Public Lands

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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1½ Years of Trump

Where are we, after continual environmental assaults by Trump, Pruitt, and Zinke?

Trump has been in office for a year and a half. Where do thing stand? How permanent will the damage be to environmental protection? Answer: bad, but not nearly as it might have been. The degree of resistance especially impressive when you consider the circumstances just how much of American government is controlled by Republicans.  […]

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Public Lands Watch: NEPA Regulations

Administration asks for ideas about how to revise regulations implementing NEPA

A key statute for public lands management is not specific to any of the federal land management agencies or any specific land categories or activities.  Instead, it is a statute that applies generically to all federal government activities: the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).  NEPA, in short, requires the federal government to thoroughly analyze significant […]

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UCLA Law Wells Environmental Law Clinic Files U.S. Supreme Court Brief on Behalf of Scientists in Endangered Species Act Case

Scientists’ Brief Argues Federal Agencies and Courts Must Use Science in Interpreting “Habitat” Under the Endangered Species Act; Clinic Clients Include Profs. Stuart Pimm & E.O. Wilson, Along With Three MacArthur “Genius” Award Recipients & Ten Other Esteemed Scientists

Congress enacted the Endangered Species Act in 1973 to protect species at risk of extinction.  Congress viewed species extinction as an urgent threat requiring urgent, decisive action.  The result was a bipartisan law designed to apply scientific knowledge and expertise to managing the threats to U.S. species.  While the Act has been controversial, and characterized […]

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Public Lands Watch: Sage Grouse Plan Revisions

BLM and Forest Service produce draft environmental impact statements for plan revisions

I wrote in the fall about the Trump Administration’s efforts to weaken protections for sage grouse on federal public lands.  The next step in that process is currently ongoing – draft environmental impact statements (EIS) for revisions to land management plans for BLM and Forest Service lands.  Those EISs are required by the National Environmental […]

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What Trump Gives Appalachia With One Hand, He Takes Away with the Other

Ryan Zinke’s public land policies are accelerating the decline of eastern coal.

There is no one who Trump loves more than coal miners, and he has surrounded himself with Appalachian coal miners on important occasions. One of his most fervent pledges was to “end the war on coal.” Yet, Trump’s public lands policies are helping to accelerate the decline of eastern coal. A recent study by researchers […]

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Law professor comment on BLM proposal to revoke methane rule

Comment ids flaws in BLM’s proposal to revoke rule restricting methane emissions from oil and gas development on federal lands

I’ve already posted a couple of times on BLM’s proposal to revoke a rule that limits methane emissions (a major greenhouse gas) from oil and gas operations on federal lands.  The period for public comment on BLM’s proposal closes today.  A group of environmental law professors just filed a comment noting major legal problems with […]

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Native American Treaties, Declining Salmon Populations, Broken Promises & Environmental Justice

Pending Washington v. U.S. Supreme Court Decision Offers Hope & Vindication for Tribes, Coastal Fisheries

Truth be told, the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2017-18 Term has been an unsually quiet one for environmental and natural resources law.  Until now. This week the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a last-minute addition to the Court’s current docket.  Washington v. United States, No. 17-269, a case the justices only accepted for review in January, […]

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Tales From the Front: A Field Trip to the Utah Monuments

Personal Reflections on the Raging Debate Over Trump’s Utah Monument Reductions

One of most highly visible disputes arising out of the Trump Administration’s multifaceted efforts to roll back and nullify the natural resources policies of previous administrations is the decision by President Trump and Secretary of the Interior Zinke to substantially reduce two national monuments in Utah created by former President Obama under the Antiquities Act. President Trump’s December […]

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