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As of January 31st, the deadline for many Bay Area cities and counties to adopt legally compliant Housing Elements now has passed, and many jurisdictions remain without certifications from the California Department of Housing and Community Development (“HCD”) that their 6th Cycle Housing Element Updates (“6th Cycle”) substantially comply with state law. As such – and until HCD certifies that these housing elements substantially comply – the Housing Accountability Act’s (“HAA”) “Builder’s Remedy” is now available in a range of Bay Area jurisdictions.

Additionally, under Assembly Bill 1398 (“AB 1389”), should these jurisdictions fail to obtain HCD’s determination of substantial
Continue Reading As Deadline for Housing Element Certification Passes, “Builder’s Remedy” and AB 1398 Remedies Loom for Noncompliant Bay Area Cities and Counties

In an effort to address the ongoing California housing crisis and exorbitant development costs, the 2022 Legislative Season saw the introduction of approximately 40 housing-related bills, resulting in the passage of various laws intended to spur greater housing production and affordability. Below are a list of those bills that passed, which affect (i) regional housing finance agencies and housing finance, (ii) streamlining housing approvals, (iii) adaptive reuse in commercial zones, (iv) homeownership and tenant protections, (v) housing, transportation and infrastructure, (vi) surplus and excess land, and (vii) land use, planning and housing element law. Unless otherwise noted below, a majority
Continue Reading Housing Legislation Update 2023

In the closing weeks of 2022, the California Air Resources Board (“CARB” or “Board”) approved its final 2022 Scoping Plan, which sets forth a detailed roadmap to accelerate the reduction of greenhouse gas (“GHG”) emissions in order for the state to achieve carbon neutrality by 2045, with an interim goal of achieving a reduction in GHG emissions of 40% below the 1990 level by 2030 (the goal adopted by the State in 2017’s SB 32).
Continue Reading California Air Resources Board Adopts 2022 Scoping Plan

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on Wednesday published a final rule defining “Waters of the United States,” or WOTUS, which determines the extent of federal regulatory authority under the Clean Water Act. 88 Fed. Reg. 3004-3144 (Jan. 18, 2023). The new rule largely reinstates the longstanding definition of WOTUS first adopted in 1986, as modified by the Supreme Court’s opinion in Rapanos v. United States,547 U.S. 715 (2006). But the final rule comes as the Supreme Court again considers the proper scope of WOTUS in Sackett v. Environmental Protection Agency, which will
Continue Reading Turbulence Ahead for the Clean Water Act: Agencies Redefine “Waters of the United States” as SCOTUS Prepares to Rule in Sackett v. EPA

After unexpected controversy earlier in the year, on December 15, 2022 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a Final Rule unambiguously recognizing the ASTM International Standard E1527-21 for Phase I Environmental Site Assessments (ESAs), with an effective date of February 13, 2023.[1] EPA’s express endorsement of the standard as meeting the requirements of the All Appropriate Inquiry (AAI) Rule[2] is essential to ensuring that the Phase I ESA fulfills its fundamental purpose: protection for prospective purchasers (and lessees) of property from liability for pre-existing contamination by petroleum products or hazardous substances regulated under the Comprehensive Environmental Response
Continue Reading EPA Endorses New Standard for Phase I Environmental Site Assessments

In response to developers’ continued cry for meaningful reform, changes to or exemptions from the California Environmental Quality Act (Pub. Res. Code §§ 21000 et seq.) (CEQA) are often included in numerous bills during any California legislative session. 2022 proved to be no exception. While many bills suffered slow deaths in committee, a handful successfully made it to the Governor’s desk and were signed into law. 
Continue Reading 2022 CEQA Legislative Recap

California has approved a new, alternative “Safe Harbor” warning label for foods containing acrylamide, a naturally-occurring byproduct that occurs during high-heat cooking. Whether the new regulation moots the California Chamber of Commerce’s (“CalChamber”) ongoing legal battle against Proposition 65 (“Prop 65”) warning labels[1] remains to be seen.
Continue Reading California’s Newly Adopted “Safe Harbor” Warning Label for Acrylamide In Foods Turns Up the Heat In Ongoing First Amendment Challenge to Proposition 65

In an effort to decrease the skyrocketing development costs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Assembly Bill 2097 (AB 2097) aims to eliminate a key obstacle for new developments: parking. More specifically, starting on January 1, 2023, this law prohibits public agencies from imposing minimum automobile parking requirements for residential, commercial and other development projects if the project is located within a 1/2-mile of a “High-Quality Transit Corridor”[1] or a “Major Transit Stop.”[2] 
Continue Reading More Places, Less Spaces: California is Driving Down Development Costs

On November 14, 2022, the Department of Defense (DoD), General Services Administration (GSA), and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) published a proposed rule that would amend the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) to require Federal contractors that receive annual Federal contract obligations over a specified amount to disclose their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions[1] and climate-related financial risk, and set science-based targets to reduce GHG emissions.[2] This proposed rule implements section 5(b) of Executive Order 14030, Climate-Related Financial Risk, which we previously wrote about here. The Government will consider comments from interested parties that are submitted by January
Continue Reading Proposed Rule Requires Contractors to Disclose Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Climate-Related Financial Risk

Sheppard Mullin is pleased to share the first issue of our quarterly LA Land Use Digest, featuring: updates on the latest legislation from the region (The Council File); exemplary, forthcoming projects (In the Pipeline); and commentary on the latest issues of importance for the land use community (Planning Matters).
Continue Reading Your Los Angeles Region Land Use Digest

This article was originally published at FoodNavigator-USA.

Federal and state agencies are considering restrictions or bans of individual ‘forever chemicals’ PFAS (Perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl compounds) or PFAS as a class, while at least 24 putative class actions targeting packaged goods purportedly containing PFAS were filed from January 1 to August 1, 2022 alone. So how widely used are PFAS in the food industry, and how can firms protect themselves from litigation?
Continue Reading PFAS and Food Packaging: Regulatory Changes Create Ripple Effects for PFAs-Related Litigation

California Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986 (Health & Safety Code § 25249.5 et seq.) (“Prop 65”) is a California law that prohibits any person in the course of doing business from “knowingly and intentionally expos[ing]” individuals to listed carcinogens and reproductive toxins without adequate warning. Recently, in Environmental Health Advocates, Inc. v. Sream, Inc., 83 Cal. App. 5th 721 (2022), the First District Court of Appeal had the opportunity to interpret the word “expose” as used in Health & Safety Code § 25249.6, concluding that possible indirect contact with a listed Prop 65 chemical, depending on
Continue Reading Up In Smoke – CA Court of Appeal Dismisses Prop 65 Case Against Water Pipe Manufacturer Narrowly Construing The Term “Expose”

The zeitgeist of pandemic-era American politics has been ugly. Really ugly. In an environment where civil disobedience skews uncivil, how do we balance the quintessentially American freedom of speech with the public participation requirements in the Ralph M. Brown Act (“Brown Act.”)? Senate Bill 1100 provides some guidance.
Continue Reading Will Newsom’s Nicety Bill Curb Disruptive Behavior During Public Hearings?

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently published a proposed rule revising regulations that authorize permit issuance for eagle incidental take and eagle nest take under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act (the “Act”). In addition to retaining the individual permits already available under the Act, the new rule proposes creation of a “general” permit for qualifying wind energy and power line infrastructure projects.
Continue Reading U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Proposes New Regulations Creating General Eagle “Take” Permits for Certain Wind Energy and Power Line Infrastructure Projects