Litigation

Native American Treaties, Declining Salmon Populations, Broken Promises & Environmental Justice

Pending Washington v. U.S. Supreme Court Decision Offers Hope & Vindication for Tribes, Coastal Fisheries

Truth be told, the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2017-18 Term has been an unsually quiet one for environmental and natural resources law.  Until now. This week the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a last-minute addition to the Court’s current docket.  Washington v. United States, No. 17-269, a case the justices only accepted for review in January, […]

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Tales From the Front: A Field Trip to the Utah Monuments

Personal Reflections on the Raging Debate Over Trump’s Utah Monument Reductions

One of most highly visible disputes arising out of the Trump Administration’s multifaceted efforts to roll back and nullify the natural resources policies of previous administrations is the decision by President Trump and Secretary of the Interior Zinke to substantially reduce two national monuments in Utah created by former President Obama under the Antiquities Act. President Trump’s December […]

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Climate Change in the Courts

What’s next in climate change litigation?

There are three important climate lawsuits pending in federal court. Here’s the state of play and what to expect next. In the first case, Oakland and San Francisco sued leading oil companies. They claim that the companies’ production and sale of fossil fuels is a public nuisance under California state law. They seek an abatement […]

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Contentious California Beach Access Case Heads to U.S. Supreme Court

Longstanding Martins Beach Controversy May Well Capture Justices’ Attention

The U.S. Supreme Court’s 2018-19 Term is already shaping up as a big one for environmental law in general and the longstanding tension between private property rights and environmental regulation in particular.  The Court has already agreed to hear and decide two cases next Term raising the latter set of issues: one involves the question […]

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The Return of Federal Common Law

Will the federal courts take over control of climate change litigation? One judge says so.

I’m traveling but wanted to get in a few quick words about Judge Alsup’s decision today in the California climate change litigation. This is a really complex issue, and I wanted to try to unpack it a bit. In general, except where a federal statute or constitutional provision is the basis for an action, legal […]

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Ninth Circuit rules Clean Water Act permit required for indirect discharge to ocean waters

Maui County can’t evade permitting requirements by sending wastewater to injection wells hydrologically connected to ocean waters

It was a great exam question (at least I thought so — you’ll have to ask my Environmental Law and Policy students if they agree): does the disposal of treated wastewater from a municipal wastewater treatment plant into the ground through injection wells located a short distance from the ocean require  an NPDES permit under […]

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Eight Setbacks for Trump

Trump hasn’t had things all his own way. Not by any means.

The Trump Administration has begun some bold initiatives but it’s too soon to know how they will fare. It also had some early success with blocking Obama’s regulation in Congress. But it has also had some significant setbacks, with courts or Congress rejecting positions it had embraced. Those setbacks make it clear that, bad as […]

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When is unoccupied habitat “critical”?

The Supreme Court will hear a challenge to the critical habitat designation for the dusky gopher frog

Controversy and litigation have been pervasive since adoption of the Endangered Species Act in 1973, but the Supreme Court has been a relatively minor player in the law’s development. By my count, the Court so far has only addressed the substantive merits of an ESA claim three times (in TVA v Hill, 437 US 153 […]

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Supreme Court Update: PEPTO and Rinehart

Supreme Court denies review in two important environmental law cases

Last week the US Supreme Court brought closure to two cases we have been following here at Legal Planet. First is a case I had blogged about in the past – People for the Ethical Treatment of Property Owners v. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – a challenge to the constitutionality of the federal Endangered […]

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Cities are suing oil companies for climate change harms. Could they win?

Join UCLA Law Emmett Institute and Union of Concerned Scientists for January 25 evening talk on new climate lawsuits

Who should pay for the significant costs that cities and other local governments incur in responding to climate change? Los Angeles is the most recent city to explore the idea of suing fossil fuel companies for these harms, following in the footsteps of San Francisco, San Mateo County and a growing cohort of other jurisdictions […]

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