Land Use

California Supreme Court Holds Unanimously that the State May Restrict Mining Methods on Federal Lands

Court in People v. Rinehart Upholds State Moratorium on Suction-Dredge Mining

Last year, as I discussed in a prior post, the California Supreme Court granted the State of California’s petition for review in the case of People v. Rinehart.  I’m pleased to say that today, the Supreme Court has issued a unanimous opinion, authored by Justice Werdegar, in favor of the state’s moratorium on suction-dredge mining on federal lands. […]

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Conflicting Visions of the Future of the American West

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The GOP favors the Old West of ranching, logging, mining, and oil. The Democrats have a different view.

The Democratic and Republican parties have very different ideas about the 640 million acres of land owned by the federal government, mostly in the West. It’s not just that the party platforms disagree about the balance between preservation and resource exploitation. It’s also that Democrats have a much different vision of the future of the American […]

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Pets, Parks, and Presidential Politics

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Some unusual topics for a presidential campaign

While preparing a comparison of the candidates’ environmental positions, I saw some interesting positions by Hillary Clinton that didn’t fit neatly into the comparison. They deal with topics that aren’t usually covered in national campaigns: city parks, animal welfare, and improved stewardship by ranchers and farmers. I’ve written previously about the importance of city parks. […]

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Whither the 2016-17 Court on Environmental Cases?

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Docket so far limited to a significant takings case, Murr v. Wisconsin

So far, the docket for the U.S. Supreme Court’s term beginning in October includes no significant statutory environmental case.  It does include an important takings case that could limit or expand the land use powers of all levels of  government to protect wetlands, endangered species habitat, and other ecologically sensitive parcels.  Whether the Court ultimately […]

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Reinventing Parks & Rec.

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We need to protect city parks, not just rural wilderness.

“The few green havens that are public parks” is a phrase from the Supreme Court’s opinion in the Overton Park case.  The case involved a plan to build a highway through the middle of a major park in Memphis.  The Court put a heavy burden on the government to justify the project: “The few green havens […]

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Finding Least-Conflict Lands For Solar PV In California’s San Joaquin Valley — And Beyond

A PATH FORWARD May 2016 COVER

New CLEE report identifies 470,000 acres of ideal land for solar PV, with 4pm webex briefing with state officials

To achieve California and the post-Paris world’s climate goals, we’re going to need a whole lot more renewable energy. Given current market trends, much of it will come from solar photovoltaic (PV), which has gotten incredibly cheap in the last few years. But deploying these solar panels at utility scale will mean major changes to […]

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Should California Recover More Energy From Municipal Solid Waste?

Wasting Opportunities Cover

New Berkeley Law report explores policy options, with KALW radio show discussion tonight at 7pm

Every year, Californians send about 30 million tons of trash to landfills. While the state’s residents do their part to reduce, reuse and recycle, that’s still a whole lot of garbage. It’s not only a land use issue, it’s a climate change issue: as landfill waste decays, it emits methane, a powerful greenhouse gas. Many […]

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San Jose’s Inclusionary Housing Ordinance Dodges Supreme Court Bullet

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Justices Deny Review of California Supreme Court Decision Upholding San Jose Measure

Advocates of the City of San Jose’s controversial inclusionary housing ordinance, which was upheld in a 2015 California Supreme Court decision, are breathing a sigh of relief this week.  That’s because the U.S. Supreme Court has denied the California Building Industry Association’s petition for certiorari in the case.  But the available evidence suggests that the High Court […]

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Reflections on the Coastal Commission’s Implosion

The Implications of the Decision to Fire Charles Lester – and the Decision Not to Explain It

As Rick Frank insightfully discussed earlier this week, the California Coastal Commission has fired its former executive director, Charles Lester. Readers interested in more background information and analysis should read Rick’s post, as well as the excellent reporting by Tony Barboza and others from the LA Times. (And anyone who wants to hear about it […]

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California Coastal Commissioners Fire Executive Director Charles Lester

Personnel Dispute is Commission’s Biggest Political Controversy in Over a Decade

Following months of public controversy and a marathon 10 1/2 hour hearing Wednesday in Morro Bay, a closely-divided California Coastal Commission voted to fire its Executive Director, Charles Lester.  The Commission vote to remove Lester was 7-5. Lester, who as Executive Director has led the Commission staff for the past 4 1/2 years, is the […]

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