public lands

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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Public Lands Watch: Izembek National Wildlife Refuge

Interior Department proposes to authorize road through wildlife refuge in Alaska

Tom Schumann authored this blog post. News outlets report that the Interior Department, reversing a decision made under President Obama, has agreed to a land exchange with an Alaska Native village that would allow construction of a road across a national wildlife refuge that provides important habitat for migratory birds, bears, caribou, and other species. …

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Public Lands Watch: HR 4239

House bill would give states control of oil and gas leasing process, weaken Presidential power to restrict leasing

Tom Schumann drafted this blog post. Provisions tucked in a House oil and gas development bill would repeal one of the oldest conservation laws and scale back another. The provisions show House Republicans working to make rollbacks by the Trump Administration permanent, consistent with the administration’s “America First” energy campaign. H.R. 4239, reported out of …

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What’s in Trump’s Proclamations on Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments

An analysis of the new proclamations and the legal issues they raise

On Monday, President Trump signed two proclamations, downsizing the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments in Utah. These two proclamations are the first official acts by Trump to implement the recommendations from Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s national monuments review this summer. (Zinke’s final report and recommendations were just made public yesterday. In a short …

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Public Lands Watch: ANWR and Monuments Updates

Updates on the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and National Monuments

Two updates on issues that we have been following. First, the Senate passed a tax bill that opens up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas development – though an initial version of that provision which would have relaxed environmental review of development in the refuge was stripped out.  The bill likely will …

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President Trump’s national monument rollback is illegal and likely to be reversed in court

Authored by Nicholas Bryner, Eric Biber, Mark Squillace, and Sean B. Hecht

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article. Supporters of the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments during a rally Saturday, Dec. 2, 2017 in Salt Lake City. AP Photo/Rick Bowmer On Dec. 4, President Trump traveled to Utah to sign proclamations downsizing Bears Ears National Monument by 85 percent …

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Public Lands Watch: Resilient Federal Forests Act

Bill to reduce environmental protections for timber management on federal lands passes House

The Resilient Federal Forests Act (RFFA), H.R. 2936—which would curb environmental review under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) for a variety of forest management activities on National Forest and BLM lands—passed the House November 1. (We previously wrote about a version of this bill in committee here.) NEPA requires agencies to consider whether proposed …

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