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CEQA Updates

Keeping You Up-to-Date on the California Environmental Quality Act

Posts from August, 2012


U.S. Forest Service’s Motion to Dismiss NEPA Challenge Denied

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

In Caleen Sisk Franco v. United States Department of the Interior (2012) 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 105316, Plaintiffs challenged the U.S. Forest Service’s (Service) conduct on various religious and cultural sites around the McCloud River.  The Service responded with a motion to dismiss Plaintiffs’ complaint.  The District Court for the Eastern District of California granted the Service’s motion in part and denied in part.

The McCloud River area in Shasta County is home to the Winnemem Wintu Tribe.  Plaintiffs, who are members of the tribe, argued that the Service’s conduct in the McCloud River area, which included construction of a truck ramp, bike trail and ramp, and the opening of other ceremonial areas to the public for recreational use, violated the Archaeological Resources Protection Act (ARPA), the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).  Plaintiffs brought their claims under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), which allows interested parties to challenge federal agency action.

Plaintiffs’ NEPA claims alleged the Service’s construction of the truck ramp and the bike trail and ramp constituted major federal action that had adverse effects on the environment, and therefore an environmental impact statement (EIS) should have been prepared prior to construction.  The Service sought to dismiss the truck ramp claim arguing that no such project exists, and the bike trail and ramp claim averring they complied with NEPA.  The court held both NEPA claims were sufficient at the pleading stage and therefore denied the Service’s motion to dismiss.

Plaintiffs’ ARPA claims accused the Service of failing to prevent incidental harm to archaeological resources at several important sites.  Under ARPA, no person can remove, excavate, or damage an archaeological resource on public or Indian lands, unless that person has a permit showing the activity to be within the public interest of furthering archaeological knowledge.  However, a permit is not required for an activity on public lands conducted under other permits or authorization that is exclusively for purposes other than to excavate archaeological resources.  Here, the court found that the alleged degradation of archaeological resources was not intentional, but rather an incidental result of an activity conducted for an authorized project with no archaeological purpose.    The court hence dismissed all of Plaintiffs’ ARPA claims without leave to amend.

Plaintiffs next alleged that, since the Service was working on “historic properties,” it had an obligation under the NHPA to create protection plans on a site by site basis; however it failed to do so.  To uphold their NHPA claim, the court explained that Plaintiffs must show the Service “failed to take a discrete agency action that it is required to take.”  Plaintiffs’ claims addressed seven sites specifically.  The court dismissed the Service’s motion for five of the sites, concluding Plaintiffs had adequately and definitely stated claims that the Service could respond to.

Plaintiffs’ also sought declaratory relief against the Service regarding their rights to an Indian cemetery, requesting the court bar non-tribe members access, and declare the property as “rightfully theirs.”  Plaintiffs premised their claim on APA’s waiver of sovereign immunity, however, the court found the APA’s waiver inapplicable.  The court held it lacked jurisdiction to hear this claim, and dismissed Plaintiffs’ request for declaratory relief with prejudice.

Written By: Tina Thomas, Amy Higuera and Holly McMannes (law clerk)
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For questions relating to this blog post or any other California land use, environmental and/or planning issues contact Thomas Law Group at (916) 287-9292.

The information presented in this article should not be construed to be formal legal advice by Thomas Law Group, nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship. Readers are encouraged to seek independent counsel for advice regarding their individual legal issues.

Annual Operating Plans Not Subject to Discretionary Review Do Not Require ESA or NEPA Compliance

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

In Grand Canyon Trust v. United States Bureau of Reclamation (2012) 2012 U.S. App LEXIS 16859, the Grand Canyon Trust (Trust) charged the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (Bureau) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) with violating several federal environmental laws in the operation of the Glen Canyon Dam. The District Court granted summary judgment in favor of the Bureau and the Service. Trust appealed and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal dismissed the case as moot in part and affirmed in part.

In 1992, Congress passed the Grand Canyon Protection Act (GCPA), requiring the Secretary of the Interior to select an operating criterion for the Glen Canyon Dam and the Bureau to provide Congress and other interested parties annual operation plans (AOPs) describing the actual operation under chosen criterion. Trust filed suit alleging the Bureau’s AOP process violated the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), and the Administrative Procedures Act (APA). On appeal, Trust attacked the Service’s 2009 biological opinion (BiOp) and 2010 intentional take statements (ITS) as unlawful, alleging that the Bureau must comply with ESA and NEPA before issuing an AOP.

The appellate court began with the issue of mootness. The Service issued a 2011 BiOp and 2011 ITS, replacing the 2009 BiOp and 2010 ITS. The court explained that issuance of a new BiOp and ITS rendered issues on appeal relating to the documents moot. The finding of mootness also applied to related APA arguments regarding the 2009 Recovery Goals that supported the 2009 BiOp.

Turning to the remaining issues, Trust’s ESA claim alleged the Bureau should consult with the Service before issuing each AOP. The court explained that ESA’s formal consultation requirement is limited to agency actions that contain “discretionary federal involvement or control.” The court found the Bureau lacked discretion with regard to the AOP process; it cannot select a different operating criterion for the dam but must adhere to the one chosen by the Secretary. Given the AOP’s stated purpose, along with the GCPA’s explicit exclusion of ESA consultation, the court concluded the AOP is not a discretionary action but “merely a descriptive tool” that keeps the Congress and other key players updated on the Bureau’s compliance with mandated actions.

Trust’s NEPA claim alleged the Bureau should prepare an environmental assessment (EA) or environmental impact statement (EIS) for each AOP. The court disagreed. An EIS is required under NEPA only if an ongoing project “undergoes changes which themselves amount to ‘major Federal actions’.” The Bureau did not make any material changes to the operation of the dam through the AOP process, and is therefore not required to prepare an EA or EIS. Also, the court concluded that the standards for major federal actions under NEPA and agency actions under ESA are similar. Since the court already found the AOP process did not constitute an agency action under the ESA, the court further concluded the action did not constitute major federal action under NEPA.

Key Point:

Formal consultation under ESA only applies to agency actions requiring the exercise of agency discretion, and EPA compliance for on-going projects is triggered only by major federal actions which would result in a change to the status quo of a project.

Written By: Tina Thomas, Chris Butcher and Holly McMannes (law clerk)
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For questions relating to this blog post or any other California land use, environmental and/or planning issues contact Thomas Law Group at (916) 287-9292.

The information presented in this article should not be construed to be formal legal advice by Thomas Law Group, nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship. Readers are encouraged to seek independent counsel for advice regarding their individual legal issues.

Sacramento City Planning Commission Approves Progressive Insurance Office Building in Arden Arcade Community Plan Area

Tuesday, August 21st, 2012

On August 16, 2012, the Sacramento City Planning Commission unanimously approved the Progressive Insurance project located on 5.6 acre Office Zoned (OB) parcel within the Arden Arcade Community Plan area. The project will bring a 21,119 square foot regional insurance claims office to Sacramento and will provide new employment opportunities in the City. A second phase of the project is contemplated in the future which would include an additional 64,400 square foot five-story office building. The project was approved in less than three months from the date of application. Thomas Law Group attorneys, Tina Thomas and Christopher Butcher assisted the project applicant through the approval process.
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For questions relating to this blog post or any other California land use, environmental and/or planning issues contact Thomas Law Group at (916) 287-9292.

The information presented in this article should not be construed to be formal legal advice by Thomas Law Group, nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship. Readers are encouraged to seek independent counsel for advice regarding their individual legal issues.

Court Upholds EIR for a Mixed-Use Senior Housing Project in Auburn

Tuesday, August 14th, 2012

On August 13, 2012, Placer County Superior Court visiting Judge, Leslie C. Nichols, upheld the Placer County Board of Supervisors’ approval of an EIR for a continuing care retirement community, a commercial center, and a loop trail to be built on an infill site in Northern Placer County, within the Auburn Bowman Community Plan. Petitioners Ad-Hoc Committee and Jon Forslund had challenged the proposed project under CEQA, claiming that the EIR did not properly analyze the potential for the project to cause urban blight. The court ruled in favor of the Respondent and Real Party in Interest on all claims. Thomas Law Group represented the real party in interest, Western Care Construction Co., throughout the litigation.

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For questions relating to this blog post or any other California land use, environmental and/or planning issues contact Thomas Law Group at (916) 287-9292.

The information presented in this article should not be construed to be formal legal advice by Thomas Law Group, nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship. Readers are encouraged to seek independent counsel for advice regarding their individual legal issues.

Neighbors for Smart Rail is En Route to the Supreme Court

Thursday, August 9th, 2012

On August 8, 2012, the California Supreme Court unanimously granted review of Neighbors for Smart Rail v. Exposition Metro Line Construction Authority ((2012) 205 Cal. App. 4th 552). (See our blog entry (Smart Rail) entitled “Court Disagrees with Sunnyvale and Madera Decisions and Holds that use of Projected Future Conditions as a Baseline for Analyzing Environmental Impacts is Proper where Supported by Substantial Evidence” for a summary of the appellate court’s decision.

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For questions relating to this blog post or any other California land use, environmental and/or planning issues contact Thomas Law Group at (916) 287-9292.

The information presented in this article should not be construed to be formal legal advice by Thomas Law Group, nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship. Readers are encouraged to seek independent counsel for advice regarding their individual legal issues.

SunPower Henrietta Solar Project Approved in Kings County

Tuesday, August 7th, 2012

On August 6, 2012, the Kings County Planning Commission approved the SunPower Henrietta Solar Project Initial Study/Mitigated Negative Declaration and Conditional Use Permit (Project) by a unanimous vote of Commissioners present and voting.  The Project proposes to construct and operate an estimated 136-megawatt alternating current photovoltaic electricity generating facility and associated infrastructure on approximately 836 acres in northwestern Kings County near the unincorporated community of Stratford.  Power generated by the project will be delivered to the high voltage transmission system owned by PG&E for delivery to California electric customers, in furtherance of the goals of the California Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard and other similar renewable energy programs in the state.  The Project will operate year-round and generate electricity during daylight hours when electricity demand is at its peak, and will provide for the annual electricity needs of approximately 49,000 residences based on the projected annual electricity output divided by the annual electricity usage for a single-family residence within the Pacific Gas & Electric service territory.  Tina Thomas and Ashle Crocker assisted the project applicant through the approval process.

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For questions relating to this blog post or any other California land use, environmental and/or planning issues contact Thomas Law Group at (916) 287-9292.

The information presented in this article should not be construed to be formal legal advice by Thomas Law Group, nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship. Readers are encouraged to seek independent counsel for advice regarding their individual legal issues.

 

Ninth Circuit Remands EPA’s Adoption of Final Rule Approving Revisions to the SIP Without Vacatur to Allow a Power Plant to be Constructed Without Delay

Tuesday, August 7th, 2012

In California Communities Against Toxics v. United States Environmental Protection Agency, (2012) 2012 U.S. App. Lexis 15428, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals invalidated the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) approval of a revision to the California State Implementation Plan (SIP) without vacatur in order to permit a power plant to be constructed – but not operated – while EPA remedies its errors.

At issue in this case was whether EPA properly approved a revision to the SIP to accommodate a new power plant, which was under construction during the litigation, pursuant to requirements under the Clean Air Act. A revision to the SIP was required because state law mandated that new emissions be offset by reductions in emissions elsewhere. The mechanism used to implement such offsets was the emission credit system under which polluters may only emit the amount allowed by their credits. Thus, the new power plant required emission credits and the revision required the South Coast Air Quality Management District to transfer the necessary credits to the new power plant. The EPA reviewed and approved the revision and petitioners filed a lawsuit to have the approval vacated on the grounds the EPA committed procedural and substantive errors under the Clean Air Act.

On appeal, the Court concluded any procedural error committed by the EPA was harmless, but that the EPA did commit a substantive error which required invalidation. The alleged procedural error was that the EPA failed to include all relevant documents on its online docket to allow interested parties to participate in the decision making process. However, the court deferred to the EPA’s judgment on what it was required to disclose because the EPA was only required to practicably disclose information on its online docket under the E-Government Act. Moreover, any error related to information regarding the online docket was harmless because petitioners had all relevant documents in their possession from earlier proceedings. In response to the alleged substantive error, the details of which the court did not disclose, the EPA admitted it had employed flawed reasoning in approving the revision, but still argued its approval was not arbitrary and capricious. The Court, however, disagreed with the EPA’s argument because its review was limited to the EPA’s reasoning, which was flawed and thereby rendered the approval invalid.

Though the EPA’s approval of the revision to the SIP was held to be invalid, the Court did not vacate it. Vacatur in this case was not appropriate because principles of equity demanded the SIP be left in place due to potential for disruptive consequences. The court explained that vacatur would delay the power plant’s operations by halting its construction and potentially resulting in additional legal challenges. Such delays would prevent generation of much needed power and would effectively increase probabilities of blackouts next summer. Though the court refused to halt construction, it did remand the matter and require the EPA to obtain a new and valid EPA rule before it may begin operation.

Key Point:

A court may remand an agency approval without vacatur if principles of equity require the approval to stay in place while errors are remedied.

Written By: Tina Thomas, Ashle Crocker and Grant Taylor (law clerk)
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For questions relating to this blog post or any other California land use, environmental and/or planning issues contact Thomas Law Group at (916) 287-9292.

The information presented in this article should not be construed to be formal legal advice by Thomas Law Group, nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship. Readers are encouraged to seek independent counsel for advice regarding their individual legal issues.

Appellate Court Does Not Review City’s Nonpecuniary Interests to Determine If City Qualifies for Attorney Fees, But Rather Bases Award of Fees on Number of Issues Won

Tuesday, August 7th, 2012

In City of Maywood v. Los Angeles Unified School District (2012) __ Cal.App.4th __ (Case No. B233739), the City of Maywood (City) filed a petition for writ of mandate to overturn the Los Angeles Unified School District’s (LAUSD) certification of a final environmental impact report (FEIR) prepared for a high school. The Second District Court of Appeal upheld the FEIR, with the exception of the pedestrian safety analysis, and addressed the issue of attorney fees in the published portion of the decision.

City’s petition for writ of mandate challenged the FEIR as deficient under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) on a number of grounds, and alleged also that the FEIR violated the Education Code. While the trial court rejected the majority of City’s claims, it found that the FEIR was deficient by failing to adequately assess pedestrian safety, discuss project alternatives, investigate potential impacts from hazardous materials, and comply with Education Code Sections 17211 and 17213.1. The trial court issued a peremptory writ and awarded City approximately $670,000.00 in attorney fees under Code of Civil Procedure section 1021.5. The Appellate Court affirmed the section of the writ addressing pedestrian safety, and reversed the remainder, including the award of attorney fees.

In the unpublished portion of the opinion, the court began by affirming that LAUSD must revise its FEIR to include an analysis of potential pedestrian safety impacts caused by the proposed project design, specifically the continued use of the roadway bisecting the campus, and how a pedestrian bridge traversing the road would alleviate those impacts.

The remainder of the writ was reversed. The court concluded that LAUSD was not required to analyze the cumulative impacts of the I-710 corridor project. Because the I-710 corridor project was still in the planning stages, City had to prove that the project was a “reasonably foreseeable probable future” project. City failed to do so; therefore the court ruled that the FEIR’s impact analysis was adequate.

The court also upheld LAUSD’s discussion of environmental impacts from hazardous materials. Even though LAUSD certified the FEIR and approved the project site before completing a remediation plan, the court explained that if an agency determined the impacts, examined various mitigation measures, and committed itself to mitigating those impacts, then choosing the specific mitigation measure can be deferred.

Next, the court concluded that the FEIR contained a meaningful analysis of alternatives and provided reasonable explanation for electing not to include alternatives recommended by City. The court concluded that substantial evidence in the record supported LAUSD’s determination that the alternative proposed by City was infeasible and that the FEIR’s assessment of alternatives was adequate. Therefore, the court upheld the alternatives analysis.

The court also upheld the FEIR as compliant with the Education Code. Education Code sections 17211 and 17213.1 require school districts to fulfill certain requirements before acquiring a school site. LAUSD only certified a FEIR and approved a school site; it did not violate the Education Code because it had yet to acquire the project site.

In the only published portion of the opinion, the court reversed the award of attorney fees. On appeal, LAUSD argued that City failed to satisfy the “necessity and financial burden” criteria of section 1021.5 because the lawsuit was self-serving. City responded that its non-financial interests should not play a role in determining whether it qualifies for fees. To resolve this issue, the court turned to the California Supreme Court’s decision in Conservatorship of Whitley (2010) 50 Cal.4th 1214 (Whitley), which clarified that a party’s personal, nonpecuniary interests may not be used to disqualify the party from obtaining fees under Section 1021.5. Whitley involved a private enforcement action; however, the court extrapolated the holding to apply to public entities as well. Based on the court’s application of the Whitley holding to this case, the court concluded that an award was proper but explained that the award should be adjusted to the new judgment. Therefore, the court ordered the trial court to reassess whether fees are appropriate given the new judgment, and if so, to determine the appropriate amount of fees.

Key Point:

Nonpecuniary interests do not prevent a petitioner from obtaining attorney fees under Section 1021.5. However, where an appellate court overturns some of the issues upon which a petitioner prevailed at trial, the court may remand the award for the trial court to reconsider the amount of the award based on the new judgment.

Written By: Tina Thomas, Chris Butcher and Holly McMannes (law clerk)
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For questions relating to this blog post or any other California land use, environmental and/or planning issues contact Thomas Law Group at (916) 287-9292.

The information presented in this article should not be construed to be formal legal advice by Thomas Law Group, nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship. Readers are encouraged to seek independent counsel for advice regarding their individual legal issues.

District Court Holds Approval of Timber Project Complied with ESA, NEPA, and NFMA

Tuesday, August 7th, 2012

In Conservation Congress v. Nancy Finley (2012) U.S. Dist. LEXIS 104377, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California upheld the authorization of the Beaverslide Timber Sale and Fuel Reduction Project (Project), denying Conservation Congress and Environmental Protection Information Center’s (Plaintiffs) motion for summary judgment and granting the U.S. Fish and Wildlife’s (Fish and Wildlife) and the U.S. Forest Service’s (Forest Service) cross-motions for summary judgment.

The Project, which would encompass over 13,000 acres in the Six Rivers National Forest, was created to increase timber commodity outputs and to reduce wildfire risks. Plaintiffs were concerned the Project would harm the habitat of the spotted owl, a species listed as threatened with extinction under the ESA. In approving the Project, Fish and Wildlife and the Forest Service concluded the Project would benefit the spotted owl in the long run by reducing the risk of wildfires. Plaintiffs filed suit, asserting five causes of action for violations of the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), and the National Forest Management Act (NFMA).

Pursuant to ESA, the Forest Service consulted with Fish and Wildlife and concluded that the Project was not likely to have adverse effects on the spotted owl. Plaintiffs’ first ESA claim alleged that the Forest Service should reinitiate consultation to analyze new information regarding the Project’s short-term effects on spotted owls and their prey, the need for a more inclusive definition of high quality spotted owl habitat, and competition between spotted and barred owls. The court rejected all claims, finding that the Forest Service was not required to reinitiate consultation because its analysis was adequate and had utilized the best available scientific data. Plaintiffs also brought an ESA action against Fish and Wildlife. The court rejected this challenge as well, holding that Plaintiffs could not base their ESA claim on Fish and Wildlife’s failure to reject adequate analysis by the Forest Service.

Plaintiffs’ NEPA claim alleged that the Forest Service failed to consider the short-term impacts of the Project on the spotted owl, along with the cumulative effects from barred owls. After examining the Forest Service’s NEPA documents, the court concluded that the Forest Service’s analysis complied with NEPA and took the requisite hard look at the Project’s effects on the spotted owl.

Plaintiffs’ NFMA claims alleged that the Forest Service deviated from the wildlife diversity requirements of the Six Rivers Forest Plan by failing to monitor and protect native species. The Forest Service argued that the Plan did not impose such a duty at the project level. The court agreed stating that “neither the NFMA, Forest Service regulations, nor the Forest Plan imposes such a duty, and the court may not create one.” The court therefore denied Plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment and granted defendants’ cross-motion.

Written By: Tina Thomas, Chris Butcher and Holly McMannes (law clerk)
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For questions relating to this blog post or any other California land use, environmental and/or planning issues contact Thomas Law Group at (916) 287-9292.

The information presented in this article should not be construed to be formal legal advice by Thomas Law Group, nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship. Readers are encouraged to seek independent counsel for advice regarding their individual legal issues.

District Court Grants Defendants’ Motions to Dismiss Challenge to the Bureau of Land Management’s Approval of a Solar Project in California’s Desert Region

Tuesday, August 7th, 2012

In La Cuna De Aztlan Sacred Sites Protection Circle Advisory Committee v. United States Department of the Interior (2012) 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 97759, the Bureau of Land Management (Bureau) approved Chevron Energy Solutions Company’s (Chevron) solar-electricity general project (Project), which is located on federal public land in the California Desert Conservation Area (CDCA). The United States District Court for the Central District of California concluded that, without any evidence of arbitrary action, the Bureau’s environmental impact statement (EIS) and final approval of the project were in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

La Cuna De Aztlan Sacred Sites Protection Circle Advisory Committee, Californians for Renewable Energy, and several individual plaintiffs filed a complaint challenging the Bureau’s approval of the project, alleging: 1) violation of the American Indian Religious Freedom Act (AIRFA); 2) violation of NEPA by failing to adequately analyze project alternatives; 3) violation of NEPA by failing to prepare a programmatic EIS (PEIS) prior to project approval; 4) violation of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (FLPMA); 5) violation of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA); 6) violation of public-participation rights. The Bureau and Chevron individually filed motions to dismiss plaintiffs’ first, third, and fifth claims; the Bureau alone sought to dismiss plaintiffs’ fourth claim. The court granted both motions to dismiss in their entirety.

The court quickly dismissed plaintiffs’ AIRFA allegations. Plaintiffs acknowledged that AIRFA does not provide a basis for relief and they did not oppose dismissal of their first claim. The court therefore struck from plaintiffs’ complaint all references to the AIRFA.

The court next dismissed plaintiffs’ NEPA claim with prejudice. Plaintiffs argued that the EIS was inadequate because a PEIS was required to evaluate the cumulative impacts of the project in relation to other similar projects. Without reaching the merits, the court explained that in order to satisfy the threshold pleading requirement for this NEPA claim plaintiffs were required to plead facts sufficient to allege that the Project is “connected, cumulative, or similar” to other projects. Plaintiffs failed to do so. Additionally, because plaintiffs made several failed attempts to amend their NEPA claim, the court dismissed the claim with prejudice.

Plaintiffs’ fourth claim alleged that due to the project’s location, the Bureau had an obligation under the FLPMA to take every action necessary to protect the project site from “unnecessary” or “undue degradation”. Plaintiffs argued that the Bureau failed to do so, violating the FLPMA. The court rejected this argument because plaintiffs did not specify how the Bureau was degrading the land. Plaintiffs also incorrectly classified the land as Class L (limited use). The court found that the project is rather on Class M (moderate use) land, which allows a variety of uses including energy. Because plaintiffs failed to provide more than general and unsubstantiated allegations, the court granted the Bureau’s motion and dismissed plaintiffs’ fourth claim without prejudice.

Lastly, plaintiffs alleged the Bureau imposed a substantial burden on their free exercise of religion since the project would interfere with access to religiously significant sites and sacred objects. The court explained that a substantial burden exists only if plaintiffs are either forced to choose between following their religion and receiving a governmental benefit, or must act contrary to their religion for fear of civil or criminal sanctions. The court concluded that plaintiffs failed to prove either element. The court further explained that denial of access to a religious site is not an element of the substantial burden test. Therefore, this claim too was dismissed with prejudice.

Key Point:

Under NEPA, the plaintiff bears the burden of demonstrating that an agency’s decision to prepare a project-level EIS rather than a program EIS is arbitrary. To satisfy the threshold pleading requirement for such a claim, a plaintiff must plead facts sufficient to allege a project is “connected, cumulative, or similar” to other projects.

Written By: Tina Thomas, Ashle Crocker and Holly McMannes (law clerk)
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For questions relating to this blog post or any other California land use, environmental and/or planning issues contact Thomas Law Group at (916) 287-9292.

The information presented in this article should not be construed to be formal legal advice by Thomas Law Group, nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship. Readers are encouraged to seek independent counsel for advice regarding their individual legal issues.