National Environmental Policy Act

News & Analysis as of

Privatization of the United States Air Traffic Control System Hits Roadblock in the U.S. Senate

Less than a month ago, it seemed clear that privatization was the wave of the future for the United States Air Traffic Control System (“ATC System”). On February 19, 2016, the United States House of Representatives...more

FERC staff recommends against Bear River dam

Staff of the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission have recommended against licensing a dam, reservoir, and hydropower project proposed for the Bear River near Preston, Idaho. The case involves a 2013 application by...more

For Virginia Land Use, Local Governments Have To Follow The Rules

Starting July 1, 2016 Virginia local governments must, in reviewing a residential rezoning or concept plan amendment, determine whether a requested land use exaction addresses an impact that is “specifically attributable” to...more

BLM Fights Back Against Activists’ Criticisms of CA Resource Management Plan

The Bureau of Land Management (“BLM”) recently filed a Motion for Summary Judgment in a lawsuit brought by a coalition of environmental activists who have challenged the BLM’s Resource Management Plan (“RMP”) for public lands...more

Court Holds that the Bureau of Indian Affairs is Not Obligated to Ensure Migratory Bird Treaty Act or Bald and Golden Eagle...

On March 29, 2016, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California granted summary judgment in favor of the Bureau of Indian Affairs (“BIA”) in a lawsuit involving the grant of a lease to Tule Wind, LLC for...more

Ninth Circuit Rules Navy Satisfied NEPA in Considering Terror Threat to San Diego Facility

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit last week rejected a claim under the National Environmental Policy Act that the Navy did not adequately consider the environmental consequences of a potential terrorist threat...more

Timing Is (Almost) Everything: FERC Implements D.C. Circuit Guidance on NEPA Review of Multiple Pipeline Construction Projects

In the wake of two recent D.C. Circuit decisions, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has begun to implement its new policy concerning the review of natural gas pipeline construction proposals under the National...more

Horse Of A Different Color: CEQA Does Not Require EIR Due To Psychological And Social Impacts From Closure Of Beloved Equestrian...

In a March 4, 2016 published opinion, the Fourth District Court of Appeal reversed the trial court’s judgment requiring an EIR for a small 12-home rural subdivision project based on the “psychological and social” impacts of...more

USDA Environmental Policies Final Rule Clarifies NEPA Stance for RUS Borrowers

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) on March 2, 2016, issued a Final Rule on its Environmental Policies and Procedures (7 CFR Parts 25, 1701, 1709, et al.) that will affect actions by four agencies within USDA,...more

Moratorium on Federal Coal Leasing Issued by Secretary Jewell

On January 15, 2016, Interior Secretary Jewell halted federal coal leasing on public lands. Western coal companies are attempting to sort out the implications of the moratorium and exemptions set out in Secretarial Order...more

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Formally Reinstates 5-Year Limit for Eagle Take Permits

On February 17, 2016, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (“USFWS”) issued a final rule formally reinstating a five-year limit for eagle take permits. The final rule responds to an August 2015 ruling by the U.S. District Court...more

The Writing on the Wall Moves to the Federal Register: No 30-Year Take Permits

As we discussed last summer, the Judge Lucy Koh of the Northern District of California ruled that the Fish and Wildlife Service’s 30-year programmatic permit for incidental takes of bald and golden eagles from wind farms...more

Bills To Update Fire Safety Code Requirements For Assisted Living Facilities Pending In Florida Legislature

The Florida Assisted Living Facilities Act requires the State Fire Marshall to use the 1994 edition of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Life Safety Code to establish and enforce uniform fire safety standards...more

U.S. DOE Disclaims Jurisdiction Over Canadian Gas and Authorizes LNG Exports to Non-FTA Nations From Bear Head LNG Project

On February 5, 2016, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy (“DOE/FE”) issued two orders to Bear Head LNG Corporation and Bear Head LNG (USA), LLC (together, “Bear Head LNG”), formally announcing DOE’s...more

USDA Declares “Do-Over” on Overhaul of Biotechnology Regulations

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (“USDA”) Animal and Plant Health Information Service (“APHIS”) is renewing efforts to amend or replace its existing rules governing plant-based biotechnology, while highlighting possible...more

No Issuance of Federal Offshore Fracking Permits Until May 2016

On January 29, 2016, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (“BOEM”) and the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (“BSEE”), agencies within the federal Department of the Interior (“DOI”), agreed to put a temporary...more

The FAST Act Seeks to Streamline the Environmental Review of Infrastructure Projects

On December 4, 2015, President Obama signed into law the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act—a five-year, $305-billion transportation authorization and spending bill. The FAST Act largely focuses on funding...more

U.S Fish and Wildlife Services Opts Not to Appeal 30-Year Eagle Rule Decision, Focuses on Development of Eagle Permitting Program

On January 19, 2016, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) dropped its Ninth Circuit appeal of U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh’s ruling that set aside the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (“Service”) rule to extend the maximum...more

Department of the Interior Announces Comprehensive Review of Federal Coal Program

On January 15, Secretary Sally Jewell announced that the Department of the Interior will launch a comprehensive review to identify and evaluate potential reforms to the federal coal program. During the review, which is...more

US Suspends Coal Leasing on Federal Lands

Legal challenges to moratorium likely as US Department of Interior considers reforms. On Friday, January 15, 2016, US Department of the Interior Secretary Sally Jewell announced that the US will “pause” federal coal...more

Congress Enacts Federal Permitting Improvements to Speed Infrastructure Projects

Congress enacted the Surface Transportation Reauthorization and Reform Act of 2015, also known as the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (the FAST Act) on December 4, 2015. A part of the FAST Act, Title XLI—Federal...more

FAST Act Expedites Permitting and Environmental Review for Large Infrastructure Projects

Expedited permitting and environmental review for complex infrastructure projects may soon be a reality. Buried at the end of its most recent transportation reauthorization package (the “FAST Act” or “Act”) is a significant...more

Environmental Provisions of the FAST Act

On December 4, 2015, President Obama signed into law the “Fix America’s Surface Transportation Act,” Public Law 114-94 ("FAST Act"). As finally enacted, the FAST Act exceeds 400 pages in length. This paper reviews those...more

Will FAST Act Make Permitting Faster? Streamlining Offered for Infrastructure Projects

The new federal highway funding legislation, the Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act), signed into law by President Obama on Dec. 4, 2015, provides long-term funding certainty for surface transportation...more

New Highway Law Streamlines Federal Permitting and Environmental Review for Large Infrastructure Projects

Earlier this month, President Obama signed the Highway Authorization Act into law. One of the objectives of this legislation was to expedite federal authorization (licensing, permitting, approval, etc.) and environmental...more

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