California

CEQA and socioeconomic impacts

Why expanding CEQA to cover socioeconomic impacts might harm equity goals

Today I continue my series of blog posts on the CEQA lawsuit over UC Berkeley’s enrollment. My first post provided an introduction to the case and its background; my second post examined the risks of expanding environmental review to small-scale, individual decisions like the enrollment decisions at issue in this case. Today’s post will address …

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What is a project?

Is admitting a student to a university the kind of project requiring CEQA analysis?

Yesterday, I introduced the CEQA lawsuits over UC Berkeley’s expanding enrollment and its potential impacts on the surrounding neighbor. Today, in my second post, I want to explore the implications of applying environmental review statutes such as CEQA to individual, small-scale decisions like university enrollment. The legal question at issue in the case was whether …

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CEQA and UC Berkeley’s Enrollment

A recent court order freezing UC Berkeley enrollment highlights key issues in CEQA

A recent court order, freezing UC Berkeley’s student enrollment at 2021-22 levels, has earned some press attention and notoriety. Commentators on Twitter have accused the lead plaintiffs (residents in the Berkeley area) of being exclusionary NIMBYs. The court’s decision was premised on violations by UC Berkeley of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), a law …

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Blue Skies and Wildfire in California

An opinion piece in the NY Times reveals a disconnect between history and what we expect from wildfires and air quality

There’s a lot of news coverage about the wildfires on the West Coast right now, and rightly so. But with that news coverage comes a lot of commentary, some of which might lead us down the wrong policy path. I want to highlight an example from the New York Times opinion page, not because it …

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Supreme Court Finds California Labor Access Regulation Works Unconstitutional Taking of Private Property

What Are the Implications of the Cedar Point Nursery Decision for Environmental, Natural Resources & Public Health Programs?

In a closely-watched property rights decision, the U.S. Supreme Court today held unconstitutional a longstanding California regulation allowing labor unions intermittent access to agricultural workplaces for labor organizing purposes.  Reversing a decision of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, a 6-3 Supreme Court majority ruled that the challenged regulation triggers a per se, compensable government “taking” …

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A Preview: Major Property Rights Case Currently Before U.S. Supreme Court

Decision in Cedar Point Nursery Could Imperil Key Health, Safety & Environmental Programs

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in a major property rights case from California: Cedar Point Nursery v. Hassid.  That litigation arises in a labor law context.  But, depending on how the Court rules, the case could have major, deleterious impacts on a wide array of health, safety and environmental programs. …

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How Cities Can Use California’s Housing Element to Get New Housing Built

New changes in state law allow local governments to commit to long-term production of housing

Over the next two years, cities across the state of California will undertake a state-mandated process to update the “housing element” of their general plans for land use. Cities must demonstrate that they have—or will provide—adequate zoned capacity to accommodate their share of “regional housing need,” a figure which is determined by the state Department …

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California’s Environmental Justice Policies Should Serve as A Model for the Biden-Harris Administration

AB 617’s Program to Reduce Hot Spot Pollution, Port Programs, Zero Emission Trucks Could Go National

No Presidential ticket has come into office more committed to environmental issues than President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.  Appropriately, climate change is at the top of their agenda.  They are also committed to advancing environmental justice by addressing the disproportionate environmental harms many low income communities of color face. California is often …

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Driving Sustainable Energy Storage Technology

Maximizing the Environmental Utility of Battery Storage: Building a Life Cycle Assessment Framework

Battery energy storage is recognized as a key element of making our energy infrastructure more sustainable and resilient. Battery storage, however, encompasses many technologies–how should sustainability-minded agencies, utilities and storage developers choose among these options? UCLA’s Emmett Institute and the UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability is hosting an interactive workshop on that question …

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California’s Burning. What’s the Link to Climate Change?

Dark orange skies above San Francisco, at 10am on Sept. 9 2020

Answering your denialist friends

It’s a hard day to work in California, what with all the burning.  Those closest to the fires and smoke are evacuating (or being rescued), or are among the brave men and women fighting in inferno-like conditions to increase fire containment.  But even those of us far away and physically safe from the fires are …

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