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Beveridge & Diamond’s 100 lawyers in seven U.S. offices focus on environmental and natural resource law, litigation and dispute resolution. We help clients around the world resolve critical environmental and sustainability issues relating to their products, facilities, and operations. 

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Showing 15 posts in Land Use and Natural Resources. View our practice description for Land Use and Natural Resources.

NGOs Challenge Department of Interior’s New Interpretation of “Incidental Take” Liability Under Migratory Bird Treaty Act

National environmental groups recently filed a pair of new lawsuits in New York federal district court seeking to expand the scope of liability for “incidental take” under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (“MBTA”).[1]  The litigation seeks to overturn recent legal and policy guidance issued by the United States Department of the Interior (“DOI”) and Fish and Wildlife Service (“FWS”) which provided greater regulatory certainty by limiting those agencies’ enforcement actions under the MBTA to claims of intentional harm to migratory birds.  If the new lawsuits prevail, many industries may once again face potential criminal liability for day-to-day operations posing a risk of unintentional effects on migratory birds.  The lawsuits are also a reminder that courts remain split on the scope of MBTA liability, that MBTA enforcement policy may shift between administrations, and that other statutes still make avian protection a key component of environmental planning and compliance at many facilities. Read More ›

Major Offshore Wind Projects Advance in Massachusetts and Rhode Island

Commercial-scale offshore wind power may soon become a reality in New England. On May 23, Massachusetts electric distribution companies selected Vineyard Wind, a subsidiary of Avangrid Renewables, LLC, as the preferred provider of 800 megawatts (MW) of offshore wind generation to the Massachusetts power market, and Rhode Island selected Deepwater Wind as the preferred provider of 400 MW of offshore wind generation to the Rhode Island power market. Both companies propose to generate the electricity from wind projects they intend to construct on federal leases on the Outer Continental Shelf offshore of Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Read More ›

New York Issues Revised Proposed Amendments to SEQRA and Requests Public Comment by May 4, 2018

Earlier this month, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (“DEC”) issued proposed revisions to regulations implementing the State Environmental Quality Review Act (“SEQRA”), at Title 6, Part 617 of the New York Codes, Rules, and Regulations (“NYCRR”) and to sections of the SEQRA Short and Full Environmental Assessment Forms. The proposed revisions follow the DEC’s original proposed amendments (“2017 proposal,” described below), released in January 2017, and respond to the hundreds of public comments that DEC received following the release of the 2017 proposal. Read More ›

New White House Guidance and Multi-Agency MOU Continue Push to Expedite Environmental Reviews and Permitting for Major Infrastructure

The Office of Management and Budget and Council on Environmental Quality, on March 20, 2018, issued a Memorandum instructing federal agencies how to implement the “One Federal Decision” policy established in Executive Order 13807 (the “Memorandum”).  (Click here for an overview of Executive Order 13807.)  In turn, on April 9, 2018, 12 federal agencies executed a Memorandum of Understanding (“MOU”) to implement this policy.  These efforts are intended to streamline National Environmental Policy Act, Endangered Species Act Section 7, and other environmental reviews and permitting decisions.  They represent the most recent attempt, spanning multiple Presidential administrations, to eliminate inefficiencies and delays associated with these environmental reviews and authorizations perceived to impede infrastructure development. Read More ›

Interior Secretary Immediately Implements President’s Executive Order on Energy and Climate

New Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke wasted no time implementing the mandates of the Trump Administration’s most recent Executive Order (EO), “Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth,” which was issued on March 28.  For a summary of that EO, click here.  On March 29, the Secretary issued two Secretarial Orders (SO) implementing the March 28 Order, and took additional administrative action consistent with its mandates.  Separately, the Secretary has reinstated a public-private advisory committee to address royalty issues. Read More ›

The Congressional Review Act: Congress Dusts Off an Old Oversight Weapon

One of the great powers that Congress has to undo changes made by a prior administration is the Congressional Review Act (CRA), which was enacted in 1996.  As of March 17, 2017, this Congress has used the CRA to overturn more agency rulemakings than any Congress before it.  Many more regulations are on the potential chopping block; a lot of them address environmental, energy, and natural resources issues.  With this whirlwind of activity under the CRA, it is vital for the regulated community to stay informed of congressional action in this realm. Read More ›

Impacts of the 2016 U.S. Election on Environmental Law, Policy, and Enforcement

The 2016 election results will have wide-ranging impacts on the future direction of environmental law, policy, and enforcement in the U.S.  With 100 lawyers in offices around the U.S. focused on environmental and natural resource law and litigation, Beveridge & Diamond helps clients navigate legal and business risks arising from this evolving legal landscape. Read More ›

Recent Changes to the Massachusetts Zoning Act and Smart Growth Zoning

Recently, the Massachusetts Legislature enacted and Gov. Baker signed into law several important changes to the Massachusetts Zoning Act, General Laws chapter 40A, and the Smart Growth Zoning and Housing Production Act, General Laws chapter 40R.   Read More ›

Massachusetts Appeals Court Imposes Higher Hurdle For Master Plan to Defeat 40B Project

In another setback to opponents of Chapter 40B affordable housing projects, the Massachusetts Appeals Court upheld the Housing Appeals Committee’s (HAC) creation of a seemingly more rigorous four-part test that appears to place a tougher burden on municipalities seeking to deny 40B projects on the ground that their master plan is a local concern that trumps the need for affordable housing. Read More ›

Parker Moore Quoted in BloombergBNA on the Benefits of Science Training for Attorneys

Parker Moore, a Principal in Beveridge & Diamond's Washington, DC office and leader of the firm’s Endangered Species and Wildlife Protection,Wetlands, and National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) practice groups, was quoted in a BloombergBNA Daily Environment Report article titled "Science Training Gives Some Attorneys Advantages."  The article discusses how training and degrees in the sciences have advantages in the practice of environmental law. Read More ›