2011 First Quarter CEQA Case Law Update

Source: CCN Quarterly CEQA Case Law Update

May 2011

The year 2010 saw more published CEQA decisions than in any prior year. So far, the courts are issuing substantially fewer decisions in 2011, and there were only two published CEQA decisions in the first quarter of 2011. There were, however, several other important CEQA developments in the courts.

Of particular note, in Association of Irritated Residents et al v. California Air Resources Board, San Francisco Superior Court Case No. CPF-09-509562, a San Francisco Superior Court judge ruled that the California Air Resources Board failed to conduct an adequate environmental impact review before it adopted the State’s AB 32 Scoping Plan in December 2008. This plan sets forth the Board’s basic outline of actions to reduce California’s greenhouse gas emissions. The court enjoined the implementation of the Scoping Plan until the Board complies with CEQA. The implications of this decision are profound. It likely will slow California's efforts to adopt a cap and trade program and could affect not only the Board’s December 2010 decision to proceed with a cap and trade program, but the implementation of many other measures as well such as California’s low carbon fuel program and renewable portfolio standard. The Board has indicated that it may seek agreement from Petitioners that the injunction does not apply to programs other than cap and trade.

Also of note, the Supreme Court denied petitions for review that were filed in two cases, Friends of Juana Briones House v. City of Palo Alta and in Cherry Valley Pass Acres and Neighbors v. City of Beaumont (both of which were reported on in our Fourth Quarter 2010 Case Law update). Finally, the Supreme Court also denied the depublication requests that were filed in Sunnyvale West Neighborhood Ass’n v. City of Sunnyvale City Council, which was also reported in the Fourth Quarter 2010 Update.

CASES IN THIS ISSUE:

LandValue 77, LLC v. Board of Trustees of California State University

Wollmer v. City of Berkeley

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