Climate change may devastate future generations. Is there a way to get their interests before the courts?
Climate change is not just a long-range problem; it’s one that will get much worse in the future unless major emissions cuts are made. For instance, sea levels will continue to rise for centuries. But the people who will be harmed by these changes can’t go to court: they haven’t been born yet. How can …CONTINUE READING
The odds against the “children’s case” are bad and getting worse. But there’s a valid insight at its core.
Juliana v. United States, often called the “children’s case,” is an imaginative effort to make the federal government responsible for its role in promoting the production and use of fossil fuels and its failure to control carbon emissions. They ask the court to “declare the United States’ current environmental policy infringes their fundamental rights, direct the …CONTINUE READING
Today’s important ruling on standing, public lands, and climate change
In an important ruling this morning, the Tenth Circuit rejected the government’s assertion that it could ignore carbon emissions tied to renewing coal leases. In WildEarth Guardians v. BLM, the court also rejected the mining company’s attack on the standing of environmental groups to raise this claim.The mines in question are in the Powder River …CONTINUE READING
The same tools that have been used to stymie the Obama Administration can be turned against Trump.
Conservatives and industry have perfected some legal tools to block regulation by the Obama Administration. Those tools can be turned against them, by using the same tools to block anti-regulatory moves by the Trump Administration. As a professor, I don’t necessarily agree with all of them. But as a lawyer, I wouldn’t hesitate to use them …CONTINUE READING
A non-environmental case opens the door to new arguments about standing.
One of the recurring questions in standing law is the extent to which Congress can change the application of the standing doctrine. A recent Supreme Court opinion in a non-environmental case sheds some light – not a lot, but some – on this recurring question. The Court has made it clear that there is a …CONTINUE READING
Scalia’s decisions were almost unremittingly anti-environmental.
Over the past three decades, Justice Scalia did much to shape environmental law, nearly always in a conservative direction. Because of the importance of his rulings, environmental lawyers and scholars are all familiar with his work. But for the benefit of others, I thought it might be helpful to summarize his major environmental decisions. The …CONTINUE READING
BP is trying to use standing law to wiggle out of its own settlement agreement. The courts have been right to say no.
BP entered into a settlement in a massive class action against it arising out of the BP oil spill. Now it’s trying to get out of part of the settlement while keeping the rest of the deal in place. BP’s argument involves three areas of confusion in standing doctrine: how does it apply to class actions, …CONTINUE READING
We May Learn This Week Whether Court Takes Up Important Climate Change Case
Court watchers are still waiting to learn whether the U.S. Supreme Court will hear the second most important federal case involving greenhouse gas emissions, Coalition for Responsible Regulation v. EPA. The Court is closed today for a federal holiday (not because of the shutdown) but any day we should hear about whether it will take …CONTINUE READING
Standing is notoriously a barrier to litigation by environmental groups. In fact, many of the Supreme Court’s major standing decisions involve environmental claimants. The conventional wisdom is that standing is no problem for businesses because regulations limit their freedom of action and impose financial costs. But recent cases suggest that’s an oversimplification. In fact, it …CONTINUE READING
In a post last week, I expressed puzzlement about the D.C. Circuit’s failure to discuss standing in Center on Biological Diversity v. EPA, which involved EPA’s decision to delay greenhouse gas regulations for facilities burning biomass. The question of standing in climate change cases has been controversial, so this mystery sparked extensive discussion among environmental …CONTINUE READING