Tag: CEQA

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

No Bull: Santa Cruz County Rodeo Qualifies for CEQA Exemption

In Citizens for Environmental Responsibility v. State of California ex rel. 14th District Agricultural Association, et al. (3rd App. Dist., March 26, 2014), the appellate court affirmed the trial court’s decision to exempt a three-day rodeo from California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”) review under the Class 23 categorical exemption[1] because the rodeo would be held … Continue Reading

Governor Brown’s Promised SB 4 Amendments: Proposals Should Appease Environmental Critics by Closing Potential CEQA Loopholes

In his SB 4 signing message (see September 20, 2013 post), Governor Brown promised certain “clarifying” amendments for SB 4, and his administration has begun the process of seeking those amendments. Governor Brown’s proposed legislation would amend SB 4 in three major categories: Permanent Regulations DOGGR’s deadline for draft permanent regulations will be pushed from … Continue Reading

Failure to Comply With LAFCO Procedural Requirements Proves Fatal to CEQA Suit

In Protect Agricultural Land v. Stanislaus County Local Agency Formation Commission (filed January 28, 2014) (“Protect Agricultural Land”), the Fifth District Court of Appeal affirmed judgment on the pleadings in favor of the Stanislaus County Local Agency Formation Commission (“LAFCO”), and squarely held that all “lawsuits seeking to set aside a LAFCO approval of an … Continue Reading

Challenge Against DOGGR Can’t Stand Under SB 4: Alameda County Judge Throws Out Environmental Suit

Environmental groups will have to wait to challenge hydraulic fracturing activities in the state of California until the Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources (“DOGGR”)  issues its permanent regulations in 2015.  This is according to Alameda County Judge Evelio Grillo, who on January 17, 2014, granted a motion to dismiss a challenge brought by … 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

Application for State Funds Not A “Project” Under CEQA

In City of Irvine v. County of Orange (“City of Irvine”) (published and modified on November 22, 2013), the Fourth District Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s ruling that the County of Orange’s (“County”) application for state funding for jail expansion was not a “project” requiring environmental review pursuant to CEQA. In City of Irvine, … Continue Reading

New Alternative Does Not Trigger Recirculation of Draft EIR Unless Considered “Significant New Information”

In South County Citizens for Smart Growth v. County of Nevada, the Third Appellate District held that South County Citizens for Smart Growth’s (“Smart Growth”) claim that the County of Nevada  violated CEQA by failing to prepare and recirculate a revised draft EIR was unfounded because the new alternative project proposal did not constitute “significant … Continue Reading

AB 417 Adds Statutory CEQA Exemption for Bicycle Transportation Plans

On October 7, 2013, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law Assembly Bill 417 (“AB 417”) authored by Assembly Member Jim Frazier (D-Oakley) that streamlines the CEQA process for bicycle transportation plans. Although the 2012-2013 legislative term began with high hopes for significant CEQA reform, AB 417, in addition to SB 743 (see blog post regarding … Continue Reading

Governor Brown Signs SB 743 – The CEQA Reform That Wasn’t

On September 27, 2013, Governor Brown signed Senate Bill 743, bringing to a close a legislative session full of surprises when it comes to CEQA reform.  SB 743 paves the way for streamlined judicial review of the proposed new Sacramento Kings downtown arena and sets forth a few additional streamlining provisions under the California Environmental … Continue Reading

Second District Court of Appeal finds Failure to Request a CEQA Hearing within 90 Days is Excusable Neglect

The Second District Court of Appeal has issued a decision in Comunidad en Accion v. Los Angeles City Council (case no. B240554 (Sept. 20, 2013), finding that the petitioner’s failure to timely request a hearing under the California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”) was excusable neglect.  The Court of Appeal reversed the trial court’s ruling dismissing … Continue Reading

Appellate Court Requires Calculation of Current Emissions in GHG Analysis Under CEQA

Authored by Carissa Beecham In Friends of Oroville, et al. v. City of Oroville, et al. (“Friends of Oroville”) (filed and published in part on August 19, 2013), the Third District Court of Appeal partially reversed the trial court in finding that the City of Oroville’s (“City”) EIR improperly analyzed the greenhouse gas (“GHG”) emissions … Continue Reading

CEQA Baseline Analysis: Future Conditions Baseline Should Be the Exception Not the Rule When Agency Reviews Environmental Impacts, Says Divided California Supreme Court

In Neighbors for Smart Rail v. Exposition Metro Line Construction Authority (filed August 5, 2013) (“Neighbors”), a majority of the California Supreme Court justices announced a new rule regarding the baseline agencies may use when conducting a CEQA analysis of a project’s environmental impacts. Specifically, the Court ruled that CEQA does not prohibit the exclusive … Continue Reading

Marin County’s Plastic Bag Ban Categorically Exempt From CEQA Review

Decision expected to provide guidance for public agencies in determining the type of environmental review required for such bans. In Save the Plastic Bag Coalition v. County of Marin, et al. (published in part by the First Appellate District on July 25, 2013) (“Marin”), the court upheld the County of Marin’s (“County”) ordinance prohibiting certain retail establishments … Continue Reading

California Appeals Court: Air Resources Board Low Carbon Fuel Standards Regulations Violate CEQA

In Poet, LLC et al. v. California Air Resources Board et al., the Fifth Appellate District held the Air Resources Board (“ARB”) violated CEQA and the APA with its approval of the Low Carbon Fuel Standards (“LCFS”) regulations, and ordered the lower court to issue a peremptory writ of mandate, requiring ARB to take certain … Continue Reading

California Appellate Court Issues Significant Opinion Regarding CEQA Administrative Records and the Common Interest Doctrine

In Citizens for Ceres v. The Superior Court of Stanislaus County, City of Ceres, et al., (filed and published in part by the Fifth Appellate District on July 8, 2013), the petitioner in a CEQA lawsuit sought relief from the appellate court ordering the trial court to require production of thousands of pages of documents that … Continue Reading

Appeals Court Finds in Favor of Solar Project Over Agricultural Use

The California Court of Appeal for the Sixth District issued its decision in Save Panoche Valley v. San Benito County, finding that the public interest in developing the Panoche Valley Solar Farm (Project) outweighs the public interest in maintaining the agricultural use of the land on which the Project will be built.  The decision is … Continue Reading

Senator Steinberg’s CEQA Reform Bill Falls Short of Expectations

On Friday, February 22, Senator Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) introduced a bill outlining proposed revisions to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).  A substantial CEQA reform bill championed by Senator Michael Rubio (D-Shafter) was highly anticipated in this legislative session.  But, earlier in the day on Friday, Senator Rubio announced his resignation from the California State Senate … Continue Reading

Senator Rubio Resigns: Is CEQA Reform Dead?

Senator Michael Rubio (D-Shafter) announced today that he is resigning from the California State Senate, effective today.  Senator Rubio made headlines at the end of the 2012 legislative session when he introduced a bill to significantly reform the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).  At that time, he agreed to work with Senator Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) … Continue Reading

Looking at CEQA’s Climate Change Analysis Beyond 2020, a Trial Court Gives Weight to Executive Order S-3-05

In December 2012, San Diego Superior Court Judge Timothy Taylor ruled that the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) had violated the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), in part because the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) that SANDAG prepared for its 2050 Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) failed to analyze the greenhouse gas (GHG) targets set by … Continue Reading

Valley Land Owner’s Bid to Derail High Speed Rail Is Denied

In the continuing legal battle between Central Valley agricultural interests and California’s high-speed rail (“HSR”) project, plaintiffs in three separate lawsuits in Sacramento County Superior Court requested a preliminary injunction to stop all work associated with the initial segment of the HSR between Merced and Fresno until a ruling on the lawsuits’ merits.  On November … Continue Reading

Newly Published CEQA Decision Sets Precedent Regarding EIR Project Alternatives

My colleague, Barbara Brenner, posted an environmental law alert on the recently published CEQA decision issued by the California Third District Court of Appeal in Mount Shasta Bioregional Ecology Ctr. v. County of Siskiyou, No. C064930, 2012 Cal. App. LEXIS 1088 (Cal. Ct. App. Sept. 26, 2012).  The case is significant because it provides precedent … Continue Reading

Environmental Groups Sue DOGGR Over Fracking Permits

Environmental groups filed a complaint today in Alameda County Superior Court against the California Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) alleging that DOGGR violated the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) by issuing permits for oil and gas wells that allowed hydraulic fracturing activities without sufficient environmental review. The complaint alleges that there are several environmental and public health impacts associated with fracking that DOGGR fails to consider in its CEQA analyses for oil and gas well permits. The complaint also alleges that DOGGR improperly excludes new oil and gas well permits from CEQA based on categorical exemptions for minor alternations to land or existing facilities.… Continue Reading
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