Biodiversity & Species

200 Days & Counting: Environmental Threat Assessment

The Trump Administration presents a barrage of threats to the environment. Which threats are worst?

This is the last in our series on the state of play concerning U.S. environmental protection at this point of the Trump Administration. We can classify threats along three dimensions: the likelihood of harm, the seriousness and irreversibility of the harm, and the irreversibility of the institutional or legal change. Here’s an assessment of our […]

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Public Lands Watch: HR 2936

Resilient Federal Forests Act would reduce or eliminate environmental protections for logging projects on National Forests

The House Natural Resources Committee passed H.R. 2936, the “Resilient Federal Forests Act of 2017,” out of committee on June 27th and the bill is now waiting in the House for debate. The bill would expedite National Environment Policy Act (NEPA) review for U.S. Forest Service projects in order to improve forest management on federal […]

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France Pushes for Global Pact on the Environment

President Macron, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and others support proposal for global environmental treaty

In Paris this past Saturday, a high-level group of legal experts endorsed a new proposal for a worldwide environmental treaty: the Global Pact on the Environment. President Emmanuel Macron of France gave the concluding speech at a launch event for the Pact (text and video in French); other speakers included former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Laurent Fabius […]

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Is the Endangered Species Act a success?

Why the number of listed species that are no longer endangered is not a good measure of the Act’s success

The Republican-controlled Senate Environment and Public Works Committee held hearings a couple of weeks ago on “reforming” the Endangered Species Act.  (Coverage here and here, second link behind a paywall.)  An important theme of the hearing was arguments by Republican Senators that the ESA has failed because only a small fraction of species listed for […]

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Public Lands Watch: House Joint Resolution 69

House passes resolution to nullify regulation restricting hunting on Alaska National Wildlife Refuges

Additional update: The President signed SJR 69. Update: The Senate just passed S.J.R. 69. The House voted last week to pass House Joint Resolution 69. The resolution disapproves of the Fish & Wildlife Service rule, “Non-Subsistence Take of Wildlife, and Public Participation and Closure Procedures on National Wildlife Refuges in Alaska,” which was finalized on […]

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The Ninth Circuit’s Top Environmental Law Decisions of 2016

Climate Change, Endangered Species Act, NEPA, Constitutional Challenges Dominate Court of Appeals’ Docket

In 2016, at least, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit was the most important and influential court in the nation when it comes to environmental law.  That’s true for two reasons: first, the U.S. Supreme Court only issued one significant environmental law decision last year, in U.S. Army Corps of Engineers v. Hawkes […]

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Yes, there’s some actual good environmental news this week

Approval of regional ocean management plans, California planning for gray wolf return provide grounds for hope

It’s not exactly been the best of weeks for those of us committed to environmental protection, and it doesn’t look like the best of years coming up. But there is some good news, even in these difficult times. Two items in particular have helped lift the gloom for me this week. First, the National Ocean […]

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California’s internecine water war

Dianne Feinstein versus Barbara Boxer; maximizing water deliveries versus protecting the environment

If you thought California was immune to the season of political craziness, think again. California Democrats Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer were elected to the Senate together in 1992. They are usually on the same side, but not always. Water is one of the issues on which they often part company. Feinstein is a water […]

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Searching for Votes in the Senate

Q: Can the Dems scrounge up the votes to block anti-environment actions? A: Maybe.

Paul Ryan and Donald Trump have vowed to roll back many environmental protections.  The Senate seems to be the one barrier against anti-environmental moves by Congress.  How strong is that barrier? The answer depends in part on whether the filibuster option remains open. If the filibuster rule remains intact, the Democrats’ 48 votes in the Senate […]

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Climate Science Takes Win in Effort to Save Bearded Seal

Ninth Circuit upholds NMFS’s reliance on climate projections to 2095 in decision to list Pacific bearded seal as threatened under ESA

Climate change is expected to wipe out critical habitat of the Pacific bearded seal by 2095.  This projection, based on IPCC climate data and models, justifies listing the Beringia distinct population segment of the bearded seal as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, according to a recent Ninth Circuit opinion in Alaska Oil and Gas […]

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