National Environmental Policy Act Environmental Impact Report

News & Analysis as of

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

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

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

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

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

Risky “Business as Usual”: The California Supreme Court Upholds the BAU Approach to CEQA Climate Impact Analysis, but Sets a High...

In Center for Biological Diversity v. Dept. of Fish and Wildlife,1 the California Supreme Court upheld the “Business as Usual” (BAU) approach for analyzing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions under the California Environmental...more

Second District Rejects CEQA And Fair Transit Hearing Challenges To LA Metro’s Westside Subway Extension Project In Lengthy...

In a 65-page opinion certified for publication and filed October 22, 2015, the Second Appellate District Court of Appeal affirmed the Los Angeles County Superior Court’s judgment denying writ petitions by the City of Beverly...more

Are Regulatory Delays Exacerbating Drought Conditions?

As we enter the fall season, substantial portions of California and the Pacific Northwest are experiencing extreme to exceptional drought conditions. While conditions are better in Texas and other nearby states this year,...more

Federal Energy Legislative Update

There has been recent action in Congress on issues important to the oil and gas industry. This post provides an overview of the major energy-related bills in Congress. H.R. 538, the Native American Energy Act – On...more

Eagles Back in the Nest: FWS 30-Year Eagle “Take” Rule Vacated Less than Two Years after Implementation

On August 11, 2015, the United States District Court for the Northern District of California struck down a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (the “Service”) regulation that increased the maximum duration of programmatic permits...more

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

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

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 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

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

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

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

California Supreme Court’s CEQA Ruling Reaches Beyond Residential Development

On Monday March 2, the California Supreme Court handed down a decision allowing a Berkeley home builder to use an exemption from detailed environmental assessment under the California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”) in its...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

D.C. Circuit Rules that FERC May Not Segment Its Evaluation of the Environmental Impact of Related Natural Gas Pipeline...

The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals recently issued an opinion holding that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) violated the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) when it segmented its evaluation of the...more

Fish and Wildlife Announces In-Depth Review of Eagle Management Policy

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced last week that it intended to conduct either a NEPA environmental assessment (EA) or an environmental impact statement (EIS) concerning its bald and golden eagle management...more

D.C. Circuit Court Requires FERC To Consolidate its NEPA Review of Nominally Separate Interstate Gas Pipeline Projects

On June 6, 2014, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals issued an opinion holding that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission acted improperly in separately analyzing the environmental impacts of several nominally separate...more

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