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Category Archives: Environmental and approvals

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California Supreme Court Charts New Course For Climate Change Analysis

By Christopher Garrett, James Arnone and Joshua Bledsoe, On Monday November 30, 2015, the California Supreme Court overturned the Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (the Department) Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the Department’s approvals of the Newhall Ranch project. The Newhall Ranch project includes plans to develop almost 12,000 acres along the Santa Clara River … Continue Reading

Sixth Circuit Stays Obama Administration’s New Clean Water Rule Nationwide

By Paul Singarella, Chris Garrett, Andrea Hogan, Daniel Brunton, John Heintz, Taiga Takahashi, and Lucas Quass On October 9, 2015, the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit stayed the implementation of the Clean Water Rule (the Final Rule) nationwide. The Final Rule defines “waters of the United States” (WOTUS), a threshold term that determines … Continue Reading

California Supreme Court Hears Oral Argument in Case Challenging 2010 Bay Area Air Quality Management District Air Quality Thresholds

By Chris Garrett, Shivaun Cooney and Shannon Lankenau On October 7, 2015, the California Supreme Court heard oral argument in California Building Industry Association v. Bay Area Air Quality Management District (Supreme Court Case No. S213478), a case which calls into question the “continued vitality” of a line of appellate cases holding that the “reverse … Continue Reading

Obama Administration Releases Infrastructure Permitting Guidance

By Marc Campopiano, Andrea Hogan and Joshua Marnitz On September 22, 2015, the White House, through the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), issued guidance to the heads of certain federal departments and agencies[1] (the Agencies) establishing metrics for the permitting and environmental review of infrastructure projects in … Continue Reading

Court Limits Migratory Bird Treaty Act Applicability to Incidental Take

By Sara Orr and Jennifer Roy On September 4, 2015, the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit issued a ruling in United States v. CITGO that a “taking” subject to prosecution under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) does not include the unintentional take of migratory birds. Reversing a district court decision and … Continue Reading

RETI 2.0: CEC and CPUC Plan for New Renewable Energy Transmission Initiative to Meet California’s Increasing Clean Energy Commitments

By Joshua T. Bledsoe, Marc T. Campopiano, and Max Friedman As California begins to turn the page on the first chapter of its efforts to combat climate change through AB 32 and to prepare for greater emissions reductions over the coming decades, the California Energy Commission (CEC) and California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) are considering … Continue Reading

Federal Judge Grants Preliminary Injunction Blocking the Obama Administration’s New Clean Water Rule From Taking Effect

By Paul Singarella, Chris Garrett, Andrea Hogan, Daniel Brunton, Garrett Jansma, John Heintz, Danny Aleshire and Lucas Quass On August 27, 2015, the US District Court for the District of North Dakota issued a preliminary injunction against implementation of the Clean Water Rule (the Final Rule). The Final Rule defines Waters of the United States … Continue Reading

California Energy Commission Report Projects Local Electric Reliability Deficits By 2021, Potentially Triggering The Need For New Natural Gas Power Generation

By Michael Carroll, Marc Campopiano and Max Friedman The California Energy Commission (CEC) has released an August 2015 report projecting local reliability shortfalls in the Los Angeles basin planning area as early as 2021. The deficits may require new natural gas power generation to maintain grid reliability. This finding is part of the Integrated Energy … Continue Reading

Court Rejects 30 Year Eagle Permit Rule on NEPA Grounds

Authors: Sara Orr and Jennifer Roy 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 the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act (Eagle Act) from 5 years … Continue Reading

BLM Receives Challenges to Greater Sage-Grouse Plans From All Sides

By Marc Campopiano and Max Friedman Following the May 28, 2015 release by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) of 14 final Environmental Impact Statements (EISs) for land use plans designed to provide greater protection to the greater sage-grouse on approximately 50 million acres of BLM-managed land in 10 different western states, more than 40 … Continue Reading

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 ESA or an Environmental Impact Statement Under NEPA for a Wind Project with Independent Utility

By Christopher Garrett & Daniel Brunton 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 developed by North Sky River Energy, LLC (North Sky) on … Continue Reading

DRECP Agencies Announce Phase I Updates

By Marc Campopiano, Joshua Bledsoe, Jennifer Roy, James Erselius Phase I of the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (“DRECP”) is underway on the 9.8 million acres of public land managed by the Bureau of Land Management (“BLM”). As discussed in our previous post, the four lead agencies responsible for the plan introduced a phased approach to … Continue Reading

Bureau of Land Management Releases Conservation Plans for Greater Sage-Grouse

By Marc Campopiano, Max Friedman and Gunnar Gundersen On Thursday, May 28, 2015, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) released fourteen final Environmental Impact Statements (EISs) that incorporate greater-sage-grouse conservation measures into the land-use plans for about 50 million acres of BLM-managed land in 10 western states. The population of the sage-grouse has declined by more … Continue Reading

Nine Western States Throw Their Support Behind Case Challenging Reach of the Endangered Species Act

By Andrea Hogan, Mark Campopiano, Sara Orr, and Daniel Brunton On May 26, nine western states filed an amicus brief in People for the Ethical Treatment of Property Owners  (PETPO) v. United States Fish and Wildlife Service urging the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals to limit the reach of the Endangered Species Act. At issue … Continue Reading

US Fish & Wildlife Service Proposes First-of-its-Kind Migratory Bird Incidental Take Authorizations

By Benjamin Hanelin, Jennifer Roy, and Natalie Rogers On May 26, 2015, the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) announced its intent to prepare a programmatic environmental impact statement (PEIS) to evaluate the potential impacts of permits authorizing the incidental take of migratory birds under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA).  The PEIS will address, among … Continue Reading

EPA Proposes Renewable Fuel Standards for 2014-2016

By Ann Claassen and Eli Hopson On May 29, EPA took long-awaited action on the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), with the unusual step of proposing standards for several years at once. EPA is reproposing the 2014 RFS—its original proposal of November 2013 having been heavily criticized—and is proposing, for the first time, the 2015 and … Continue Reading

Wildlife Agencies Propose Regulatory Changes to Species-Listing Process Under Endangered Species Act

By Marc Campopiano and Max Friedman On May 18, 2015, the federal agencies that oversee the enforcement of the Endangered Species Act, the US Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service proposed significant changes to the process by which parties can petition for the listing of species as protected under the Act or … Continue Reading

The Department of the Interior does not list sub-population of greater sage-grouse as a threatened or endangered species, but broader review under the Endangered Species Act continues

By Marc Campopiano and Gunnar Gundersen On April 21, 2015, Sally Jewell, the Secretary of the Department of the Interior, announced that a sub-population of greater sage-grouse along the California-Nevada border does not require Endangered Species Act protection. In 2010, the US Fish and Wildlife Service declared the bi-state population of greater sage-grouse a “distinct … Continue Reading

The Northern Long-Eared Bat’s listing as threatened under the Endangered Species Act could affect development in the Northeastern United States

By Marc Campopiano and Max Friedman On April 1, 2015, the US Fish and Wildlife Service (“FWS”) announced that it would list the northern long-eared bat as a “threatened species” under the Endangered Species Act (“ESA”). The listing comes in response to a sharp drop of more than 90 percent of the northern long-eared bat’s … Continue Reading

California Supreme Court Hears Oral Argument Over City’s Inclusionary Housing Set-Aside

By Chris Garrett, Cindy Starrett, Jim Arnone, John Morris On April 8, 2015, the California Supreme Court heard oral argument in California Building Industry Association v. City of San Jose (Affordable Housing Network of Santa Clara County et al.), S212072, a case with statewide significance for local affordable housing measures.  At issue is the City … Continue Reading

Carbon Trading: A New Dawn in China

By Paul Davies and R. Andrew Westgate This document is a translation of the recently released Tentative Measures for the Administration of Trading of Carbon Emissions Rights promulgated by the National Reform and Development Commission (“NDRC”) on December 10, 2014.  As discussed in a recent article by Latham & Watkins partner Paul Davies, this development represents the … Continue Reading

Low Carbon Fuel Standard Overview

Joshua Bledsoe and Michael Dreibelbis of Latham & Watkins, recently co- wrote a LCFS Fact Sheet with the International Emissions Trading Association (IETA). The article is available on IETA’s website and below: The California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (aka Assembly Bill 32 or “AB 32″) mandates a reduction in California statewide greenhouse gas … Continue Reading

Governor Brown Orders California’s First Mandatory Water Restrictions

By Paul Singarella, Lucas Quass and John Morris On Wednesday April 1, 2015, in the wake of the state’s four-year drought and a winter that brought record-low snowfalls, Governor Brown issued an executive order mandating statewide water use restrictions for the first time in California’s history (the “Executive Order”).  The Executive Order follows on the … Continue Reading

Legislature Approves $1 Billion Drought Relief Legislation; Governor Brown Expected to Sign

By Paul Singarella, Daniel Brunton and Lucas Quass California Legislature Enacts Bill Package on Drought  On Thursday March 26, 2015, the California Legislature adopted legislation which it describes as allocating approximately $1 billion to emergency drought relief in the state.  As more than 50 percent of the new appropriations target flood control, it remains to … Continue Reading