In 2016, at least, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit was the most important and influential court in the nation when it comes to environmental law. That’s true for two reasons: first, the U.S. Supreme Court only issued one significant environmental law decision last year, in U.S. Army Corps of Engineers v. Hawkes […]
Biodiversity & Species
Approval of regional ocean management plans, California planning for gray wolf return provide grounds for hope
It’s not exactly been the best of weeks for those of us committed to environmental protection, and it doesn’t look like the best of years coming up. But there is some good news, even in these difficult times. Two items in particular have helped lift the gloom for me this week. First, the National Ocean […]
Dianne Feinstein versus Barbara Boxer; maximizing water deliveries versus protecting the environment
If you thought California was immune to the season of political craziness, think again. California Democrats Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer were elected to the Senate together in 1992. They are usually on the same side, but not always. Water is one of the issues on which they often part company. Feinstein is a water […]
Q: Can the Dems scrounge up the votes to block anti-environment actions? A: Maybe.
Paul Ryan and Donald Trump have vowed to roll back many environmental protections. The Senate seems to be the one barrier against anti-environmental moves by Congress. How strong is that barrier? The answer depends in part on whether the filibuster option remains open. If the filibuster rule remains intact, the Democrats’ 48 votes in the Senate […]
Ninth Circuit upholds NMFS’s reliance on climate projections to 2095 in decision to list Pacific bearded seal as threatened under ESA
Climate change is expected to wipe out critical habitat of the Pacific bearded seal by 2095. This projection, based on IPCC climate data and models, justifies listing the Beringia distinct population segment of the bearded seal as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, according to a recent Ninth Circuit opinion in Alaska Oil and Gas […]
When you look at the whole of his legacy, it’s a stunning record.
When he leaves office in January, President Obama will have compiled a remarkable record of environmental achievements. The record spans everything from climate change to endangered species and ocean protection. We can only hope that next Tuesday’s election doesn’t undo many of these gains. Here is a list, in no particular order, of twenty of […]
Drought, Bark Beetle Infestation, Climate Change Imperil Sierra Pine Forests
Like over 600 other environmental lawyers, professors, law students and regulators, I attended the 25th annual Environmental Law Conference at Yosemite last weekend. As always, the Conference–sponsored by the California State Bar’s Environmental Law Section–was a big success, filled with inspirational speakers and thought-provoking panels. But the major topic of conversation–during the Conference proceedings, in […]
This past week, I hosted a workshop at the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Center. This is the idyllic Bellagio beside the shores of Lake Como in Italy rather than the one in Vegas with the cool fountains. For Star Wars fans, it is across the lake from the site of the wedding scene at the end […]
Thoughts from the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Hawai’i
I am writing this weekend from a sunny spot in the Pacific, from the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Honolulu. For the uninitiated, the IUCN—International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources—is a global union of governments and non-governmental organizations (including over 1300 member institutions, organizations, and countries worldwide) focused on the conservation of […]
Are we too worried about climate change to focus on the other problems we know about?
Yesterday, Nature published a noteworthy comment on the biodiversity crisis, written by researchers at the University of Queensland and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The piece is based on a study of 8,688 species that are classified on the IUCN’s Red List either as threatened (vulnerable, endangered, or critically endangered) or near-threatened. The main […]