Late last night, the Washington Post reported that Secretary Ryan Zinke had recommended making changes–by downsizing and/or by loosening restrictions–to a total of 10 national monuments. The list of monuments goes beyond what had been reported last month. The Post released a leaked copy of Zinke’s recommendations that were submitted to President Trump on August […]
Today’s important ruling on standing, public lands, and climate change
In an important ruling this morning, the Tenth Circuit rejected the government’s assertion that it could ignore carbon emissions tied to renewing coal leases. In WildEarth Guardians v. BLM, the court also rejected the mining company’s attack on the standing of environmental groups to raise this claim.The mines in question are in the Powder River […]
Zinke’s review has been anything but transparent
Last Thursday, Secretary Zinke submitted a report to President Trump, recommending changes to national monuments. Although Trump’s Executive Order in April called for a “final report” within 120 days–the deadline was Thursday–the Interior Department’s press release called the report a “draft.” And as Holly Doremus explained on this blog, it has still not been made […]
Secretary Zinke announced that his Department has submitted its review of national monuments to the President, but he’s not ready to let you and me see it
Today, the Department of Interior announced that it had sent to the White House its report of the review demanded by an April Executive Order of national monument designations under the Antiquities Act over the last 20 years. In an ordinary world, I would have expected that announcement to be accompanied by a link to […]
It’s time to rethink the amount of power presidents have claimed over regulatory policy.
If there was ever a time to think hard about presidential power, that time is now. That’s a very broad question, but the part most relevant for this blog is the President’s role in controlling government regulation. There is no question that presidents have and will continue to have a huge influence on regulatory policy. […]
Ostriches actually don’t hide their heads in the sand, but the Trump administration sure wants to
It’s a myth (of course) that ostriches hide their heads in the sand when they’re afraid. Hiding one’s head is about the worst possible way to react to danger: it won’t make a threat go away, but it will make it awfully difficult to respond effectively. Ostriches are not that stupid. (They apparently do sometimes […]
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 […]
The potential impact of a Trump Administration on our federal public lands.
The federal government owns almost one-third of the land in the United States, primarily concentrated in the Western states. In addition, the federal government is the primary manager of the oceans off the coast of the United States (with the exception of oceans within three miles of the coastline, which are primarily under state authority). […]
What are the implications of changes to the federal budget for environmental law?
The Trump Administration has proposed draconian cuts to a range of environmental and science agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Interior, NASA’s climate science work, and NOAA’s science and regulatory programs. Here we’ll talk about the potential implications of dramatic budget cuts, and then the likelihood they will occur, at least for […]
Congress Should Ensure that Money Is Available to Address Pollution on Public Lands
In recent legal battles, the State of Utah has rarely sided with the environment. It is a significant moment, therefore, when Utah files a lawsuit aimed to force polluters to pay for contamination they have caused, as it did last week when it sued mine owners and contractors for the EPA related to the Gold […]