Ninth Circuit

Ninth Circuit reinstates Clinton roadless rule

Since the end of the Clinton era, there has been much confusion over the status of roadless areas in the national forests. Yesterday the Ninth Circuit weighed in, ruling in California v. USDA that the Bush administration had unlawfully revised the Clinton administration’s Roadless Rule, and reinstating that rule. The decision, which has been welcomed …


The end of the Exxon Valdez legal saga?

Rick earlier posted about the 20th anniversary of the Exxon Valdez oil spill. This week, the Ninth Circuit may finally have brought the litigation that followed that spill to a close. You may recall that last year the U.S. Supreme Court heard Exxon’s challenge to the punitive damages award against it, which had been set …


The Ninth Circuit: 0-for-the Supreme Court Term

It’s been a very rough U.S. Supreme Court Term for the Ninth Circuit. Four of the five major environmental cases on the Supreme Court’s docket this year emanate from the Ninth Circuit. With the justices’ issuance of their major CERCLA decision in Burlington Northern this week, four of those environmental cases have now been resolved, …


NEPA: middle-aged, but still vigorous

The National Environmental Policy Act, which became law on January 1, 1970, is the oldest of the major federal environmental laws. It has been a model for environmental assessment laws in numerous states and other nations, but it still comes in for a lot of criticism at home. Some criticisms are surely justified. As Dan …


Time for NMFS to lead on hatcheries

Demonstrating once again the importance of presidential elections and appointments, the 9th Circuit has upheld the National Marine Fisheries Service’s policy on considering hatchery fish in listing Pacific salmonids.  (Hat tip: ESA blawg.) Hatchery fish can be a boon or a bane to salmon conservation. Because hatchery programs have emphasized production of fish for harvest, …