In California Coastkeeper v. State Lands Commission, the Third District Court of Appeal upheld the State Lands Commission’s decision to prepare a supplemental environmental impact report (EIR) for a desalination plant in Huntington Beach, overturning an earlier trial court ruling that invalidated the EIR. Limited changes to a desalination project were proposed in order to comply with desalination-related amendments to the State’s Ocean Plan. Because the prior EIR retained informational value, and the proposed changes to the Project were minor, it was appropriate for the Commission, in its capacity as a responsible agency, to prepare a supplemental EIR under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). After initially releasing its opinion informally, the Court on May 7, 2021, certified the opinion for publication.
Another Busy Year for CEQA in the California Supreme Court: Arguments Set for May 4 in San Mateo Gardens Case; Four Other Cases Pending
By Donald E. Sobelman & Christian L. Marsh on
2015 was a banner year for CEQA rulings by the California Supreme Court, with four decisions handed down, each of which addressed key issues in the application of the statute and its governing regulations: Berkeley Hillside clarified the application of the “unusual circumstances” exception to categorical exemptions; City of San Diego addressed the feasibility of offsite mitigation; Center for Biological Diversity set new parameters for analysis of greenhouse gas emissions; and CBIA confirmed that CEQA does not address the environment’s impact on a project.