Land Use

The ESA and the Commerce Clause

The federal Endangered Species Act (ESA) is widely known for being the primary law in the United States that focuses on protecting biodiversity, and also for being a “pit bull” of environmental laws that has few exceptions and broad sweep. (For instance, the ESA was a major component of the litigation strategy by environmental groups […]

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Good News from the Middle East!

Just Another Environmental Hearing

Israel Tells Dick Cheney: Get Your Paws Off Our Energy Policy

You’re checking your calendar: is it April Fool’s Day already? Alas, no. But there is some genuine good news our of the Middle East — at least for those who care about the Middle East’s natural environment. Terminating a several-year saga that has pitted claims of energy independence against environmental risk, the Jerusalem District Committee […]

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Kashkari’s Unworkable Environmental Review “Reform” Plan

California Republican gubernatorial candidate Neel Kashkari

Net zero buildings for everyone?

In last night’s California gubernatorial debate, Republican candidate Neel Kashkari proposed a major reform to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), which requires environmental review of new projects. But rather than gutting CEQA completely, a la State-Senator-turned-Chevron-lobbyist Michael Rubio, Kashkari proposed to give all projects the same breaks that the Sacramento Kings received in last […]

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Why Tesla’s Nevada Gigafactory Could Be Bad For The Environment, Compared To A California Site

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Electric vehicle pioneer to announce its siting decision today

Some California environmentalists may be celebrating now that Tesla has apparently decided to build its $5 billion “gigafactory” in Nevada instead of California. Lawmakers here had toyed with the idea of weakening the state’s signature environmental law, the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), to help expedite review on the factory and therefore encourage Tesla to […]

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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

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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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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