California

Misleading Attacks On California’s New Transportation Analysis Under CEQA

A little less of this, please

Big Law Firm Holland & Knight Misrepresents New State Guidelines

Last year, the California legislature passed badly needed reform to change how agencies evaluate a project’s transportation impacts under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).  The Governor’s Office of Planning and Research (OPR) was tasked with coming up with new guidelines for how this analysis should be done going forward.  As I blogged about, the […]

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Closely Confined Chickens, Interstate Conflict & the Dormant Commerce Clause

Is Proposition 2, California's Pioneering Animal Welfare Law, Unconstitutional?

Last week witnessed a most interesting constitutional showdown between sovereign states in U.S. District Court in Sacramento.  At issue is animal welfare legislation California has enacted both at the ballot box and through its elected representatives.  The enemy combatants are a coalition of midwestern states led by Missouri, aligned against the State of California, with […]

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Transit-Oriented Projects In California Won’t Be Penalized For Traffic Impacts Anymore

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Governor's Office Releases New Environmental Review Guidelines

Back in 2013, there was significant discussion about reforming the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), with the business community and its attorneys arguing that CEQA is nothing more than a litigation tool for opponents of new projects. Some environmentalists and labor unions countered that CEQA is necessary for decision-makers to adequately assess the environmental impacts […]

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The Hydrology of the Public Trust

Drought

The Public Trust Doctrine Gives California Regulators the Authority to Monitor Groundwater Pumping

A couple of weeks ago, Rick reported that California might finally be ready to institute some form of statewide groundwater regulation. (The original California Water Act regulating surface water is now more than 100 years old, and when it was enacted, many observers thought that groundwater regulation was just around the corner: hey, what’s a century […]

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Hydrogen “Fool” Cells Vs. Electric Vehicles

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The debate over the best clean vehicle technology

California recently committed to spending $50 million on 28 public hydrogen fuel cell charging stations, throwing gasoline (bad pun) on the fire of a growing debate: electric vehicles vs, hydrogen fuel cells as the carbon-free vehicle technology of the future. California policy makers seem to think it may be both, based on their spending to […]

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Back in the Fast Lane

San Diego Trolley

New Pritzker Brief from UCLA Law on Making Public Transit Work

Fellow blogger Ethan Elkind has spent a lot of time researching the history, politics, and future of transit in California.  Earlier this year he published Railtown, a fascinating portrait of the fight over development of the L.A. Metro rail system, revealing the degree to which that development has been driven by good old-fashioned politics and even intrigue […]

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Big Court Wins For High Speed Rail

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More litigation to come, along with funding challenges, but construction can finally begin

The California High Speed Rail Authority secured a big legal victory in the state court of appeals yesterday, which overturned twin decisions by a trial court judge that threatened to derail (no pun intended) the entire program. Coupled with another appellate court win a week ago upholding the program-level environmental review on the Pacheco Pass […]

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Climate Change Adaptation Strategy: Can California Do More?

Is Increased Reliance on the Public Trust Doctrine an Essential Part of Effective State Adaptation Policy?

I often tell students in my Climate Change Law and Policy course that adaptation–that is, how we can best adapt to the unavoidable impacts of climate change–is the poor stepchild of the debate over greenhouse gas emissions and climate change.  By that I mean that climate change mitigation (i.e., how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions) generates far more […]

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Is California Finally Ready to Get Serious About Groundwater Reform?

Prospects Good for Passage of Landmark Groundwater Legislation

California, which prides itself as being a national and international leader in so many areas of environmental policy, lags woefully behind other jurisdictions when it comes to at least one subject area: groundwater regulation.  Alone among the Western states in the U.S., California lacks any statewide system of groundwater regulation and planning.  (Until a few […]

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Groundwater and the public trust doctrine, California style

The dewatered Scott River west of Fort Jones, CA, Sept. 2, 2009. Photo by Klamath Riverkeeper. Flight by LightHawk.

California trial court rules that public trust doctrine applies to pumping that reduces flow in a navigable waterway

If you follow California water law or environmental law, you probably have been aware that the Environmental Law Foundation has been pursuing a public trust claim based on groundwater pumping that affects the Scott River. Last week they gained a victory at the trial court level, with a ruling that endorses the principle that groundwater […]

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