Tag: EIR

Power Plant EIR Defeated By Inadequate Responses to Commenters’ Proposed Mitigation Measures

An EIR that did not squarely respond to detailed comments recommending additional mitigation measures has been held not to comply with CEQA. Covington v. Great Basin Unified Air Pollution Control District, 3d Dist. Court of Appeal Case No. C080342 (certified for publication 12/23/2019). The court of appeal emphasized that where an EIR identifies certain impacts … Continue Reading

California Supreme Court Sets Standard for Air Quality Impact Analyses Under CEQA

The California Supreme Court has overturned the environmental impact report for a mixed-use development project, holding that the EIR inadequately explained the human health consequences of significant air pollutant emissions that would result from the development.  Sierra Club v. County of Fresno, Cal. Supreme Court Case No. S219783 (Dec. 24, 2018).    In so doing, the … Continue Reading

EIR Comments Should Improve The Environmental Review Process, Not Derail It

CEQA guidelines require only that a lead agency give detailed responses to comments that identify an important new matter not discussed in the draft environmental impact report or raise questions about a significant environmental issue, the Fourth District Court of Appeal ruled, allowing Orange County to proceed with a long-considered expansion of a county jail. City … Continue Reading

Highway 101 EIR Felled by Redwoods

Caltrans’s analysis of impacts to redwoods from  realignment of a one-mile stretch of Highway 101 has been rejected.  The court of appeal ruled that the project EIR both failed to identify any significance threshold for impacts to redwoods and impermissibly labeled mitigation measures as project features.  Lotus v. Department of Transportation, No. A137315 (First Dist., … Continue Reading

Comment Periods Open on New Fracking Regulations and Scope of Statewide EIR

In the face of mounting public pressure to address the potential perils of hydraulic fracturing, California has embarked upon a multi-faceted program to strengthen its oil and gas regulations, perform comprehensive environmental studies, and increase public disclosure.  On November 15, 2013, the Department of Conservation published two notices seeking comments on steps it is taking to … Continue Reading

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

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

Stadium Expansion Project Required EIR Based on Traffic and Parking Impacts

Perhaps reflecting a north-south division over the importance of a parking space, the Fourth District has held that impacts of a stadium project on parking, together with traffic, necessitated preparation of an EIR.  Taxpayers for Accountable School Bond Spending v. San Diego Unified School District, No. D060999 (Fourth Dist. April 25, 2013).  The court expressly … Continue Reading

EIR Required for Oak Woodland Management Plan

Public agencies generally prefer not to prepare EIRs – at least for their own plans and projects – unless they have to.  And CEQA attempts to avoid redundancy by encouraging reliance, to the extent possible, on a previously certified EIR to support the approval of a subsequent action.  So, in 2008, when El Dorado County … Continue Reading

CEQA and EIR Adequacy: The Latest Words on Public Services Impacts and Adaptive Mitigation Programs

Two important, recurring CEQA questions are answered by a recent court of appeal decision in a case involving the EIR for a California State University campus master plan: whether CEQA requires funding of mitigation for a project’s effects on public services; and whether an adaptive mitigation program for traffic and parking impacts improperly defers decisions about mitigation. … Continue Reading

Supreme Court to Decide Scope of Categorical Exemptions from CEQA

In what is perhaps the most controversial CEQA decision this year, the court of appeal in Berkeley Hillside Preservation invalidated permits for construction of a single-family home, ruling that the project did not qualify under CEQA’s categorical exemption for construction of a single-family residence or its categorical exemption for infill development.  The California Supreme Court has now decided to … Continue Reading

State University’s Duty to Mitigate Transportation Impacts to be Considered by Supreme Court

In City of San Diego v  Board of Trustees of the California State University, the court of appeal overturned the EIR for the San Diego State University campus expansion plan, ruling that it did not adequately address transportation impacts and mitigation measures for those impacts.  In a decision issued on December 13, the court rejected the … Continue Reading

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

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

Future Baseline May be Used for CEQA Review of Long-Term Infrastructure Project

In Neighbors for Smart Rail v. Exposition Metro Line Construction Authority, the California Court of Appeal for the Second Appellate District ruled that in appropriate circumstances, projected future conditions may serve as an appropriate baseline for measuring a project’s impacts under the California Environmental Quality Act. The court disagreed with two controversial decisions from other appellate … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Declines Review of CEQA Decision Upholding EIR’s Use of Existing Operations Baseline

In Citizens for East Shore Parks  the court of appeal upheld use of existing “on the ground” conditions, including ongoing operations, as the baseline for CEQA review of long-term renewal of a State Lands Commission lease of property used for a marine terminal.  On March 14, 2012 the California Supreme Court denied a petition for … Continue Reading