Bill would authorize road through wilderness in Alaska national wildlife refuge
On July 20th the House passed H.R. 218 (248-179). The bill was then sent to the Senate where it was referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. The King Cove Road Land Exchange Act would transfer 206 acres of federal land—including 131 acres in the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge—to the state of Alaska …CONTINUE READING
Resilient Federal Forests Act would reduce or eliminate environmental protections for logging projects on National Forests
The House Natural Resources Committee passed H.R. 2936, the “Resilient Federal Forests Act of 2017,” out of committee on June 27th and the bill is now waiting in the House for debate. The bill would expedite National Environment Policy Act (NEPA) review for U.S. Forest Service projects in order to improve forest management on federal …CONTINUE READING
President Trump’s Executive Order on climate policy is an invitation to bad policymaking and legal uncertainty. The big-ticket item targeted by the Order, of course, is the Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan and related rules on carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. The EO has limited immediate legal impact: none of the major rules can …CONTINUE READING
It’s smart to take precautions against climate change. More can be done, even in the Trump era.
At night, you can hear the hooting of owls in the vineyard. The owners have deployed owls and falcons to control the pests that threaten the Kendall Jackson vineyards due to milder winters. But birds of prey aren’t the only things flying above the vineyard. There are also drones, which are used to observe small differences …CONTINUE READING
A fight in North Dakota reveals problems in how we permit and review large infrastructure projects
Native American tribes and environmental groups are currently protesting the completion of an oil pipeline in North Dakota. The pipeline would travel beneath the Missouri River. Tribes and environmentalists are fighting the pipeline both through litigation and also through direct action (occupying the site where the construction to complete the pipeline beneath the river would …CONTINUE READING
The new guidance on climate change is a step forward, though it could have been stronger.
The White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) issued new guidance today on considering climate change in environmental impact statements. Here are the key points: Quantification. The guidance recommends that agencies quantify projected direct and indirect emissions, using the amount of emissions as a proxy for the eventual impact on climate change. The EIS should also …CONTINUE READING
Inflexible laws may be the best response to climate change
Anyone who lives or has visited the Intermountain West over the past decade or so has noticed the devastating impact of a mountain pine beetle epidemic on the pine forests from Arizona and New Mexico all the way up to British Columbia and Alberta. As a result of warmer winter weather because of climate change, …CONTINUE READING
As the current U.S. Supreme Court term winds down–the justices’ final opinions are due next week–attention begins to turn to the Court’s next session, scheduled to begin in October 2013. Until this week, the justices had one environmental law case on their docket for next year: U.S. Forest Service v. Pacific Rivers Council, No. 12-625. …CONTINUE READING
Well, not really. But in some circumstances it might have helped. Consider the civil unrest now roiling Turkey. It began over protests against the government’s plan to turn a much-beloved, historic urban park into a mosque and shopping mall. But as many news reports have indicated, the point was not simply the plan, but the high-handed …CONTINUE READING
On April 8, a federal magistrate judge issued the first major ruling in a California fracking lawsuit, finding that the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) violated the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) by failing to take the necessary “hard look” at the impact of hydraulic fracturing when it sold oil and gas leases in California. …CONTINUE READING