Land Use

Finally, California Gets A Meaningful Housing Bill

SB 827 (Wiener) would be a game-changer to solve the housing and sprawl crisis

California State Senator Scott Wiener just introduced the bill I’ve probably been waiting for since I started following land use and transit in California over a decade-and-a-half ago. SB 827 would dramatically scale back local government restrictions on housing near major transit stops (see the fact sheet PDF). These restrictions by local governments have prevented […]

Continue Reading

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals’ Most Important Environmental Law Decisions of 2017

Constitutional Issues, Water Law, Native American Rights Dominate Court’s Environmental Docket

Happy New Year! As we move into 2018, let’s take a look back at the most significant environmental law decisions issued by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in 2017. Conventional wisdom is that the second most important federal court in the nation (after the U.S. Supreme Court) is the D.C. Circuit […]

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

Final Republican Tax Bill Minimizes Damage To Renewables, Electric Vehicles & Affordable Housing

But the bill is still bad for the environment

Republicans from the House and Senate voted yesterday to approve their conference tax bill. Due to intense lobbying efforts, negotiators in the committee reduced some of the harm I described that the previous versions of the bill would have done to renewable energy, electric vehicles, and affordable housing. As Brad Plumer in the New York […]

Continue Reading

California Doubles Down on Its Commitment to Reduce State Greenhouse Gas Emissions

California Air Resources Board Adopts New, Landmark Climate Change Scoping Plan

California’s Air Resources Board (CARB) has adopted a new 2017 Climate Change Scoping Plan, which is designed to extend and expand upon the state’s longstanding commitment to reduce California’s aggregate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.  This is a landmark achievement, one that moves California further down the road to a sustainable environment and economy. A bit […]

Continue Reading

Republican Tax Bill Would Devastate Renewable Energy & Affordable Housing

Proposed tax code changes would destroy the market for tax credit financing

Donald Trump’s electoral college win a year ago certainly promised a lot of setbacks for the environmental movement. True to form, his administration’s attempts this year to roll back environmental protections, under-staff key agencies enforcing our environmental laws, and prop up dirty energy industries have all taken their toll. However, until the tax bill passed […]

Continue Reading

Looking Back on Lucas

Lucas v. South Carolina Coastal Comm’n has had surprisingly little impact, despite fears at the time.

Lucas v. South Carolina Coastal Commission was the high-water mark of the Supreme Court’s expansion of the takings clause, which makes it unconstitutional for the government to take private property without compensation. Lucas epitomized the late Justice Scalia’s crusade to limit government regulation of property. The decision left environmentalists and regulators quaking in their boots, […]

Continue Reading

Wetlands, WOTUS and California

California Regulators Can and Should Adopt Strong State Wetlands Protection Rules

For the past year, an overriding concern of many Californians has been whether and how state legislators and regulators can fill the environmental law and policy gap left by a Trump Administration that is in the process of reversing a host of Obama-era environmental rules and that has otherwise largely abandoned the field of environmental […]

Continue Reading

ESA Under Attack. Again.

The Washington Post tomorrow is running an Op Ed written with Peter Alagona, a colleague in environmental studies at UCSB. We were approached by the Post and asked to write a piece addressing the current raft of bills that seek to weaken the Endangered Species Act and sharing our views about alternatives. With a tight limit […]

Continue Reading

A Major Defeat for Property Rights Advocates

Hardly anyone noticed a decision last June limiting the rights of property owners against regulators.

Murr v. Wisconsin was a sleeper case decided by the Supreme Court last June. But it deserves a lot more attention than it has gotten. As I discuss in a new paper, Murr was a major defeat for property rights advocates and a big win for land use planners and environmentalists. Murr has escaped much […]

Continue Reading