Litigation

David Nawi Appointed to High-Ranking USDOI Post

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar has named a respected California environmental lawyer to serve in a key, newly-created Department of Interior post. Salazar appointed David Nawi as his Senior Advisor to the Secretary for California and Nevada. In his announcement selecting Nawi, Secretary Salazar stated, “The current water crisis and land management challenges …

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EPA (indirectly) wins a turf war

Think the executive branch is one big happy family under the benevolent direction of (any) president? Think again. Power struggles over turf and substantive outcomes are frequent, and success in those struggles depends on a lot more than just who has the ear of the president at the moment. Sometimes it takes litigation, which has …

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California Legislature may decide L.A. football stadium can go forward, despite allegations of inadequate environmental review

Great minds may disagree about whether a new professional football stadium (or team, for that matter) would be good for Los Angeles.  But a new last-minute bill that the California State Senate is considering today, which would eliminate further environmental review under the California Environmental Quality Act for a newly-approved stadium complex in the City …

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Wolf hunts can continue

A federal judge in Montana has refused to halt the hunting of gray wolves in Idaho and Montana, but has strongly suggested that the wolf was unlawfully delisted under the Endangered Species Act. In April, the US Fish and Wildlife Service removed the gray wolf in Idaho and Montana from the endangered species list. The …

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Court to Interior: Not so fast on rule change

In April, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar asked a federal court to vacate a last-minute Bush administration rule relaxing stream buffer zone requirements for dumping waste from mountaintop removal mining. Salazar said that the rule didn’t pass the smell test, and that it had been improperly issued without ESA consultation. Environmental groups which had challenged the …

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Ninth Circuit reinstates Clinton roadless rule

Since the end of the Clinton era, there has been much confusion over the status of roadless areas in the national forests. Yesterday the Ninth Circuit weighed in, ruling in California v. USDA that the Bush administration had unlawfully revised the Clinton administration’s Roadless Rule, and reinstating that rule. The decision, which has been welcomed …

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US won’t appeal Casitas decision

Last month, when he posted about the Supreme Court taking up the Florida beach renourishment case, Rick noted the possibility that the Court might hear another takings case, Casitas Municipal Water District v. U.S., 543 F.3d 1276 (2008). Indeed, the Casitas case, in which the Federal Circuit held that the physical takings doctrine applied to …

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Standing for trees, redux

The Sunday Boston Globe includes this lengthy piece by Rebecca Tuhus-Dubrow on the revival of arguments first made in the 1970s that nature should be granted legal rights and perhaps even standing in court. USC law professor Chris Stone argued in a celebrated 1972 article that places like the Mineral King valley should be allowed …

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Water wars, eastern style

Those of us in the west have grown used to thinking of water wars as a regional specialty. But they happen in the east too. Florida, Alabama, and Georgia have been in court for nearly 20 years fighting over the waters of the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River system, popularly known as the ACF. On Friday, a federal …

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Back to the future in northwest federal forests

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar today announced the withdrawal of the Bush administration’s last-minute revisions of the Northwest Forest Plan. Interior will also ask a federal court to vacate the 2008 modification of critical habitat for the northern spotted owl, and will review the 2008 spotted owl recovery plan, heavily criticized by outside scientists, which was …

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