Climate Change, CEQA May Lead to More Project Lawsuits

North Bay Business Journal


NORTH BAY – There could be turbulent years ahead as the land-use legal environment connected to the state’s battle against climate change heats up and real estate law experts and local government planning officials struggle to analyze and mitigate for project-related greenhouse gases. It’s only been a year since the governor signed Senate Bill 97, adding climate change attributed to such gases to the list of environmental impacts government agencies will have to consider in approving projects in accordance with the California Environmental Quality Act.

However, it will be another year before the governor’s Office of Planning and Research is scheduled to release draft guidelines for inclusion of such impact analysis and potential mitigation measures in CEQA documents, such as environmental impact reports and mitigated negative declarations. The guidelines would be adopted at the dawn of 2010.

“Until state standards come out, you’re still shooting in the dark,” said Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton land-use attorney Judy Davidoff, who is advising several North Bay project owners on greenhouse gas language in environmental impact documents.

Read on here.