public lands

The Pro-Environmental Lochner Court

How a conservative Court defended environmental protection a century ago.

Like today’s Court, the Supreme Court a century ago was dominated by conservatives. The Lochner era, from around 1900 to 1935, was named after the most notorious case of that period. The Lochner case, which struck down a maximum hours law for workers, epitomized the conservative Supreme Court of that era.  Yet that conservative Court …

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Warren’s public lands policy proposal

The Senator’s policy proposals have a lot of good points, but could be even better

Senator Elizabeth Warren has become famous for her policy plan documents as she runs for President. A few months ago, she released a new one focusing on public lands. The key points in her plan include: A moratorium on all new fossil fuel leasing on federal public lands Providing 10% of US renewable energy from …

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Public Lands Watch: Forest Service proposes NEPA regulatory revisions

Forest Service proposes revisions to NEPA regulations to increase exemptions for logging and other projects

The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) has long been a lightning rod for debates over public land management.  NEPA requires federal agencies to fully analyze and publicly disclose the environmental impacts of proposed major federal actions that significantly affect the environment, including analysis of a reasonable range of alternatives and a response to public comments.  …

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The evolving law of state protection of environmental resources on federal lands

Recent cases may expand the scope of states to protect environmental resources on federal public lands

One theme in environmental law and policy over the past two years has been an increasing conflict between states and the federal government – with a range of states (particularly those with Democratic governors and legislatures) challenging the federal government on environmental matters and seeking to be more aggressive in protecting the environment. One flashpoint …

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Putting the Squeeze on Coal

It’s not enough to eliminate coal-fired plants. We have to cut back on coal production and sale.

Coal use by American utilities has declined sharply and will continue to decline. But we shouldn’t focus solely on U.S. emissions. But the industry also exports coal, and there’s been a big surge in coal exports in the past two years, much of it involving India. So it’s not enough to curtail coal use in …

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Public Lands Watch: Final Changes to Sage Grouse Protections

BLM announces final version of revisions to protections for sage grouse on Western federal public lands

This blog post was drafted by Jamie T. Martinez. On March 15, the Trump administration finalized its plan to loosen protections on federal lands for the habitat of the greater sage-grouse, a near-threatened species that lives in sagebrush country across the western United States. The final plan amends the resource plans adopted in 2015 to …

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Public Lands Watch: Alaska National Wildlife Refuge

Public comment period for environmental review for oil and gas leasing in Alaska National Wildlife Refuge

This blog post was drafted by Jamie T. Martinez. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is preparing an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) in order to implement the Coastal Plain Oil and Gas Leasing Program established in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (TCJA) (see Public Law 115-97 Title II § 20001(b)(2)). This leasing program …

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Public Lands Watch: Natural Resources Management Act

Legislation in Congress would expand parks, permanently authorize conservation fund

This blog post was drafted by Jamie T. Martinez.  On February 12, the Senate passed the Natural Resources Management Act (NRMA), 92-8. What does the NRMA do? Simply put: a lot. If passed by the House of Representatives and signed by the President, the NRMA will protect approximately 1.3 million acres as wilderness areas, expand …

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Flipping the Conservative Agenda

Thought experiment: take everything conservative want to do and then do the opposite.

Conservatives, with full support from Donald Trump have come up with a menu of ways to weaken the regulatory state. In honor of National Backward Day – that’s an actual thing, in case you’re wondering, and it’s today – let’s think about reversing those ideas.  In other words, let’s try to come up with similar …

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The Power of the Purse

House Democrats have power to use appropriations process to stop Trump Administration environmental rollbacks

Dan has already posted about some of the big deregulatory steps the Trump Administration is likely to take in the next year. But the new Democratic majority in the House could have something to say about those steps, if they wanted to. Democrats will have even more leverage over spending bills than they had in …

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