In Save Livermore Downtown v. City of Livermore (Dec. 28, 2022, Case No. A164987) __ Cal.App.1st __, the First District Court of Appeal held that the City of Livermore (City) did not violate planning and zoning laws when it approved a 130-unit affordable housing project (Project) in the downtown area. The Project was found to be exempt under CEQA as it was consistent with a specific plan for which an EIR has been prepared (Gov. Code, § 65457). Further, the Court held that the trial court did not abuse its discretion when it required Save Livermore Downtown (Petitioner) to post a $500,000 bond after the developer moved for one under Code of Civil Procedure section 529.2, as security for costs that may be incurred as a result of delay in carrying out the affordable housing development project.

The 2021-2022 Legislative Session was light on CEQA amendments, and once again did not produce any significant reform.  We saw a continued focus on incentivizing affordable and infill developments on the condition that the project pay prevailing wages (AB 2011), reducing barriers for specified sustainable transit projects (SB 922), and amendments akin to “pet project exemptions” that are targeted to solving a narrower set of concerns (SB 118 and SB 886).  None of the amendments, however, more broadly limit CEQA’s reach.

On 31 January 2023, the UK Government published its Environmental Improvement Plan 2023 (the “EIP”), detailing how it plans to restore nature and improve environmental quality in the UK. In particular, the EIP proposes new commitments to upgrade wastewater treatment works, restore wildlife and promote nature-friendly farming practices. These new commitments underpin the ambitious international targets agreed at the UN Biodiversity Conference COP15 in December 2022, which the UK Government helped deliver (for further information about COP15, read our earlier blog post here).

The UK Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, has said that the EIP “provides the blueprint for how we deliver our commitment to leave our environment in a better state than we found it, making sure we drive forward progress with renewed ambition and achieve our target of not just halting, but reversing the decline of nature“.

Sustainability governs all policies and sectors of social and economic life. The goal of sustainable development is to meet the needs of today’s generations without compromising the self-sufficiency of future generations. Companies are called upon to innovate as economic conditions indicate a change in the direction of sustainability. Sustainability considerations and green developments have increasingly caught the attention of competition law’s enforcers. Competition authorities such as the European Commission (“Commission”), the Hellenic Competition Commission (“HCC”), the Dutch Competition Authority (“ACM”) and the German Competition Authority (“Bka”) have taken a positive stance towards accepting sustainability initiatives proposed by the private sector. How can companies balance both sustainability and competition law? In this blog post, we analyze recent developments that further explain the sustainability framework that companies have to navigate.

The U.S. General Services Administration (“GSA”) recently released a Request for Information (“RFI”) seeking input from industry to help the federal government develop strategies for the procurement of carbon pollution-free electricity (“CFE”) in accordance with Executive Order 14057’s goal of achieving 100% CFE for the federal government by 2030. The RFI seeks to gather information about the “availability of CFE in the retail electricity market and ways for the Federal Government to incentivize additional production and delivery of CFE.”

On January 25, 2023, the California Supreme Court extended to March 3, 2023 its time to grant or deny review of the Second District Court of Appeal’s published opinion in G.I. Industries v. City of Thousand Oaks (2022) 84 Cal.App.5th 814.  My October 31, 2022 post on the Court of Appeal’s opinion, and my follow-up December 5, 2022 post on its modified opinion on denial of rehearing can be found here and here.

On Jan. 26, 2023, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) solicited public input to inform two new Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) programs creating standards and labeling for construction materials that have “substantially lower levels of embodied greenhouse gas emissions.” Section 60112 of the IRA appropriates $250 million for grants and technical assistance to manufacturers, States, Indian

As a reminder, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed a rule last month that would enhance (1) reporting of perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) to the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) and (2) related supplier notification requirements. The deadline to comment on EPA’s proposed rule is February 3, 2023.

The EPA’s 2021 PFAS Strategic Roadmap detailed