National Environmental Policy Act

News & Analysis as of

Interior Department Proposes to Open Offshore Atlantic Region to Oil and Gas Leasing

The Department of the Interior today announced that it will publish for public comment a draft proposed Five-Year Program (“DPP”) governing the leasing of offshore oil and gas for 2017 through 2022.  Interior’s DPP will...more

Environmental Justice in Massachusetts

Over the past several months, there has been a flurry of activity on environmental justice in Massachusetts, and more developments are expected shortly.  ...more

D.C. Circuit Rejects Psychological Harm Theory in Deer-Culling Case

This Tuesday, the D.C. Circuit issued an opinion in No. 13-5136, Grunewald v. Jarvis, affirming the lower court’s decision that the National Park Service’s promulgation of the White-Tailed Deer Management Plan was lawful. At...more

The “LNG Permitting Certainty and Transparency Act”— A Positive Step Toward Expediting U.S. LNG Export Projects

Restrictive regulations and permitting processes that operate at glacial speed (as opposed to market speed) pose the primary hurdles to greater U.S. exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG). In response to a chorus of...more

Environmental Groups Dust Off NEPA and CEQA in Attempt to Halt Hydraulic Fracturing and Well Acidization

Municipal bans and other legislative measures to halt hydraulic fracturing and related well stimulation techniques have yielded mixed results across the country. In an attempt to halt hydraulic fracturing and acid well...more

Equal Access To Justice Act: Why Prevailing On Only 1 Out Of 3 Claims In Oregon Forestry Case Can Still Be Quite Rewarding

Generally, a failure rate of two-thirds would indicate that what you are doing isn't profitable. However, when dealing with environmental law, that clearly isn't the case. In Cascadia Wildlands v. Bureau of Land Management,...more

Industry Challenging County and Municipal Bans on Multiple Fronts

Municipalities and counties have joined forces with environmental groups to halt hydraulic fracking and related well stimulation techniques. Environmental groups have filed suits under the National Environmental Policy Act...more

Greenhouse Gases “Rise” in Importance for NEPA Reviews

Just before Christmas, the White House Council on Environmental Quality (“CEQ”) published revised draft guidance intended to direct federal agencies on when and how to consider the effects of greenhouse gas (“GHG”) emissions...more

White House Updates Draft Guidance on Climate Change Considerations in NEPA Review

On December 18, 2014, the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) released revised draft guidance on the consideration of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and climate change in National Environmental Policy Act...more

CEQ Issues Draft Guidance on Evaluation of Greenhouse Gas Emissions

The guidance will significantly affect infrastructure projects located on federal land and federal permitting of major energy projects. On December 18, the White House’s Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) issued...more

Court Holds Small Business Administration and Farm Service Agency Must Consult on Loan Guarantees

A federal district court in Arkansas recently issued a decision clarifying that the obligation to consult under section 7(a)(2) of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) extends to the Small Business Administration and the Farm...more

Ninth Circuit Lifts the Veil: Explains How to Comply With Endangered Species Act 60-Day Notice Requirement

The federal Endangered Species Act (ESA) imposes certain procedural hurdles on any would-be plaintiff commencing a citizen suit to compel compliance with the ESA. One of the more substantive requirements is the 60-day notice...more

Environmental Impact Analysis — The Impact of a Project on the Environment or the Impact of the Environment on a Project?

Traditionally, environmental impact analysis, under NEPA and state analogs, has focused on the impacts that a proposed project may have on the environment. In Massachusetts, the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental...more

Sea level rise and coastal LNG terminals

Should federal agencies consider climate change and sea-level rise as they review the environmental impacts of liquefied natural gas terminals? Yes, according to letters recently filed with the Federal Energy...more

If They Could Be All You Wanted: The FCC Gets Serious About Small Cells

Say what you will about inside-the-Beltway leadership vacuums, political gridlock and the indecipherable output from the grey, grinding gears of our government agencies, but once in a while Washington actually gets it right. ...more

Two petitions filed seeking Supreme Court review of Ninth Circuit decision in Delta smelt case

Recently, two separate petitions were filed with the U.S. Supreme Court seeking review of the Ninth Circuit’s decision in San Luis and Delta Mendota Water Authority v. Jewell, a case involving a challenge to the biological...more

BLM Issues Proposed Rule to Establish Competitive Leasing for Renewable Energy Projects on Public Lands

On September 30, 2014, the Bureau of Land Management issued a proposed rule that would establish competitive processes, terms, and conditions, including rental and bonding requirements, for solar and wind energy development...more

District of Arizona Rethinks NEPA’s Zone of Interests in Light of Recent Supreme Court Opinion on “Prudential” Standing

On September 30, 2014, the United States District Court for the District of Arizona (Campbell, D.J.) issued an order in Yount v. Salazar, Nos. 11-8171 et al., 2014 WL 4904423 (D. Ariz. Sept. 30, 2014). As part of this order,...more

California Oil and Gas Update: In-depth look at the California BLM's fracking decision

Oil and gas lease sales on public lands set to resume in 2015 based upon independent fracking report - On August 28, 2014 the California State Office of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) signaled its intent to...more

Three NEPA Practices That Should Go the Way of Voting on Tuesdays

...national elections are still held on Tuesdays early in November and it appears to be stuck that way, even at the expense of broader citizen engagement. NEPA practice follows this same trend, often at the expense of...more

California Environmental Law and Policy Update - September 2014 #2

Environmental and Policy Focus: House GOP bill would speed up environmental reviews: KPCC - Sep 9: As negotiations over compromise drought legislation flounder in Congress, House Republicans are pursuing an alternative...more

The Future of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Exports under the Department of Energy’s Revised Review Process

During the last two years, we have seen the U.S. Department of Energy (“DOE”) pick up the pace in granting conditional authorizations for companies to export liquefied natural gas (“LNG”) to countries that do not have a Free...more

Energy & Environment Update - August 2014 #3

In This Issue: - Extenders Déjà Vu: Fate of Expired Clean Energy Tax Provisions Closely Tied to Election - Congress - Administration - Department of Commerce - Department of Energy -...more

Lost Opportunity On US LNG Exports

IN A MOVE THAT COULD SIGNIFICANTLY SHAKE UP THE GLOBAL LNG MARKET, THE US DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY RECENTLY ANNOUNCED SEVERAL DEVELOPMENTS REGARDING NATURAL GAS EXPORTS, INCLUDING A PROPOSED RULE CHANGE FOR REVIEWING APPLICATIONS...more

District Court Denies Motion to Enjoin Delta Water Transfers

Last Friday, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California denied a motion brought by environmental groups to enjoin a water transfer project in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta (Delta). Plaintiffs...more

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