State Senate Committee on Local Government Releases Memo Describing Bills It Reviewed in 2010

The State Senate Committee on Local Government has released the first draft of its annual memo summarizing bills that the Committee reviewed during the legislative year. The 2010 edition includes measures reducing the population threshold for counties to regulate fire companies and creating the Future Sustainable Communities Pilot Project. It does not contain any significant adjustments to CEQA. The final version of…

Fourth District Holds that Agencies Need Not Conduct Subsequent or Supplemental CEQA Review of Issues Over Which They Have No Discretionary Authority

In San Diego Navy Broadway Complex Coalition v. City of San Diego (June 17, 2010, Case No. D055699 ) 185 Cal.App.4th 924, the Court of Appeal, Fourth Appellate District, held that the City of San Diego was not required to prepare a subsequent or supplemental EIR to address a redevelopment project’s potential impact on global climate change. The court based its ruling on a finding that the approving agency lacked the discretion to…

First Report from the Vision California Project Shows Environmental and Economic Benefits from Compact Development

The Vision California project, an effort funded by the California High-Speed Rail Authority in partnership with the California Strategic Growth Council, released its first report entitled “Charting Our Future” on June 23, 2010. The report discusses how changes in land use and infrastructure decisions can result in positive benefits for the State, its economy, and the…

Ninth Circuit Defers to Corps and FWS Analysis of Project’s Impact on Wetlands and Critical Habitat

In Butte Environmental Council v. United States Army Corps of Engineers (9th Cir. 2010) 607 F.3d 570, Butte Environmental Council sued the Army Corps of Engineers, the Fish and Wildlife Service, and the City of Redding over their decisions to permit a proposed business park in Redding that would destroy 234.5 acres of critical habitat along Stillwater Creek in Redding. Specifically, the Council challenged the Corps’ decision under the Administrative Procedure Act to issue a Clean Water Act section 404 permit for the project and the FWS’s biological opinion that the project would not adversely…

Initiative Seeks to Postpone Implementation of AB 32 Until Statewide Unemployment Drops to 5.5% or Less for a Full Year

The California Secretary of State has qualified an initiative for the November ballot that would delay enforcement of the Global Warming Solutions Act, more commonly known as AB 32, until certain prosperous economic conditions are observed. In substance, AB 32 requires the state to reduce emissions of certain greenhouse gases to 1990 levels by 2020 and charges various agencies with achieving that goal through various means. The initiative would suspend AB 32 until California’s unemployment rate drops to 5.5% or less for four consecutive quarters. The initiative specifies that, during the…

EIR for Open-Air Composting Facility Invalid Since Infeasibility Determination for an Alternative Was Not Supported by Substantial Evidence and Because a WSA Was Not Prepared.

In Center for Biological Diversity v. County of San Bernardino (2010) 184 Cal.App.4th 1342, the Court of Appeal, Fourth Appellate District, held that the County of San Bernardino violated the California Environmental Quality Act when it certified a final environmental impact report for an open-air waste composting facility unconnected to any external piped water supply system. The court noted deficiencies in the alternatives…

SACOG Releases Draft Proposed Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Targets For Public Comment

On May 19, 2010, the Transportation Committee of the Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG) released for public comment its draft of proposed greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets. This proposal is part of SACOG’s participation in a Senate Bill 375 target-setting process with the California Air Resources Board (CARB), Caltrans, and other metropolitan planning organizations in the State. SACOG proposes…

Friends of Mammoth v. Board of Supervisors of Mono County

This blog is the first in our series on CEQA’s major milestones, and Friends of Mammoth marks a mammoth milestone for CEQA.

As first enacted, the scope of CEQA’s applicability was not well understood. In particular, CEQA did not initially define the term “project,” which is the governmental activity that triggers the statute. Many argued, and in fact most city and county governments assumed in the first two years after CEQA’s enactment, that the statute applies only to “projects” that are…

Happy Birthday, CEQA!

You’ve come a long way, baby! This summer CEQA will turn 40. It was enacted by the Legislature and signed into law with very little fanfare on August 1970 by Governor Ronald Reagan. Throughout the remainder of this year, we will be blogging from time to time on the major milestones in the life of CEQA and maybe (sorry, CEQA) pointing out areas where she’s not aging well and could use some work. Stay tuned.

First District Strikes Down Refinery’s EIR For Failure To Describe The Project Consistently And Impermissibly Deferring Greenhouse Gas Mitigation

Communities for a Better Environment et al. v. City of Richmond (2010) 184 Cal.App.4th 70.

Communities for a Better Environment et al. v. City of Richmond involves an EIR prepared for a proposal by Chevron to replace and upgrade certain facilities at its oil refinery in western Contra Costa County, to process a more varied mix of crude oil types from a wider variety…

Supreme Court Strictly Enforces CEQA’s Statutes Of Limitations In Two Recent Decisions

Stockton Citizens for Sensible Planning v. City of Stockton (2010) 48 Cal.4th 481.
Committee for Green Foothills v. Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors (2010) 48 Cal.4th 32.

In two recent decisions, the California Supreme Court has found actions brought pursuant to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) barred by expiration of the applicable statute of limitations. Most recently, on April 1, 2010, the Supreme Court reversed a Court of Appeal decision in Stockton Citizens for Sensible Planning v. City of Stockton (2010) 48 Cal.4th 481 (Stockton Citizens), holding that, despite…