On 17 July 2023, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) issued a Notice of Intent to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for a General Conservation Plan (GCP) for the federally threatened Mojave desert tortoise in California. The GCP would streamline the issuance of Endangered Species Act (ESA) Section 10 Incidental Take Permits (ITPs) by eliminating the need for individual Habitat Conservation Plans (HCPs) and National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review of each ITP application, a process that can take up to two years. Instead, under the GCP, USFWS would issue ITPs for applications [...]
On 27 June 2023, the California legislature passed the Western Joshua Tree Conservation Act, which California Governor Gavin Newsom is expected to sign into law in a matter of days. The western Joshua tree has been protected as a candidate species under the California Endangered Species Act (CESA) since 2020, although the Fish and Game Commission (Commission) has repeatedly punted on whether to formally list the species as threatened or endangered. The Western Joshua Tree Conservation Act formally prohibits the take of that species absent a permit. The Act also adopts a refreshingly straightforward permitting [...]
On 22 September 2020, the California Fish and Game Commission (Commission) unanimously voted to designate the western Joshua tree (yucca brevifolia) as a candidate species under the California Endangered Species Act (CESA), as expected.
California Stalls Joshua Tree Endangered Species Act Determination to Consider Up-Front Take Authorization
On 20 August 2020, the California Fish and Game Commission (Commission) again postponed its decision whether to designate the western Joshua tree (yucca brevifolia) as a candidate species under the California Endangered Species Act (CESA).
Supreme Court Reinstates Army Corps’ Nationwide Permit 12 Except As Applied to the Keystone XL Pipeline
On 6 July 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court lifted a nationwide vacatur on the use of the Army Corps of Engineers’ (Corps) Nationwide Permit 12 (NWP 12) for the construction of new oil and gas pipelines. However, the Court declined to lift the vacatur as it applies to the Keystone XL Pipeline from which the original order arose. The decision is a blow to Keystone XL but a relief to other oil and gas pipeline developers who may once again employ NWP 12 to permit pipeline crossings over jurisdictional waters of the United States.
Emergency Relief or Business as Usual? Trump’s Latest Executive Order Aims to Streamline Environmental Permitting on Questionable Grounds
On 4 June 2020 the White House issued an Executive Order (EO) directing federal agencies to invoke emergency procedures under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the Endangered Species Act, the Clean Water Act, and other environmental statutes in order to expedite infrastructure projects as a means of accelerating the nation’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 emergency.
Offshore wind energy development is in its infancy in the United States compared to Europe. The nation’s first operational project came online in 2016 off the coast of Rhode Island. A few other projects have since gained traction up and down the Eastern seaboard. Deep, crowded waters and technological barriers have largely kept the West Coast out of the discussion. But, as floating turbine technologies become commercially feasible and open up the potential for massive amounts of wind power in California waters, recent inter-agency cooperative efforts have begun to clear a path, and developers are lining up.
On 15 April 2020, a federal district court in Montana issued a sweeping decision to vacate the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ (Corps) Nationwide Permit 12 (NWP 12) authorization in response to a challenge to the Keystone XL Pipeline.