By The Attorneys of Abbott & Kindermann, LLP

Readers of the Land Use Law Blog know that we host an annual land use update; the most recent on January 24, 2008. At that event, we review the most important developments in land use, environmental, and real estate law from the previous year. Our next annual update is planned for January 22, 2009 and more details will be forthcoming. 

This year, we are also providing a mid-year update on the blog, covering the most significant developments from the first half of this year. Below, you’ll see a list of cases and events that we have chosen to highlight from the areas of CEQA, the Subdivision Map Act, the Clean Water Act, global warming, and wetlands. Below each of these items is a link to a written analysis on the topic. Additionally, and new for this year, there is also a link to an audio file (mp3) with new commentary by the firm’s attorneys. This commentary contains our view of the most important points and lessons as well as practice tips. 

Since this format is new, please let us know that you found it useful and valuable by emailing us at Any feedback is welcome.

To download the audio commentary, right click on the link and select “Save Target As”. Save the file to your desktop or the folder of your choosing, and play it using a media player such as Windows Media Player or Winamp. Alternatively, you can listen to the file on your computer by clicking on the audio commentary link. If you have further questions, please email us at


In re Bay-Delta Programmatic Environmental Impact Report  – The Supreme Court rules on the level of detail required in a programmatic environmental document.

Written Analysis         Audio Commentary

Ebbetts Pass Forest Watch v. California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection – The California Supreme Court discusses the adequacy of a cumulative impacts analysis and the discussion of foreseeability.

Written Analysis         Audio Commentary

St. Vincent’s School for Boys – Procedurally, this case focuses on when costs can be awarded to the prevailing party, specifically in regards to emails pulled by the county. It also discusses some substantive CEQA and General Plan issues. 

Written Analysis         Audio Commentary

California Water Impact Network v. Newhall County Water District – This case holds that a Water Supply Assessment is not subject, by itself, to legal review.

Written Analysis         Audio Commentary

Sierra Club v. City of Orange – This case covers a wide-range of CEQA issues, relating to a supplemental EIR and EIR.

Written Analysis         Audio Commentary

Moss v. County of Humboldt – The court held that a project previously studied under CEQA need not undergo supplemental CEQA review upon reapplication of the same project unless new information (supported by substantial evidence in the record) indicates there will be potential environmental impacts.

Written Analysis         Audio Commentary

Subdivision Map Act

SB 1185 – Legislature extends life of tentative maps for one year.

Written Analysis         Audio Commentary

NEPA/Clean Water Act

Bering Strait Citizens for Responsible Resource Development v. USACE – The court in this case upholds a Section 404 permit granted to mining company, wherein Petitioners argued that the Army Corps finding that there would be no significant impact to wetlands constitutes an abuse of discretion.

Written Analysis         Audio Commentary

Global Warming

State agencies released two important documents in the first half of this year: the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research released an advisory on CEQA and climate change and the California Air Resources Board released a draft of its scoping plan to reduce emissions to 1990 levels by 2020.

Written Analysis         Audio Commentary


Compensatory Wetland Mitigation – The Army Corps of Engineers and the EPA adopt new rules on compensatory mitigation while local Corps districts develop mitigation bank templates.

Written Analysis (1)    Written Analysis (2)    Audio Commentary