public lands

Secretary Zinke Misleads the Public About Wildfires and Federal Public Land Management

Secretary of Interior’s Op-Ed Ignores Science and Land-Use Planning to Falsely Blame Wildfire Risk on “Radical Environmentalists”

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke published an op-ed today calling for “active management” of our federal public lands to reduce wildfire risk, and blaming “radical environmentalists who would rather see forests and communities burn than see a logger in the woods” for the prevalance and lethality of wildfires in the American West.  Zinke’s op-ed is disingenuous, …

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Careful what you wish for…

How Trump’s efforts to rollback national monuments might backfire

We have posted repeatedly here on Legal Planet on the Trump Administration’s efforts to rollback national monument designations made by prior administrations.  Litigation over those efforts is still ongoing (and likely will be for a long time).  However, I want to note some of the implications if the Administration should succeed in convincing the courts …

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Public Lands Watch: ESA Regulations

Administration proposes subsantial revisions to the regulations that implement the Endangered Species Act

One of the most important statutes for management of federal public lands is the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  It’s important because it requires all federal agencies to avoid jeopardizing the existence of listed endangered and threatened species through their actions, and also to avoid adversely modifying critical habitat for those species.  That means when the …

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Public Lands Watch: NEPA Regulations

Administration asks for ideas about how to revise regulations implementing NEPA

A key statute for public lands management is not specific to any of the federal land management agencies or any specific land categories or activities.  Instead, it is a statute that applies generically to all federal government activities: the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).  NEPA, in short, requires the federal government to thoroughly analyze significant …

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Public Lands Watch: Sage Grouse Plan Revisions

BLM and Forest Service produce draft environmental impact statements for plan revisions

I wrote in the fall about the Trump Administration’s efforts to weaken protections for sage grouse on federal public lands.  The next step in that process is currently ongoing – draft environmental impact statements (EIS) for revisions to land management plans for BLM and Forest Service lands.  Those EISs are required by the National Environmental …

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Law professor comment on BLM proposal to revoke methane rule

Comment ids flaws in BLM’s proposal to revoke rule restricting methane emissions from oil and gas development on federal lands

I’ve already posted a couple of times on BLM’s proposal to revoke a rule that limits methane emissions (a major greenhouse gas) from oil and gas operations on federal lands.  The period for public comment on BLM’s proposal closes today.  A group of environmental law professors just filed a comment noting major legal problems with …

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United States v. California and SB 50

Federal lawsuit against California’s law to protect federal public lands may not be an easy win

Monday the federal government filed a lawsuit against the state of California challenging SB 50, a state law that attempts to give the state the ability to purchase federal public lands that are sold or disposed of.  The lawsuit has gotten a lot of attention in the press, some with assessments that the federal government’s …

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Public Lands Watch: Fire Appropriations and 2018 Omnibus

2018 Omnibus bill expands future funding for fire suppression efforts, and streamlines environmental review for some timber projects

Tom Schumann helped draft this blog post. The 2018 budget act signed into law on March 23, 2018 will increase the funding available for wildfire suppression, enabling the Forest Service and Interior Department to respond to ever more severe fires while easing the strain on their overall budgets. Before the new law, Congress limited appropriations …

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Public Lands Watch: BLM Methane Rule (Again)

BLM proposes repeal of rule restricting methane emissions from oil and gas development on federal lands

Tom Schumann drafted this blog post. As previously announced, the Interior Department has published its proposal to roll back an Obama-era regulation aimed at reducing climate change-causing methane releases from oil and gas operations on federal lands. The Obama-era regulation—commonly known as the methane rule—would (1) limit the amount of methane produced by wells that …

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Supreme Court Update: PEPTO and Rinehart

Supreme Court denies review in two important environmental law cases

Last week the US Supreme Court brought closure to two cases we have been following here at Legal Planet. First is a case I had blogged about in the past – People for the Ethical Treatment of Property Owners v. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – a challenge to the constitutionality of the federal Endangered …

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