The Supreme Court was right to overturn the lower court’s stay.
Environmental groups have fought valiantly to stop the construction of the MVP project, and the Fourth Circuit has repeatedly upheld their legal claims. Congress recently gave the pipeline the go-ahead. The Fourth Circuit quickly halted it again but was overturned earlier today by the Supreme Court. I’m no fan of natural gas pipelines or of …CONTINUE READING
The Supreme Court seems to be cooling to the idea of empowering state AGs.
Massachusetts v. EPA, the cornerstone climate case, contains an extensive discussion of standing which opens by saying that lawsuits by state governments are entitled to “special solicitude.” In the last few weeks of its term, the Supreme Court opined repeatedly on state standing. “Special solicitude” seems to be on the wane. Overall, I that might …CONTINUE READING
Will the major questions doctrine block EPA’s proposed rules?
Biden v. Nebraska, the student loan case, provided a new opportunity for the Court to apply the major question doctrine. Does this decision increase the threat that EPA’s proposed new regulations will be struck down under this doctrine? A careful reading of the majority opinion is at least somewhat reassuring. The Court painted a picture …CONTINUE READING
Two stories of the unknown environmental advocates behind major Supreme Court decisions.
My students often wonder whether they can actually make a difference. I like to tell them the story of Joe Mendelsohn. Mendelsohn, who worked at a tiny, obscure non-profit, decided that EPA needed to address climate change. His efforts, recounted in a book by Richard Lazarus, led to the Supreme Court’s blockbuster opinion in Massachusetts …CONTINUE READING
The state argued that Held v. Montana is a boring case about procedure. The kids made a compelling case that climate action is part of Montana’s constitutional obligation to maintain a healthy environment.
The very first American trial of a youth climate lawsuit was hardly blockbuster Court TV, but we learned a lot from the proceedings. The bench trial took place last month in the state capitol, Helena, where 16 youth plaintiffs ages 5 to 22 made the case that Montana’s unwavering promotion of fossil fuels violates the …CONTINUE READING
A trial court decision invalidated the City of San Diego’s tiered water rates. This amicus brief by the Environmental Law Clinic on behalf of California Coastkeeper Alliance and Los Angeles Waterkeeper argues a reversal is needed to pursue conservation and equity.
Court challenges to the use of tiered water rates in California are threatening the state’s own water conservation and affordability goals. That’s what’s at stake in a case called Patz v. City of San Diego. Climate change is intensifying California’s hydrologic variability and exacerbating the state’s water supply challenges. Dwindling water supplies have led …CONTINUE READING
The Environmental Law Clinic joins other local, state, and federal governments, as well as NGOs, in urging the Ninth Circuit to take a second look at the case.
Yesterday, the UCLA Environmental Law Clinic filed a brief in the California Restaurant Association v. Berkeley case on behalf of seven law professors: our own William Boyd, Dan Farber and Sharon Jacobs at UC Berkeley, Jim Rossi at Vanderbilt, David Spence at UT Austin, Shelley Welton at UPenn, and Hannah Wiseman at Penn State. (The …CONTINUE READING
In a petition seeking review of the decision, the City of Berkeley says that the opinion from a Ninth Circuit panel takes federal preemption too far.
The City of Berkeley just filed a petition for en banc review in its long-running litigation in defense of an ordinance it passed that restricts natural-gas infrastructure in new construction. This litigation has been watched by many in the climate-policy world because of the popularity of laws like Berkeley’s; it took on new relevance for local-authority …CONTINUE READING
Held v. Montana is the first of many climate lawsuits by youth plaintiffs to go to trial. Big Sky Country is a fitting forum for this phase of climate change litigation.
Young people who have the most to lose from climate change have filed lawsuits in all 50 states, but the first of these cases to go to trial will be in Montana—unofficially nicknamed “the Last Best Place”—which may be the perfect venue for a landmark trial about government culpability for the global climate crisis. Starting …CONTINUE READING
Local Government’s Authority to Limit Oil & Gas Development To Be Argued Before Justices
For the first two decades of this century, and under the able leadership of former Chief Justices Ronald George and Tani Cantil-Sakauye, the California Supreme Court was quite active in interpreting and shaping California environmental law. That trend had abated in the last few years–coincidentally or not during the height of the COVID epidemic–with only …CONTINUE READING