federal preemption

200 Days & Counting: State and Local Action

States and cities can do a lot to push back against Trump, but they do face some legal challenges.

In the Trump era, what avenues are open to state and local governments to use self-help to protect the environment? I’ve posted before about the opportunities for state and local governments taking action to protect their own environments. (here and here). Perhaps the most important recent development is the extension of California’s cap-and-trade program to …

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A Victory for Renewables

The Second Circuit has carved out some safe space for state renewable energy programs.

An important Second Circuit ruling in June should help clarify some of the lingering legal issues about state efforts to expand renewable energy. Judge Calabresi’s opinion in Allco Finance v. Dykes rejected claims that Connecticut’s policies interfered with interstate commerce and invaded an area of exclusive federal regulation. This will be a useful precedent for …

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California Members of Congress Seek to Eviscerate State Water & Environmental Laws

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 …

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Look Out Below!

U.S. Supreme Court Signals Interest in Key Environmental Law/Federal Preemption Case From California

The U.S. Supreme Court today signaled that it is seriously considering whether to review an important environmental law case from California–one in which the California Supreme Court previously ruled that California’s ban on environmentally-damaging suction dredging in state rivers is not preempted by federal law. The case is People v. Rinehart, U.S. Supreme Court No. 16-970. …

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It’s Environmental Law Week at the California Supreme Court

Justices to Hear Oral Arguments in Three Major Environmental Cases This Week

The California Supreme Court currently has approximately twenty pending environmental cases on its docket.  This week, the Court’s justices will hear oral arguments in three of the most important of those cases.  Taken together, these looming decisions raise important issues concerning the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), federal preemption, climate change mitigation and adaptation, private …

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And Here’s to You, Justice Werdegar

Retiring California Supreme Court Jurist Leaves Impressive Environmental Law Legacy

The California Supreme Court recently announced that Justice Kathryn Werdegar will retire this August, after serving for 23 years on California’s highest Court.  Justice Werdegar is the longest-serving member of the currently-constituted Supreme Court. Over her 23-year career on the Supreme Court, Justice Werdegar has authored at least 25 major opinions on a wide variety …

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The Car Industry’s Rollback Effort — Disappointing But Not Surprising

The struggle to force the car industry to cut pollution goes back six decades.

The car industry is appealing for President Trump’s help against stricter carbon standards for cars. The industry’s action is disappointing for those who believed industry claims to embrace sustainability and technological innovation. There’s no good excuse for the industry’s about-face on a regulation it had originally agreed to.  As one of the architects of the …

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Can California keep its federal lands public?

SB 50, introduced in State Senate, seeks to retain public ownership of federal lands in the state

There’s been a fair amount of national debate lately about whether federal public lands in the West should be transferred to state or private ownership. Rep. Chaffetz (R) from Utah had introduced a bill to transfer millions of acres of federal land in a range of Western states to private or state ownership – he …

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How States Can Defend Themselves Against Trump

States have a number of tools for protecting their own environments from the Feds.

Suppose the Trump Administration launches environmentally harmful projects in a state or wants to allow more pollution there than the state wants.  Does the state have any possible recourse? The answer is yes, although states’s defenses have their limitations.  There are a number of mechanisms states can use to defend their own environments, if not the …

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What Does a Trump Presidency Portend for California’s Environmental Policies?

Constitutional Issues Loom Large in Future, Likely Federal-California Legal Confrontations

Sensing political storm clouds ahead, California Governor Jerry Brown yesterday issued a statement on the presidential election results that concludes: “We will protect the precious rights of our people and continue to confront the existential threat of our time–devastating climate change.” Several of my Legal Planet colleagues have recently posted thoughtful commentary on what Donald Trump’s …

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