A proposed rule limiting flaring and venting of natural gas is a win for everyone except greedy oil and gas operators.
Yesterday, the Interior Department posted a proposed rule to limit flaring and venting of natural gas on public lands. The rule will be good for everyone except the oil and gas operators who waste the gas, increasing methane and carbon emissions while giving the public nothing in return. The rule is clearly a step in …CONTINUE READING
When should park managers response to fire risk and climate change through active management?
This summer, the Earth Island Institute filed a lawsuit challenging active management projects in Yosemite National Park – those projects involve the cutting of trees to reduce the risk of fire (or that is the explanation of the National Park Service for the projects). The tree cutting was begun this past year, and the National …CONTINUE READING
Provision in big climate bill that mandates oil and gas leasing on federal lands has limited reach
The big news in climate policy this past week was Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) signing off on a deal with the Democratic Senate Majority leader, Chuck Schumer, to spend hundreds of billions of dollars on climate investments – the bill is catchily called the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022. I’ll take a look at the …CONTINUE READING
Understanding the Property Clause’s location in Article IV clarifies the power of Congress and the federal government to protect public lands
In my previous blog post, I discussed how the location of the Property Clause in Article IV can help answer key debates about congressional versus executive power under the Clause, as well as federal versus state power under the Clause. Here I want to draw on the principles I developed in the prior blog post: …CONTINUE READING
How “horizontal federalism” can help us understand federal power over the public lands
Can the President unilaterally end fossil fuel leasing on federal lands? Or does this policy decision require Congressional intervention? Can the President unilaterally terminate existing National Monuments that protect federal public lands from development? Or does this policy decision also require Congressional intervention? Does federal law preempt state law on federal lands? Or does the …CONTINUE READING
New book on history of federal public lands is an essential contribution
America’s public lands are a national, and even international, treasure. Over a quarter of the United States is owned and managed by the federal government. Public lands provide recreational opportunities for all Americans. They provide valuable habitat for species and ecosystems. They provide important natural resources, such as timber and minerals, that are both important …CONTINUE READING
The Ninth Circuit rules on the preclusive effect of a CRA disapproval in a wilderness protection case.
Soon after Trump took office, Republicans used the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to overturn sixteen Obama-era regulations. If they win control of the government in 2024, they’ll undoubtedly do the same thing to Biden regulations. It behooves us, then, to understand the effect of these legislative interventions. A Ninth Circuit ruling last week in a …CONTINUE READING
In a forgotten incident, Congress set aside Hot Springs in 190 years ago.
The origins of the national park system is usually traced back Lincoln’s 1864 signature of the Yosemite Grant Act. But Congress had actually had the idea of protecting extraordinary places over thirty years earlier, in Arkansas of all places. Hot Springs isn’t high on the list of American places to see, which may be one …CONTINUE READING
The law too often restricts resource rights on public lands to extraction activities and precludes conservation
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) auction in February, 2016, for oil and gas drilling rights near Arches National Park was unremarkable. The high bidder, Tempest Exploration Co. LLC, paid $2,500 for the 1,120 acre lease by credit card and began paying annual rental fees. What soon did prove remarkable, though, was the revelation that …CONTINUE READING
Remember the Sagebrush Rebellion and the County Supremacy Movement? They were attempts in the 1970s-80s and 1990s, respectively, by state and local governments in the west to assert control over federal lands. They didn’t make any legal progress because of the pesky Supremacy and Property Clauses of the US Constitution, which declare that the federal …CONTINUE READING