Numerous CEQA-related developments have recently been in the news. Some of possible interest include:

  • Kings and Kern Counties, the Kings County Farm Bureau, and a number of other groups filed a petition on February 9 with the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals challenging the federal Surface Transportation Board’s 2-1 ruling that federal law preempts CEQA challenges to the California High-Speed Rail Project.  For further information on the case’s context and relevant CEQA/preemption issues, see “Making CEQA A Federal Case? Recent Actions Of California’s Supreme Court And The Federal Surface Transportation Board Set Up A Preemption Showdown,” by Arthur F. Coon and Matthew C. Henderson, posted December 22, 2014.
  • Also on February 9, opponents of the Sacramento Kings arena project argued their CEQA case challenging the project’s EIR to a Third District Court of Appeal panel in a spirited half-hour argument. While the justices reportedly meted out tough questions to both sides, project construction is expected to proceed no matter what the case’s outcome.
  • AB 291 (Medina) was introduced February 11 in the California legislature. This proposed legislation would allow local agencies approving multi-county “water projects” (as defined) to file NODs only in their home County and with OPR, rather than requiring them to file NODs in all Counties (in some cases, potentially dozens) in which the project could be deemed to be “located.”
  • SB 127 (Vidak), introduced January 20, would streamline judicial review under CEQA for litigation challenges to EIRs for water projects funded by the 2014 state water bond (Proposition 1, the Water Quality, Supply, and Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2014). The bill would require concurrent expedited record preparation and require the Judicial Council to adopt rules such that actions would be resolved within 270 days of the administrative record’s certification.
  • As required by SB 4, on January 14, the Department of Conservation, Division of Oil, Gas & Geothermal Resources, released its Draft EIR entitled “Analysis of Oil and Gas Well Stimulation Treatment in California.” The public review period will end March 16, 2015, and any comments must be received before that date.
  • Finally, Matt Henderson and I will be speaking on SB 743 issues on March 9, 2015, at the California Land Use Law & Policy Reporter’s Second Annual Conference in Sacramento. For further details, click here.