CEQA/NEPA Impact Review & Litigation

CEQA/NEPA Impact Review & Litigation

Overview

The attorneys at Cox, Castle & Nicholson are recognized experts in the environmental impact review requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). We regularly advise businesses and public agencies in complying with environmental impact review requirements, in developing the best strategy to minimize litigation risk, and in defending adopted environmental impact reports, environmental impact statements, findings of no significant impact (FONSIs), negative declarations, and exemptions. We have litigated CEQA and NEPA issues in trial and appellate courts throughout California, including NEPA appeals to the Ninth Circuit and CEQA appeals in the California Courts of Appeal and the California Supreme Court. In addition to our work for clients, our attorneys regularly lecture on CEQA and NEPA compliance for continuing education providers and business and public agencies groups, and our partner, Michael H. Zischke, authored the treatise on CEQA for the California Continuing Education of the Bar. 

Reducing Litigation Risk 

We regularly advise clients on the best strategies to reduce litigation and permitting risk, including evaluation of potential exemptions and reliance of previously approved impact reports. We use our substantial experience in litigating CEQA and NEPA cases to assist clients in selecting a compliance path that anticipates and resolves legal claims.

Reviewing Impact Reports And Responding to Comments 

We work with clients to review draft impact reports, revising them to ensure legal compliance. We regularly assist clients in the process of submitting and responding to comments on EIRs and EISs, seeking to provide thorough responses without unnecessarily delaying project approvals. 

Completing The Planning Or Permitting Process 

We assist clients in handling CEQA and NEPA issues before decision making bodies, including responses to the full range of procedural questions that arise during agency consideration whether to certify or adopt CEQA and NEPA documents, and associated project approvals.

Litigating And Resolving CEQA And NEPA Claims 

We regularly litigate the adequacy of CEQA and NEPA documents in state and federal courts throughout California. We have litigated CEQA cases in trial courts throughout the state, all of the appellate districts, and the California Supreme Court. We often litigate approvals that we have helped to obtain, and also step in to assist clients and co-counsel when litigation is filed. We are also actively engaged in helping to shape the decisional law of the state by closely monitoring appellate decisions and seeking review or publication of significant cases. We have substantial experience in settling and resolving CEQA and NEPA cases, both in mediations and in less formal settlement discussions. 

Legislation And Regulations 

We regularly represent clients in drafting, negotiating and evaluation CEQA legislation and regulatory proposals. 

CEQA And NEPA Experience With Different Types of Projects

We have assisted in CEQA and NEPA compliance throughout the state, from the coastal zone to the desert, from urban projects to suburban developments, and for various projects in the valley, foothill, and mountain regions. We have worked on CEQA and NEPA documents for a wide variety of projects, including the following:

  • Housing development projects
  • Solar, wind and geothermal power generation facilities
  • Electricity and gas transmission projects and tie-ins
  • Hard rock and aggregate mining projects
  • New hospitals and hospital expansions
  • Medical office buildings and medical campuses
  • Corporate campus projects
  • In-fill urban developments
  • Retail and commercial centers
  • Landfills and recycling centers
  • Local general plans, specific plans, and community plans
  • Master Plan and new town developments
  • Coastal development projects, from single family homes to reports
  • New school and university facilities
  • Transportation and infrastructure projects
  • Environmental cleanups and remediations

Representative
Matters

Represented residential developers in the environmental impact review of master planned communities and subdivisions throughout all regions of California, including condominium communities, proposed new towns, and in-fill subdivisions.

Represented an urban developer in entitlement of major residential tower and museum project in San Francisco, including environmental impact review, entitlements, and approvals from various city commissions and board of supervisors.

Represented a developer of proposed foothill mining project in defense of approved EIR.

Represented a developer of a major Shasta County wind power facility in the entitlement and impact review process, including resolution of Native American cultural resource claims.

Advised public agencies regarding preparation of a joint EIS/EIR for 60,000 acre habitat conservation plan.

Represented a business client in the environmental impact review for groundwater and soils cleanup projects.

Advised a developer of 18,000 unit residential project on EIS for wetland fill associated with project.

Represented a property owner in entitlement to redevelop aging commercial and low-density residential property with high-density, mixed-use development, adjacent to an MTA light rail station at LAX, in conjunction with MTA redevelopment of the station.

Represented a county in environmental review and approval of new juvenile justice facility.

Represented a hospital for the approval of a Master Plan and Development Agreement for a hospital campus expansion, adding 667,434 square feet of medical office buildings, hospital, and related uses.

More »

Managed preparation of joint EIR/EIS for a major new research university in the Central Valley.

Represented cemetery owners in Northern and Southern California in environmental impact review and approval of expansion and new facilities plans.

Corporate User, Emeryville. Represented biotech company in securing entitlements and negotiating redevelopment agreements for a 2.2 million-square-foot biotech R&D/office/manufacturing headquarters, including up to $95 million of tax increment financing and a Development Agreement providing vested rights to build the project over 20 years.

Represented a national laboratory in the development, approval, and environmental impact review of 20-year long term development, including successful trial and appellate defense of approved EIR. Also successfully defended EIRs for several individual laboratory and other development projects.

Represented a Northern California railroad in defending CEQA challenges to approval of new freight rail service, including litigation of federal preemption claims.

Represented oil producers in CEQA review for expansion and continued use of existing oil fields and distribution facilities.

Represented the developer of a proposed biofuels pilot project in Emeryville.

Defended EIRs for approved solar and wind projects against CEQA lawsuits throughout valley and desert regions.

Represented a Southern California city in the approval and CEQA review for major downtown development project including regional shopping center, including successful defense of trial court and appellate litigation challenges.

Represented a seniors assisted living developer in obtaining entitlements and environmental impact approvals for seniors housing projects through the state, including projects located in Sacramento, Burlingame, San Dimas, Camarillo, Irvine, Palm Springs, Mission Viejo, and Encinitas.

Defended approved in stream and terrace mining projects in Northern California against CEQA challenges, successfully resolving lawsuits and allowing projects to move forward.

Represented a sovereign tribal government in CEQA and NEPA review for highway interchange to provide access for proposed development of Rancheria land. Defended approved EIR in litigation.

Attorneys &
Paralegals

Name Title City Phone  
Birkey, Scott B. Partner San Francisco 415.262.5162
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Bley, Kenneth B. Partner Los Angeles 310.284.2231
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Bradish, Margo N. Partner San Francisco 415.262.5101
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Briseño, Monica R. Associate Los Angeles 310.284.2242
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Cebrian, Christian H. Partner San Francisco 415.262.5123
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DeGood, Alexander M. Associate Los Angeles 310.284.2205
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Fogg, Andrew K. Partner Los Angeles 310.284.2178
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Klein, Linda C. Associate San Francisco 415.262.5130
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Lamport, Stanley W. Partner Los Angeles 310.284.2275
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Morrison, Clark Partner San Francisco 415.262.5113
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Mudge, Anne E. Partner San Francisco 415.262.5107
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Paone, Tim Partner Orange County 949.260.4655
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Patricio, Lisa M. Associate Los Angeles 310.284.2220
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Purvis, James M. Associate San Francisco 415.263.5514
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Sabey, Andrew B. Partner San Francisco 415.262.5103
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Silverman, Ronald I. Partner Los Angeles 310.284.2269
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Stein, Tamar C. Partner Los Angeles 310.284.2248
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Waite, David P. Partner Los Angeles 310.284.2218
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Zischke, Michael H. Partner San Francisco 415.262.5109
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