mitchell chadwick llp

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 […]

BLM to Hold Public Hearings on Sage Grouse While Watchdog Group Sues for Public Records

This week the BLM announced its plans to hold public hearings in November to allow for public comment regarding the agency’s decision to reopen 98 federal land use plans that were put in place to protect the greater sage grouse. Meanwhile, a watchdog group filed a federal lawsuit against the Interior Department, claiming the agency […]

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 […]

Nation’s High Court May Clarify CERCLA Cleanup Liabilities for Tenants and Subtenants

Last week, the United States Supreme Court was asked to consider whether former tenants and sublessees of a Superfund site may be liable for recovery costs – even though these parties were not technically “owners” under the meaning of CERCLA. In Next Millenium Realty LLC v. Adchem Corporation, No. 17-____, the Petitioners were the fee […]

EPA Head Formally Announces Elimination of Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan

Earlier this week, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt announced that he will sign a proposed administrative rule that will withdraw from the Clean Power Plan, a set of administrative regulations targeting coal and natural-gas power plant emissions. A longtime target of President Trump and Mr. Pruitt in his former capacity as Oklahoma Attorney General, the Clean […]

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 […]

First District Court of Appeal: City not Required to Consider Compliance with the Subdivision Map Act Prior to Certifying CEQA Document or Issuing Entitlements

The First District Court of Appeal reversed a lower court decision setting aside the City of Redwood’s decision to certify an EIR and approve a planned development permit for 4.75 acres in the case Save Laurel Way v. City of Redwood City (August 29, 2017, Case No. A147942). Project opponents raised multiple claims, including violation […]

Department of the Interior Issues Order Streamlining NEPA Analysis for Energy Projects.

In response to President Trump’s August 15, 2017 Executive Order directing administrative agencies to review and approve infrastructure approvals in a more expeditious manner, the Department of the Interior issued Order No. 3355 imposing page and time limits on Environmental Impact Statements. On August 15, 2017, Deputy Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt issued Order […]

Interior Secretary Zinke recommends contraction, but not rescission, of national monuments

In response to President Trump’s request for an auditing of national monuments, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke recommended redrawing the boundaries of certain national monuments rather than a wholesale rescission of the monument status. Details on the recommended cuts have not yet been publicized, though in the past few months, Zinke declined to adjust the boundaries […]

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