California

CEQA and Local Land-Use Regulations

California gubernatorial candidates debate the role of CEQA and local land-use regulations in the state’s housing crisis

The first (and probably only) debate in the California governor’s race happened earlier this week between Democratic nominee Gavin Newsom and Republican nominee John Cox.  Appropriately enough both candidates were asked how they were going to address the state’s housing crisis.  Newsom’s response was an ambitious target of 500,000 new homes/year through 2025 (far higher […]

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Where Does California Stand On Managing Vehicle Pollution?

4 stories to watch as policymakers aim for cleaner air and safer streets

While California has been a decades-long leader in technologies and policies to reduce smog from cars, the state has in recent years been seriously ramping up efforts to simultaneously deliver cuts to vehicle carbon emissions, one of the state’s most stubborn climate policy challenges. Vehicle pollution poses both long-term risks for climate change and immediate […]

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Trump Administration’s Quiet Policy Change Could More Than Double Hazardous Air Pollution in California

Change in MACT applicability could result in 935 additional tons of toxic pollution emitted by stationary sources in the state each year

Earlier this year, EPA made a major policy change in how the agency evaluates stationary sources of hazardous air pollutants in a memorandum quietly issued without any warning or opportunity for public comment. This policy change was promptly challenged by California and two different coalitions of environmental and community groups (one suit was filed by […]

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California Raises Its Ambition for a Low-Carbon Fuel Future

First in a Series About California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard Program

[Post co-authored by Sean Hecht and Ted Parson] California’s Air Resources Board (CARB) has just enacted new regulations that strengthen the state’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS). The LCFS is a major component of California’s greenhouse-gas control strategy, but receives surprisingly little attention, compared to other policies like the statewide cap-and-trade system and the renewable […]

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Burning in the Heat

Wildfires were bad enough already. Climate change is making them worse.

Fires have been unusually severe lately. According to one scientist, “’[I]n the late 20th and early 21st century, with these hot droughts, fires are ripping now with a severity and ferocity that’s unprecedented,’ says Tom Swetnam. . . . A fire in the Jemez Mountains Swetnam studies burned 40,000 acres in 12 hours, a ‘horizontal […]

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Mitigating Increased Driving Miles From New Projects Under CEQA

New Berkeley Law/CLEE report released today; Webinar discussion on Tuesday, October 30th

California law now requires developers of new projects, like apartment buildings, offices, and roads, to reduce the amount of overall driving miles the projects generate. Senate Bill 743 (Steinberg, 2013) authorized this change in the method of analyzing transportation impacts under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), from auto delay to vehicle miles traveled (VMT). […]

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Spreading Like Wildfire

They don’t get as much attention as floods or earthquakes, but wildfires are deadly serious.

This is the first of a three-part series about wildfires. Massive wildfires are a growing problem, posing risks to people and the environment. Considering that my house is located only a few miles from the 1991 Oakland Hills fire, which killed 25 people, destroyed 2800 homes, and caused $1.8 billion in damage, this is an […]

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Californians Strongly Oppose Rolling Back Clean Car Standards

Day-long hearing in Fresno shows clear opposition to Trump administration proposal

Along with hundreds of others, I traveled to Fresno, California to testify today against EPA’s proposed rollback of vehicle standards. We’ve covered EPA and NHTSA’s legally flawed proposal in a number of previous Legal Planet posts. Today’s hearing started out with NHTSA’s chief counsel accidentally referring to EPA as the “Energy Protection Agency,” but has […]

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Reflections from Climate Conference No. 2: The Global Climate Action Summit

Similarly inspiring, with an added dollop of controversy

Last week’s Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco was at once exciting, inspiring, thought-provoking, and controversial. While I was reinvigorated to push my career in climate change and environmental law and policy, it also forced me to critically think about the nuances in climate change policymaking. As promised, here is an overview of my […]

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UCLA’s Environmental Law Clinic Files Brief on Behalf of Amici League of California Cities and California State Association of Counties

Brief defends local government authority to regulate oil drilling in face of industry challenge

[Update: The Second District Court of Appeal, Division 5 has rejected all the amicus curiae brief applications filed in this case, including this brief. We will leave this post, and the link to the brief, up on this blog so that anyone interested may see our arguments, but the brief will not be considered in […]

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