Tom Henry

Tom Henry

Tom Henry is a mining attorney whose practice involves permitting and environmental review under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), as well as resolving other land use, title and regulatory compliance issues. Tom’s oil and gas experience involves title review, as well as land use, permitting and CEQA issues related to oil and gas development and production. Tom also advises clients as to California’s AB 32 emissions reporting and Cap and Trade Program.  A partner in our Sacramento office, he has been listed in The Best Lawyers in America© in the practice area of Oil & Gas Law since 2012.

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BLM Must Take a “Hard Look” at Fracking Impacts

On September 6, 2016, a federal Judge issued an Order finding that the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (“BLM”) failed to take a “hard look,” as required under the National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”), at the potential environmental impacts of hydraulic fracturing in issuing a new Resource Management Plan (“RMP”) for the Bakersfield Field Office.  … Continue Reading

The Other Shoe Just Dropped on Methane Emissions from the Oil and Gas Industry

Not to be outdone by its federal counter-parts, the California Air Resources Board (“ARB”) released Greenhouse Gas Emission Standards for Crude Oil and Natural Gas Facilities (“proposed rule”) for methane emissions on Tuesday, May 31, following a slew of recent federal regulations targeting reduction of methane emissions.  Cal. Code Regs. tit. 14, §§ 95665-95676 (proposed).  … Continue Reading

CA Lawmaker Floats a Legislative Fix to Siskiyou County Farm Bureau Case

Last summer, the Third District Court of Appeal issued a sweeping ruling in Siskiyou County Farm Bureau v. Department of Fish and Wildlife, which made any substantial diversions of water subject to the streambed alteration agreement provisions of the California Fish and Game Code (“CDFW”).  The court ruled that California Fish and Game Code section … Continue Reading

Updates to CEQA Guidelines for Transportation Impacts Analysis Under SB 743

On January 20, 2016, the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research (“OPR”) released a revised draft of thresholds for measuring transportation impacts under the California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”). These draft thresholds are designed to promote the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions (“GHG”) pursuant to its mandate under Senate Bill 743 (Steinberg, 2013). The initial draft was released for review in August 2014. OPR’s revised draft is fundamentally similar to its initial draft. In particular, under both drafts, the focus of a project’s transportation impacts analysis under revised Guidelines would shift from analyzing the project’s potential to increase traffic delays to the project’s effects on GHG emissions by focusing on vehicle miles traveled (“VMT”). The CEQA Guidelines have always focused a project’s potential transportation impacts analysis on the project’s potential to increase traffic delays by analyzing the project’s level of service (“LOS”). … Continue Reading

How to Fix Your GHG Analysis After the California Supreme Court’s Newhall Ranch Decision

My colleague, Michael Sherman, posted yesterday about two issues decided in the California Supreme Court’s decision in Center for Biological Diversity v. California Department of Fish and Wildlife.  Today, I’ll address the part of the decision that involves the evaluation of the Newhall Ranch project’s greenhouse gas emissions.  In short, the Court just made it a … Continue Reading

Gov. Brown Assembles Fracking Review Panel

According to several news organizations, Governor Brown has announced plans to form a new panel to review the recent well stimulation study conducted by the California Council on Science and Technology (“CCST”). The study found that while there is little evidence that hydraulic fracturing is directly linked to widespread negative health and environmental impacts, additional data … Continue Reading

Independent Study on California Fracking Released

The California Council on Science & Technology (“CCST”) recently released its Independent Study of well stimulation in California. The report was prepared for the California Natural Resources Agency in response to Senate Bill 4 (“SB 4”). The Study notes the following key points: Hydraulic fracturing in California does not use a lot of fresh water … Continue Reading

DOGGR Releases Final Well Stimulation EIR

Yesterday, July 1, 2015, pursuant to Senate Bill 4 (“SB 4”) the State Oil & Gas Supervisor Steven Bohlen, head of the Department of Conservation’s Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources (“DOGGR”), certified a Final Environmental Impact Report (“Final EIR”) for oil and gas well stimulation treatments. As presented in the Final EIR, for the … Continue Reading

Fish & Game Code Section 1602 Is Unambiguous, Now Requiring More Water Users To Provide “1602 Notification” To “Substantially Divert” Water

On June 4, 2015, the Court of Appeal ruled that California Fish and Game Code section 1602 (“Section 1602”) unambiguously requires notification to the Department of Fish and Wildlife (“Department”) if an entity or individual plans to “substantially divert” water, even when the legal right to use the water was previously established. (Siskiyou County Farm … Continue Reading

Sacramento Kings – 2, Opponents – 0: Court Rules that the Downtown Arena Satisfies Environmental Review Requirements

In Saltonstall, et al. v. City of Sacramento, No. C077772 (Cal. Ct. App. 3rd Dist., Feb. 18, 2015), the Third Appellate District affirmed the judgment of the Superior Court in holding that the City of Sacramento did not violate the California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”) by beginning construction of the downtown arena. This appeal comes … Continue Reading

California Supreme Court To Resolve Appellate Court Split on Federal Preemption in Railroad Regulation

On December 10, 2014, the California Supreme Court granted petition for review in Friends of the Eel River v. North Coast Railroad Authority to resolve a split between the First and Third District Courts of Appeal.  (230 Cal.App.4th 85 (2014), cert. granted, 339 P.3d 329, Cal. S.C. Case No. S222472 (2014).)  The Court will consider two questions: … Continue Reading

Fresno County Aggregate Mine Fends Off Court Challenge

In Friends of the Kings River v. County of Fresno, No. F068818 (Cal. Ct. App. 5th Dist., Dec. 8, 2014), the Fifth Appellate District upheld Fresno County’s (County) approval of the Carmelita Mine and Reclamation Project (Project) in 2012.  The Project includes a proposed aggregate mine and related processing plants on a 1,500-acre site located … Continue Reading

Is A 16% Reduction in GHG Emissions From “Business-As-Usual” Enough Under CEQA?

Our previous post on the Second District Court of Appeal’s decision in Center for Biological Diversity v. Department of Fish & Wildlife, No. B245141 (Mar. 20, 2014), highlighted the court’s holdings on California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and California Endangered Species Act (CESA) issues.  The opinion also provides a useful (although unpublished) discussion on how … Continue Reading

SMARA Amendments Moving Forward in State Senate

SB 1270, sponsored by State Senator Fran Pavley (D-Agoura Hills), survived the Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Water on April 29, 2014 by a 7-2 vote.  Some additional amendments were made yesterday, May 7, 2014.  Last year the Legislature passed SB 447, which, as discussed in our October 1, 2013 post, modified the Office … Continue Reading

It’s in the Bag: San Fran Plastic Bag Ban Ordinance Survives Court Challenge

In Save the Plastic Bag Coalition v. City and County of San Francisco, et al. (“Plastic Bag III”) (December 10, 2013), the First District Court of Appeal affirmed the Superior Court’s denial of a petition for a writ of mandate seeking to invalidate a 2012 San Francisco ordinance banning the use of plastic, single-use “checkout … Continue Reading

To List Or Delist Is The Question – California Mines

The Office of Mine Reclamation has the authority under Public Resources Code Section 2717 (the AB 3098 list) to list or delist a mine from its list of “good mines.” This authority can have an enormous impact on a mine’s ability to sell to public agencies, which is a critical status in an economic environment … Continue Reading
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