National Environmental Policy Act

News & Analysis as of

No Short Cuts Allowed: The FWS Must Comply with NEPA Before Extending Programmatic Take Permits to 30 Years

Earlier this month, the Judge Lucy Koh set aside the Fish & Wildlife Service’s decision to extend its programmatic permit for bald and golden eagle takes from five to 30 years. The extension was sought by the wind industry...more

Cross-border infrastructure and presidential permits

A recent report casts doubt on whether proposed federal legislation would actually accelerate decisions on the siting of cross-border energy infrastructure. Cross-border pipelines and electric transmission lines play an...more

Federal Highway Administration Publishes CM/GC Notice of Proposed Rulemaking

On June 29, 2015, the Federal Highway Administration ("FHWA") issue a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking ("NPRM") related to the construction manager/general contractor ("CM/GC") method of contracting. The NPRM is a long-awaited...more

Court Rejects 30 Year Eagle Permit Rule on NEPA Grounds

On August 11, 2015, the US District Court for the Northern District of California remanded a US Fish & Wildlife Service’s (FWS) 2013 final rule that had extended the maximum duration of eagle take programmatic permits under...more

Federal District Court Strikes Down Eagle Act Rule

On August 11, 2015, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California struck down the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s so-called “30-Year Rule,” which had extended from 5 years to 30 years the duration of...more

30-year Eagle Take Permit Term Remanded on Procedural Grounds

On August 11, 2015, the United States District Court for the Northern District of California found that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service ("Service") had inappropriately relied on a categorical exclusion under the National...more

Windfarm Industry Suffers Setback as Court Rejects 30 Year Eagle Permit Rule

On August 11, 2015, a district court in Silicon Valley remanded a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) rule issued in 2013 that had extended the potential term of incidental take permits under the Bald and Golden Eagle...more

Avoiding NEPA – Even for “Worthy Goals” – Is Never Advisable

From the very first day of my legal career, clients have asked me some variation of this question: “Why can’t we just prepare a shorter Environmental Assessment (EA) or even issue a Categorical Exclusion (no analysis at all)...more

Court Invalidates 30-Year Permit Provisions of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Eagle Permit Rule on NEPA Grounds

As we discussed in a post from May 2014, the American Bird Conservancy (“ABC”) in 2014 filed a lawsuit challenging the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (“USFWS”) 2013 revisions to its eagle permit rule, alleging violations of...more

Court Strikes Down FWS Rule for 30-Year Eagle Incidental Take Permits

In 2013, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (“FWS”) issued a rule increasing the maximum duration from five to 30 years of programmatic permits under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act to “take” bald or golden eagles...more

D.C. District Court Judge Chastises the Department of the Interior, Ordering It to Deliver a Plan on a BLM Drilling Permit, After...

On July 27, 2015, D.C. District Court Judge Richard J. Leon entered a strongly worded order in Solenex LLC v. Jewell, chastising the defendants, including the Department of the Interior and numerous other federal agencies,...more

The Importance of Independence: The Ninth Circuit Provides Helpful Clarification on Connected Actions in the Energy Project...

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has held that a right-of-way for an access road over Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land to connect a wind project to a state highway did not trigger formal consultation under the...more

How Does The New Clean Water Rule Impact Your Business?

On June 29th, the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (collectively, the “Agencies”) made waves when they published a new rule—the Clean Water Rule—clarifying and arguably expanding the types...more

Developer Tips: Top 11 Misperceptions about Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act

Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act - Even experienced project proponents can get caught off guard by common misunderstandings about cultural resources protection laws. One of the most misunderstood...more

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service: Polar Bear Unlikely to Survive a Warming Climate

On July 6, 2015, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (Service) published a Draft Polar Bear (Ursus maritimus) Conservation Management Plan (Polar Bear Plan). The Polar Bear Plan identifies the continuing loss of sea-ice habitat...more

Ninth Circuit Holds that the BLM’s Grant of a Right-of-Way for a Road Over Federal Land Does Not Trigger Consultation Under the...

On May 27, 2015, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld the US Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) grant of a right-of-way over federal land for a road (the Road Project) for a wind energy project...more

Ninth Circuit Critical Habitat Decision Casts Shadow On Habitat Conservation Plan “No Surprises” Assurances

In a decision that casts a shadow on the enforceability of contractual assurances in habitat conservation plan (“HCP”) agreements, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit rejected various Endangered Species Act...more

The Demise of the Illiana Expressway: Another Court Rejects Development Modeling Projections

While it may go down as a classic case of “bad facts making bad law,” last week’s ruling rejecting the government’s NEPA analysis for the controversial Illiana Expressway is the just the latest in a disturbing trend for large...more

Hydraulic Fracturing: State Regulatory Roundup Vol. 42

Fracking Insider Readers: We are pleased to bring you Volume 42 of our State Regulatory Roundup, including updates in Maryland, Texas, and Wyoming. As we explained in earlier volumes, we designed the Roundup to provide quick...more

The NEPA Sky Is Not Falling: Why the Hand-Wringing Over CEQ’s GHG Guidance?

From the halls of Congress to the pages of mainstream environmental media, numerous warnings of increased regulatory burdens and litigation mischief stemming from the Council on Environmental Quality’s (CEQ) Revised Draft...more

Salazar Says Draft NEPA GHG Guide Leaves Host Of Unresolved Issues

Former Obama administration Interior Secretary Ken Salazar is warning that the White House’s proposed guide for assessing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) leaves open a host of...more

NEPA Revised Draft Guidance on Consideration of GHG Emissions: Version 2.0 - Proposal Requires Federal Agencies to Assess GHG and...

Nearly five years after issuing its initial draft, the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) continues to revise its draft guidance on conducting greenhouse gas (GHG) impact analyses under the National...more

MARAD Issues Final Policy on Licensing Offshore Oil and LNG Export Facilities

The Maritime Administration (MARAD) issued its final policy on May 7, 2015, regarding the review and processing of applications for the export of oil and natural gas from offshore deepwater port facilities under the Deepwater...more

D.C. Circuit Upholds FERC Approval of Maryland Natural Gas Facility

On April 24, the D.C. Circuit issued its opinion in Myersville Citizens for a Rural Community v. FERC, upholding the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (“FERC” or the “Commission”) approval of Dominion Transmission’s...more

Wrap-Up of Federal and State Chemical Regulatory Developments April 2015

EAB Reverses Epic Penalty In Elementis Case, But Affirms EPA's "Continuing" TSCA Section 8(e) Interpretation: On March 13, 2015, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Environmental Appeals Board (EAB) reversed the...more

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