public lands

Bears Ears: A Monumental End to the Obama Era

Will the Antiquities Act survive the new administration?

With one week left in his second term, President Obama’s “monumental” legacy is again at the forefront. Just yesterday, the President expanded, by proclamation, the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument in Oregon and the California Coastal National Monument, and created three additional national monuments: the Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument and the Freedom Riders National Monument in …

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State regulation of environmental harms on federal lands

California Supreme Court case indicates substantial authority for states to act

Sean has already reported on the recent Rinehart decision by the California Supreme Court, in which the Court concluded that a state law imposing a temporary moratorium on the use of suction dredge equipment in California waterways was not preempted by federal mining law.  Here, I just want to add to Sean’s excellent summary by …

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Obama’s Public Lands Conservation Legacy

Progress, but still much more to do

President Obama has gotten some high praise lately from the New York Times editorial board, and this op-ed from Prof. David Brinkley, a presidential historian at Rice noted for his biography of President Theodore Roosevelt.  Brinkley compares Obama favorably to Teddy Roosevelt for his conservation legacy. The specific recent actions by President Obama that prompted …

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Bikes in Wilderness

A misguided proposal in Congress

This New York Times article notes that a bill (S. 3205) is pending in Congress to allow mountain bikes in federally-designated wilderness areas.  In short, the bill is a terrible idea. First, on the merits, allowing mountain bikes into wilderness areas has the potential for significant impacts both on other humans using wilderness, and on …

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Conflicting Visions of the Future of the American West

The GOP favors the Old West of ranching, logging, mining, and oil. The Democrats have a different view.

The Democratic and Republican parties have very different ideas about the 640 million acres of land owned by the federal government, mostly in the West. It’s not just that the party platforms disagree about the balance between preservation and resource exploitation. It’s also that Democrats have a much different vision of the future of the American …

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U.S. Bureau of Land Management Violated NEPA When Selling Oil and Gas Leases in California

On April 8, a federal magistrate judge issued the first major ruling in a California fracking lawsuit, finding that the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) violated the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) by failing to take the necessary “hard look” at the impact of hydraulic fracturing when it sold oil and gas leases in California. …

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