Litigation

Using Textualism Against Itself

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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

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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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Why Michael Mann’s Defamation Suit Against Climate Denialists Is the Right Move

Michael Mann

With the facts on his side, there's no reason to hide

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 […]

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Closely Confined Chickens, Interstate Conflict & the Dormant Commerce Clause

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 […]

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FDA Discretion and Animal Antibiotics

pigs at the trough

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 […]

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Big Court Wins For High Speed Rail

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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 […]

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Boehner’s Blunderbuss

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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 […]

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Groundwater and the public trust doctrine, California style

The dewatered Scott River west of Fort Jones, CA, Sept. 2, 2009. Photo by Klamath Riverkeeper. Flight by LightHawk.

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 […]

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