A recent study of injection wells and earthquakes got a lot of press, but the reports missed an important nuance. The study, published in the June 19 edition of Science, found a definite connection between well injection and earthquakes. But there was an interesting wrinkle: “The scientists found that disposal wells were 1.5 times more likely to […]
Does the Court's Decision in the Raisin Case Imperil Water Management?
When I first read Rick’s writeup of the Supreme Court’s decision in USDA v. Horne, concerning the federal government’s Depression-era system of “marketing orders” that required farmers to set aside a percentage of their raisin crop in a government-controlled account, I was worried about water. And that’s not just because I always worry about water. Horne turned on […]
Justices Uphold California Raisin Growers' Fifth Amendment Challenge
The United States Supreme Court today ended a David-and-Goliath-style, 10-year legal battle between a pair of California raisin growers and the federal government, declaring that the government triggered a compensable taking of the growers’ private property when a federally-controled agricultural board ordered seizure of a portion of their crop. The Court’s decision can be accessed […]
Unanimous Court Rejects Developers' Takings Challenge to San Jose's Inclusionary Housing Measure
The California Supreme Court, in a unanimous decision issued today, rejected state developers’ efforts to nullify the City of San Jose’s affordable housing ordinance. That decision, California Building Industry Association v. City of San Jose, is critically important for both state land use policy and for constitutional principles governing private property rights and the proper scope […]
A sleeper decision by the D.C. Circuit upholds federal air pollution authority.
The D.C. Circuit’s decision last week in Mississippi Commission on Environmental Quality v. EPA didn’t get a lot of attention, despite having a very significant constitutional ruling. Since the constitutional discussion doesn’t start until about page seventy, after many pages of scintillating discussion of matters like the reliability of private air pollution monitors and the […]
Comparing the Mono Lake Committee with the Abalone Alliance
For several months now, I have been looking for a good comparison case to the Mono Lake Committee, whose work is one of the great success stories of the modern environmental movement. Why did the Mono Lake Committee succeed when other organizations failed? Lots of organizations had good causes and dedicated leaders: what made Mono […]
A new book examines the roots of judicial conflict in environmental law.
Views on environmental issues are related to broader culture differences. According to social scientists, environmentalists tend to be egalitarian, believe in harmony with nature, and stress responsibility over autonomy. Their opponents, who are skeptical about regulation, tend to favor traditional hierarchies, believe in human mastery of nature, and stress autonomy over responsibility. Jon Cannon’s new book, Environment […]
New Lawsuit Claims Dam and Reservoir in Yosemite National Park Violate California Constitution
This week, the longstanding battle over the dam and reservoir that have for a century flooded Yosemite National Park’s storied Hetch Hetchy Valley moves to the courts. A new lawsuit, filed by conservationists on the 177th anniversary of John Muir’s birth, asserts that the City of San Francisco’s continued operation of O’Shaughnessy Dam and Hetch Hetchy Reservoir […]
Responding to claims that EPA must withdraw its proposed rules to control power-plant GHGs under CAA § 111
Challenges to EPA’s emergent program to regulate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions under Clean Air Act section 111 continue to mount. Recently, the Attorneys General of 19 states sent a joint letter to EPA arguing that because EPA failed to finalize its proposed New Source Performance Standard (NSPS) for GHG emissions within one year—as the Clean […]
Or -- Timing Is Everything
As part of the book I am writing on the Mono Lake case, one question stands out: how was the Mono Lake Committee able to assemble the resources to bring a lawsuit against the powerful Los Angeles Department of Water and Power? At one level, the answer is obvious: it found a Sugar Daddy, in […]