regulations (HMR) with...more

Colorado State Court Strikes Down a Second City-Wide Fracking Ban

A Colorado state judge recently struck down a city’s voter-approved moratorium on hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking.” This marks the second time a Colorado judge has quashed a city’s fracking ban within a matter of two...more

OPR Proposes to Increase CEQA’s Costs, Complexity, and Litigation Risks with SB 743 Implementation

On August 6, 2014, the Governor's Office of Planning and Research (OPR) issued proposed revisions to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) guidelines implementing SB 743 – the Sacramento Kings arena bill – carried...more

You Can’t Estop the Government — Even When It Wants to Be Estopped

Last week, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals issued a decision that arguably explains everything from why the Tea Party exists to why otherwise calm and sane executives suddenly lose all their hair. Perhaps most astounding,...more

Real Estate and Land Use - August 2014

Chula Vista Citizens for Jobs and Fair Competition, et al. v. Donna Norris, et al. - Why it matters: With land use issues and development projects increasingly the subject of local ballot initiatives, it is imperative...more

EPA Refuses to Amend Its Backup Generator Rule: Demand Response Breathes Easier

Last Friday, EPA published notice that it would not be revising its regulations on backup generators in response to three petitions for reconsideration it had received after it promulgated its final rule in January 2013. The...more

Ninth Circuit Rejects Environmental Groups’ RCRA Claims Against Railyard Operators

The Ninth Circuit has affirmed the dismissal of claims by environmental groups attempting to characterize air emissions from California railyards as “disposal” of waste under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA)....more

Agriculture in Crosshairs as White House Targets Methane Emissions

In March 2014, the Obama administration released a 15-page interagency guidance document that laid out preliminary steps for reducing methane emissions. That document asserts that agricultural operations are the top methane...more

Alberta Energy Regulator to Take Charge of Environmental Impact Assessments for Energy Resource Activities

On March 29, 2014, the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) became the entity responsible for issuing approvals pursuant to the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act (EPEA) for energy projects. However, the authority to...more

The Absolute Pollution Exclusion May Not Be That “Absolute”

The Absolute Pollution Exclusion (“APE”) contained in current general liability insurance policies excludes coverage for costs related to the cleanup of environmental pollution. Insurance companies have taken the position...more

Environmental Impact Analysis Required for Natural Gas Facilities Clarified in Court Decision Denying Residents’ Challenge to...

A New York town’s challenge to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) siting authorization for a natural gas pipeline compressor station was rejected by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in Minisink...more

HUD Notice Has Potential To Encourage Broad PHA Renewable Energy Rollout

In an effort to support President Obama's July 2013 Climate Action Plan, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has issued Notice PIH-2014-18 (HA). The notice offers guidance on federal incentives for...more

Oil and Gas Developer Challenges an Extreme Waste Disposal Ordinance Enacted by a Pennsylvania Township

Oil and gas developer Pennsylvania General Energy Company, LLC (“PGE”) recently filed suit against Grant Township in Indiana County, Pennsylvania, alleging that a waste disposal ordinance enacted by the Township violates the...more

EPA Lays Out Its Vision for the Future of the RCRA Regulatory Program

Enacted in the bicentennial year of 1976, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) is approaching its 40th anniversary. To celebrate this milestone, and to lay a path forward for the future of the RCRA program, EPA...more

Draft ISO 14001:2015 Standard Available for Public Comment

The revision of the ISO 14001 standard is now open for public comment, with the final standard publication expected in 2015, affecting over 280,000 certified organizations worldwide. Once final, the standard is expected to be...more

Draft CEQA Guidelines Would Dramatically Alter Analysis of Transportation Impacts Under SB 743

On August 6, 2014, the California Office of Planning and Research issued a new draft guideline that could fundamentally alter the way in which transportation impacts are analyzed for purposes of review under the California...more

Fracking Hearings Set to Begin in North Carolina

This Wednesday in Raleigh will see the first of four upcoming public hearings in North Carolina over the state’s proposed fracking rules. The hearings are part of the final phase of rule making, coming after two years of...more

Covering the Waterfront: Comprehensive Water Resources Management

Public Act 14-163 authorizes the Water Planning Council, established by Conn. Gen. Stat. § 22a-33o, to prepare a comprehensive state water plan. The bill follows “water summit” meetings convened by state legislators in...more

Group Of Senators Weigh In On Biogenic Carbon Regulations

On August 7, 2014, a group of nine Democratic Senators led by Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) sent a letter to the EPA Administrator, Gina McCarthy, on the treatment of biogenic carbon emissions from stationary sources. The other...more

Solid Waste and Water Planning Dominate 2014 Connecticut Public Acts Concerning the Environment

The Connecticut General Assembly’s 2014 “short session” yielded a modest crop of public acts concerning the environment. Nevertheless, the bills introduced in the session included three sweeping initiatives with multi-year...more

Wrap-Up of Federal and State Chemical Regulatory Developments (August 2014)

IARC Classifies Dichloromethane, Other Substances As Human Carcinogens: In June, an expert panel of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) concluded that dichloromethane, a chemical substance used to make...more

Other 2014 Environmental and Land Use Legislation: Fracking, Brownfields, State Land Conservation, Private Easements, Wood Burning...

The General Assembly passed noteworthy bills on six diverse environmental and land use subjects. Hydraulic Fracturing Waste - A deceptively simple bill concerning hydraulic fracturing waste, PA 14-200, emerged...more

SB 1281 (Pavley): Oil & Gas Production; Water Use Reporting

SB-1281 was amended in the Assembly Committee on Appropriations on August 4, 2014. A scheduled hearing on August 6 was postponed and held on suspense under Joint Rule 62(a). As of this writing, a hearing has not yet been...more

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