NIMBYs Gone Wild!!

Know Your NIMBYs

New Proposed Initiative Would Make Los Angeles a BANANA Republic

Los Angeles is in the midst of an affordable housing crisis: the city’s renters pay on average nearly half of their disposable income on rent alone. This threatens the city’s social and economic health: you simply cannot have a great city and hollow out its middle class. But NIMBYs never rest, and in the midst […]

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The Ninth Circuit Takes EPA to Task (Twice)

Monsanto pesticide to be sprayed on food crops.

EPA's pesticide registration efforts trigger forceful response

Judge McKeown of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals recently wrote of the EPA, “Although filibustering may be a venerable tradition in the United States Senate, it is frowned upon in administrative agencies tasked with protecting human health.”  Yikes.  What did the EPA do to elicit such a reaction from a federal judge? The short […]

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Attack of the Killer Blob


A weird patch of warm weather is killing sea lions and poisoning crabs.

There’s a weird area of warm water, which has come to be known as the Blob, sitting offshore of the West Coast.  That doesn’t sound too significant, except perhaps in terms of making things more pleasant for swimmers.  But actually, it’s causing a whole cascade of impacts on wildlife and humans. As the Chronicle explains: “The […]

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Muddling Through on Land Use Reform


Will Reform of Parking Regulations Ever See the Light of Day?

More than half a century ago, Charles Lindblom described the policy-making process as “The Science of Muddling Through.” California just demonstrated this with a new law, AB 744 (Chau), that holds important potential but in and of itself will not change the landscape. (Here is the most recent bill analysis). The law says that for […]

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Recreational marijuana legalization in California

Will a proposed ballot initiative on recreational marijuana legalization in California help the environment

In the wake of the enactment by the legislature of a regulatory structure for medical marijuana, it looks like voters in 2016 will probably be able to decide whether to legalize recreational use as well. Leading advocates for legalization of recreational marijuana have submitted a language for a ballot initiative to the California Secretary of […]

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California Supreme Court Continues to Expand Its Environmental Docket

California Supreme Court

Justices Considering Unprecedented Number & Variety of Environmental Law Issues

At the beginning of 2015, I posted on this site an analysis of the California Supreme Court’s environmental law docket.  My conclusion was that California’s highest court was showing unprecedented interest in environmental law–as demonstrated by the fact that it then had pending nine cases arising under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and 20 […]

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Air quality and wildfire

We may need to burn more to get less smoke

One of the impacts of California’s difficult fire season has been air pollution. Fires produce smoke. Large wildfires produce a lot of smoke. And large wildfires in the southern Sierra Nevada produce smoke in the southern Central Valley – the part of the United States that already has some of the worst air quality in […]

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The First Environmentalist Law Teacher


William Colby (1870-1964), a pioneering figure in the Sierra Club from Berkeley's past

I’m pretty sure that William E. Colby  qualifies as the nation’s first environmentalist law teacher, if only because environmentalism was very young at the time..  Colby was a lecturer on mining law and water law at Berkeley for twenty-one years, retiring in 1936.  (That doesn’t make him the first natural resources teacher;  Judge Lindley had taught […]

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California and Other Western States See Barriers to Protecting Streams

By National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

A new report highlights twelve western states' efforts to restore stream flows using environmental water transfers

Unnaturally low flows in rivers and streams throughout the western United States have threatened fish and other aquatic species for decades. But restoring flows has proved a significant and complex challenge. A recent report prepared for the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation by Stanford University’s Water in the West Program documents twelve western states’ efforts […]

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California Enshrines Renewables And Energy Efficiency 2030 Goals — And Maybe Greenhouse Gas Goals, Too

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Buried provision in the bill codifies long-term climate goals in the context of vehicle electrification

Today Governor Jerry Brown signed SB 350 (De Leon), a landmark bill that pledges California to a 50% renewable goal by 2030, as well as a doubling of energy efficiency in existing buildings by that date. Despite the environmental win, it’s been well-reported by the media and others that California’s environmental leaders got beaten pretty […]

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