California Congressman: Slow Down Permits! Introduces Bill Targeting Approved But Unimplemented Permits to Drill

Last week, California Representative Alan Lowenthal (D) introduced HR 4103 (2017), also known as the “Having Open Access to Relevant Data Act” or the “HOARD Act.” The legislation specifically targets applicants who have obtained Permits to Drill on federal lands, but had not begun timely drilling. The HOARD Act is in response to the Bureau […]

First District Court of Appeal finds California Department of Pesticide’s CEQA Documentation for Pesticide Registration Inadequate

In Pesticide Action Network North America v. California Department of Pesticide Regulation (September 19, 2017) Case No. A145632, the First District Court of appeal considered whether the Department of Pesticide Regulation met its CEQA obligations under the Department’s certified regulatory program. Documents prepared pursuant to the regulatory program serve as the functional equivalent of CEQA […]

USFWS Accepts Proposal to Increase Delta Pumping

  On Wednesday, federal fisheries regulators approved a controversial plan to allow for increased pumping from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta this fall. Facing opposition from environmental groups, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) signed off on the proposal that was championed by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and Southern California water interests. With those […]

Trump Administration Schedules Meetings with Industry Groups as Part of Regulation Reform Efforts

  Later this week, U.S. EPA Chief Scott Pruitt is scheduled to meet with representatives from a wide range of industries in an effort to identify areas where regulations may be scaled back, consistent with President Trump’s objectives. As part of the “Smart Sectors Program” announced in mid-September, the EPA will meet with representatives from […]

Central Valley Farming District Votes Against Participating in the California WaterFix

This week one of the biggest supporters of California’s water tunnels voted against funding the ambitious California water project (known as “California WaterFix”) proposed Governor Jerry Brown. Westlands Water District voted 7 to 1 against a resolution to help fund the $17 billion set of 40-foot-diameter tunnels underneath the Delta, citing concerns about costs that […]

CEQA Plaintiffs Still Searching For “Unusual Circumstances”

The First District Court of Appeal recently upheld the City of South San Francisco’s decision to approve a CUP for converting office buildings to a medical clinic via a CEQA categorical exemption. (Respect Life South San Francisco v. City of South San Francisco (2017) Case No. A145992.) The proposed conversion included only minor physical changes […]

Central Valley Farmer John Duarte Reaches Settlement with Federal Government

Just before the penalty phase of trial was set to begin on Tuesday, Northern California farmer John Duarte reached a settlement with the federal government, after being fined for plowing over disputed wetlands on his property. With the government seeking a $2.8 million fine and tens of millions of dollars in mitigation expenses, Duarte agreed […]

California Landowner Ordered to Restore Public Access to Beachfront Property

This week, a California court created an important precedent for public right-of-way access cases, when it ordered a billionaire to reopen access to a formerly public beach in San Mateo County. The First District Court of Appeals in San Francisco ruled 3-0 that Vinod Khosla violated state law when he closed access to Martins Beach […]

Fifth District Court of Appeal Finds Res Judicata Does Not Apply to Case Challenging DOGGR’s Issuance of Oil and Gas Well Permits

The Fifth District Court of Appeal reversed a lower court judgment dismissing a CEQA challenge filed by environmental groups against the California Department of Conservation, Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR), in Association for Irritated Residents v. Dept. of Conservation (2017) 11 Cal.App.5th 1202. The environmental groups challenged DOGGR’s issuance of 214 permits […]

First District Court of Appeal Upholds County’s Decision to Issue Ministerial Permit Exempt from CEQA

The California Supreme Court denied a request for depublication in Sierra Club v. County of Sonoma (2017) 11 Cal.App.5th 11, on July 26, 2017. As a result, the First District Court of Appeal’s decision finding against Sierra Club and Center for Biological Diversity is citable precedent. The case involved a challenge to Sonoma County’s decision […]

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