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Category Archives: Environmental and approvals

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California Appeals Court Dismisses As Moot Litigant’s Challenge to Planned Development Approval

CEQA Case Report: Understanding the Judicial Landscape for Development[i] By Christopher W. Garrett, Daniel P. Brunton, James A. Erselius, John D. Niemeyer, and Samantha K. Seikkula In an unpublished opinion issued February 20, 2018, Advocates for Better Cmty. Dev. v. City of Palm Springs, Case No. E066193, the California Court of Appeal dismissed as moot … Continue Reading

CEQ Seeks Input on Potential Revisions to NEPA Regulations

Trump Administration is weighing potentially comprehensive overhaul to regulations governing federal environmental review to cut red tape and avoid excessive delay to process. By Janice M. Schneider, Tommy P. Beaudreau, Jennifer K. Roy, Bobbi-Jo B. Dobush, and Diego Enrique Flores The White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) recently published an Advance Notice of Proposed … Continue Reading

California Court of Appeal Upholds CEQA Exemption for Wireless Communications Facility

By Daniel P. Brunton, Lucas I. Quass, and Stephanie L. Postal CEQA Case Report: Understanding the Judicial Landscape for Development [i] In a published opinion issued March 15, 2018, Don’t Cell Our Parks v. City of San Diego, the California Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s judgment and upheld the City of San Diego’s … Continue Reading

CEQA Case Report: Understanding the Judicial Landscape for Development

By James Arnone, Lucinda Starrett, Marc Campopiano, and Christopher Garrett California higher courts rule in favor of public agencies on small majority of environmental impact report cases. Over the course of 2017, Latham lawyers reviewed all 46 California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) cases, both published and unpublished, that came before California appellate courts. These cases … Continue Reading

California Court of Appeal Finds EIR’s Air Quality Analysis Deficient

By Christopher Garrett, James Erselius, and Samantha Seikkula CEQA Case Report: Understanding the Judicial Landscape for Development[1] In a partially published opinion[2] issued January 12, 2018, City of Long Beach v. City of Los Angeles, the California Court of Appeal affirmed in part and reversed in part the trial court’s judgment requiring the City of … Continue Reading

California Court of Appeal Approves Environmental Analysis for Oil Refinery Propane Recovery Project

By Winston P. Stromberg, Lucas I. Quass, and Derek Galey Rodeo Citzens Ass’n v. County of Contra Costa, California Court of Appeal, First Appellate District, Division Three, Case No. A151184 (March 20, 2018). CEQA Case Report: Understanding the Judicial Landscape for Development[i] In a published opinion issued March 20, 2018, Rodeo Citizens v. County of … Continue Reading

Dismissal of Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) Case Appealed Amidst Program Extension

Appeal in POET II could complicate California Air Resources Board’s proposed LCFS amendments. Joshua T. Bledsoe, Kimberly D. Farbota In the case commonly referred to as POET II, petitioner POET, LLC, a biofuels manufacturer, challenged the Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) and Alternative Diesel Fuels (ADF) regulations which the California Air Resources Board (ARB) adopted … Continue Reading

CEQA Developments: How New Proposed Regulations and Streamlined Legislation Will Impact California Projects

Webcast addresses recent developments involving the California Environment Quality Act. By Marc Campopiano, Chris Garrett, and Winston Stromberg The Project Siting & Approvals Practice hosted a 60-minute webcast on February 21, “CEQA Developments: How New Proposed Regulations and Streamlined Legislation Will Impact California Projects.” Speakers provided an overview of the proposed updates to the California … Continue Reading

Interior Department Excludes Incidental Take Liability Under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act

By Janice Schneider, Sara Orr, Jennifer Roy and James Erselius Reversing a long-standing federal legal position, the US Interior Department recently stated that the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) does not impose liability for the incidental take of protected birds. The 41-page Solicitor’s Opinion (number M-37050) withdraws and replaces a prior Solicitor’s Opinion (number M-37041), issued … Continue Reading

California Air Resources Board Clarifies 2018 LCFS Targets and POET II Case Approaches Major Milestone

By Joshua Bledsoe and Kimberly Farbota Recent guidance published by the California Air Resources Board (ARB) clarifies the treatment of diesel fuels under the Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) in light of the Court of Appeals’ May 30, 2017 decision in POET I. Meanwhile, in POET II, ARB recently filed a Motion for Judgment on … Continue Reading

DOI Identifies Burdens to Energy Development on US Tribal Land

By Janice M. Schneider, Tommy P. Beaudreau, Stacey L. VanBelleghem, and Nikki Buffa Stakeholders interested in energy development on US tribal lands will welcome recent Department of Interior (DOI) efforts that identify a key burden to energy development on these lands — as well as the Bureau of Indian Affairs’ (BIA’s) plans to address it. … Continue Reading

Uncertainty Looms with Delays to Resolution of California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard Program Challenges

By Joshua Bledsoe and Kimberly Farbota Two recent developments in the interrelated legal challenges commonly known as POET I and POET II may create additional uncertainty for the future of the Low Carbon Fuel Standard Program (LCFS). Earlier this year, the California Court of Appeal for the Fifth Appellate District (Court of Appeal) issued two … Continue Reading

Proposed Amendments to Cap-and-Trade Extension Bill Could Undermine Program

By Bob Wyman, JP Brisson, Joshua Bledsoe, Andrew Westgate, and Brittany Dryer On April 18, 2017, California Assembly Members Garcia, Holden, and Garcia proposed amendments to Assembly Bill No. 378 (AB 378) that are intended to extend but significantly reshape California’s Cap-and-Trade Program.[1] This post briefly summarizes the backdrop against which AB 378 has been … Continue Reading

California Court Rules Against Air Resources Board over LCFS but Preserves 2017 Status Quo

By Joshua T. Bledsoe and Max Friedman In two recent posts, we discussed how California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) had been thrown into a state of potential upheaval by two interrelated legal challenges commonly known as POET I and POET II, including a recent oral argument before the California Court of Appeal for the … Continue Reading

U.S. Army Corps Reissues Fifty Existing and Two New Nationwide Permits

By Janice Schneider, Joel Beauvais, Stacey VanBelleghem, Jennifer Roy, and Francesca Bochner On March 19, 2017, 52 new or reissued nationwide permits (NWPs) for discharges into “waters of the United States,” issued pursuant to Section 404(e) of the Clean Water Act (CWA) and Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act went into effect. The … Continue Reading

President Trump Takes First Step on Long Road to Roll Back Climate Rules

Claudia O’Brien, Bob Wyman, Joel Beauvais, Stacey VanBelleghem, Bridget Reineking, and Kimberly Leefatt have authored an article entitled President Trump Takes First Step on Long Road to Roll Back Climate Rules. On March 28, 2017, President Donald Trump signed an executive order (EO) directing executive departments and agencies to review regulations that potentially burden the … Continue Reading

California State Court Poised to Destabilize Low Carbon Fuel Standard

By Joshua T. Bledsoe and Max Friedman Big changes appear to be imminent for California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS). As discussed in greater detail in our recent post, the LCFS currently is the subject of two interrelated legal challenges commonly known as POET I and POET II. Here we provide an update on recent proceedings before … Continue Reading

Near-Term Opportunities for Industry to Reduce Compliance Costs, Avoid “Nonattainment” Designation,” in the Face of Tightened Ozone NAAQS

Joel Beauvais, Claudia O’Brien, Stacey VanBelleghem and Bridget Reineking have authored an article entitled Reducing Ozone Regulation Costs Under the New Administration. Over the past four decades, compliance with the ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) has proven to be among the most costly of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations. EPA tightened the primary and … Continue Reading

President Signs Executive Order Directing EPA and Army to Review and “Rescind or Revise” Clean Water Rule

Joel Beauvais and Claudia O’Brien have authored an article entitled “Re-Evaluating the Clean Water Rule: The Long Road Ahead.” President Donald Trump, on February 28, signed an executive order (EO) directing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (the Corps) to issue a proposed rulemaking for notice and comment to rescind or revise … Continue Reading

Twin Challenges to LCFS Advance in California Courts, With Potential Implications for State’s Overall Climate Stabilization Strategy

By Joshua T. Bledsoe and Max Friedman Two related cases, advancing in parallel, have the potential to upend California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS), whether via full suspension of the LCFS or carving out diesel fuels from the deficit and crediting regime.[1] Both cases involve challenges by POET, LLC (POET), a South Dakota-based ethanol producer, … Continue Reading

Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board Approves Second Extension to Malibu Septic Prohibition Deadlines

By John Heintz, Lucas Quass, and Steven Mach On February 2, 2017, the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board (the Regional Board) approved a Revised Memorandum of Understanding (the 2017 MOU) between the City of Malibu (the City), the Regional Board, and the State Water Resources Control Board (the State Board) to extend the … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Grants Certiorari in Clean Water Rule Case Jurisdictional Challenge

By Andrea Hogan, Lucas Quass, John Morris and Steven Mach On January 13, 2017, the US Supreme Court granted certiorari for an appeal that will allow the Court to determine the proper jurisdiction for litigation challenging the Clean Water Rule (the Final Rule).[1] The federal Clean Water Act (CWA) provides for original jurisdiction in the … Continue Reading

Environmental Protection Agency Adopts National Limits on Formaldehyde Exposure for Composite Wood Products

By Michael Feeley, Winston Stromberg, Ann Claassen, Lucas I. Quass, John Morris, and Samantha Seikkula On December 12, 2016, EPA published the final Formaldehyde Standards For Composite Wood Products Rule (the Rule) in the Federal Register. The compliance date for most aspects of the Rule is December 12, 2017, with a sell-through provision for wood … Continue Reading

US Fish and Wildlife Service Finalizes Eagle Rule Revision

By Sara Orr, Jennifer Roy and Francesca Bochner On December 14, 2016, the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) finalized its proposed revisions to the Eagle Rule (Final Rule) and released its Record of Decision (ROD). The Final Rule allows companies and others to obtain 30-year incidental take permits under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection … Continue Reading
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