Public Lands

U.S. Supreme Court Deals Blow to National Rails-to-Trails Movement


Justices Hand Property Owners Another Important Win, With Public Access the Loser

Some U.S. Supreme Court decisions blow through American jurisprudence like a hurricane. Others slip into the law books quietly, like the proverbial cat’s paws. Today’s Court decision in Marvin M. Brandt Revocable Trust v. United States falls into the latter category: largely overlooked by Court followers and the media, but with the potential to have […]

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In Memoriam: Joseph L. Sax, Gentleman, Scholar, Giant of Environmental Law


Visionary environmental advocate will be sorely missed, long remembered.

[Posted on behalf of all Legal Planet authors at Berkeley Law.] It is with great sadness that we share the news of the passing of Joseph L. Sax, James H. House and Hiram H. Hurd Professor of Environmental Regulation (Emeritus) at Berkeley Law. Joe was our hero, our teacher, our mentor, our colleague, our friend. […]

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How Legalizing Marijuana Could Help Fight Climate Change


The link between indoor grow operations and energy data

Now that the two states that just legalized marijuana sent their football teams to the Superbowl this year, it’s clear that the stars are aligning for legalizing marijuana nationwide. Sure, legalizing marijuana makes fiscal, moral, and practical sense, but what about the benefits to the environment? Well, it turns out that even the fight against […]

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Pine Beetles, Environmental Law, and Climate Change Adaptation

Inflexible laws may be the best response to climate change

Anyone who lives or has visited the Intermountain West over the past decade or so has noticed the devastating impact of a mountain pine beetle epidemic on the pine forests from Arizona and New Mexico all the way up to British Columbia and Alberta.  As a result of warmer winter weather because of climate change, […]

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Celebrating A Half Century of Federal Environmental Law!


Later in this year, we will celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the first modern environmental statutes, the Wilderness Act of 1964.  NEPA followed five years later and then in quick succession came the creation of EPA, a slew of laws regulating pollution and toxics, the Endangered Species Act, and reforms of public lands laws. It’s […]

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An Unhappy Anniversary for Hetch Hetchy

Painting of Hetch Hetchy Valley by Albert Bierstadt

Is It Time to Consider Restoring Yosemite's Hetch Hetchy Valley?

December 19th marks a sad event in American environmental history.  It was 100 years ago today that President Woodrow Wilson signed the Raker Act, authorizing the City of San Francisco to build a dam that would flood the Hetch Hetchy Valley in Yosemite National Park in order to deliver water supplies to San Francisco. Contemporary […]

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ELQ’s Annual Review issue now available online


Every year, Ecology Law Quarterly publishes its Annual Review of Environmental and Natural Resource Law. The latest version is now available at ELQ’s web site. Check out these articles from the issue. You’ll find they cover a tremendous amount of ground in a way that is both educational and entertaining. And at the ELQ site […]

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Is the Golden State Warriors’ Proposed Basketball Arena a Proper Public Trust Use?

The Bay Area’s NBA franchise, the Golden State Warriors, is collaborating with San Francisco city officials to develop a new, state-of-the-art basketball arena on a site that literally sits atop San Francisco Bay.  Few would argue that the region’s basketball team–a perennial second-division NBA franchise until it surged into contention last season–needs a new arena.  […]

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Not With a Bang, But With a Whimper…

As the current U.S. Supreme Court term winds down–the justices’ final opinions are due next week–attention begins to turn to the Court’s next session, scheduled to begin in October 2013. Until this week, the justices had one environmental law case on their docket for next year: U.S. Forest Service v. Pacific Rivers Council, No. 12-625. […]

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A New “Study” on Forest Certification: SFI’s Latest Attempt to Fool Consumers?

I’ve posted before on the competing systems of forest certification, in particular the fight between the Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC), which is really the gold standard, and the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI), an industry-driven effort that has substantially weaker standards and many have accused of greenwashing.  SFI has improved its standards in recent years, but […]

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