Fencelines

The Supreme Court rules on how to define a parcel of property under the Constitution

The Supreme Court ruled today on Murr v. Wisconsin, a takings case that could have potentially had a major effect on land use regulation.  The Supreme Court has ruled that a “taking” of private property exists if the state prohibits all economically beneficial use  of property.  Naturally, lawyers have gleefully litigated the question of how […]

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After Trump

Some day the Trump/Ryan/Pruitt era will end. We need to be ready to move forward.

Fighting the Trump/Ryan/Pruitt assault on environmental protection necessarily absorbs a huge amount of our energy. But eventually, the current conservative stranglehold on the national government will come to an end. Sooner or later, the government will once again come into more environmentally friendly hands. When that happens, we need to have practical, detailed proposals ready […]

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The Truth About Environmental Originalism

Scott Pruitt advocates environmental originalism. It means the direct opposite of what he thinks.

Scott Pruitt has taken to talking about environmental originalism – going back to the original intent of our environmental laws. But he’s got the original intent completely backwards. The statutes weren’t intended to protect jobs or grow the economy. They were intended to protect the environment, with cost at best a secondary consideration. This is exactly […]

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When Trump’s Name is Forgotten, His Carbon Will Remain

Much of the carbon from his policies will remain in the atmosphere for centuries.

Given Trump’s desire to increase the use of fossil fuels, it’s no surprise that his presidency will result in increased carbon emissions.  Some of the carbon will remain in the atmosphere for centuries, an enduring monument to his presidency and his rejection of scientific facts. Before the election, I took a stab at estimating that impact, based […]

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Public Lands Watch: BLM Methane Rule

BLM delays compliance date for certain provisions of the rule

As we reported earlier, the Obama Administration promulgated a regulation restricting the emissions of methane from oil and gas operations on federal public lands.  Efforts to use the Congressional Review Act to overturn that regulation failed last month.  Now the Interior Department is delaying compliance with certain provisions of the rule indefinitely, citing pending litigation […]

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Trump Administration Seeks Ninth Circuit Review in Pioneering “Atmospheric Trust” Case

U.S. District Judge Has Denied Government’s Effort to Dismiss Cutting-Edge Public Trust/Climate Change Case

Back in August 2015, I blogged on a then newly-filed federal lawsuit in which a coalition of children and their legal guardians sued the federal government to challenge the government’s proposed approval of a controversial liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal proposed to be located on the Oregon coast.  That lawsuit contends that approval of the project would […]

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National Monuments Update

Interior Department releases interim report, recommends changes to Bears Ears National Monument

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke released his interim report yesterday on Bears Ears National Monument, recommending that President Trump re-draw the monument’s boundaries. Secretary Zinke’s report misreads both the Antiquities Act and President Obama’s 2016 Proclamation that created Bears Ears National Monument, and any move by President Trump to downsize the monument without an act of Congress […]

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Boosting Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure To Meet Demand

Free luncheon and report release event at UCLA Law on Thursday, June 29th, with keynote by Energy Commissioner Janea Scott

Few clean technologies are as central for meeting climate change goals as electric vehicles.  Yet in places like California, which leads the U.S. with approximately 300,000 EVs on the road, the needed charging infrastructure is lagging.  Analysts estimate that the state will need as many as 220,000 publicly accessible EV charging ports by 2020 to […]

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The Dangerous Politics of Nostalgia

It’s a good idea to look in the direction you’re traveling, not backwards to your past.

In an airport, I recently saw a sign above the moving walkway advising us to face in the direction we were traveling.  That’s sound advice for life in general and policy making in particular.  It’s a recipe for failure to try to restore the past rather than looking toward the future.  Unfortunately, rather than embracing the future, […]

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California Members of Congress Seek to Eviscerate State Water & Environmental Laws

H.R. 23 Would Preempt California State Water Law & Supersede Federal, State Environmental Statutes

Quite understandably, the attention of the media, environmental organizations and the general public has been focused on the myriad misadventures of the Trump Administration, now rumbling and stumbling through its fifth month.  And, as recounted on Legal Planet since mid-January, those contretemps include a great deal of environmental mischief emanating from the Executive Branch. But it […]

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Vox Populi and the Environment

Is Trump’s attack on environmental law riding a groundswell of public opinion? Apparently not.

Trump is pushing hard to rollback Obama’s climate change regulations, expand the use of fossil fuels, and discourage renewables.  Where does the public stand on all this?  The answer is that the public is mostly on the other side, but more needs to be done to heighten public awareness. A recent survey conducted jointly by […]

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