Dr. Michael Mann, one of the country’s leading climate scientists, has been harassed, threatened, and berated for his views that human actions are contributing to global climate change. But not just from anonymous commenters on websites — from leading publications like the National Review Online. After being compared to Jerry Sandusky and having the credibility […]
Is Proposition 2, California's Pioneering Animal Welfare Law, Unconstitutional?
Last week witnessed a most interesting constitutional showdown between sovereign states in U.S. District Court in Sacramento. At issue is animal welfare legislation California has enacted both at the ballot box and through its elected representatives. The enemy combatants are a coalition of midwestern states led by Missouri, aligned against the State of California, with […]
FDA has stalled for 30 years in regulating antibiotics in animal feed. A court says that's O.K.
The FDA seems to be convinced that current use of antibiotics in animal feed is a threat to human health. But the Second Circuit ruled recently in NRDC v. FDA that EPA has no duty to consider banning their use. That may seem ridiculous, but actually it’s a very close case legally. The court’s discussion of Massachusetts […]
More litigation to come, along with funding challenges, but construction can finally begin
The California High Speed Rail Authority secured a big legal victory in the state court of appeals yesterday, which overturned twin decisions by a trial court judge that threatened to derail (no pun intended) the entire program. Coupled with another appellate court win a week ago upholding the program-level environmental review on the Pacheco Pass […]
The Speaker's authority to sue federal officials is remarkably broad.
The House passed a resolution Wednesday authorizing Speaker Boehner to file suit on its behalf. A resulting suit is unlikely to succeed for a host of reasons, including the dubious legal standing of the House to bring such a case. But if it does succeed, this kind of mechanism could have real benefits at some future time […]
California trial court rules that public trust doctrine applies to pumping that reduces flow in a navigable waterway
If you follow California water law or environmental law, you probably have been aware that the Environmental Law Foundation has been pursuing a public trust claim based on groundwater pumping that affects the Scott River. Last week they gained a victory at the trial court level, with a ruling that endorses the principle that groundwater […]
D.C. Circuit upholds Enhanced Coordination Process, refuses to review agency guidance
The D.C. Circuit has rejected a challenge to consultation procedures developed by the EPA and Corps of Engineers for reviewing mountaintop removal mining permits and to EPA’s guidance for reviewing permits issued by the Corps or state permitting agencies. Because it rests on standard administrative law, the decision shouldn’t merit comment. But it does, because […]
Justices Decline to Address Constitutionality of LCFS
The U.S. Supreme Court today denied certiorari in closely-watched cases in which the constitutionality of California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) was being challenged. The LCFS is, in turn, an integral part of the state’s multifaceted strategy to reduce California’s aggregate greenhouse gas emissions as required under AB 32, the state’s landmark 2006 climate change […]
Will the Justices Choose to Decide the LCFS's Constitutionality?
You might think that the U.S. Supreme Court, having decided the Utility Air Regulatory Group v. EPA Clean Air Act case on Monday, was done for the current Term when it comes to environmental law and policy. Think again. Today the justices met in conference to decide whether to grant review in a large number of pending […]
BP is trying to use standing law to wiggle out of its own settlement agreement. The courts have been right to say no.
BP entered into a settlement in a massive class action against it arising out of the BP oil spill. Now it’s trying to get out of part of the settlement while keeping the rest of the deal in place. BP’s argument involves three areas of confusion in standing doctrine: how does it apply to class actions, […]