Litigation

The California Supreme Court’s Unprecedented Focus on Environmental Law

Cal Supreme Courthouse

California's Highest Court Has Far More Environmental Cases Pending Than Ever Before in Its History

The California Supreme Court, perhaps the most influential state supreme court in the nation, has of late become unusually and intensely focused on environmental law.  More than ever before in its history, the California Supreme Court currently has before it a large docket of environmental cases that, individually and collectively, promise to alter the legal […]

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Property Rights and California Raisins: Headed to the Supreme Court–Again

Raisins

Justices To Rule on Whether Feds' Depression-Era Agricultural Regulations Unconstitutionally "Take" Farmers' Property Without Compensation

The media and U.S. Supreme Court watchers have understandably focused on the justices’ order yesterday agreeing to review the constitutionality of state same-sex marriage bans–automatically making it the “blockbuster” issue before the Court this Term.  Largely overshadowed by that news was the justices’ contemporaneous decision to revisit the interrelated issues of property rights, the Takings […]

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2014: Happy Endings & Promising Starts

year-in-review-2014-image

In most ways, 2014 was a good year for environmental protection, with progress on several fronts.  True, there are warning signs for 2015 — primarily the Republican sweep of the mid-terms and the Supreme Court’s puzzling decision to review toxics regulations for coal-fired power plants.  And of course, there were losses as well as victories, […]

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The Disturbing Legal Influence of the Fossil Fuel Industry

scales of justice

Coal and oil have found legal spokesmen in state houses and law schools.

The NY Times has a disturbing story this morning about the secret alliance between some state attorney generals and the fossil fuel industry.  Perhaps the most shocking is an example in which the Attorney General of Oklahoma had a draft by a coal company retyped on letterhead and submitted as his own opinion.  The industry […]

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Using Textualism Against Itself

Nuclear_Power_Plant_Cattenom

Industry has come up with a Scalia-like argument to fight  the proposed climate regulations for existing power plants.  The problem arises because Congress passed two different versions of section 111(d) without realizing it.  The Senate version clearly gives EPA the authority to regulate CO2 under this provision.  But opponents of regulation argue that the House version […]

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A Blow to Public Interest Litigation

A Texas judge's award of attorney fees is a threat to all public interest groups, liberal or conservative.

A couple of weeks ago, a federal district judge in Texas awarded over $6 million in attorneys’ fees against the Sierra Club.  Sierra Club had survived motions to dismiss and for summary judgment, only to lose at trial. The court awarded fees on the ground that the suit was frivolous. The combination of rulings — denying summary […]

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UARG Strikes Back

supreme-court

Will UARG Persuade the Supreme Court to Overturn New Air Quality Standards?

“UARG” sounds like the name of a monster in a children’s book or maybe some kind of strangled exclamation.  But it actually stands for Utility Air Regulatory Group, which represents utility companies in litigation.  UARG did well in two important Supreme Court cases last year, winning part of the case it brought against EPA climate change […]

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Misleading Attacks On California’s New Transportation Analysis Under CEQA

A little less of this, please

Big Law Firm Holland & Knight Misrepresents New State Guidelines

Last year, the California legislature passed badly needed reform to change how agencies evaluate a project’s transportation impacts under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).  The Governor’s Office of Planning and Research (OPR) was tasked with coming up with new guidelines for how this analysis should be done going forward.  As I blogged about, the […]

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