National Environmental Policy Act Environmental Impact Report

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

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

Special Committee Convened to Develop MEPA Climate Change Adaptation Policy

The Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (“EEA”) has convened an Adaptation Advisory Committee to advise the EEA on incorporating the potential impacts of climate change into environmental impact...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 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

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

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

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

NEPA Watch – House Proposes Legislation To Streamline NEPA Reviews

On July 10, 2013, Rep. Tom Marino (R-PA) introduced a bill in the House that would amend the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) to streamline the environmental review process under the National Environmental Policy Act...more

Environmental Groups Claim Further Environmental Review Needed to Address Fracking Impacts

In a case pending in the Northern District of California, the Center for Biological Diversity and the Sierra Club recently urged a federal judge to rule that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) violated the National...more

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