Fifth District Court of Appeal Overturns EIR and Streamlining Ordinance for Oil and Gas Well Permits.

Three oil and gas industry associations proposed an amendment to the Kern County Zoning Ordinances to streamline permitting for oil and gas exploration and production. The amendments would create a ministerial review process for permit applications, with mitigation measures incorporated. The mitigation measures would come from the EIR prepared to consider the potential environmental impacts […]

Federal Regulations Demanding More Water in California Central Valley gets Challenged…by California?!

On February 19, 2020, President Trump signed new federal regulations allowing more water from Northern California to flow into the Central Valley. President Trump additionally signed a new biological opinion that found minimal environmental impacts resulting from the water transfer. However, California environmentalists and politicians view the water transfer as weakening environmental protections for populations […]

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 […]

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