Judge Denies Motion to Dismiss CWA Groundwater Pollution Case

Last Thursday, U.S. District Judge William G. Young denied a motion to dismiss in a lawsuit brought by the Conservation Law Foundation against Wychmere Beach Club alleging that the Cape Code resort polluted waterways. Judge Young stated that the Foundation’s case could hinge on the “hydrologic connection” theory, under which theory the Clean Water Act […]

Natural Resources Agency Discussion Draft of Climate Change Advisory

The Natural Resources Agency released a “discussion draft” titled CEQA and Climate Change Advisory, on December 28, 2018. This discussion draft contains “initial thoughts” on updating the June 2008 climate change advisory. The update is intended to provide more guidance to lead agencies for evaluating and mitigating potential project impacts on climate change. Comments addressing […]

Bay Delta Plan Update

On December 12, 2018, the California State Water Resources Control Board (“SWRCB”) adopted a plan designed to restore water flows on the San Joaquin River and its main tributaries – the Stanislaus, Tuolumne, and Merced Rivers. The plan establishes water quality control measures and flow requirements needed to provide protection of beneficial uses in the […]

New CEQA Guidelines Now in Effect

  The Regulatory Action Amendments to the California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”) Guidelines (the “Amendments”) have been approved by the Office of Administrative Law and filed by the Secretary of State. The Amendments are now effective California regulations. All CEQA documents that were not circulated for the statutory public review and comment period prior to […]

Tribal Energy Development Promoted by President Trump

On December 18, 2018, President Trump signed into law the Indian Tribal Energy Development and Self-Determination Act (“Act”). The Act is a bipartisan bill that was introduced by Senator John Hoeven from North Dakota. Hoeven is the chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs. The new law preserves trust reform principles and mechanisms in […]

Supreme Court: Property Rights Reign over Dusky Gopher Frog

The U.S. Supreme Court released its decision in Weyerhaeuser Co. v. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (“USFWS”) that resulted in a significant victory for private property rights. Using common sense, the Supreme Court interpreted the Endangered Species Act (“ESA”) to allow critical habitat designations only in areas that the USFWS determines are actually habitat for […]

Trump Lifts Habitat Protections for Sage Grouse

On Thursday, December 6, 2018, the Bureau of Land Management (“BLM”) released proposals that would revise conservation efforts for the sage grouse made under the Obama administration. The changes are being made to enhance cooperation with Western states, and ease restrictions on oil and natural gas drilling, mining, and other activities. In 2017, the Trump […]

Federal Funding for Sites Reservoir

The Departments of Interior and Agriculture announced a $449 million grant for the Sites Reservoir Project in Colusa County, California. The Sites Reservoir is a proposed 13-mile lake that would hold nearly 1.8 million acre-feet of water diverted from the Sacramento River. The $449 million grant will fund a pipeline that will connect the Glenn-Colusa […]

EPA Announces Rollback of Obama Era Carbon Rule

Last Thursday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) announced a proposed rollback of a 2015 Obama administration rule setting CO2 emissions standards for new or modified coal-fired steam generating units. Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler stated that the Obama era standards were set too high and that carbon capture and sequestration is not the best […]

CEQA: Sixth District Court of Appeal Rejects Appeal on MND

The Sixth District Court of Appeal filed a decision heavy on writ procedure in the case Alliance of Concerned Citizens Organized for Responsible Development on November 26, 2018 (Case No. H044410). The heavy focus on procedure in the Court’s decision doesn’t make for the most exciting reading, but the decision contains an important reminder for […]

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