Proposed Changes to NEPA Would Restrict Climate Change Review

President Trump announced a proposed rule package of National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”) regulatory changes that are designed to speed up approvals for projects ranging from pipelines to roads and dams. According to the president, this rule was prompted by the unfairly long amount of time it takes to approve projects. NEPA is the federal […]


On January 9, 2020, President Trump announced his intention to update the National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”) regulations and further stated that such updates were a top priority.  This reform would be the first major change NEPA has experienced in over 40 years. As proposed, the NEPA regulations would expedite NEPA requirements by clarifying, modernizing, […]

OPR Releases new Technical Advisory on CEQA Exemptions

CEQA exemptions provide a streamlined path to entitlement for projects and are almost always preferred if available. On January 16, 2020, the Office of Planning and Research released updated to two technical advisories. One is related to application of CEQA exemptions in disaster recovery efforts, and the other addresses CEQA review of housing projects. The […]

BLM Publishes FEIS for Geothermal Leasing Area In Inyo County California

On January 23, 2020, the Bureau of Land Management (“BLM”) published the Final Environmental Impact Statement (“FEIS”) for the proposed Haiwee Geothermal Leasing Area Project in Inyo County, California.  The FEIS analyzes the proposed leasing of 22,800 acres of publicly owned land for geothermal exploration, development, and utilization.  The FEIS provides a comprehensive analysis of the […]

USEPA and Army Corps Releases Long-Awaited Waters of the U.S. Rule

Yesterday the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released the final revised Waters of the United States (“WOTUS”) Rule, also called the “Navigable Waters Protection Rule.” This significant announcement marks the end of a multi-year two-step regulatory process to narrow and streamline the legal definition of federal jurisdictional waters, with the […]

New California Permit Streamlining Changes in Effect January 1, 2020

Senate Bill 330 (Skinner 2020) (the “Bill”) goes in effect at the start of the year. The Bill is designed to mitigate the shortage of housing California is experiencing in several ways.  One such way is streamlining the permitting process for proposed housing development projects.  The Bill defines a “housing development project” to mean any […]

CDFW Listing Decision for California Yellow-Legged Frog Announced

At its December 2019 meeting in Sacramento, the California Fish and Game Commission  took action on a number of issues affecting California’s natural resources. The following are just a few items of interest from the two-day meeting. The Commission made a listing decision under the California Endangered Species Act (CESA) regarding the foothill yellow-legged frog. […]

‘The California price’: Why it costs so much to build a home in the Golden State

The sound of electric saws slicing through plywood pierces the air in the Twelve Bridges neighborhood in Lincoln, a suburb outside Sacramento where new single-family homes are rising. Despite the progress, Mike Wyatt, like many housing developers in this state, is frustrated. Building these two-story tract homes will take a few months, but getting to […]

Blue States Sue Feds Over Trump Rollback of Obama Waters of the U.S. Rule

A coalition sued the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) on December 20, 2019 over the rollback of the Obama 2015 Waters of the U.S. (“WOTUS”) rule. The coalition included the states of New York, California, Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington, the commonwealths of Massachusetts and Virginia, Washington, D.C., […]

EIP Riverpark Approved: California’s Newest Mitigation Bank

Four state and federal agencies, including the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Regional Water Quality Control Board, and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife recently signed the Bank Enabling Instrument (“BEI”) for the Riverpark Mitigation Bank. Ecosystem Industrial Partners (“EIP”), the Bank Sponsor for Riverpark, hired Mitchell […]

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