NEPA

Attempting to Close the Floodgates of Litigation

Can Congress prevent state and federal courts from hearing WaterFix lawsuits?

The journey of California’s proposed delta tunnels project (also known as California WaterFix) has been anything but straightforward and already faces a slew of ongoing legal challenges.[i] Last week, Congress added a different kind of twist when the proposed Department of Interior budget for FY 2019 was introduced in the House Appropriations Committee. The relevant […]

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The Administration’s offshore oil and gas leasing proposal

Offshore leasing system requires long, complex legal process before drilling can occur

A few weeks ago the Trump Administration announced a new proposed plan to drastically increase the amount of offshore areas available for leasing for oil and gas development – essentially opening up almost all of the waters off of the lower 48 states.  The announcement at the time attracted a lot of media attention, but […]

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Public Lands Watch: Izembek National Wildlife Refuge

Interior Department proposes to authorize road through wildlife refuge in Alaska

Tom Schumann authored this blog post. News outlets report that the Interior Department, reversing a decision made under President Obama, has agreed to a land exchange with an Alaska Native village that would allow construction of a road across a national wildlife refuge that provides important habitat for migratory birds, bears, caribou, and other species. […]

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Public Lands Watch: Resilient Federal Forests Act

Bill to reduce environmental protections for timber management on federal lands passes House

The Resilient Federal Forests Act (RFFA), H.R. 2936—which would curb environmental review under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) for a variety of forest management activities on National Forest and BLM lands—passed the House November 1. (We previously wrote about a version of this bill in committee here.) NEPA requires agencies to consider whether proposed […]

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Ryan Zinke’s Troubling Remarks Undercut Dept. of Interior’s Core Mission

Comments to Oil Trade Association Attack Agency Staff, Dismiss Environmental Safeguards

At a recent meeting of the American Petroleum Institute (the national oil company trade association), Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke made clear some of his plans for the Department of the Interior.  According to AP reporting, he called almost 1/3 of employees disloyal, said he plans to speed up oil and logging permits, and revealed a […]

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News Flash: 10th Cir. Rebukes Government Over Coal Leases

Today’s important ruling on standing, public lands, and climate change

In an important ruling this morning, the Tenth Circuit rejected the government’s assertion that it could ignore carbon emissions tied to renewing coal leases. In WildEarth Guardians v. BLM, the court also rejected the mining company’s attack on the standing of environmental groups to raise this claim.The mines in question are in the Powder River […]

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The ostrich administration

Ostriches actually don’t hide their heads in the sand, but the Trump administration sure wants to

It’s a myth (of course) that ostriches hide their heads in the sand when they’re afraid. Hiding one’s head is about the worst possible way to react to danger: it won’t make a threat go away, but it will make it awfully difficult to respond effectively. Ostriches are not that stupid. (They apparently do sometimes […]

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Public Lands Watch: HR 218

Bill would authorize road through wilderness in Alaska national wildlife refuge

On July 20th the House passed H.R. 218 (248-179). The bill was then sent to the Senate where it was referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. The King Cove Road Land Exchange Act would transfer 206 acres of federal land—including 131 acres in the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge—to the state of Alaska […]

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Public Lands Watch: HR 2936

Resilient Federal Forests Act would reduce or eliminate environmental protections for logging projects on National Forests

The House Natural Resources Committee passed H.R. 2936, the “Resilient Federal Forests Act of 2017,” out of committee on June 27th and the bill is now waiting in the House for debate. The bill would expedite National Environment Policy Act (NEPA) review for U.S. Forest Service projects in order to improve forest management on federal […]

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Trump’s Executive Order: Bad Policy and More Uncertainty

President Trump’s Executive Order on climate policy is an invitation to bad policymaking and legal uncertainty. The big-ticket item targeted by the Order, of course, is the Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan and related rules on carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. The EO has limited immediate legal impact: none of the major rules can […]

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