When a project is approved without adequate environmental review, the approval can usually be challenged in court under CEQA or its federal counterpart, NEPA. Such lawsuits frequently end with the approved project being modified, or mitigation measures being added, to meet the conservation objectives of the objecting agencies or groups. Examples of the firm’s CEQA and NEPA litigation work include:
- Martis Valley (Placer County): After successfully challenging the EIR for the Martis Valley Community Plan in court on behalf of a coalition of environmental groups, the firm negotiated an innovative settlement that saves most of the near-pristine valley between Truckee and Lake Tahoe and finances open space acquisition in the valley with an estimated $100 million in transfer fees on future home sales.
- Stockton Water Privatization: The firm represented a coalition of environmental and community groups in a successful CEQA challenge to the City of Stockton’s approval of a 20-year, $600 million water privatization contract, which was ordered rescinded, leading to the City’s decision to take back public control of the system.
- Hatton Canyon Freeway: The firm helped environmental groups and public entities stop this proposed freeway near Carmel with a series of administrative and court actions, including a successful NEPA and CEQA lawsuit (City of Carmel-by-the-Sea v. United States Department of Transportation, 123 F.3d 1142 (9th Cir. 1997)).
- The firm has won numerous cases involving CEQA, including Save Round Valley Alliance v. County of Inyo, 157 Cal.App.4th 1437 (2007); Citizens for a Megaplex-Free Alameda v. City of Alameda, 149 Cal.App.4th 91 (2007); California State Parks Foundation v. Foothill/Eastern Transportation Corridor Agency, 150 Cal.App.4th 826 (2007); Bowman v. City of Berkeley, 131 Cal.App.4th 173 (2005); Communities for a Better Environment v. California Resources Agency, 103 Cal.App.4th 98 (2002); Berkeley Keep Jets Over the Bay Committee v. Board of Port Commissioners, 91 Cal.App.4th 1344 (2001); Kings County Citizens for a Healthy Environment v. City of Hanford, 221 Cal.App.3d 692 (1990).