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Power to the Public: DEIR’s Failure to Identify Proposed Project Among Handful of Vastly Different Analyzed Alternatives Violates...

In a published opinion filed November 15, 2017, the First District Court of Appeal (Division 5) affirmed the trial court’s order granting a petition for writ of mandate setting aside the California Department of Parks and...more

Leaving Well Enough Alone: Governor Brown Vetoes CEQA Bill That Would Mandate Lead Agencies To File NOEs For Projects Approved As...

On October 15, 2017, Governor Brown vetoed SB 80 (Wieckowski), a bill that would have added to CEQA’s already detailed notice requirements. Specifically, SB 80 would have amended Public Resources Code §§ 21092.2, 21092.3,...more

Keeping CEQA In Its Lane: First District Holds Substantial Evidence Supports EIR’s Conclusion That “Urban Decay” Is Not Reasonably...

In 15-page opinion filed on September 15, and later certified for publication on October 16, 2017, the First District Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s judgment denying a writ petition challenging the Judicial...more

Unique, But Not Unusual: First District Affirms CEQA Exemptions and General Plan Consistency Finding For Three-Unit Infill Condo...

While “agree[ing] with appellant that Telegraph Hill is outstanding and unique in a city of outstanding and unique places[,]” the First District Court of Appeal nonetheless affirmed the trial court’s order denying...more

Governor Brown Vetoes Flawed AB 890, Signals Preference for More Comprehensive CEQA Reform

On October 15, 2017, Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr. sent a veto letter to California State Assembly Members, returning a controversial and flawed proposed land use bill – AB 890 – without his signature. Fortunately,...more

First District Rejects CEQA Challenges to SWRCB’s Revised Environmental Document and Approval of Northern California Coastal...

In a published opinion filed September 28, 2017, the First District Court of Appeal affirmed the Alameda County Superior Court’s judgment denying appellant Living Rivers Council’s (LRC) writ petition challenging the State...more

First District Holds CEQA’s Substantive Requirements Apply to Environmental Documentation of State Agency Acting Under Certified...

In a published opinion filed September 19, 2017, the First District Court of Appeal reversed the trial court’s denial of a writ petition challenging defendant California Department of Pesticide Regulation’s (“Department”)...more

9/26/2017  /  CEQA , Honeybees , Pesticides , Pollinators

First District Upholds CEQA Categorical Exemption for Approval of Planned Parenthood Clinic in City of South San Francisco,...

When a lead agency finds a project approval to be categorically exempt from CEQA, this determination at the initial step of CEQA’s multi-tiered process necessarily includes an implied finding that no exceptions to the...more

The Opposite of CEQA Reform: Legally Flawed AB 890 Would Expand Opportunities for CEQA Litigation Abuse While Abridging...

AB 890 (Medina – D), recently sent to Governor Brown for action by October 15, seeks to amend Government Code § 65867.5 and to add §§ 65363 and 65850.10 to prevent development agreements and certain types of land use planning...more

Sixth District Holds Project’s Consistency with General Plan Is Not a CEQA Issue, Upholds Trial Court’s Interlocutory Remand for...

In an opinion originally filed on July 31, and belatedly ordered partially published on August 24, 2017, the Sixth District Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s judgment denying a writ petition brought by a citizens...more

Fourth District Rejects CEQA Challenge to College District’s Entry into Land Acquisition Agreement Prior to Preparing EIR Due to...

In a published decision filed August 8, 2017, the Fourth District Court of Appeal affirmed the trial Court’s judgment dismissing a CEQA action brought by two individuals (“Appellants”) against the Mt. San Jacinto Community...more

California Supreme Court Holds CEQA Applies to State Entity’s Railroad Project on State-Owned Rail Line As Act of...

On July 7, 2017, the California Supreme Court filed its 69-page opinion, written by Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye and joined by five other justices, in Friends of the Eel River v. North Coast Railroad Authority, et al. (2017)...more

Supreme Court Denies Depublication Request, Declines To Review CEQA Decision Addressing Discretionary/Ministerial Project Approval...

On July 26, 2017, the California Supreme Court issued its order denying the losing appellants’ (Sierra Club and Center for Biological Diversity) request for depublication of the opinion in Sierra Club v. County of Sonoma...more

7/27/2017  /  CA Supreme Court , CEQA , Sierra Club

Standing Against Environmental Injustice: Some Thoughts On Facing The Need For CEQA Litigation Reform

CEQA, our state’s landmark environmental protection act, is a venerable law with an illustrious history now spanning over 45 years. But it’s also being abused every day, distorted for non-environmental ends not worthy of it...more

Supreme Disappointment: High Court’s Narrow Opinion In SANDAG RTP/SCS EIR Case Offers Little Guidance On CEQA GHG Analysis

On July 13, 2017, the California Supreme Court rendered a 6-1 decision holding that the San Diego Association of Governments’ (SANDAG) 2011 EIR for its Regional Transportation Plan/Sustainable Communities Strategy (RTP/SCS)...more

Sierra Club/CBD Seek Depublication of CEQA Decision Addressing Discretionary/Ministerial Project Approval Distinction

On June 16, 2017 – without seeking either rehearing in the First District Court of Appeal or review by the Supreme Court – losing appellants Sierra Club and Center for Biological Diversity filed a letter asking the Supreme...more

6/29/2017  /  Appeals , CEQA , Mitigation , Sierra Club

Fifth District Grants Rehearing, Vacates Prior Published Opinion, and Issues Slightly Modified Published Opinion in POET II CEQA...

On May 2, 2017, the Fifth District Court of Appeal vacated its earlier order and writ, and on May 5 it granted Respondents’ request for rehearing in the CEQA litigation entitled Poet, LLC v. State Air Resources Board, et al....more

Fifth District Holds CEQA Action Challenging Individual DOGGR Oil Well Permits Not Barred By Res Judicata Based On Prior Judgment...

In a 38-page opinion filed May 4, and belatedly ordered published on May 25, 2017, the Fifth District Court of Appeal reversed a judgment dismissing a writ petition filed by three environmental groups alleging CEQA violations...more

6/6/2017  /  CEQA , DOGGR , Fracking , Mootness , Oil & Gas , Oil Wells

First District Holds CEQA Action Can Be Brought Directly Against Local Air District to Challenge “Authority to Construct” Issued...

In an opinion filed March 23, and belatedly modified and ordered published on May 25, 2017, the First District Court of Appeal reversed the trial court’s dismissal of a plaintiff environmental group’s (“Friends”) CEQA action...more

Fourth District Holds Substantial Evidence Supports City of San Diego’s Rejection of MND and Denial of Minor Residential...

In a short opinion filed May 17, 2017, and belatedly ordered published (for unknown reasons) just six days later, the Fourth District Court of Appeal reversed the trial court’s judgment granting a writ of mandate that set...more

No Surprises Here: First District Applies CEQA Subsequent Review Standards Mandated by Supreme Court on Remand, Again Affirms...

When all was said and done, it was a case of “same wine, different bottle” for Defendant and Appellant San Mateo Community College District (“District”) after the First District Court of Appeal’s published May 5, 2017...more

First District Holds Sonoma County Vineyard Development (VESCO) Permit was Ministerial Approval Exempt from CEQA

On April 21, 2017, the First District Court of Appeal filed a 22-page published opinion providing significant guidance and analysis concerning the critical, but sometimes elusive, distinction between “discretionary” project...more

Second District Holds Adverse Judgment in CEQA Action Resulting from Plaintiff Attorney’s Failure to Lodge Administrative Record...

In a published opinion filed April 13, 2017, the Court of Appeal for the Second Appellate District, Division 5, held that Code of Civil Procedure (“CCP”) § 473(b)’s provisions allowing mandatory relief upon an attorney’s...more

CARB Violated CEQA and Writ in LCFS Litigation, Holds Fifth District, While Leaving New 2015 Regs in Effect

In a detailed 66-page published opinion filed April 10, 2017, the Fifth District Court of Appeal reversed the trial court’s order discharging a writ of mandate that was issued to compel the California Air Resources Board...more

Sixth District Rejects “Piecemealing” and Other CEQA Challenges to Ordinances Enacted Pursuant to Santa Cruz County’s Zoning...

Like the fable of the blind men and the elephant, CEQA’s prohibition on “piecemealing” of environmental review is animated by a basic recognition that the “whole” of an action under review is greater than its individual parts...more

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