In the final, major environmental law decision of its current Term, the U.S. Supreme Court handed property rights advocates a major victory while repudiating an important regulatory takings precedent the Court had itself fashioned and announced 34 years ago. The case is Knick v. Township of Scott. By a narrow 5-4 vote that split along […]
U.S. Supreme Court
Recent cases may expand the scope of states to protect environmental resources on federal public lands
One theme in environmental law and policy over the past two years has been an increasing conflict between states and the federal government – with a range of states (particularly those with Democratic governors and legislatures) challenging the federal government on environmental matters and seeking to be more aggressive in protecting the environment. One flashpoint […]
Cert. Denials Have Significant Implications for Environment, Human Health, and Clean Energy
States are on the leading edge in crafting pathbreaking climate and clean energy policy. They rely on longstanding authority to do so to further their citizens’ welfare and wellbeing. That bedrock authority recently received important reaffirmation from the Supreme Court, which last month declined petitions for review in two cases with important implications for power […]
Legal Challenges to Oregon & California Vehicle Fuel Carbon-Intensity Standards Close to the End of the Line, Clearing Path Forward to Transformative Reductions in Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Transportation Sector
This past Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court denied review of a federal appeals court decision upholding the legality of Oregon’s Clean Fuels Program. That decision finally frees Oregon’s program from uncertainty from what was seen as a significant legal challenge. The program, modeled after the similar California Low Carbon Fuel Standard developed by the California […]
Would it be legal to declare a national emergency for climate change? Would it be useful? Here’s what you need to know.
The possibility of declaring a national emergency to address climate change will probably remain under discussion for the next couple of years, particularly if the courts uphold Trump’s “wall” emergency. For that reason, I thought it might be helpful to pull together the series of blog posts I’ve written on the subject. I want to […]
Segment Provides Legal Context for Groundbreaking Children’s Climate Case
Our colleague Ann Carlson appeared on 60 Minutes this past Sunday for a lengthy on-camera interview with Steve Kroft, discussing the Juliana v. U.S. lawsuit filed by Our Children’s Trust. Begun in 2015, the lawsuit has survived several appeals so far, and is headed to oral arguments in June at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in Portland, Oregon. […]
Sleeper Supreme Court Case Could Upend Environmental Regulations
“I don’t want to know what the law says. I want to know who the judge is.” — Roy M. Cohn Roy Cohn was one of the most disgusting figures of 20th century American law, whose red-baiting and homophobia were exceeded in awfulness only by his mentoring of Donald Trump. But when it comes to […]
Climate change may devastate future generations. Is there a way to get their interests before the courts?
Climate change is not just a long-range problem; it’s one that will get much worse in the future unless major emissions cuts are made. For instance, sea levels will continue to rise for centuries. But the people who will be harmed by these changes can’t go to court: they haven’t been born yet. How can […]
The odds against the “children’s case” are bad and getting worse. But there’s a valid insight at its core.
Juliana v. United States, often called the “children’s case,” is an imaginative effort to make the federal government responsible for its role in promoting the production and use of fossil fuels and its failure to control carbon emissions. They ask the court to “declare the United States’ current environmental policy infringes their fundamental rights, direct the […]
House Democrats have power to use appropriations process to stop Trump Administration environmental rollbacks
Dan has already posted about some of the big deregulatory steps the Trump Administration is likely to take in the next year. But the new Democratic majority in the House could have something to say about those steps, if they wanted to. Democrats will have even more leverage over spending bills than they had in […]