In a holiday gift from Congress, environmental gains arrive in an overstuffed spending bill.
The massive omnibus bill that just passed Congress contains a bevy of environment friendly provisions. Despite some last-minute tweeted complaints from Trump about the bill, those provisions are likely to make their way into law. Given that the Senate and the White House are in Republican hands, it’s a wonder when such provisions sneak through …CONTINUE READING
Another Trump rollback gets slapped down in court.
A week ago, a federal district court overturned yet another ill-conceived rollback by the Trump Administration. The case, California v. Bernhardt, involved releases of methane, a potent greenhouse gas. The legal flaws in the rollback by the Bureau of Land Management, are all too typical of the Administration’s work product. The Administration has repeatedly lost …CONTINUE READING
How to Use Textualism to Evade Statutory Texts
The Supreme Court’s decision in Cowpasture case allows gas pipelines to cross the Appalachian trial. The ruling didn’t get much attention because of its timing. It came down the same day as Bostock, which outlawed employment discrimination against gays and transsexuals. Bostock featured a big battle over the meaning of textualism. But Cowpasture was also …CONTINUE READING
There’s a new GOP Platform, same as the old one.
It appears that the GOP won’t have a new platform this year. Instead, they’re going to stick with their 2016 platform. You could see that as steadfastness or a lack of new ideas. In the environmental arena, 2016 is still where the GOP is stuck today, celebrating fossil fuels and rejecting climate action. Here are …CONTINUE READING
Trump Administration proposes drastic revisions to regulations that implement bedrock environmental law
The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) is one of the most important statutes for public lands management in the United States, even though it actually is not specific to public lands. NEPA requires federal agencies to analyze and publicly disclose the significant environmental impacts of proposed agency actions, consider alternatives to those proposals, and seek …CONTINUE READING
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 …CONTINUE READING
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 …CONTINUE READING
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. …CONTINUE READING
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 …CONTINUE READING
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 …CONTINUE READING