Category Archives: Land Use

New Proposals from California Governor: Will CEQA Be Fixed? Or Will it Get More Complex and Unwieldy?

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The California Governor’s Office is seeking input on their proposals to update the CEQA Guidelines by October 12, 2015.   They have released a discussion draft – which is a pre-regulatory process to get input on some of the proposals before actually proposing them in a formal rulemaking.   A copy of the preliminary discussion draft, along with other background information, is available here: http://opr.ca.gov/s_ceqaguidelines.php. The CEQA Guidelines provide the regulatory rules for the preparation of environmental review documents for all public and private development proposals (e.g., [...]Read more

California State Water Board Workshop on Changes to Industrial Stormwater General Permit

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The California State Water Resources Control Board (“State Water Board”) held a workshop today to discuss significant changes to the General Permit for stormwater associated with industrial activity. The new General Permit, as discussed in an April 2, 2014 Alston & Bird LLP post, takes effect July 1, 2015. Notable changes in General Permit requirements are listed in the State Water Board’s Summary of Significant Changes. Among other prominent changes, the new General Permit makes it mandatory for dischargers to submit and certify all reports electronically on the SMARTS system, requires [...]Read more

EPA Opens Environmental Crimes Office in North Dakota

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The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) opened a Criminal Investigation Division (CID) office in North Dakota at the end of July. North Dakota has seen its oil production increase to over 1 million barrels a day over the last decade. The Bakken shale, located in the western part of the state, holds almost 11 billion barrels of oil, and production is increasing. EPA’s office is staffed by four agents who plan to investigate operations in the state’s western oil patch, ranging from drilling rigs to disposal sites and everything in between. EPA’s closest offices have been in Montana and Colorado [...]Read more

BOEM Issues ANPR to Update Financial Assurance Requirements for Outer Continental Shelf Operations

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The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) issued an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPR) on Risk Management, Financial Assurance, and Loss Prevention in an effort to update its financial assurance regulations for industrial operations on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). BOEM intends to develop more robust financial assurance requirements to address what the agency perceives as increasingly complex financial, commercial, functional, and business risks involving leases, Rights-of-Use and Easements (RUEs), Pipeline Rights-of-Way (ROWs) and facilities on the OCS. BOEM is soliciting [...]Read more

California Supreme Court: Granting License to Ignore CEQA?

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The California Supreme Court recently issued a ruling in the case of Tuolumne Jobs & Small Business Alliance v. Superior Court (Wal-Mart), which raised the question does the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) apply to local voter initiatives if the government adopts the initiative without placing it on the ballot for a special election. Tuolumne Jobs & Small Business Alliance (TJSBA) filed the suit arguing that the City of Sonora, California violated CEQA went it came to approval of a Wal-Mart expansion project without conducting a CEQA review. The Supreme Court unanimously rejected [...]Read more

One Week Left to Vote For Us For Best Legal Blog

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The American Bar Association (ABA) is accepting entries for their 100 best legal blogs. If you enjoy the content we produce, we ask that you please take the time to submit our blog for consideration. You can do so by visiting their site: http://www.abajournal.com/blawgs/blawg100_submit/ . You have until August 8 to vote. Thank you!

EPA to Conduct Reviews at Superfund Sites Across Mid-Atlantic Region

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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that they will be reviewing Superfund sites across the Mid-Atlantic region this year, specifically mentioning sites in Virginia, Delaware and Pennsylvania. The reviews are conducted every five years to determine if the actions being taken are still protecting human health and the environment. The scope of the reviews includes inspecting cleanup technologies; examining monitoring and operating data; reviewing maintenance records; and determining if new regulatory requirements have been put in place since EPA’s original cleanup decision. [...]Read more

Securities Law Alert: SEC Issues Statement on D.C. Court Of Appeals Decision on Conflict Minerals Rule: First Reports Due by June 2, 2014, as Scheduled

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On April 29, 2014 the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s(SECs) Division of Corporation Finance (the “Division”) issued a statement providing guidance on the decision in the case National Association of Manufacturers, et al. v. SEC, et al., No. 13-5252 (D.C. Cir. April 14, 2014.) The case challenged SEC’s “Conflict Mineral Rules” (Section 13(p)(1) of the Exchange Act and Rule 13p-1 thereunder). The case left some questions about the first reporting period; however the Division’s statement clarified that all reports for the first reporting period [...]Read more

King County Announces Fee Schedule for Drug Take Back Program

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The King County Board of Health released its proposed fee schedule as part of its Secure Medicine Return Regulations. As part of the regulations, producers will be required to cover King County’s costs of administering and enforcing the regulations. The fees are based on the number of drug producers expected to participate in the program. One hundred sixty-one (161) drug producers have submitted their notice to participate in the stewardship plan. Although King County has delayed implementation of its drug take back program until a decision is issued by the Ninth Circuit regarding a [...]Read more