News

DOI Issues Order to Protect Big Game in the West

On February 9, 2018, Department of Interior (“DOI”) Secretary Ryan Zinke issued a secretarial order (Secretarial Order No. 3362) designed to improve habitat quality and western big game winter range and migration corridors for antelope, elk, and mule deer. The order directs the DOI to work with the states of Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, […]

Ninth Circuit Rules on CWA Pollution Liability

On Thursday, the Ninth Circuit ruled that wastewater injections whose pollutions reach navigable U.S. waters via groundwater are subject to the Clean Water Act (“CWA”). Experts say this decision could drastically expand the scope of CWA liability and includes activities ranging from coal ash and pipeline spills to agricultural runoff. In coming to this decision, […]

Pruitt: Goal is to roll EPA back from ‘weaponized’ past

Excerpt from TheHill.com: That weaponization, he said, was the authority the EPA took to determine what types of energy should be supported, such as coal versus solar. “Weaponized in the sense of saying we are going to favor certain outcomes in the market with respect to energy and the environment — that’s not the role […]

Legislative Push for State Housing Reform Continues into 2018

The California State Legislature began its efforts on housing reform early in 2018, with the release of SB 827 (Weiner) on January 3. This follows the approval of several housing reform bills in 2017. These bills focus on streamlining permitting, enforcing regional housing production benchmarks, and preventing municipalities from down-zoning parcels or rejecting by-right projects. […]

Ninth Circuit Denies Challenge Over Owl Species

On Wednesday, a three-judge panel from the Ninth Circuit rejected environmentalists’ appeal to overturn a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) policy that allows the taking of one owl species to help recover another. Friends of Animals initially sued the USFWS over a 2014 plan to kill thousands of barred owls (on the left in […]

Substantial Evidence: It’s a thing. Fifth District Court of Appeal Upholds General Plan Update, Citing Plaintiff’s Failure to Introduce Substantial Evidence

In an unpublished opinion filed January 4, 2018, the Fifth District Court of Appeal rejected challenges to a general plan update prepared by the City of Visalia. Plaintiffs in the case argued that the EIR prepared by the City failed to adequately address urban decay impacts. In particular, plaintiffs argued that the 40,000 square foot […]

California River Watch Files Suit Against Vineyard Developers Over Protected CTS

  Last week, California River Watch sued a group of vineyard developers for allegedly violating the Endangered Species Act (ESA), arguing that the group engaged in agricultural practices that harm the protected California Tiger Salamander (CTS). In 2014, a group of developers filed for and received permits to convert 9.8 acres of their property into […]

CEQA: Second District Court of Appeal Affirms Trial Court Authority to Limit Decertification of EIR

In a case certified for partial publication, the Second District Court of Appeal addressed the Public Resources Code section 21168.9 mandate that a court’s order overturning the CEQA decision of a public agency shall be limited to the scope necessary to bring the agency’s decision into compliance with CEQA. The case, Center for Biological Diversity […]

BLM Revises Oil and Gas Policy Regarding Key Sage Grouse Habitat

Last week, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) issued an instruction memorandum (IM) revising an Obama-era policy that directed agency field offices to prioritize oil and natural gas leasing and drilling projects outside of the most sensitive greater sage grouse habitat. The IM now says that the BLM does not need to lease and develop […]

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