Category: ESA

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On the Chopping Block this Week: Obama Mitigation Policies for Natural Resources

I should start writing a regular segment titled “On the Chopping Block this Week.” While Congress’ hands seem to be tied, the President surely doesn’t have the same problem with overturning policies from the Obama Administration.  This week was no exception, with the release of Trump’s Executive Order on Energy Independence and Interior Secretary Zinke’s … Continue Reading

California to Thwart Trump’s Rollback of Federal Environmental Protections, Including Waters of US Deregulation

Newton’s Third Law apparently not only applies in physics, but in politics as well.  Last week, the California Senate leadership unveiled the “Preserve California” legislative package to oppose the rollback of federal environmental protections by President Trump and the GOP-controlled U.S. Congress.  The package included California State Senate Bill 49, aka the “California Environmental Defense … Continue Reading

Up the Creek Without a Paddle: District Court Holds that Biological Opinion Must Consider Climate Change Impacts

In a narrow win for plaintiff Wild Fish Conservancy (“Plaintiff”), the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington held that the biological opinion (“BiOp”) for the Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery (“Hatchery”) was arbitrary and capricious because the National Marine Fisheries Service (“NMFS”) failed to adequately consider the effects of climate change. This case … Continue Reading

California Fish & Game Commission Adopts “Very, Very Low” Standard for Candidacy under California ESA

El Niño has recently brought lots of rain to California, but it’s not quite time to start loading the animals two-by-two. However, the California Fish and Game Commission (Commission) did its part yesterday to save a potentially imperiled species by designating the Humboldt marten as a candidate species under the California Endangered Species Act (California … Continue Reading

Your Tricolored Blackbird Problem Just Got Worse With Candidate Listing Under the California ESA

Looks like Christmas came early, again, for the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD).  Based on a petition submitted by CBD, the California Fish and Game Commission voted earlier this month to designate the tricolored blackbird as a candidate species under the California Endangered Species Act (ESA).  The tricolored blackbird now enjoys the same legal protections, … Continue Reading

To Curtail Or Not To Curtail…That Is the Question

On June 12, the State Water Board issued a notice of “unavailability of water” and the “need for immediate curtailment” from various water users holding pre-1914 water rights.  Less than two weeks later on June 23, lawyers for the State Water Board reportedly stated in court this curtailment notice is advisory only, which would seem to … 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

High-Speed Rail Authority Under Fire for Disrupting San Joaquin Kit Fox Habitat

On January 26, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (“USFWS”) issued a letter to the California High-Speed Rail Authority (the “Authority”) that found that the Authority’s contractors are not in compliance with the Authority’s original environmental commitments to the USFWS in performing the preliminary work on the first segment of the high-speed rail project (the … 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

New Critical Habitat Regulations for Endangered Species Act Proposed

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service (jointly, the “Services”) recently issued several interrelated proposals that address how critical habitat would be designated under the Endangered Species Act (“ESA”). The Legal Alert analyzing the Services’ proposals, prepared by our colleagues Barbara Craig, Jeff Leppo, Ryan Steen, and Corinna McMackin, is available … Continue Reading

Court Clarifies “Taking” Of Endangered Species And Highlights What’s “Enough” Under CEQA

In Ctr. for Biological Diversity v. Dep’t of Fish & Wildlife, No. B245141 (Cal. Ct. App. 2d Dist. Mar. 20, 2014), the appellate court reversed the trial court’s decision, which found that the Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (“Department”) certification of an environmental impact statement and report (“EIR”) was “not supported by substantial evidence.”  In … Continue Reading

Governor Brown Outlines Budget Priorities for CalEPA and Natural Resources Agency

Governor Brown released a summary of his proposed 2014-2015 budget this week, including details on proposed environmental protection and natural resources spending.  The Governor’s budget provides $3.6 billion in funding for the California Environmental Protection Agency, including $3.1 billion in State funds and $54 million from the General Fund.  Proposed funding of CalEPA programs include:  $850 million … Continue Reading

Governor Brown Signs Two More Bills to Streamline Renewable Energy Development in California: SB 267 and SB 618

California has two more laws in place to help facilitate development of renewable energy projects after Governor Brown signed Senate Bill 267 and Senate Bill 618 over the weekend.  SB 267 modifies the existing requirements to prepare a water supply assessment for projects that meet certain size thresholds.  Under the new law, a photovoltaic or … Continue Reading

Attorney Mike Mills to Speak on Property Tax Issues at CalCIMA Education Conference

Together with Peter Finie of Vulcan Materials Company, I will be making a very informative presentation on California property taxes at the upcoming California Construction and Industrial Materials Association’s (CalCIMA) 2011 Education Conference in Monterey.  Our presentation, “Are Your Taxes Too High?,” will examine a number of property tax issues from an operator’s perspective, as … 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

Sulfur Dioxide Added to Prop 65 Could Have Broad Range of Impacts

Effective July 29, 2011 the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) added sulfur dioxide (CAS. No. 7446-090-05) to the Proposition 65 list of chemicals known to the state to cause reproductive toxicity. Sulfur dioxide is found in numerous products including food and beverages. Proposition 65 is the statute that requires notification by manufacturers of … Continue Reading
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