California Environmental Quality Act

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 …

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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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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 …

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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 …

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And Here’s to You, Justice Werdegar

Retiring California Supreme Court Jurist Leaves Impressive Environmental Law Legacy

The California Supreme Court recently announced that Justice Kathryn Werdegar will retire this August, after serving for 23 years on California’s highest Court.  Justice Werdegar is the longest-serving member of the currently-constituted Supreme Court. Over her 23-year career on the Supreme Court, Justice Werdegar has authored at least 25 major opinions on a wide variety …

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Understanding why California housing costs so much

Is the problem CEQA, local land-use regulations, both or neither?

Housing costs in the Bay Area and Los Angeles continue to get a lot of attention in the press and academic literature.  This New York Times article highlights this recent paper from Ed Glaeser at Harvard and Joe Gyourko at Penn – the paper’s analysis concludes that land-use regulations have significantly increased the price of …

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The California Supreme Court’s Top Environmental Law Decisions of 2016

CEQA, Property Rights, Preemption & Clean Water Act Highlight Supreme Court’s Environmental Docket

While 2016 was a quiet year for the U.S. Supreme Court when it came to environmental law, the same cannot be said for the California Supreme Court.  To the contrary, 2016 continued a pronounced and significant trend by the California Supreme Court justices in recent years to hear and decide numerous important environmental law issues …

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California Supreme Court Hands Air District, Environmentalists Qualified Win

Justices’ Unanimous Opinion Addresses Key “Scope of CEQA” Issue

In a closely-watched case, the California Supreme Court today issued a unanimous decision on the scope of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), California’s most important and heavily-litigated environmental statute.  That decision is unlikely to fully satisfy either side in the litigation, though over the long-term it would seem to favor local regulators and their …

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California Supreme Court Continues to Expand Its Environmental Docket

Justices Considering Unprecedented Number & Variety of Environmental Law Issues

At the beginning of 2015, I posted on this site an analysis of the California Supreme Court’s environmental law docket.  My conclusion was that California’s highest court was showing unprecedented interest in environmental law–as demonstrated by the fact that it then had pending nine cases arising under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and 20 …

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Anti-CEQA Lobbyists Turn to Empirical Analysis, But Are Their Conclusions Sound?

Influential Attacks on California’s Environmental Impact Law Aren’t Supported By the Data

Every August, as the California legislative session comes to a head, lobbyists attempt to gain support for dramatically scaling back California’s landmark environmental law, CEQA (the California Environmental Quality Act).  This year was no exception.  Last month, the law firm Holland and Knight, which has been a leading force on this issue, issued a new …

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