Endangered Species Act

Our previous post on the Second District Court of Appeal’s decision in Center for Biological Diversity v. Department of Fish & Wildlife, No. B245141 (Mar. 20, 2014), highlighted the court’s holdings on California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and California Endangered Species Act (CESA) issues.  The opinion also provides a useful (although unpublished) discussion on how to evaluate the significance of a project’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions under CEQA.  This post examines the court’s GHG analysis, and adds observations regarding the California Air Resources Board’s (CARB) May 22, 2014 adoption of the First Update to the AB 32 Scoping Plan (Updated Scoping Plan). Continue Reading Is A 16% Reduction in GHG Emissions From “Business-As-Usual” Enough Under CEQA?

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service (jointly, the “Services”) recently issued several interrelated proposals that address how critical habitat would be designated under the Endangered Species Act (“ESA”).

The Legal Alert analyzing the Services’ proposals, prepared by our colleagues Barbara Craig, Jeff Leppo, Ryan Steen, and Corinna McMackin, is available

In Ctr. for Biological Diversity v. Dep’t of Fish & Wildlife, No. B245141 (Cal. Ct. App. 2d Dist. Mar. 20, 2014), the appellate court reversed the trial court’s decision, which found that the Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (“Department”) certification of an environmental impact statement and report (“EIR”) was “not supported by substantial evidence.”  In a sprawling 117-page, published Opinion, the appellate court rejected the notion that a 5,828-page, project level EIR, which did not approve any specific construction, was insufficient.

We focus only on the Department’s challenged certification of the EIR, which studied a resource management plan, conservation plan, and streambed alteration agreement, as well as the issuance of incidental take permits under California’s Endangered Species Act (“CESA”).  The underlying Newhall Ranch project, a specific plan approval in Los Angeles County, would allow residential, mixed-use, and non-residential land uses and provide up to 21,308 dwelling units, essentially building a new city.  The trial court found, among other things, that the Department “failed to conduct an independent review of project impacts,” that many of its findings were not supported by substantial evidence, and that it failed to prevent the taking of the Unarmored Threespine Stickleback (“stickleback”), a fully protected fish under CESA.Continue Reading Court Clarifies “Taking” Of Endangered Species And Highlights What’s “Enough” Under CEQA

Governor Brown released a summary of his proposed 2014-2015 budget this week, including details on proposed environmental protection and natural resources spending.  The Governor’s budget provides $3.6 billion in funding for the California Environmental Protection Agency, including $3.1 billion in State funds and $54 million from the General Fund.  Proposed funding of CalEPA programs include:

  •  $850 million

California has two more laws in place to help facilitate development of renewable energy projects after Governor Brown signed Senate Bill 267 and Senate Bill 618 over the weekend. 

SB 267 modifies the existing requirements to prepare a water supply assessment for projects that meet certain size thresholds.  Under the new law, a photovoltaic or

Together with Peter Finie of Vulcan Materials Company, I will be making a very informative presentation on California property taxes at the upcoming California Construction and Industrial Materials Association’s (CalCIMA) 2011 Education Conference in Monterey.  Our presentation, “Are Your Taxes Too High?,” will examine a number of property tax issues from an operator’s perspective

Effective July 29, 2011 the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) added sulfur dioxide (CAS. No. 7446-090-05) to the Proposition 65 list of chemicals known to the state to cause reproductive toxicity. Sulfur dioxide is found in numerous products including food and beverages.

Proposition 65 is the statute that requires notification by manufacturers of