California

Green in Black and White

It’s Time to Show Up

My favorite opening line from any Earth Day speech ever was this: “Today, black and white, yellow and brown, we are all green.”  The speech was delivered three decades ago; the place was Times Square; and the speaker was David Dinkins, New York City’s first (and to date, only) African-American mayor.  How I wish his …

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Suing Big Oil

Which court has jurisdiction? State court or federal?

Yesterday, the Ninth Circuit ruled in favor of the plaintiffs in two climate change cases brought against the oil industry. The court ruled on a narrow but important procedural issue: whether the cases should be sent back to state court. Cities and counties should now be able to continue with the cases, in which they …

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Ninth Circuit Hands California Local Governments Big Climate Change Win

Local Governments’ Climate Change Lawsuits Against Big Energy Belong in State Courts, Court of Appeals Rules

Today the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit handed numerous California local governments a major win over major oil, gas and coal companies in several of the nation’s most consequential set of climate change lawsuits.  The Ninth Circuit did so in two separate opinions; County of San Mateo v. Chevron Corporation and City of …

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Guest Contributors Helen Kang and Deborah Sivas: California Should Lead the Nation in Controlling Agricultural Pollution

Agricultural runoff in California

Protection of Drinking Water and Environmental Quality Demands Strong Action

Agricultural runoff is one of the largest sources of pollution in the nation’s waterways. In recent years, scientific journals and the media have been filled with reports of toxic algae blooms and dead zones near and far: The Everglades, Great Lakes, Gulf of Mexico, Chesapeake Bay, and San Francisco Bay-Delta. Agricultural pollution also threatens public …

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What Are The Benefits Of Phasing Out California’s Oil & Gas Production?

Emissions should decrease but multiple factors complicate any predictions

It might seem obvious that phasing out oil and gas production in California would benefit the climate. But the reality is much more complicated, in terms of emissions, economics and even geopolitics. CLEE just released the report Legal Grounds with policy options to reduce in-state production, but the question of how much a phase out …

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Do Epidemic-Based Business Closures by Government Trigger an Unconstitutional “Taking”?

Longstanding U.S. Supreme Court Precedents Indicate the Answer is an Unequivocal “No”

Lately, an increasing number of public and private voices have been raised in opposition to business closures ordered by state and local governments in response to the COVID-19 epidemic.  In many such cases, that opposition has taken the form of lawsuits filed by business owners, claiming a violation of their constitutional rights.  Gun shops across …

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Top 10 Worst Environmental Decisions in California’s History

Ranking the lost landscapes and environmental features

California has a paradoxical history with its environment. On one hand, the state boasts incredible natural beauty, along with a government that is an internationally recognized leader for strong environmental policies. But the state’s residents have also caused severe environmental destruction, particularly in the late nineteenth century — some of which helped spur the mobilization …

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Coastal Beaches, Public Access & the Pandemic

Important Legal & Policy Considerations in Closing Beaches to Protect Public Health

As part of America’s steadily growing restiveness over state and local shelter-in-place directives, the issue of government-mandated public beach closures has recently emerged as a particularly contentious issue.  It’s especially prominent now, given that many coastal states are experiencing their first heat waves of 2020. Many Americans are increasingly weary of and angry over public …

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Roadmap For California To Phase Out Oil & Gas Production

New CLEE report released today with legal options for state policy makers & free May 12th webinar

California is the seventh-largest oil producing state in the country, with a fossil fuel industry that is responsible for billions of dollars in state and local revenue and other economic activity each year. Yet continued oil and gas production contrasts with the state’s aggressive climate mitigation policies, while creating significant air and water pollution, particularly …

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In Support of Public Health Federalism

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Reactionary State Responses to COVID-19 (and Other Threats to Public Health) Don’t Mean Federalism Is For Suckers

For decades, “states’ rights” has been a rallying cry of the right wing. Most Americans are familiar with the dynamics that required the federalization of civil rights law, both in the 1860s and again in the 1960s, the protection of much of our nation’s federal lands, and the national crises that necessitated the federal government …

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