Public Lands

Legacy Goods and Environment Preservation

the future

The value of some goods like wilderness today depends on their futures.

Normally, economists imagine, equal experiences become less valuable as they recede further into the future.  But some types of goods don’t have that kind of relationship with future experiences.  They can become more valuable as they extend farther into to the future. Take this blog post, for example.  I’m really happy that you’re reading it […]

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Goodbye, Wawona?

An Endangered Species?

Trademark Dispute Threatening Iconic Yosemite Names Could All Be A Big Poker Game

It’s great doing environmental law in no small part because it is interdisciplinary: not only do environmental lawyers and scholars have their own field, but they engage with scientists and engineers, as well as specialists in other legal areas (such as constitutional or tort law). Still, I had never seen an environmental trademark controversy. Until now: […]

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Traitors, Militias, Welfare Moochers, or Lobbyists?

Cliven Bundy Cartoon

Those Who Took Over the Oregon Wildlife Refuge are Robbing the Rest of Us

The Internets are filled with excellent (and some not-so-excellent) commentary on the right-wing militia takeover of a building in Oregon’s Malheur National Wildlife Refuge: I recommend this piece from the great Charles Pierce on the meta-political aspects. But the standoff is suffused with legal issues, and for Legal Planet readers, particularly environmental legal issues. At FiveThirtyEight, […]

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Climate Actions For Governor Jerry Brown’s Final Term

Climate Actions Report Cover

New report on how California's executive branch agencies can build on climate progress to date

In Paris this month, much of the talk related to California’s successful efforts to date in reducing carbon emissions while growing the economy.  Certainly the state has made significant progress in areas like renewable energy and electric vehicles, and Governor Brown and his administration deserve a lot of credit. But more progress will be needed […]

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Air quality and wildfire

We may need to burn more to get less smoke

One of the impacts of California’s difficult fire season has been air pollution. Fires produce smoke. Large wildfires produce a lot of smoke. And large wildfires in the southern Sierra Nevada produce smoke in the southern Central Valley – the part of the United States that already has some of the worst air quality in […]

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The First Environmentalist Law Teacher

colby_william

William Colby (1870-1964), a pioneering figure in the Sierra Club from Berkeley's past

I’m pretty sure that William E. Colby  qualifies as the nation’s first environmentalist law teacher, if only because environmentalism was very young at the time..  Colby was a lecturer on mining law and water law at Berkeley for twenty-one years, retiring in 1936.  (That doesn’t make him the first natural resources teacher;  Judge Lindley had taught […]

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The Future of Fire Policy

Climate change will require reconsideration of how we manage fire

It has been a brutal fire season here in California. It’s been brutal in part because of a historically bad drought. But unfortunately, the end of the drought (when it comes) will not be the end of our fire problems. Those fire problems are the result of long-term, human-caused trends that will only continue: climate […]

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Anti-CEQA Lobbyists Turn to Empirical Analysis, But Are Their Conclusions Sound?

Influential Attacks on California's Environmental Impact Law Aren't Supported By the Data

Every August, as the California legislative session comes to a head, lobbyists attempt to gain support for dramatically scaling back California’s landmark environmental law, CEQA (the California Environmental Quality Act).  This year was no exception.  Last month, the law firm Holland and Knight, which has been a leading force on this issue, issued a new […]

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Should we allow electric bikes on hiking paths?

Pending state legislation would allow just that

Bicycling is great for the environment and your health. But it also can be a lot of work, especially when you have to go up a steep hill. That’s where electric bikes can be handy – and thanks to lighter motors and other innovations, they have really taken off. They’re particularly useful when you are […]

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Petroglyphs? We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Petroglyphs!

So says the House Natural Resources chairman.

Henry Ford famously said “history is bunk.” A House committee chair went him one better today, dismissing prehistoric art with the term “bull crap.” Now that I’ve got your attention, here’s a little background. President Obama today designated a new 704,000 acre Basin and Range National Monument under the Antiquities Act. This immediately set off a […]

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