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Daniel Maroon is a member of the Real Estate, Energy, Land Use & Environmental Practice Group in the firm’s San Francisco office.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently published a proposed rule revising regulations that authorize permit issuance for eagle incidental take and eagle nest take under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act (the “Act”). In addition to retaining the individual permits already available under the Act, the new rule proposes creation of a “general” permit for qualifying wind energy and power line infrastructure projects.

Continue Reading U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Proposes New Regulations Creating General Eagle “Take” Permits for Certain Wind Energy and Power Line Infrastructure Projects

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (the “Service”) published a proposed rule listing the tricolored bat as an endangered species under the Endangered Species Act (“ESA”). The tricolored bat occurs in portions of 39 states, including Texas, Iowa, and Oklahoma, which contain a significant concentration of utility-scale wind projects. In combination with the Service’s proposed “endangered” designation for the northern long-eared bat, the new proposed rule could complicate wind energy project permitting across the country.

Continue Reading U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Proposes Listing Tricolored Bat as Endangered Under Endangered Species Act

Offshore wind development off the California coast took another step closer to reality on August 10, 2022 with the California Energy Commission’s release of a report setting maximum feasible capacity and megawatt goals for 2030 and 2045. The report constitutes a milestone in the planning process prescribed by AB 525, which requires that the Commission “evaluate and quantify the maximum feasible capacity of offshore wind to achieve reliability, ratepayer, employment, and decarbonization benefits” for 2030 and 2045.

Continue Reading California Energy Commission Releases Milestone Offshore Wind Energy Report and Sets Maximum Feasible Capacity and Megawatt Planning Goals for 2030 and 2045

On Friday, November 12, 2021, the Association of Bay Area Government’s (“ABAG’s) Administrative Committee formally denied 27 out of 28 appeals of draft housing allocations filed by local jurisdictions within the Bay Area region.  In approving final written denials for nearly all appeals filed by cities and counties within the Bay Area, the Committee signaled strong confidence in the draft Regional Housing Needs Allocation (“RHNA”) Plan prepared by ABAG’s Housing Methodology Committee and approved in May.  Local jurisdictions in the Bay Area must now incorporate the Plan’s housing allocations into their Housing Elements.

Continue Reading Association of Bay Area Governments Formally Denies Nearly All Regional Housing Needs Allocation Appeals

On December 30, 2020, New York State’s Department of Environmental Conservation (the “Department”) promulgated statewide ambient limits on greenhouse gas (“GHG”) emissions for the years 2030 and 2050 (the “Regulations”).[1]  The GHGs covered by the Regulations include carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and chlorofluorocarbons.[2]  The final Regulations constitute a critical step in the implementation of New York State’s climate strategy set out in the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (“CLCPA”).
Continue Reading New York Moves Further Toward Implementation of Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act with Final Statewide Greenhouse Gas Emission Limits for 2030 and 2050

On September 15, 2020, the Army Corps of Engineers published proposed revisions to a wide range of Nationwide Permits (NWP) issued under the Clean Water Act.  The revisions respond to Executive Order 13783, directing heads of federal agencies to review existing regulations that potentially burden development or use of domestically produced energy resources.  Accordingly, the proposed revisions affect NWPs commonly utilized by utility-scale wind and solar energy projects throughout the country.  The Corps will accept comments on the proposed revisions until November 16, 2020.  Here are highlights from the proposed revisions.
Continue Reading Army Corps of Engineers Proposes Revising Broad Range of Clean Water Act Nationwide Permits

The White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) recently published a final rule (Rule) revising the implementing regulations for the National Environmental Quality Act (42 U.S.C. § 4321 et seq ) (NEPA).  Touted as the first comprehensive revision of CEQ’s NEPA regulations since their creation in 1978, the stated goal of the Rule includes facilitating more efficient, effective, and timely NEPA review by federal agencies.
Continue Reading Final Revisions to NEPA Regulations: Six Highlights from Major Rule Overhaul

In an earlier post, we covered the local Shelter-in-Place (“SIP”) orders, which severely restricted construction activities throughout the Bay Area.  This week the participating jurisdictions (Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo, and Santa Clara Counties) updated their SIP orders to ease restrictions on construction.  The changes took effect May 4 and will continue through May 31, unless further modified.
Continue Reading New Bay Area COVID-19 Orders Ease Restrictions on Construction and Impose New Safety Protocols

The Clean Water Act sometimes requires a permit for the indirect discharge of pollutants from a point source to navigable waters, but only when the discharge is the “functional equivalent” of a direct discharge, the Supreme Court held on April 23.  The Court’s 6-3 opinion in County of Maui v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund (No. 18-260) addresses a circuit split regarding whether indirect discharges to navigable water via groundwater are subject to the Act’s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (“NPDES”) permitting program, but it has implications for other types of indirect discharges as well.  Although the Court identified some factors that may help determine when a discharge is the functional equivalent of a direct discharge—especially the time and distance between the discharge of a pollutant from a point source and the pollutant’s arrival in navigable waters—its opinion is likely to create substantial uncertainty for the regulated community as the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”), litigants, and the courts attempt to apply the Court’s multi-factor test to a variety of factual scenarios.
Continue Reading Clean Water Act Permit Required for “Functional Equivalent” of Direct Discharge, Supreme Court Says

As state and local governments act to address the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, relief for renters impacted by the coronavirus has come from both state and local policymakers.  In previous posts, we covered San Francisco’s and San Diego’s efforts to temporarily ban evicting residential and commercial tenants impacted by COVID-19.  In this post, we explain Governor Gavin Newsom’s Executive Order, issued on March 27, creating a statewide moratorium on evicting renters impacted by COVID-19.  Here are key takeaways from the statewide Executive Order.
Continue Reading State-Level Rent Relief Due to COVID-19 Impacts: California Governor Newsom’s Executive Order Explained

As the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise, state and local officials in California are taking increasingly aggressive action to stop the virus’ spread through Shelter-in-Place (“SIP”) orders.  In addition to Governor Newsom’s statewide SIP order, six Bay Area counties  – San Francisco, Santa Clara, San Mateo, Marin, Contra Costa, and Alameda – have issued more restrictive local SIP orders.  New versions of these local orders, published on March 31st and substantially identical, clarify uncertainties in prior orders and dramatically narrow the scope of allowable construction projects.  These new orders are in effect from April 1st  through May 3rd, but are subject to further extension.
Continue Reading New Shelter-in-Place Orders Dramatically Restrict Bay Area Construction, Including Residential Projects