Sackett and the Dangers of a New ‘Clear-Statement Rule’
The Supreme Court decision in Sackett v. EPA will be bad for the nation’s wetlands. It is just as bad for democracy.
The Supreme Court decision in Sackett v. EPA limits the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to defend a large portion of the nation’s wetlands and waterways from pollution. The decision strips key environmental protections from the Clean Water Act by narrowly defining which bodies of water can be regulated under the Act, making it the most …
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Environmental Law Again Front-and-Center at California Supreme Court
Local Government’s Authority to Limit Oil & Gas Development To Be Argued Before Justices
For the first two decades of this century, and under the able leadership of former Chief Justices Ronald George and Tani Cantil-Sakauye, the California Supreme Court was quite active in interpreting and shaping California environmental law. That trend had abated in the last few years–coincidentally or not during the height of the COVID epidemic–with only …
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Local Authority Over Oil Drilling Heads to California Supreme Court
Cities and counties have long held authority to decide where and whether to allow oil and gas exploration and extraction. The state’s high court can make that crystal clear.
If California residents decide by voter initiative to limit land uses for oil and gas extraction in their county, can fossil fuel businesses turn around and claim state preemption to overturn the voice of the voters? That’s what is at issue in a case that’s headed to the State Supreme Court. Oral arguments in this …
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New York’s New Environmental Justice Law
Unless amended or carefully implemented, there’s a risk the law could hurt the communities it’s meant to serve.
New York has enacted what may be the country’s most stringent environmental justice law. The state deserves credit for its commitment to remedying the unfair pollution burdens placed on disadvantaged communities. The law is so broadly worded, however, that it may have the potential to prevent economic development that would aid those communities, or even …
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Does Upzoning Reduce Housing Prices?
A recent careful study says no, but it suffers from unavoidable data and conceptual problems.
A new study on upzoning is out from the highly-respected Urban Institute, and it doesn’t have great news for YIMBYs: We find that reforms that loosen restrictions are associated with a statistically significant 0.8 percent increase in housing supply within three to nine years of reform passage, accounting for new and existing stock. This increase …
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Infill Housing & Conservationists Finally Team Up
AB 68 represents long overdue legislation on where California should and shouldn’t grow
So where should the state build more housing, according to AB 68? It defines those places in the following “climate smart” ways: If a housing development is proposed in these areas, the project gets “ministerial” approval (i.e. exempt from environmental review), and a local government cannot limit the development beyond any of the following: There …
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A New Battleground in Big Oil’s War on Drilling Setbacks
Big Oil’s referendum on setbacks is the latest in a line of questionable signature-gathering campaigns. Would a new bill reform California’s referendum process?
Earlier this month, my colleague Beth Kent wrote a thorough overview of the referendum seeking to reverse SB 1137, a bill passed by the California Legislature establishing a 3,200-foot setback between new oil and gas wells and sensitive receptors, including homes, schools, and hospitals. That referendum (Ballot Measure 22-0006) will appear on the November 2024 …
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Cleanup On Aisle NIMBY!!
The California Legislature’s new duplex bill shows that lawmakers have had it with resistance to housing.
I wrote a few weeks ago on a Terner Center report concerning SB 9, California’s law allowing single-family lots to split and put in duplexes as a matter of right throughout the state. Essentially, the message was simple: localities were engaged in a Massive Resistance to the state mandates, throwing sand in the gears at …
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CEQA, California’s Housing Crisis & the Little Hoover Commission
State Watchdog Agency’s Scheduled CEQA Hearings Could Prompt Major Changes to California’s Most Important Environmental Law
Beginning today, California’s “Little Hoover Commission” will convene a series of three public hearings to consider how well–or poorly–the state’s California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) is currently working. A special focus of the Commission’s deliberations will be whether and to what extent California’s most important and overarching environmental law is impeding efforts by the Legislature …
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Top 5 Climate Reasons To Reduce Driving, Even With Electric Vehicles
Sprawl and EVs still have significant carbon costs
California and other jurisdictions have been moving to reduce vehicle miles traveled (VMT) as a climate solution. Yet some pro-sprawl interests question whether this is necessary, given the advent of electric vehicles. It’s fair to ask: if all vehicles are “zero emission,” do we really need to care any more about how much driving we …
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