When there are hard decisions to make, who does EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt turns to? Not, as you might naively think, the experts on the staff of his own agency. Instead, he turns to industry lobbyists and lawyers, and to politicians like the Republican state attorneys general who used to be his colleagues. As the […]
EPA Administrator Resorts to Misleading Rhetoric in Possible Prelude to Revisiting Massachusetts v. EPA
Since he was confirmed to lead the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency six months ago, Administrator Scott Pruitt has relied on three points when discussing the issue of climate change. He has cast doubt on the science by claiming it’s difficult to know the human role “with precision.” He has questioned the ability of the agency […]
Decision Will Help Ensure Development and Transportation Planning in California Supports GHG Reduction Efforts
In May, Rick Frank posted his reflections on the oral argument in the California Supreme Court on Cleveland National Forest Association v. San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG), and predicted that SANDAG would win the case. His prediction has proved correct with the release of the Court’s opinion last week – but SANDAG’s narrow win provides a […]
Justices Reject Property Owners’ “Regulatory Takings” Challenge to Seawall Permit Condition
The California Supreme Court today issued its long-awaited decision in Lynch v. California Coastal Commission, rejecting a lawsuit brought by San Diego beachfront homeowners claiming that permit conditions imposed by the Coastal Commission triggered a compensable taking of their private property rights. Writing for a unanimous Court, Justice Carol Corrigan concluded that the homeowners had forfeited […]
The Administration is Poised to Act, But Legal Challenges, Procedural Hurdles, and Internal Conflict Are Likely to Make It Difficult
On Monday, I posted a quick summary of the Trump administration’s recent action to start rolling back the Clean Water Rule, a joint rule by the Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that defines the range of waterways the Clean Water Act protects. The proposed action the agencies announced last week, […]
This Action is Just the First Step Towards Reducing Clean Water Act Protection for Many Waterways and Wetlands
With much fanfare, the Trump administration announced last Tuesday that it is proposing to rescind the Clean Water Rule, also known as the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) Rule. This rule is intended to govern determinations of which waterbodies and wetlands are “waters of the United States,” protected under the Clean Water Act. The […]
No, this isn’t about the health care bill.
The Trump Administration has embarked on a campaign of postponing pollution regulations that protect the public health. Even if these are only temporary delays, rather than steps toward permanently weakening health protections, the delays are not innocuous. To put it as bluntly as possible, Americans will die as a result of these delays. For instance, […]
Some day the Trump/Ryan/Pruitt era will end. We need to be ready to move forward.
Fighting the Trump/Ryan/Pruitt assault on environmental protection necessarily absorbs a huge amount of our energy. But eventually, the current conservative stranglehold on the national government will come to an end. Sooner or later, the government will once again come into more environmentally friendly hands. When that happens, we need to have practical, detailed proposals ready […]
Scott Pruitt advocates environmental originalism. It means the direct opposite of what he thinks.
Scott Pruitt has taken to talking about environmental originalism – going back to the original intent of our environmental laws. But he’s got the original intent completely backwards. The statutes weren’t intended to protect jobs or grow the economy. They were intended to protect the environment, with cost at best a secondary consideration. This is exactly […]
H.R. 23 Would Preempt California State Water Law & Supersede Federal, State Environmental Statutes
Quite understandably, the attention of the media, environmental organizations and the general public has been focused on the myriad misadventures of the Trump Administration, now rumbling and stumbling through its fifth month. And, as recounted on Legal Planet since mid-January, those contretemps include a great deal of environmental mischief emanating from the Executive Branch. But it […]