National Environmental Policy Act

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Federal Court Upholds First Offshore Oil And Gas Lease Sales After Gulf Oil Spill

On March 31, 2014, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia issued a memorandum opinion upholding the approval, by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, of the first oil and gas lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico...more

Real World Implications of Forest Service’s New Process for Finalizing Records Of Decision

About a year ago, the Department of Agriculture (“USDA”) issued a final rule establishing a ?new and exclusive process for filing objections to certain proposed National Forest Service (“NFS”) ?projects and activities (78...more

Federal Approval of Tule Wind Project Upheld in District Court on NEPA, Migratory Bird Act, and Bald & Golden Eagle Act Claims

On March 25, 2014, in The Protect Our Communities Foundation et al. v. Jewell et al. , the US District Court for the Southern District of California issued a decision on a challenge to the Tule Wind Project and found in favor...more

Ninth Circuit Upholds Delta Smelt Biological Opinion Pumping Restrictions

California Water Supplies Likely to be Impacted - In a reversal potentially impacting the water supply to millions of Californians, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals recently upheld a biological opinion issued by the...more

The Federal Tail Should Not Wag the Non-Federal Dog: The Sixth Circuit Concludes that the Corps’ Review of Mountaintop Removal...

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled, in Kentuckians for the Commonwealth v. Army Corps of Engineers, that the scope of review by the Army Corps of Engineers of § 404 permit applications for fills related to...more

Ninth Circuit Issues Long-Awaited Delta Smelt Decision

Today, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued a decision relating to the 2008 biological opinion (BiOp) issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) regarding the effects of the Central...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 Reverses NEPA Approval of an Oil and Gas Lease in the Chukchi Sea

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) of the Department of Interior sought to lease approximately 30 million acres of federal land in the Chukchi Sea for oil and gas development, but, according to a recent decision by...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

The Ninth Circuit Addresses NEPA’s Goldilocks Problem: How Many Alternatives Are Just Enough?

One of the critical elements of NEPA is that project proponents must assess the feasibility and impacts of not only the preferred alternative, but also a range of alternatives. However, there is a tension in NEPA, because it...more

$5 Billion Honolulu Rail Transit Project Gets Green Light

In a decision of national importance for rail transit and highway projects, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected NEPA and Section 4(f) challenges to the 20-mile Honolulu Rail Transit Project. HonoluluTraffic.Com v....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

FHWA and FTA Issue New Guidance On MAP-21 Exclusions

On July 6, 2012 President Obama signed into law MAP-21, which, among other things, contained new National Environmental Policy Act ("NEPA") requirements for the Federal Transit Administration ("FTA") and Federal Highway...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

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

FCC Sets Comment Deadlines for Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Environmental and Historic Review Processes for Small Cell and...

The Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or “Commission”) recently released a Public Notice setting comment deadlines for its September 26, 2013 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NPRM”) on improving wireless facilities...more

Ninth Circuit Upholds BLM’s Environmental Assessment Allowing Expansion of the Reid Gardner Generating Station

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals recently upheld summary judgment in favor of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) regarding its assessment of the potential environmental impact of a proposed expansion of the Reid Gardner...more

Environmental Challenges to Exporting Coal from the United States

Chesapeake Climate Action Network v. Export-Import Bank of the United States highlights how failure to follow the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 can result in delays to coal export endeavors. As recent news...more

Congress Passes Two Hydropower Bills During a Summer of Gridlock

The 113th Congress, which is on track to pass fewer bills than any recent Congress, did pass two hydropower bills that were signed by President Obama on August 9, 2013. The two bills, the Hydropower Regulatory Efficiency Act...more

USDOT Proposes Regulations Allowing States To Assume USDOT Responsibilities For Environmental Review Under NEPA And Other Laws

On August 30, 2013, the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) proposed regulations for the Surface Transportation Project Delivery Program, a program that allows states to assume federal environmental review authority for...more

Court Enjoins "Salvage Harvest" Project In Area Scorched By The Mill Fire

In 2012, the Mill Fire burned almost 30,000 acres in California, destroying large areas of forest, including threatened Northern spotted owl (Strix occidentalis caurina) habitat. Even after the Mill Fire was finally snuffed...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

Transmission Line Developers Post a Win

A federal court in Washington, D.C. gave some encouragement to transmission line developers—not to mention sponsors of other linear projects, like gas or water pipelines....more

Court Extends Temporary Restraining Order Against Excess Storage Releases From CVP's Trinity River Division

On August 14, 2013, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California extended a modified temporary restraining order (“TRO”) prohibiting excess releases of stored water into the Trinity River from the Central...more

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