Regulation

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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Upcoming Regulatory Takings Conference 2016

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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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Legal Analysis of CAISO Expansion

Electricalgrid

We don’t foresee changes to FERC jurisdiction or Commerce Clause validity

The California Independent System Operator — known as CAISO — is considering expanding its footprint to include Pacific Corp as a participating transmission owner.   CAISO recently commissioned a study that Professor William Boyd of the University of Colorado and I authored, in consultation with  Ethan Elkind  of Berkeley and UCLA and Sho Sato Professor […]

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Whither the 2016-17 Court on Environmental Cases?

supreme-court

Docket so far limited to a significant takings case, Murr v. Wisconsin

So far, the docket for the U.S. Supreme Court’s term beginning in October includes no significant statutory environmental case.  It does include an important takings case that could limit or expand the land use powers of all levels of  government to protect wetlands, endangered species habitat, and other ecologically sensitive parcels.  Whether the Court ultimately […]

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Do water managers’ perceptions influence innovation?

FIg5

New survey probes the innovation deficit

Climate change and population growth are rapidly increasing stress on our water systems, challenging their ability to deliver critical services.  To respond to this, we need more than simple course adjustments in how we manage our water – we need entirely new paradigms that will improve resource efficiency and support more sustainable urban water systems. Considerable […]

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The Slow Pace of Rulemaking

Rulemakings take a long time. We don’t really know what causes the delays.

A recent study by Public Citizen reports that it takes about 2.5 years to issue an economically significant rule, starting from the time the rule is first listed in the regulatory agenda. There are major differences between agencies – an economically significant rule takes EPA almost four years, rather than the 2.5 years needed by […]

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Major Settlement Announced in Volkswagen Emissions Fraud Litigation

$14.7 Billion Civil Enforcement Settlement is a Victory for Consumers, Environmental Prosecutors

Federal and state environmental prosecutors today announced a proposed settlement of government civil enforcement litigation they’ve pursued against Volkswagen in response to the automaker’s acknowledged efforts to cheat federal and state auto emission standards and defraud consumers.  The complex settlement, lodged with the assigned U.S. district court judge in San Francisco, requires Volkswagen to pay […]

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The End-game for Diablo Canyon?

Diablo Canyon

A landmark agreement supports the closure of a controversial nuclear plant.

Today’s announcement that the Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PG&E) has reached an agreement with several environmental and labor groups to plan for the eventual shutdown of the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Plant is a stunning development, when viewed in an historical perspective. PG&E has agreed not to seek new licenses for its power plant that […]

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Gaming Out Environmental Law: 2017-2019

2016 election

The heavens or the abyss? Or somewhere in between?

What happens after November? A lot depends on who’s the next President, but the congressional elections also matter. Basically, a Trump victory would mean at least a rollback of much of Obama’s environmental legacy, and perhaps passage of the current House deregulatory agenda into law. A Clinton victory would be likely to preserve or strengthen the […]

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