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California Land Use & Development Law Report Legal Commentary on Planning and Development

Category Archives: Climate Change

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Airport Challenge Does Not Fly: Court Upholds Use of Addendum for Changes to San Jose Airport Master Plan

Posted in CEQA, Climate Change, Endangered Species

The City of San Jose’s use of an addendum for recent modifications to the San Jose Airport’s Master Plan has been upheld by the court of appeal.  Citizens Against Airport Pollution v. City of San Jose, H038781 (6th Dist.  July 2, 2014)  In 1988, the City of San Jose began to prepare an update to its… Continue Reading

National Climate Assessment Report Released

Posted in Climate Change

On May 6, 2014, the Government released its U.S. National Climate Assessment Report, “Climate Change Impacts in the United States.”  The evaluation of climate change impacts in the United States is 841 pages long, but is accompanied by a 148-page “Highlights” and an 11-page “Overview” that summarizes the findings.  The assessment is the product of… Continue Reading

Greenhouse Gas and Climate Change Impacts: CEQA Practice Tips

Posted in CEQA, Climate Change

The analysis of climate change impacts under CEQA has rapidly evolved over the last several years. For this reason and others, nearly every challenge to an environmental impact report today features an attack on the EIR’s analysis of greenhouse gas emissions. Fortunately, amendments to the CEQA Guidelines and recent court decisions have provided environmental professionals… Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Rules that Plaintiffs Lack Standing to Compel State Agencies to Regulate Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Posted in Climate Change, Environmental Regulation

Do environmental groups have standing to sue to force state agencies to regulate greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act?  In a case decided on October 17, the Ninth Circuit said no.  Washington Environmental Councilv. Bellon, No. 12-35323 (9th Cir. Oct. 17, 2013). The plaintiffs argued that several governmental agencies in Washington State were required… Continue Reading

Faulty Greenhouse Gas Analysis Sinks EIR

Posted in CEQA, Climate Change

An environmental impact report must not only identify a proper significance threshold for a project’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions; it must then correctly apply that threshold.  The EIR for a Wal-Mart Supercenter failed this test in Friends of Oroville v. City of Oroville, No. 070448 (3rd Dist., Aug. 19, 2013).  Wal-Mart proposed to replace an… Continue Reading

Judicial Review of Environmental Impact Reports: Is There Really A Need for CEQA Reform?

Posted in CEQA, Climate Change, Water Supply

Every few years, with El Nino-like regularity, a wave of interest in CEQA reform sweeps through the business community, accompanied by pleas to the legislature to overhaul the statute.  In the end, few substantive changes are made.  This year is no exception. (See June 14th post). Many of the recurring concerns involve the unpredictability of… Continue Reading

Plan Bay Area: ABAG and MTC Publish Draft EIR

Posted in CEQA, Climate Change, Land Use

The Association of Bay Area Governments and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission today released the Draft Environmental Impact Report on their “Plan Bay Area,” a long-range regional planning document proposed to better align future land use planning with the Bay Area’s transportation infrastructure.  Plan Bay Area implements SB 375, which was enacted in 2008 and requires… Continue Reading

New Significance Standard for Greenhouse Gas Emissions Is Not New Information Triggering Supplemental CEQA Review

Posted in CEQA, Climate Change, Land Use

The court of appeal opinion issued today in Concerned Dublin Citizens clearly answers three CEQA questions which haven’t been directly addressed in other published opinions: the proper interpretation of the statutory exemption for housing projects that are consistent with a specific plan; how the CEQA guideline on further review following a program EIR should be… Continue Reading

California Court of Appeal Upholds Statewide Climate Change Scoping Plan

Posted in Climate Change, Environmental Regulation

The court of appeal in San Francisco has upheld the Climate Change Scoping Plan adopted by the Air Resources Board in December 2008.  In its June 19th decision in Association of Irritated Residents v. California Air Resources Board, the court rejected claims by environmental groups that the Plan violated the Global Warming Solutions Act of… Continue Reading

Plan Bay Area: The Regional Plan for Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions – The EIR is Underway

Posted in CEQA, Climate Change, Planning and Zoning

The Metropolitan Transportation Commission, the transportation planning agency for the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area, and the Association of Bay Area Governments have announced that they are going to prepare an Environmental Impact Report to evaluate the agencies’ proposed plan to reduce regional greenhouse gas emissions from cars and light duty trucks.  On June 11, the… Continue Reading

Appendix G of CEQA Guidelines Cannot Require Analysis of Effects of Environment on Project

Posted in CEQA, Climate Change

Provisions of Appendix G of the CEQA Guidelines that purport to require analysis of the effects of environmental hazards on a proposed project have been declared invalid by California’s Second District Court of Appeal.  The court held that such impacts are not encompassed by CEQA, rejecting a claim that an Environmental Impact Report was required to evaluate the impacts of potential… Continue Reading