Environmental

On June 30, 2022, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill 205 (“AB 205”), which, among various other things, expands the siting jurisdiction of the California Energy Commission (“CEC”) to include non-thermal generating facilities, such as solar and wind projects, with a capacity of 50 megawatts (MW) or more.  The CEC’s siting jurisdiction was previously limited to thermal generating facilities

With drought conditions expected to continue in California, efforts to protect water sources have ramped up with significant attention on the cannabis industry. Often portrayed as an eco-friendly or “green” industry, cannabis cultivation can actually have a significant environmental impact particularly because of its water use–cultivating a single plant can use between 450 and 900 gallons of water, although

On March 22, 2022, the Second District Court of Appeal published its Opinion in Buena Vista Water Storage District v. Kern Water Bank Authority, upholding the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the Kern Water Bank Authority’s Conservation and Storage Project (“Project”) and reversing the trial court’s ruling. The Project proposes to divert up to 500,000 acre-feet-per-year (AFY) from the Kern

On March 30, 2022, the First District Court of Appeal published its opinion in Save the Hill Group v. City of Livermore (2022) 76 Cal.App.5th 1092, invalidating an Environmental Impact Report (“EIR”) for the Garaventa Hills Project (“Project”) because it failed to disclose the feasibility of funding sources or rezoning that could allow the City to preserve the property

On April 19, 2022, the Biden administration finalized a new rule (“Final Rule”) rolling back the Trump administration’s 2020 changes limiting the scope of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The Final Rule re-establishes the prior broader scope of NEPA review, restores key provisions of NEPA that existed prior to 2020, and requires a more rigorous environmental review

On April 20, 2022, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) adopted changes to its thresholds for evaluating the significance of climate impacts from land use projects and plans under CEQA.  These thresholds of significance changes are important because they can be used by agencies as guidelines for determining climate impacts from projects subject to CEQA.  However, it is

In early April there were two major leaps forward in offshore wind development in California. On April 6, 2022, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), a bureau within the U.S. Interior Department, released a Draft Environmental Assessment for the Morro Bay Wind Energy Area (WEA) off California’s Central Coast. The next day, the California Coastal Commission removed a key

The State Water Resources Control Board (“Water Board”) is now receiving public comments on certain components of its revised proposed statewide National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (“NPDES”) Construction Stormwater General Permit (“Construction Stormwater General Permit”).
The first draft Construction Stormwater General Permit was released by the Water Board on May 28, 2021, following Staff’s preliminary draft released in November 2020

The food and beverage industry received good news this month thanks to a ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit that weakens recent carcinogen claims. The court reinstated an injunction against the filing or prosecution of new California Proposition 65-based lawsuits related to acrylamide in food and beverage products.
The ruling confirms that the science supporting

This legislative year, Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law thirty-one pieces of legislation designed to combat California’s ongoing housing crisis by providing tools to expand housing production, streamline housing permitting, and increase allowable density across the state.  Key housing-related bills, which take effect on January 1, 2022, unless otherwise noted, are discussed below.

  • SB 7, known as the Housing and