Land Use

Surveying the Landscape of Local Zoning and CEQA

First report from Berkeley/Columbia research project shows how Bay Area residential developments negotiate land-use and CEQA review

A group of interdisciplinary researchers from law and planning (which I am part of) just released its first report on how CEQA and land-use law shape the process of regulating and approving residential developments in five Bay Area cities.  (I first posted about our research here.)  I’ve included the Executive Summary below, and the full […]

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Guest Blogger Ken Alex: Working and Natural Lands, From Sources to Sinks

Post #6 in a Series on California Climate Policy by Ken Alex, Senior Policy Advisor to Gov. Jerry Brown

[This is the sixth post in a series expressing my view of why California’s actions on climate change are so important and how they will change the world. The introductory post provides an overview and some general context.] Roughly 80% of California land is protected or agricultural.  That includes deserts, forests, wetlands, foothills, and multiple vegetative types, […]

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International Court of Justice recognizes and values ecosystem services (sort of)

In a judgment announced on February 2nd, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for the very first time decided a compensation claim for environmental damage. Equally important, it took a close look at whether ecosystem goods and services are compensable under international law. The decision is both carefully considered and deeply frustrating. There have, of […]

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Sierra Club Opposes One Of The Most Important Climate Bills In California

Environmental group whiffs on proposed legislation to allow badly needed residential development near transit

Housing more Californians near transit and not in sprawl areas represents one of the most crucial ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Senate Bill 827 (Wiener) would help do just that, by preventing local governments from zoning people (and homes) out of these prime transit areas. So it was surprising to see an environmental organization […]

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Finally, California Gets A Meaningful Housing Bill

SB 827 (Wiener) would be a game-changer to solve the housing and sprawl crisis

California State Senator Scott Wiener just introduced the bill I’ve probably been waiting for since I started following land use and transit in California over a decade-and-a-half ago. SB 827 would dramatically scale back local government restrictions on housing near major transit stops (see the fact sheet PDF). These restrictions by local governments have prevented […]

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The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals’ Most Important Environmental Law Decisions of 2017

Constitutional Issues, Water Law, Native American Rights Dominate Court’s Environmental Docket

Happy New Year! As we move into 2018, let’s take a look back at the most significant environmental law decisions issued by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in 2017. Conventional wisdom is that the second most important federal court in the nation (after the U.S. Supreme Court) is the D.C. Circuit […]

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The California Supreme Court’s Most Important Environmental Law Decisions of 2017

CEQA, Climate Change, Cannabis & Regulatory Takings Top the Justices’ Environmental Docket

As 2017 comes to a close, let’s take a moment to assess the California Supreme Court’s most significant environmental law decisions of the year. There are a large number of decided cases to choose from: as has been true over the past decade, in 2017 the California Supreme Court devoted a substantial portion of its […]

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Final Republican Tax Bill Minimizes Damage To Renewables, Electric Vehicles & Affordable Housing

But the bill is still bad for the environment

Republicans from the House and Senate voted yesterday to approve their conference tax bill. Due to intense lobbying efforts, negotiators in the committee reduced some of the harm I described that the previous versions of the bill would have done to renewable energy, electric vehicles, and affordable housing. As Brad Plumer in the New York […]

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California Doubles Down on Its Commitment to Reduce State Greenhouse Gas Emissions

California Air Resources Board Adopts New, Landmark Climate Change Scoping Plan

California’s Air Resources Board (CARB) has adopted a new 2017 Climate Change Scoping Plan, which is designed to extend and expand upon the state’s longstanding commitment to reduce California’s aggregate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.  This is a landmark achievement, one that moves California further down the road to a sustainable environment and economy. A bit […]

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Republican Tax Bill Would Devastate Renewable Energy & Affordable Housing

Proposed tax code changes would destroy the market for tax credit financing

Donald Trump’s electoral college win a year ago certainly promised a lot of setbacks for the environmental movement. True to form, his administration’s attempts this year to roll back environmental protections, under-staff key agencies enforcing our environmental laws, and prop up dirty energy industries have all taken their toll. However, until the tax bill passed […]

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