California Environmental Quality Act

Wildfires, CEQA, Climate Change & the Courts

Recent Court Decisions Halt Building Projects, Invalidate CEQA Reviews for Failing to Assess Wildfire Hazards

Environmental and conservation groups have for a number of years attempted to convince California courts of the need to integrate climate change considerations into environmental analyses prepared under the state’s most important environmental law, the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).  However, the California judiciary has demonstrated little appetite for doing so.  Until now. Recently, courts …

CONTINUE READING

The Latest Chapter in Los Angeles’ Century-Long Water War With the Eastern Sierra’s People & Environment

LADWP’s Unilateral Revocation of Water Allocation to Mono County’s Farmers & Ranchers Triggers County’s CEQA Challenge

There LADWP goes again. Recently the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power announced it was walking away from its longstanding obligation to provide Mono County residents and the environment with a tiny fraction of the water it transports from Mono County to LADWP’s urban customers in Los Angeles.  When efforts by county officials to …

CONTINUE READING

California Enacts Historic Housing Reform Laws

Legislation Promotes New Housing, Infill Development, & Reduced Air Pollution

The California Legislature recently enacted, and Governor Gavin Newsom last week signed into law, two major housing reform measures.  SB 9 and SB 10 represent California’s most transformative new housing laws in decades, and are a belated but welcome legislative response to the state’s longstanding housing crisis. SB 9, authored by California State Senate leader …

CONTINUE READING

U.C. Davis School of Law Hosts “CEQA at 50” Conference on April 16th

CEQA at 50 logo

Virtual Event Commemorates Past, Predicts Future of the California Environmental Quality Act

Now a half-century old, the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) remains California’s most important, cross-cutting and controversial environmental law.  Originally patterned on the 1969 National Environmental Policy Act, CEQA has over the decades become a more powerful law than its federal counterpart.  And while numerous other states have adopted their own “little NEPA” statutes, CEQA …

CONTINUE READING

The California Supreme Court’s Most Important Environmental Law Decisions of 2020

It Was a Relatively Quiet Year for Environmental Law in the California Supreme Court

[This is the third and final installment in a series of posts highlighting the most significant environmental law decisions of 2020.  Earlier this week, I profiled the key 2020 environmental rulings by the U.S. Supreme Court and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.  This post concludes the series with an examination of …

CONTINUE READING

Commemorating the National Environmental Policy Act’s 50th Anniversary

Celebrating NEPA: America’s Most Transformative, Overarching & Catalytic Environmental Law

On a snowy New Year’s Day in 1970–50 years ago today–then-President Richard Nixon signed into law the National Environmental Policy Act.  NEPA’s passage marked the beginning of America’s modern environmental law era.  It  was followed by Congressional passage of a series of other federal environmental laws over the next decade–major statutes that to this day …

CONTINUE READING

Commemorating a Major Environmental Disaster–One With a Transformative Legacy

1969 Santa Barbara Oil Spill Sparked the Beginning of America’s Modern Environmental Era

This week marks the 50th anniversary of one of the most serious and consequential environmental disasters in American history–the Santa Barbara offshore oil spill of 1969.  On January 28, 1969, an offshore oil rig (Platform A) owned and operated by the Union Oil Company and operating in federally-controlled waters in the Santa Barbara Channel off …

CONTINUE READING

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 …

CONTINUE READING

California Supreme Court Upholds Regional Planning Agency’s Greenhouse Gas CEQA Analysis, and Sets Out Principles to Ensure Better Analysis in the Future

Decision Will Help Ensure Development and Transportation Planning in California Supports GHG Reduction Efforts

In May, Rick Frank posted his reflections on the oral argument in the California Supreme Court on Cleveland National Forest Association v. San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG), and predicted that SANDAG would win the case.  His prediction has proved correct with the release of the Court’s opinion last week – but SANDAG’s narrow win provides a …

CONTINUE READING

It’s Environmental Law Week at the California Supreme Court

Justices to Hear Oral Arguments in Three Major Environmental Cases This Week

The California Supreme Court currently has approximately twenty pending environmental cases on its docket.  This week, the Court’s justices will hear oral arguments in three of the most important of those cases.  Taken together, these looming decisions raise important issues concerning the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), federal preemption, climate change mitigation and adaptation, private …

CONTINUE READING

TRENDING