California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA)

In today’s litigious society, even the best-prepared California Environmental Quality Act documentation is regularly challenged, delaying projects and escalating costs associated with obtaining approvals. Handling documentation with an eye toward litigation is the key to reducing disputes and enhancing the likelihood of success should litigation occur.
 
Best Best & Krieger LLP’s environmental lawyers guide both private and public agency clients through all aspects of the CEQA and land use entitlement process, assuring full compliance with CEQA’s requirements. From pre-project planning, document preparation, noticing and approvals through ensuing litigation — a single team helps at every stage, minimizing costs and delays while maximizing environmental protection. We prepare local CEQA guidelines for more than 70 public agencies, including cities, school districts, water districts and special districts, and are proficient at reviewing, preparing and revising environmental impact reports, notices of exemption, initial studies, negative declarations, findings and statements of overriding considerations and addenda. Additionally, we advise on mitigation monitoring and reporting plans.
 
Experienced in every type of project that breaks ground, BB&K lawyers have successfully advised on CEQA issues and challenges for diverse projects including:

  • Infrastructure
  • Commercial, residential and mixed-use projects
  • Industrial facilities and warehouse
  • Specific and general plans
  • Habitat conservation plans and projects


Skilled at the subtleties of CEQA review and related permitting, we tailor our analysis to reflect rapidly evolving laws, such as those involving greenhouse gas emissions, endangered species and other potential areas of vulnerability. Our lawyers’ deep understanding of CEQA enables us to represent clients before administrative boards and trial and appellate courts throughout California.
 
We fully grasp the interplay of CEQA and other environmental statutes, including the state and federal Endangered Species Acts, the National Environmental Policy Act and state and federal Clean Water Acts, enabling our clients to rely on one team at one firm to navigate them through CEQA and all related environmental law requirements.

Jason M. Ackerman

Jason M. Ackerman

Partner

(951) 826-8428

Areas of Focus: California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) | California Public Utilities Commission | Endangered Species | Environmental Law & Natural Resources | Municipal Law | National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)
Janet E. Coleson

Janet E. Coleson

Partner

(925) 977-3319

Areas of Focus: Environmental Law & Natural Resources | General & Special Counsel | Government Policy & Public Integrity | Municipal Law | Special Districts
Matthew Collins

Matthew Collins

Associate

(951) 826-8246

Areas of Focus: California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) | Endangered Species | Environmental Law & Natural Resources | National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) | Water
Piero C. Dallarda

Piero C. Dallarda

Partner

(951) 826-8338

Areas of Focus: Municipal Law | Special Districts
Robert Hargreaves

Robert Hargreaves

Partner

(760) 837-1604

Areas of Focus: General & Special Counsel | Government Policy & Public Integrity | Municipal Law | Renewable Energy | Water
John H. Holloway

John H. Holloway

Partner

(213) 617-7495

Areas of Focus: Eminent Domain | Environmental Litigation | Hazardous Waste | Municipal Law | Public Agency Litigation
Tammy L. Ingram

Tammy L. Ingram

Paralegal*

(951) 826-8343

Areas of Focus: California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) | Environmental Law & Natural Resources | Environmental Litigation | Public Agency Litigation
Todd R. Leishman

Todd R. Leishman

Of Counsel

(949) 263-6576

Areas of Focus: Business | Business Litigation | Environmental Litigation | Public Agency Litigation
Arthur L. Littleworth

Arthur L. Littleworth

Partner

(951) 826-8207

Areas of Focus: California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) | Endangered Species | Environmental Law & Natural Resources | Environmental Litigation | Special Districts | Water Rights
Jennifer J. Lynch

Jennifer J. Lynch

Associate

(949) 263-6580

Areas of Focus: California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) | Environmental Law & Natural Resources | National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)
Steven G. Martin

Steven G. Martin

Associate

(619) 525-1314

Areas of Focus: Environmental Law & Natural Resources | Environmental Litigation | General & Special Counsel | Government Policy & Public Integrity | Special Districts | Water
Alison Martinez

Alison Martinez

Associate

(925) 997-3315

Areas of Focus: California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) | Environmental Law & Natural Resources | National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)
Heather A. McCoy

Heather A. McCoy

Paralegal*

(951) 826-8212

Areas of Focus: California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) | Eminent Domain | Environmental Law & Natural Resources | Environmental Litigation
Michelle Ouellette

Michelle Ouellette

Partner

(951) 826-8373

Areas of Focus: California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) | Endangered Species | Environmental Law & Natural Resources | Environmental Litigation | Municipal Law | National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)
Sarah E. Owsowitz

Sarah E. Owsowitz

Of Counsel

(925) 977-3308

Areas of Focus: California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) | Environmental Law & Natural Resources | Environmental Litigation | Renewable Energy | Water
Lindsay D. Puckett

Lindsay D. Puckett

Partner

(619) 525-1378

Areas of Focus: California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) | Endangered Species | Environmental Law & Natural Resources | National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) | Water
Matthew Richardson

Matthew Richardson

Partner

(949) 263-6562

Areas of Focus: California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) | Environmental Law & Natural Resources | Government Policy & Public Integrity | Municipal Law
Charity B. Schiller

Charity B. Schiller

Partner

(951) 826-8223

Areas of Focus: California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) | Environmental Law & Natural Resources | Environmental Litigation | National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) | Special Districts | Water
Ward H. Simmons

Ward H. Simmons

Of Counsel

(951) 826-8366

Areas of Focus: Endangered Species | Environmental Law & Natural Resources | General & Special Counsel | Municipal Law | Special Districts | Water
Ann M. Siprelle

Ann M. Siprelle

Partner

(916) 551-2834

Areas of Focus: Environmental Law & Natural Resources | General & Special Counsel | Municipal Law | Public Contracts & Construction | Special Districts
Andrew M. Skanchy

Andrew M. Skanchy

Of Counsel

(916) 551-2854

Areas of Focus: California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) | Environmental Law & Natural Resources | Environmental Litigation | Municipal Law | National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)
Lynn M. Sleeper

Lynn M. Sleeper

Paralegal*

(916) 551-2820

Areas of Focus: California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) | Economic Development, Real Estate & Affordable Housing | Government Policy & Public Integrity | Municipal Law | Real Estate
Scott C. Smith

Scott C. Smith

Partner

(949) 263-6561

Areas of Focus: California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) | Economic Development, Real Estate & Affordable Housing | Elections | Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) | Municipal Law
Harriet A. Steiner

Harriet A. Steiner

Partner

(916) 551-2821

Areas of Focus: Environmental Law & Natural Resources | Fees, Taxes & Assessments | Municipal Law | Public Agency Litigation | Telecommunications
Kara K. Ueda

Kara K. Ueda

Partner

(916) 551-2822

Areas of Focus: Elections | Environmental Litigation | Government Policy & Public Integrity | Land Use, Planning & Zoning | Municipal Law | Public Agency Litigation | Special Districts
Ethan J. Walsh

Ethan J. Walsh

Partner

(916) 551-2825

Areas of Focus: Economic Development, Real Estate & Affordable Housing | General & Special Counsel | Government Policy & Public Integrity | Municipal Law | Public Contracts & Construction
Alisha M. Winterswyk

Alisha M. Winterswyk

Partner

(949) 263-6565

Areas of Focus: California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) | Environmental Law & Natural Resources | Environmental Litigation | National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)
Katherine L. Wisinski

Katherine L. Wisinski

Of Counsel

(925) 977-3320

Areas of Focus: Environmental Litigation | Government Policy & Public Integrity | Municipal Law | Public Agency Litigation
Deborah A. Wordham

Deborah A. Wordham

Of Counsel

(213) 787-2542

Areas of Focus: Environmental Law & Natural Resources | Environmental Litigation | Municipal Law | Public Agency Litigation | Special Districts | Water
Jamey M. Wyman

Jamey M. Wyman

Associate

(213) 787-2553

Areas of Focus: Eminent Domain | Municipal Law | Public Agency Litigation | Special Districts | Transportation
Event Jun 26, 2017

When LAFCO Opinions Collide

Exploring the Unique Perspectives of LAFCO Commissioners, Legal Counsel and Staff

Partners Michelle Ouellette and Kelly Salt Named Top Women Lawyers
Press Releases May 25, 2017

Partners Michelle Ouellette and Kelly Salt Named Top Women Lawyers

Daily Journal’s Annual List of California’s Best Female Attorneys

Appellate Court Rejects CEQA Challenges to Development in Santa Ana
Client Successes May 25, 2017

Appellate Court Rejects CEQA Challenges to Development in Santa Ana

BB&K Team Represented City

Event May 18-21, 2017

AEP 2017: Bridging the Gap

California State Conference

Event May 5, 2017

Land, Air and Water: Navigating Complex Environmental Issues in the Inland Empire

State Bar of California Environmental Law Section

Event Apr 28-29, 2017

CEQA: A Step-by-Step Approach

University of California, Riverside Extension Two-Day Seminar

Partner Lindsay Puckett Selected as a San Diego Daily Transcript 40 Under 40
Press Releases Apr 20, 2017

Partner Lindsay Puckett Selected as a San Diego Daily Transcript 40 Under 40

Annual List Lauds Young Professionals in the Community

Art Museum Can Proceed Following BB&K CEQA Victory
Client Successes Mar 30, 2017

Art Museum Can Proceed Following BB&K CEQA Victory

Court Strikes Down Challenges to City’s Approval of Pomona College Master Plan Update

Event Mar 29, 2017

The New Tribal Consultation Requirement: AB 52

OCAEP/APA

State Route 91 Express Lanes
Client Successes Mar 29, 2017

State Route 91 Express Lanes

BB&K Helped RCTC Pave the Way

BB&K Environmental Team Wins California Lawyer Attorney of the Year Award
Press Releases Mar 15, 2017

BB&K Environmental Team Wins California Lawyer Attorney of the Year Award

Congratulations to Michelle Ouellette, Sarah Owsowitz and Jennifer Lynch

Event Mar 3, 2017

Advanced CEQA Workshop (Costa Mesa)

Association of Environmental Professionals

Event Feb 28, 2017

Advanced CEQA Workshop (Riverside)

Association of Environmental Professionals

Press Releases Jan 20, 2017

Southern California Super Lawyers 2017

Five BB&K Partners Receive Honor

Event Jan 9-10, 2017

SGMA, GSA Setup & GSP Preparation

Law Seminars International

CEQA Document Filing Fees Increase
Legal Alerts Dec 13, 2016

CEQA Document Filing Fees Increase

Fee Increase for CEQA Notices of Determination Effective Jan. 1

Jamey Wyman Video Bio
Videos Nov 30, 2016

Jamey Wyman Video Bio

Associate

John Holloway Video Bio
Videos Nov 30, 2016

John Holloway Video Bio

Partner

Deborah Wordham Video Bio
Videos Nov 30, 2016

Deborah Wordham Video Bio

Of Counsel

Steve M. Anderson Video Bio
Videos Nov 18, 2016

Steve M. Anderson Video Bio

Partner

Evaluating a Project’s “Exacerbation” on Existing Environmental Hazards
Legal Alerts Nov 10, 2016

Evaluating a Project’s “Exacerbation” on Existing Environmental Hazards

Substantial Evidence Proving “Exacerbation” Required, California Appellate Court Says

Event Oct 22-25, 2016

2016 APA California Conference

American Planning Association

Event Oct 20-21, 2016

Timing is Everything - When CEQA Review is Required for County Actions

Public Works and Contracts Fall 2016 Study Section Conference

Event Oct 20-23, 2016

25th Annual Environmental Law Conference at Yosemite

State Bar of California Environmental Law

California Coastal Act Takes Priority Over Housing Density Laws
Legal Alerts Oct 11, 2016

California Coastal Act Takes Priority Over Housing Density Laws

Court Decision Provides Guidance for Affordable Housing Units within the Coastal Zone

Event Oct 10-13, 2016

California Special Districts Association

Annual Conference

Event Oct 5-7, 2016

LCC Annual Conference

League of California Cities

Four New California Cap and Trade Bills Fund Programs
Legal Alerts Oct 5, 2016

Four New California Cap and Trade Bills Fund Programs

$900 Million in Appropriations for Fiscal Year 2016-17

Event Sep 28, 2016

Practical Approaches for Defensible Cumulative Impacts Analyses Under CEQA

Association of Environmental Professionals - San Francisco Chapter

New Legislation Seeks to Expedite CEQA Administrative Record Process
Legal Alerts Sep 26, 2016

New Legislation Seeks to Expedite CEQA Administrative Record Process

Provides Opportunity to Streamline Litigation

CEQA Allows Developers to Recover Administrative Record Costs when Reimbursing Agency
Legal Alerts Sep 21, 2016

CEQA Allows Developers to Recover Administrative Record Costs when Reimbursing Agency

Appellate Victory for Developers and Public Agencies

Event Sep 21, 2016

CEQA Workshops

California Special Districts Association

California Supreme Court Clarifies CEQA’s Subsequent Review Rules and Standard of Review
Legal Alerts Sep 20, 2016

California Supreme Court Clarifies CEQA’s Subsequent Review Rules and Standard of Review

Decision Issued After Years of Uncertainty

Event Sep 12, 2016

California Land Use Law & Policy Conference

Argent Communications

California Governor Extends CEQA Litigation Streamlining Provisions for Large Projects Promoting Job Creation and Innovative Technologies
Legal Alerts Aug 30, 2016

California Governor Extends CEQA Litigation Streamlining Provisions for Large Projects Promoting Job Creation and Innovative Technologies

Law Will Expedite Schedules for Qualified Projects

Legislature Passes Pair of Significant New Climate Change Bills
Legal Alerts Aug 29, 2016

Legislature Passes Pair of Significant New Climate Change Bills

Gov. Brown Expected to Sign Laws that Will Have CEQA Implications

Sweeping Six-Case Win For Water District Helps Secure Orange County’s Water Supply
Authored Articles & Publications Aug 24, 2016

Sweeping Six-Case Win For Water District Helps Secure Orange County’s Water Supply

BB&K Partner Michelle Ouellette Authors a Summary of Recent Appellate Victory for Orange County Lawyer Magazine

Air Quality District’s CEQA Thresholds Limited
Legal Alerts Aug 18, 2016

Air Quality District’s CEQA Thresholds Limited

California Appellate Court Weighs in Following State Supreme Court Decision

New Guidance Issued for Analyzing Climate Change in National Environmental Policy Act Documents
Legal Alerts Aug 15, 2016

New Guidance Issued for Analyzing Climate Change in National Environmental Policy Act Documents

Guidance May Impact Agency Actions Currently Undergoing NEPA Review and Joint NEPA/CEQA Documents

Event Jul 13, 2016

Legislative Update

Association of Environmental Professionals Lunchtime Seminar

Case Clarifies California’s Subdivision Map Act Requirements
Legal Alerts Jun 28, 2016

Case Clarifies California’s Subdivision Map Act Requirements

Cities and Counties Impacted

Event Jun 20, 2016

Tribes and CEQA: New Rules for Tribal Consultation Under AB 52

Law Seminars International

Client Successes Jun 2, 2016

CEQA, Brown Act and Planning and Zoning Law Challenges Overcome in Development Project

On Behalf of the City of Montebello, BB&K Attorneys Successful in Lawsuit

Partner Michelle Ouellette Honored with Prestigious ATHENA of Riverside Award
Press Releases May 24, 2016

Partner Michelle Ouellette Honored with Prestigious ATHENA of Riverside Award

The Award Recognizes Women for Their Professional Excellence, Community Service and Work Helping Other Women Achieve Their Full Potential

Client Successes May 13, 2016

BB&K Secures CEQA Appellate Victory in Water Project

Six Challenges to Public-Private Partnership Effort Overcome

BB&K In the News May 11, 2016

BB&K Team’s CEQA Appellate Victory in Water Transfer Project

High-Profile Case That Impacts Water Customers Throughout Southern California Discussed in News Reports

Sweeping Six-Case Win for Water District
Legal Alerts May 11, 2016

Sweeping Six-Case Win for Water District

Court Upholds Public-Private Groundwater Conservation and Recovery Project That Will Serve Customers Throughout Southern California

Event Feb 18, 2016

Implications of the State Supreme Court's Newhall Ranch Decision on GHG Emissions Analysis

Association of Environmental Professionals Western Inland Empire Luncheon Series

Event Feb 8, 2016

Ocean Desalination: Examining Technical, Regulatory and Practical Solutions

The Seminar Group

Office of Planning and Research Proposes Revisions to State CEQA Guidelines
Legal Alerts Jan 25, 2016

Office of Planning and Research Proposes Revisions to State CEQA Guidelines

Comments Sought by Feb. 29 on the Transition from LOS to VMT

California Supreme Court Addresses the “Reverse CEQA” Problem
Legal Alerts Dec 21, 2015

California Supreme Court Addresses the “Reverse CEQA” Problem

CEQA Does Not Require Agencies to Consider the Impact of Existing Conditions on Future Project Users — Except in Certain Circumstances

California Supreme Court Decision Regarding Newhall Ranch Development Could Significantly Impact Developments
Legal Alerts Dec 2, 2015

California Supreme Court Decision Regarding Newhall Ranch Development Could Significantly Impact Developments

California Supreme Court Overturns Environmental Impact Report Related to Proposed Residential Development

Event Nov 19, 2015

Law and Ethics for Planners

American Planning Association, California Chapter Inland Empire Section

EPA Issues New Regulation Governing Air Quality Standards for Ozone
Legal Alerts Oct 13, 2015

EPA Issues New Regulation Governing Air Quality Standards for Ozone

New Standards Could be Costly for California’s Public Agencies

California Governor Signs Legislation Establishing Significant New Energy Goals
Legal Alerts Oct 7, 2015

California Governor Signs Legislation Establishing Significant New Energy Goals

Law Sets Standards Aimed at Addressing Climate Change

Event Sep 21, 2015

2015 Annual Conference

California Special Districts Association

BB&K Attorney Sarah Owsowitz Participates in Land Use Roundtable
BB&K In the News Sep 2, 2015

BB&K Attorney Sarah Owsowitz Participates in Land Use Roundtable

California Lawyer Magazine's Annual Discussion Once Again Focuses on CEQA

Preliminary Discussion Draft of CEQA Guidelines Amendments Released
Legal Alerts Aug 13, 2015

Preliminary Discussion Draft of CEQA Guidelines Amendments Released

Comments Due to Office of Planning and Research by Oct. 12

Uncertainty of Legislative Earmarks Not Enough to Deem Mitigation Infeasible
Legal Alerts Aug 7, 2015

Uncertainty of Legislative Earmarks Not Enough to Deem Mitigation Infeasible

California Supreme Court Takes on CEQA Issue in State College Expansion Project

New CEQA Requirements Take Effect July 1
Authored Articles & Publications Jul 8, 2015

New CEQA Requirements Take Effect July 1

BB&K Attorney Sarah Owsowitz wrote about AB 52 for the California Special Districts Association Blog

BB&K Event Jun 25, 2015

BB&K Webinar: AB 52: CEQA's New Requirement

11 a.m. - Noon PT | Webinar

Event Jun 12, 2015

The Administrative & Public Environmental Law Conference

The State Bar of California Public and Environmental Law Sections

Event May 21, 2015

Webinar: AB 52’s New CEQA Requirement

State Bar of California Public Law Section

BB&K Partner Michelle Ouellette Named a Top Woman Lawyer by the Daily Journal
Press Releases May 19, 2015

BB&K Partner Michelle Ouellette Named a Top Woman Lawyer by the Daily Journal

Her Environmental Litigation Work Earns Her a Place on the Prestigious List of 100 Women Lawyers

California’s Office of Planning and Research Releases Draft Technical Advisory for Formal Native American Consultations Under AB 52
Legal Alerts May 18, 2015

California’s Office of Planning and Research Releases Draft Technical Advisory for Formal Native American Consultations Under AB 52

Comments on the Draft Advisory due by June 1

AB 52: CEQA’s New Perspective on the Environment and Tribal Cultural Resources
Authored Articles & Publications May 15, 2015

AB 52: CEQA’s New Perspective on the Environment and Tribal Cultural Resources

BB&K's Sarah Owsowitz Writes About AB 52 – a Significant Addition to CEQA – in the State Bar of California's Public Law Journal

2014 Legislative Highlights
Authored Articles & Publications Apr 29, 2015

2014 Legislative Highlights

BB&K Attorney Michael Maurer Co-Authored a California Real Property Journal In-Depth Round-Up of the 2014 California Legislative Session

BB&K Partner Charity Schiller Honored as a Woman of Distinction
Press Releases Mar 27, 2015

BB&K Partner Charity Schiller Honored as a Woman of Distinction

Assemblymember Jose Medina Recognized Women for Their Successes and Contributions

California Supreme Court Makes Critical CEQA Ruling Regarding Categorical Exemptions
Legal Alerts Mar 3, 2015

California Supreme Court Makes Critical CEQA Ruling Regarding Categorical Exemptions

Court Clarifies the Unusual Circumstances Exception

California Department of Fish and Wildlife Increases CEQA Document Filing Fees
Legal Alerts Dec 18, 2014

California Department of Fish and Wildlife Increases CEQA Document Filing Fees

Filing Fees for CEQA Notices of Determination Increase Effective Jan. 1

Authored Articles & Publications Oct 27, 2014

High-Speed Rail Isn't Full Steam Ahead Just Yet

BB&K Attorneys Mrunal Mehta Shah and Sarah Owsowitz Discuss Legal Roadblocks on the Tracks of California's High-Speed Rail Project in the Daily Journal

Press Releases Aug 14, 2014

Three BB&K Attorneys Among Daily Journal’s Top 50 California Development Attorneys for 2014

Partners Scott Campbell, Steven DeBaun and Michelle Ouellette Recognized for Projects that Transform the State

California Supreme Court Rules Local Governments Are Not Required to Comply With CEQA Before Adopting a Voter-Sponsored Initiative
Legal Alerts Aug 8, 2014

California Supreme Court Rules Local Governments Are Not Required to Comply With CEQA Before Adopting a Voter-Sponsored Initiative

Opinion Clarifies When CEQA Review is Required for Local Land Use Initiatives

Office of Planning and Research Issues Draft Update to State CEQA Guidelines for Analyzing Traffic Impacts
Legal Alerts Aug 7, 2014

Office of Planning and Research Issues Draft Update to State CEQA Guidelines for Analyzing Traffic Impacts

Deadline for Comments is 5 p.m. on October 10

Event Jul 24, 2014

All Things Groundwater: From Local Regulation to CEQA

Northern California County Counsels’ Conference

Best Best & Krieger Launches BBKnowledge
Press Releases Jan 22, 2014

Best Best & Krieger Launches BBKnowledge

Online Resource for News and Insights Focusing on Public Agencies

Client Successes Nov 13, 2013

BB&K Successfully Defends CEQA Challenge to City of Riverside Power Project

Attorneys Michelle Ouellette, Charity Schiller and Alisha Winterswyk garner victory in California

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