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Environmental Compliance

Special Districts

BB&K's expertise in the California Environmental Quality Act ("CEQA") and National Environmental Policy Act ("NEPA") is recognized throughout California.

Our attorneys assist public agency clients throughout all aspects of the CEQA/NEPA and land use entitlement process, including both document preparation and any subsequent litigation.  We also assist public clients with pre-project planning and strategy before CEQA is triggered to minimize costs and maximize environmental protection, and we prepare Local CEQA Guidelines on behalf of over 60 public agency clients, including water districts and special districts.

Our attorneys are proficient at reviewing and preparing notices of exemption, initial studies, negative declarations, findings and statements of overriding considerations, environmental assessments and findings of no significant impact (FONSIs), addenda, and mitigation monitoring and reporting plans.  We are also experts at writing and editing Environmental Impact Reports/Studies to fully comply with CEQA/NEPA requirements.  If a legal challenge should arise, our lawyers are skilled in the procedural and substantive intricacies of litigating a CEQA/NEPA case, including the short statutes of limitations, administrative record requirements, and unique briefing and oral argument issues.

BB&K's lawyers are at the forefront of one of the most rapidly changing areas of environmental law: endangered species regulation under the California and Federal Endangered Species Acts and the Natural Community Conservation Planning Act.  We have assisted many clients in complying with these laws while also meeting project goals and objectives in a timely and effective manner.

Our lawyers have taken leadership roles in developing, implementing and managing habitat conservation plans (HCPs), Natural Community Conservation Plans (NCCPs) and their related Implementation Agreements.  By setting aside habitat for wildlife, often through a "bank" of development credits and exchanges, these plans meet preservation goals for species while avoiding development paralysis.  Our attorneys participated in the negotiation, drafting and defense against opposition of the Implementation Agreement for the Western Riverside County Multi-Species Habitat Conservation Plan, which is the largest HCP/NCCP in the country.

We also routinely assist our clients in obtaining Incidental Take Permits, undergoing the Biological Opinion process and commenting upon proposed listings of new species.  BB&K has consistently demonstrated the ability to work well with the numerous wildlife agencies charged with administering these acts, including the United States Fish & Wildlife Service, the National Marine Fisheries Service, the California Department of Fish & Wildlife, and the California Fish & Game Commission.

We also have extensive experience litigating endangered species issues.  In fact, in defending our clients' interests against unwarranted applications of the laws, we have frequently created new law.

 

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