Public Lands

State regulation of environmental harms on federal lands

California Supreme Court case indicates substantial authority for states to act

Sean has already reported on the recent Rinehart decision by the California Supreme Court, in which the Court concluded that a state law imposing a temporary moratorium on the use of suction dredge equipment in California waterways was not preempted by federal mining law.  Here, I just want to add to Sean’s excellent summary by […]

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Obama’s Public Lands Conservation Legacy

Progress, but still much more to do

President Obama has gotten some high praise lately from the New York Times editorial board, and this op-ed from Prof. David Brinkley, a presidential historian at Rice noted for his biography of President Theodore Roosevelt.  Brinkley compares Obama favorably to Teddy Roosevelt for his conservation legacy. The specific recent actions by President Obama that prompted […]

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Bikes in Wilderness

A misguided proposal in Congress

This New York Times article notes that a bill (S. 3205) is pending in Congress to allow mountain bikes in federally-designated wilderness areas.  In short, the bill is a terrible idea. First, on the merits, allowing mountain bikes into wilderness areas has the potential for significant impacts both on other humans using wilderness, and on […]

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America’s Best Environmental and Economic Bargain

The Roosevelt Arch, marking the northern entrance to Yellowstone National Park.

…and Other Concluding Thoughts About the National Park System

(This is the final installment in a series of posts celebrating the centennial anniversary of the National Park Service.) A wag once observed: It’s hell getting old, but it beats the alternative. I can personally attest to the fact that it’s not a lot of fun achieving senior citizen status.  I can’t run as far […]

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Major Challenges Face the National Park Service in Its Next Century


Park Overcrowding, Crumbling Infrastructure, Changing Constituency Top the List

(This is the third in a series of posts this week commemorating the 100th anniversary of the creation of the National Park Service.) To be sure, the National Park Service has much to celebrate as it observes its 100th birthday.  The Park Service oversees a stunning and diverse set of national parks, monuments, historic and […]

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The (Relatively) Unknown Treasures of the National Park Service

FS - visitor center

Our National Park System Consists of Far More Than Just National Parks

When most Americans think of the National Park Service, they contemplate the nation’s stellar collection of national parks: Yellowstone, Yosemite, the Everglades and the other 56 parks created by acts of Congress since 1872.  But that’s only part of the story and holdings of the National Park Service, which celebrates its 100th birthday this week. […]

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California Supreme Court Holds Unanimously that the State May Restrict Mining Methods on Federal Lands

Court in People v. Rinehart Upholds State Moratorium on Suction-Dredge Mining

Last year, as I discussed in a prior post, the California Supreme Court granted the State of California’s petition for review in the case of People v. Rinehart.  I’m pleased to say that today, the Supreme Court has issued a unanimous opinion, authored by Justice Werdegar, in favor of the state’s moratorium on suction-dredge mining on federal lands. […]

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National Park Service Celebrates Centennial Anniversary


It’s Time to Celebrate–and Re-Commit to–“America’s Best Idea”

This week the National Park Service celebrates its 100th birthday.  On August 25, 1916, Congress enacted legislation proposed by President Woodrow Wilson to create the Park Service.  To this date, creation of the Service remains one of the nation’s most important actions to protect America’s environment.  (Documentarian Ken Burns–himself a national treasure–famously called the national […]

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Upcoming Regulatory Takings Conference 2016


Nation’s Top Annual Takings Event Set for November 4th in New Orleans

One of the most important issues in modern environmental law and policy is the extent to which constitutionally-protected property rights limit environmental regulatory programs at the federal, state and local levels.  Indeed, the U.S. Supreme Court has focused more attention on this question over the last four decades than any other aspect of modern environmental […]

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