Public Lands

The Power of the Purse

House Democrats have power to use appropriations process to stop Trump Administration environmental rollbacks

Dan has already posted about some of the big deregulatory steps the Trump Administration is likely to take in the next year. But the new Democratic majority in the House could have something to say about those steps, if they wanted to. Democrats will have even more leverage over spending bills than they had in […]

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Public Lands Watch: Sage Grouse Plans Move Forward

Administration takes next steps to scale back protections for iconic Western bird on federal public lands.

I’ve posted before about proposals by the Trump Administration to roll back protections for the sage grouse, an iconic species of the Western United States, from oil and gas development on federal public lands.  (The initial blog post with background is here; the specific proposed revisions are here.)  The Administration has now issued a final […]

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The Wild & Scenic Rivers Act Turns 50

Celebrating a Half Century of Protecting America’s Rivers–& Hoping for More River Conservation Ahead

1968 was an especially tumultuous year in modern American history.  The nation endured the assassinations of both Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy; then-President Lyndon Johnson announced he would not seek reelection due to growing public dissatisfaction with the government’s conduct of the Vietnam War; and protests and riots consumed Chicago, Detroit, Washington, […]

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Wildfires: Managing the Risks

How can we limit the spread of wildfires and save people and property?

Wildfires are already a serious problem, and climate change will only make the problem worse, as I’ve discussed in my two prior posts. Reducing carbon emissions can help keep the problem from growing, but we need to deal with the risks we’re already facing. That is going to require a portfolio of risk management strategies.  We […]

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The Public Trust Doctrine as an Anti-Corruption Weapon

Everything Old Is New Again

As Rick noted a couple of weeks ago, the California Court of Appeal has recently decided that the public trust doctrine applies to groundwater resources — a long overdue holding that flows (so to speak) pretty much directly from the landmark Mono Lake decision that applied the PTD to surface water. (Since surface and groundwater […]

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South Carolina Federal Court Blocks Trump EPA Attempt to Suspend Clean Water Rule

G. H. W. Bush Appointee Issues Nationwide Injunction Because Agency Rescinded Prior Rule Without Public Discussion of the Rule’s Merits

Today, Hon. David Norton of the Federal District Court for the District of South Carolina (an appointee of George H. W. Bush) issued a nationwide injunction barring the implementation of the so-called “Suspension Rule” that effectively rescinded the Waters of the United States Rule (also called the WOTUS Rule or the Clean Water Rule) previously issued […]

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Secretary Zinke Misleads the Public About Wildfires and Federal Public Land Management

Secretary of Interior’s Op-Ed Ignores Science and Land-Use Planning to Falsely Blame Wildfire Risk on “Radical Environmentalists”

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke published an op-ed today calling for “active management” of our federal public lands to reduce wildfire risk, and blaming “radical environmentalists who would rather see forests and communities burn than see a logger in the woods” for the prevalance and lethality of wildfires in the American West.  Zinke’s op-ed is disingenuous, […]

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Careful what you wish for…

How Trump’s efforts to rollback national monuments might backfire

We have posted repeatedly here on Legal Planet on the Trump Administration’s efforts to rollback national monument designations made by prior administrations.  Litigation over those efforts is still ongoing (and likely will be for a long time).  However, I want to note some of the implications if the Administration should succeed in convincing the courts […]

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Public Lands Watch: ESA Regulations

Administration proposes subsantial revisions to the regulations that implement the Endangered Species Act

One of the most important statutes for management of federal public lands is the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  It’s important because it requires all federal agencies to avoid jeopardizing the existence of listed endangered and threatened species through their actions, and also to avoid adversely modifying critical habitat for those species.  That means when the […]

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