On July 27, 2012, Los Angeles World Airports (“LAWA”) released the “Specific Plan Amendment Study Draft Environmental Impact Report” (“DEIR”), involving, among other things: (1) a realignment and extension of runways to the east on the North Airfield Complex, including a separation of the two north runways to permit their unimpeded use by the largest operating aircraft, A-380s and 747-800s (“Category VI”); (2) expansion and renovation of the terminals; and (3) associated movement and potential undergrounding of surrounding thoroughfares including Lincoln Boulevard.  Sides are already forming over the proposed plan. Continue Reading Draft Environmental Impact Report for Los Angeles International Airport Airfield Project Released

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals recently clarified the proper approach to be applied in analyzing the economic impacts of designating critical habitats for endangered or threatened species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). In Arizona Cattle Growers’ Association v. Salazar, the Court found that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) properly applied a "baseline" approach in designating approximately 8.6 million acres of Federal land as critical habitat for the Mexican Spotted Owl. The Court also found that the FSW properly interpreted “occupied” as including not only areas where owls are found, but areas where owls are likely to be present as well. See, previous blog dated June 21, 2010.

A decision to list a species as endangered or threatened is made without reference to the economic effects of the decision. In contrast, an agency must consider the economic impacts of designating critical habitat in any particular area. Under the baseline approach used by the FWS, any economic impacts of protecting a species that will occur regardless of the critical habitat designation, such the economic impacts imposed by listing the species, are treated as part of the regulatory “baseline” and are not factored into the economic analysis of effects of the critical habitat designation.Continue Reading Ninth Circuit Rules on the Appropriate Economic Analysis Approach in Designating Critical Habitats Under the Endangered Species Act