Land Use

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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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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Back in the Fast Lane

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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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Addressing Climate Change Without Legislation

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A new report from UC Berkeley looks at the underused powers of the US Department of the Interior.

Now that the Environmental Protection Agency has announced its proposed rules for restricting greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants, the climate focus of EPA and the states will first be on polishing the rules for final approval, then on the anticipated law suits, and then on the development of state plans to meet the […]

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Feds Downgrade Monterey Shale Oil Reserves by 95.6%

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LA Times op-ed highlights increase in trains transporting oil into California

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) is reducing its previous estimate for technically recoverable oil in California’s Monterey Shale from 13.7 billion barrels of oil to just 600 million barrels of oil—a dramatic 95.6 percent reduction. Has the oil industry been chasing rainbows in search of illusive “black gold” Monterey oil? For years, the oil […]

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Of Corn and Climate

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Trouble may be brewing in the corn belt.

We continue to gain a better understanding of the impacts of climate change, which are sometimes subtle and unexpected.  Two articles in Science report significant new research. The first report comes from two researchers at the University of Illinois.  Corn, like other plants, needs to pull CO2 from the air for photosynthesis.  But the same tiny […]

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California’s Infill Backlash

Santa Monicans wanted this project out of their beach community.

It's here, and it needs to be addressed

For environmental and economic reasons, we want jobs and people to move back to our cities. People living in cities pollute less because they don’t drive as much and tend to live in smaller homes. Economically, they can save a lot of money on transportation and energy costs, while thriving neighborhoods can create cultural and […]

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Quantifying Environmental Justice (& Injustice) in California–An Update

California Improves an Already-Powerful Environmental Justice Analytical Tool

A year ago, I wrote about an important environmental justice initiative pioneered by the California Environmental Protection Agency and its subsidiary entity, the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment. That 2013 initiative, titled CalEnviroScreen, divided up the State of California by zip code, applied 11 environmental health and pollution factors, assessed each of the state’s […]

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What Steve Jobs Could Teach Us About Land Use and Transit Planning

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Lessons for making urban spaces great from the celebrated entrepreneur

Steve Jobs died in 2011, but his life experience, as related by biographer Walter Isaacson, offers some important lessons for today’s transit and urban development practitioners. I just finished reading the biography and was struck — like many others — by what a notoriously awful person he was to those around him. Part of the […]

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