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Keeping the Lights On

Solar Energy With Transformer Substation

CA Emergency Proclamation to Quickly Increase Energy Generation, Suspend Certain Environmental Requirements On Friday, July 30, 2021, Governor Gavin Newsom issued a Proclamation of a State of Emergency (Emergency Order or EO) stating that climate-change related weather events including drought, extreme heat and wildfires have caused reductions in the availability of power generation from hydroelectric resources and grid interconnections.  Due to these trends, the EO predicts a 3,500 megawatt (MW) shortfall during peak periods this summer and fall, and potentially…

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Judicial Counsel Clarifies Emergency Statutes of Limitations for CEQA and Land Use Challenges

Judicial Council Of California Blue Seal

As part of the California Judicial Council’s April 6th response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Judicial Council adopted Emergency Rule 9 which tolled statutes of limitations for civil causes of action from April 6th until 90 days after the Governor declares an end to the state of emergency. While most civil claims must be brought within a period of years, land use practitioners were quick to point out that this Emergency Rule effectively added an additional three times the statute…

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If You Can’t Say Something Nice…

Man Typing A Text Message On A Smartphone

On May 8, 2020, the Third Appellate District certified for publication its decision in Petrovich Development Company, LLC et al. v. City of Sacramento et al. (opinion can be found here). The Petrovich court held the developer did not receive a fair hearing because “concrete facts” established that a City Councilmember was biased and took affirmative steps to assist project opponents and organize the opposition at the hearing.  Text messages and email correspondence provided the majority of the evidence. Although…

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Governor Approves Online-only CEQA Notice During COVID-19

California Environmental Quality Act Web Portal Screen Capture

While uncertainty remains regarding the CEQA statute of limitations under the Judicial Council’s April 6th Emergency Order (available here), the Governor issued Executive Order N-54-20 (EO N-54-20) on April 23 to provide some clarity on noticing procedures under CEQA (available here) while physical distancing protocols are in effect. EO N-54-20 suspends certain public filing and notice requirements under CEQA for 60 days. Any materials that would normally be required to be publicly posted, filed with a county clerk, or made available to…

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Supreme Court Holds Clean Water Act Can Apply To Groundwater

Black Sand Beach In Maui

In a 6-3 decision penned by Justice Breyer, the United States Supreme Court held on April 23 that discharges of pollutants to groundwater that reach surface water may require a Section 402 permit under the Clean Water Act. The decision in County of Maui v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund (No. 18-260) resolved a split of the circuit courts and established  a new “functional equivalent” test to determine when a permit is required. However, the Court explicitly left defining “functional equivalent” to…

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