Litigation

America’s Leading Environmental Court

Hint: It’s in the southernmost state.  Which is not Florida.

The state court on the cutting edge of environmental law is a long way from the major population and media centers, which may be one reason it doesn’t get much attention.   It deserves more. The Hawaiian Supreme Court has been forging new paths in environmental law that may lead the way for other courts in …

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Interstate Pollution and the Supreme Court’s “Shadow Docket”

The Court considers whether to stay an EPA plan in light of changed circumstances.

Later this month, the Supreme Court will hear oral argument about whether to stay a plan issued by EPA to limit upwind states from creating ozone pollution that impacts other states.  As I wrote before the Court decided to hear the arguments, the issues here seem less than earthshaking, and for that matter, less than …

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The Unique Legal Context of EPA Methane  Regulations

Three separate congressional actions intersect to support the regulations.

The government’s efforts to control methane have followed a complicated path, involving three different congressional actions:  section 111 of the Clean Air Act,  which allows EPA to regulate emissions of greenhouse gases; a congressional override of an earlier regulatory action; and a newer statute that creates a fee on methane emissions.  The upshot is to …

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Saving the Planet, One Case at a Time

These 50 law school clinics are doing vital work on environmental issues across the country.

Law school clinics are where the proverbial rubber meets the road. They  introduce students to the realities of lawyering. Often, they are a law school’s most important form of public service.  Environmental law clinics have blossomed across the country. Today’s post provides a directory to the clinics. There are several sites that promise comprehensive lists …

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Judicial Activism and Climate Change: An Unhealthy Combination

The trial judge in the Juliana case won’t give up, no matter what higher courts say..

An Oregon federal judge has convinced herself that climate change is a constitutional issue.  After what promises to be a lengthy trial, Judge Aiken plans to decide whether U.S. energy policy passes constitutional muster. While I have no doubts about her sincerity and good intentions, her opinion itself shows why her courtroom is not the …

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The U.S. Supreme Court & Environmental Law in 2024

Numerous Key Environmental Issues and Doctrines Will Confront the Justices This Year

As we begin 2024, it’s useful to identify and assess the many environmental issues that the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to decide this year.  It seems likely that the conservative majority of the justices will erode or, perhaps, dramatically jettison longstanding principles of environmental law and policy in the coming months. Summarized below are …

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More Thrills and Chills Ahead!  What to Expect in 2024

Here are the key events that will shape climate and energy policy.

We will face some important forks in the road in 2024 in terms of environmental law.  Here are some of the upcoming forks. Who will be President in 2025?  You probably don’t need reminding that 2024 is an election year. At this point, the election seems likely to be a replay of Biden versus Trump. …

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California Courts Foil Westlands Water District’s Grinch-Like Water Grab

Westlands’ Efforts to Permanently Privatize California Water Opposed by Unique Coalition & Rejected by Skeptical Judges

While there’s a great deal that’s dysfunctional and downright wrong about water law and policy in California, occasionally there are positive developments to report.  So it’s most satisfying to end 2023 with some good news regarding water in the Golden State. This is the saga of how the Westlands Water District tried to privatize a …

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Reviewing Agency Indecision

The Third Circuit straightens out a quirk in FERC law, to the benefit of renewable energy.

A case decided by the Third Circuit on Dec. 1 is important for two reasons. It clarifies a puzzling procedural rule applying to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). And it upholds an important policy shift regarding renewable energy by the country’s largest grid operator.  Since you’re probably more interested in the second point than …

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The Children’s Crusade

The latest climate lawsuit is well intended, but it’s almost certain to lose and could do serious harm.

The Children’s Trust has filed another lawsuit, one that gives me serious qualms. I know their hearts are in the right place, but I wish they had thought twice about filing this case. I struggle to find any benefit from the litigation. It has no apparent chance of success. Worse, it disparages people in the …

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