Archives: February 2011

EPA To Issue New Guidance on Federal Clean Water Act Jurisdiction

In the continuing quest to resolve the scope of the federal Clean Water Act (CWA), the EPA has prepared draft guidance to assist field staff in identifying jurisdictional waters under the CWA. While the draft guidance is not a regulatory document, the draft guidance may be a step toward formal rulemaking. The EPA forwarded the draft guidance document to the Office of Management and Budget for interagency review on December 20, 2010. Continue reading

The Council on Environmental Quality Issues New Guidance on the Appropriate Use of Mitigation and Monitoring and of Mitigated FONSIs in NEPA Compliance

The Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) issued new guidance to federal agencies implementing the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) on two topics: tracking mitigation and use of mitigation in the context of a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI). The guidance became effective through publication in the Federal Register on January 21, 2011 (76 Fed. Reg. 3843). Continue reading

San Francisco Superior Court Issues Tentative Decision Barring Implementation of AB 32’s Scoping Plan

In Association of Irritated Residents, et al. v. California Air Resources Board, et al. (Case No. CPF-09-509562), the San Francisco Superior Court issued a tentative statement of decision on January 21, 2011, that effectively blocks the California Air Resources Board (CARB) from implementing any greenhouse gas reducing actions outlined in the Scoping Plan passed under Assembly Bill (AB) 32 until CARB complies with CEQA. Continue reading

What Will Become of California’s Redevelopment Agencies?

Redevelopment statutes have been on the books in California since 1945 when the State became the second in the nation to adopt local redevelopment authorizing statutes. Beginning in the mid-1970s after the end of most federal urban renewal programs, redevelopment became a hugely important economic development tool for local governments. Today, however, the role of redevelopment agencies is much more uncertain. In early January 2011, Governor Brown announced sweeping cuts to the State’s budget to help close the $24 billion budget gap. Among these cuts is a proposal to eliminate redevelopment agencies. The Governor proposed to eliminate redevelopment agencies by July 1, 2011, and shift approximately $1.7 billion to state programs and schools. The potential shift in funding could stop numerous redevelopment projects from going forward. Continue reading

Proposed NFL Stadium May Be Granted Immunity from CEQA Suits

Lawmakers may be asked once again to approve a bar on suits filed under CEQA for a proposed sports facility. Developer Philip Anschutz is developing plans to build a 64,000-seat NFL stadium in Los Angeles with the ability to expand the seating capacity up to 78,000. At this time, the proposed stadium project has not been officially submitted to the city council. The project would be required to complete an environmental impact report, but there is a possibility that the project proponent may ask the Legislature to protect the project from being sued under CEQA, similar to the immunity granted in 2009 to a rival stadium project in the City of Industry. So far, the stadium proposal has been endorsed by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and former basketball player Magic Johnson, among others. At least one state senator has also openly stated it would be fair for the Legislature to grant the same immunity granted to the project proponent in the City of Industry stadium. Continue reading