For the First Time in Forty Years, White House Council on Environmental Quality Poised to Propose Major Overhaul of its Implementing Regulations Under NEPA

On June 20, 2018, the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) issued an advanced notice of proposed federal rulemaking, soliciting public comments on whether and how CEQ should update its National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) implementing regulations. Comments on the proposed rulemaking are due July 20, 2018.… Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Rejects NEPA Challenges to Los Angeles Metro’s Light Rail Extension Project

In Japanese Village, LLC v. Federal Transit Administration, 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 21700, the Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court’s rulings and rejected NEPA challenges to the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s (“Metro”) approval for a 1.9-mile light rail extension line in downtown Los Angeles. The project was proposed to be funded by the Federal … Continue Reading

White House Council on Environmental Quality Issues Final Guidance on Consideration of Climate Change in NEPA Review

Guest author Darrin Gambelin, a Downey Brand associate, contributes today’s post. On August 1, The White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) issued its Final Guidance for Federal Departments and Agencies on Consideration of Greenhouse Gas Emissions and the Effects of Climate Change in National Environmental Policy Act Reviews (Guidance), which provides federal agencies with … Continue Reading


In Jamul Action Committee v. Chaudhuri, 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 13104, the Ninth Circuit held that the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) did not apply to the Jamul Indian Village Casino project in Jamul, California due to an irreconcilable timing conflict between NEPA and the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA). The Jamul Indian Village (Tribe), … Continue Reading


In Idaho Conservation League v. Bonneville Power Administration, 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 11175, the Ninth Circuit rejected a National Environmental Protection Act (“NEPA”) challenge to changes in the operation of the Albeni Falls Dam. The Dam, constructed in 1957 as part of the Federal Columbia River Power System, helps provide power to the Pacific Northwest. … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Requires 2004 EIS to Include Higher Level of Analysis of Environmental Impacts on Fish, While Finding the Analysis of Environmental Impacts on Amphibians Sufficient

In January 2001, the United States Forest Service (Forest Service) issued an environmental impact statement (EIS) recommending amendments to the Forest Plans in the Sierras Madre Mountains (2001 EIS) to conserve and repair the riparian and amphibian habitat. By November 2001, the Forest Service reviewed the 2001 EIS and its proposed alternatives, and made several … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Ruled in Favor of Tribe, Finding that the US Forest Service Violated the ESA by Giving Permission to Mine in a National Forest

In Karuk Tribe of California v. United States Forest Service, 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 11145, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held that the Forest Service (Service) violated the Endangered Species Act (ESA) by failing to consult with the appropriate wildlife agencies before approving four notices of intent (NOI). The NOIs gave miners permission to … Continue Reading

Court Rules in Favor of Forest Service’s Approval of Post-Fire Logging and Restoration Project

In Earth Island Institute v. Carlton, (2012) 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 44177, petitioner challenged a logging and restoration project under the National Forest Management Act (“NFMA”) and the National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”). The district court granted defendants’ motion for summary judgment. Plaintiff makes four central arguments for why Defendants violated NEPA in the preparation … Continue Reading

Court Rules Forest Service’s Categorical Exclusion Memos are Arbitrary and Capricious Regarding Livestock Grazing

In Western Watersheds v. United States Forest Service, (2012) 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 45573, petitioners challenged the Forest Service’s alleged practice of reauthorizing livestock grazing on federal land without conducting the proper environmental review under the National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”). The court concluded that the actions by the Forest Service in connection with the … Continue Reading

Court Holds Res Judicata Bars NEPA and ESA Challenges to Guidelines Adopted by State Department

In Turtle Island Restoration Network v. U.S. Dept. of States (9th Cir. 2012) 2012 U.S.LEXIS 3263, the Ninth Circuit Court determined that res judicata barred Turtle Island Restoration Network (“TIRN”) from bringing a challenge under the National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”) and Endangered Species Act (“ESA”) because an organization for which TIRN was formally a … Continue Reading

Federal District Court Grants Summary Judgment in Agency’s Favor on NEPA Issues and in Plaintiff’s Favor on Wilderness Act Issues

In High Sierra Hikers Association v. United States Department of the Interior (N.D.Cal. 2012) 848 F. Supp. 2d 1036, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, San Francisco Division, addressed whether the National Park Service (NPS) adequately assessed the environmental consequences of its General Management Plan for Sequoia and Kings Canyon National … Continue Reading

Federal Court Affirms that the 90-day Rule to Request a CEQA Hearing is Mandatory

In Friends of Roeding Park v. City of Fresno (E.D. 2012) 2848 F. Supp. 2d 1152, the District Court granted the city’s motion to dismiss Plaintiffs’ lawsuit challenging the planned expansion of the Fresno Chafee Zoo ruling (1) the Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction over Plaintiffs’ National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), National Historic Preservation Act … Continue Reading