Daniel W. Nelson Washington, D.C.
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Peter E. Seley Washington, D.C.
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Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher's Environmental Litigation and Mass Tort Practice Group routinely represents clients in significant litigation under the U.S. National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).  We also counsel clients on land use issues associated with these laws.   

Practice group lawyers handle all aspects of environmental impact review, including: 

  • Coordination between lead and cooperating agencies
  • Selection and supervision of applicant's consultant
  • Use of U.S. federal agency third-party environmental contractor processes
  • Preparation of applications
  • Scoping of environmental issues
  • Preparation of and commenting on draft and final environmental impact statements and assessments
  • Conduct of public hearings
  • Representation in NEPA or CEQA challenges 


The Environmental Litigation and Mass Tort group has significant experience in litigating matters under NEPA and CEQA. 

Recent representations include: 

  • Employed NEPA to successfully challenge proposed federal acquisition of extensive tracts of agricultural land in the Florida Everglades. 
  • Represented a public interest group in a challenge to the U.S. Forest Service's permitting practices for dams and diversions projects impacting stream flow on national forest land.  Successfully obtained ruling that the Forest Service has responsibility to minimize harm to streams when issuing permits for water projects.
  • Represented new owners of a Hollywood studio in challenge of an environmental impact report (EIR) for the La Brea Gateway redevelopment project.  Related litigation involved enforcement of an existing development agreement with the City of West Hollywood and defense of an eminent domain proceeding.  The litigation resulted in a favorable settlement for the client that enabled the redevelopment project to proceed while honoring the pre-existing development agreement.
  • Represented international stereo speaker and television manufacturer in challenge of the City of Pomona's approval of a mitigated negative declaration and related land use approvals for a 1,000-ton-per-day trash transfer facility.  The litigation resulted in the City's withdrawal of all approvals.
  • Represented real party in interest, an investment company, in both Los Angeles Superior Court and the Court of Appeal, in a successful CEQA action seeking to block the construction of a large warehouse and distribution facility.
  • Represented real party in interest, a large freight company, in a successful CEQA lawsuit seeking to block entitlement and construction of a large downtown Los Angeles parcel distribution facility.
  • Represented a Fortune 100 company in NEPA and CEQA actions against the U.S. Department of the Interior and California state and local agencies regarding the listing of the Stephens' kangaroo rat.
  • Represented a state agricultural organization in prosecuting NEPA and CEQA actions against federal and state agencies arising from the multibillion-dollar CALFED Bay-Delta Program's impacts on agricultural resources.
  • Representing real party in interest in a CEQA matter relating to the development of the Parkmerced neighborhood in San Francisco County Superior Court.
  • Representing industry groups for oil and gas operators in a challenge by several nonprofit organizations concerning the CEQA review of approvals to drill new oil and gas wells that may involve the use of hydraulic fracturing.