Public Lands

The National Park Service and Climate Change

Does the agency have the legal tools to respond to climate change?

This past weekend President Obama visited Yosemite, helping the National Park Service celebrate its 100th anniversary.  As part of his remarks, the President noted that climate change is already causing major impacts on the resources in National Parks around the country—for instance, causing the disappearance of the glaciers in Yosemite and increasing fire risks in […]

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Ronald Reagan – Environmentalist Governor

Ronald Reagan, courtesy National Archives

Reagan's record in California included major environmental achievements.

It may surprise you to learn this — it certainly surprised me. But Ronald Reagan has been called “the most environmental governor in California history — protecting wild rivers from dams, preserving a Sierra wilderness by blocking highway builders, creating an air resources board that led to the nation’s first auto smog controls.” This may […]

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Finding Least-Conflict Lands For Solar PV In California’s San Joaquin Valley — And Beyond

A PATH FORWARD May 2016 COVER

New CLEE report identifies 470,000 acres of ideal land for solar PV, with 4pm webex briefing with state officials

To achieve California and the post-Paris world’s climate goals, we’re going to need a whole lot more renewable energy. Given current market trends, much of it will come from solar photovoltaic (PV), which has gotten incredibly cheap in the last few years. But deploying these solar panels at utility scale will mean major changes to […]

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Reflections on the Coastal Commission’s Implosion

The Implications of the Decision to Fire Charles Lester - and the Decision Not to Explain It

As Rick Frank insightfully discussed earlier this week, the California Coastal Commission has fired its former executive director, Charles Lester. Readers interested in more background information and analysis should read Rick’s post, as well as the excellent reporting by Tony Barboza and others from the LA Times. (And anyone who wants to hear about it […]

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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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