Written in Collaboration with Camila Gonzalez*
Coastal communities are bracing themselves. Thirty years after the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska, and almost nine years after the BP Deepwater Horizon rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico, they are facing the threat of another catastrophic oil spill. The Trump Administration is paving the way. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management will …CONTINUE READING
Don’t expect the Administration to take the lead in enforcement. Others will need to step up.
As the Bush Administration learned, it can be difficult to pass new legislation or enact new regulations. But another way of gutting environmental rules is much easier: just stop enforcing them. An agency’s enforcement decisions receive essentially no judicial review and precious little publicity. Cuts in enforcement budgets receive even less public notice and are …CONTINUE READING
A non-environmental case opens the door to new arguments about standing.
One of the recurring questions in standing law is the extent to which Congress can change the application of the standing doctrine. A recent Supreme Court opinion in a non-environmental case sheds some light – not a lot, but some – on this recurring question. The Court has made it clear that there is a …CONTINUE READING
New Berkeley Law report examines citizen actions addressing sanitary sewer overflows in California
(This post is co-authored with Nell Green Nylen and Michael Kiparsky.) Every day, Californians produce millions of gallons of wastewater. We tend to avoid thinking about what flows down our drains, but how we deal with sewage is a critically important aspect of public and environmental health. Most communities in California rely on an extensive …CONTINUE READING
Climate change, ozone and mercury rules all the result of citizen suits
Three sets of Obama Administration’s environmental rules are in the news these days: those on climate change, mercury and ozone. The President is being praised among environmentalists for his ambitious actions and lambasted by some business and Republican leaders for engaging in a “war on coal.” Yet lost among the clamor is one key …CONTINUE READING
No government employees means less environmental enforcement
There’s lots of news coverage about the federal government shutdown. Here’s an environmental angle to the impact of the shutdown. Most of the employees for the various environmental agencies are “non-essential” personnel – including many of the enforcement personnel. Here’s a local example from the Bay Area. It seems a bunch of folks are taking …CONTINUE READING
With all the attention being paid to proposals to reform the California Environmental Quality Act in the state legislature, there is another landmark California environmental law that the legislature and Governor Brown are thinking of changing. In 1986, the voters of California enacted Proposition 65. The law requires notification to consumers and the public about …CONTINUE READING
Cross-posted at CPRBlog. This coming Monday, Dec. 3, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral argument in the logging roads case. The case involves two consolidated petitions, Decker v. Northwest Environmental Defense Center and Georgia Pacific v. Northwest Environmental Defense Center , both challenging the same decision of the Ninth Circuit, Northwest Environmental Defense Center …CONTINUE READING
The folks over at Pacific Legal Foundation’s (PLF) blog have been nice enough to post about an article that I co-authored with Berry Brosi at Emory University (paywall protected, unfortunately!). The article investigates the role that citizen petitions and citizen suits play in the process of listing species for protection under the Endangered Species Act …CONTINUE READING
Cross-posted at CPRBlog. You would think that by now federal agencies would have the NEPA process pretty well down. After all, it’s been the law since 1970, requiring that every federal agency prepare an environmental impact statement before committing itself to environmentally harmful actions. And it’s not that hard to do. Agencies just have to …CONTINUE READING