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Environmental Law

Sturgeon v. Frost - Post-Decision SCOTUScast

SCOTUScast 6-2-16 featuring Gale Norton
Gale Norton June 02, 2016

On March 22, 2016, the Supreme Court decided Sturgeon v. Frost. Sturgeon challenged a National Park Service (NPS) ban on the operation of hovercraft on the National River, part of which falls within the Yukon-Charley River National Preserve. The State of Alaska then intervened, challenging NPS’s authority to require its researchers to obtain a permit before engaging in studies of chum and sockeye salmon on the Alagnak River, part of which falls within the boundaries of the Katmai National Park and Preserve. Sturgeon and Alaska contended that the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA) precludes NPS from regulating activities on state-owned lands and navigable waters that fall within the boundaries of National Park System units in Alaska. The district court ruled in favor of the federal government, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed that judgment as to Sturgeon but ordered that Alaska’s case be dismissed for lack of standing. The question before the Supreme Court was whether ANILCA prohibits the National Park Service from exercising regulatory control over state, native corporation, and private Alaska land physically located within the boundaries of the National Park System.

By a vote of 8-0, the Supreme Court vacated the judgment of the Ninth Circuit and remanded the case. Chief Justice Roberts delivered the opinion for a unanimous Court, rejecting the Ninth Circuit’s reading of ANILCA. Taken as whole, the Court indicated, ANILCA “contemplates the possibility that all the land within the boundaries of conservation system units in Alaska may be treated differently from federally managed preservation areas across the country, and that ‘non-public’ lands within the boundaries of those units may be treated differently from ‘public’ lands within the unit.”

To discuss the case, we have the Honorable Gale Norton, who served as the 48th U.S. Secretary of the Interior.

WOTUS comes to SCOTUS: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers v. Hawkes Company Decided - Podcast

Environmental Law & Property Rights Practice Group Podcast
Mark Miller May 31, 2016

On Monday, May 31 the United States Supreme Court issued an 8-0 opinion in U.S. Army Corps of Engineers v. Hawkes Company. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and Pacific Legal Foundation, representing Hawkes Company, squared off regarding the Corps’ decision that Hawkes Company could not use its property for peat farming without first spending hundreds of thousands of dollars in pursuit of a federal wetlands permit under the Environmental Protection Agency’s “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS) rule. The Court agreed with Pacific Legal Foundation that that decision, called a Jurisdictional Determination, is judicially reviewable under the Administrative Procedure Act.

Featuring:

  • Mark Miller, Managing Attorney, Atlantic Center, Pacific Legal Foundation

Who Controls Fracking?: Two Critical Court Decisions - Podcast

Environmental Law & Property Rights Practice Group Podcast
Eric R. Claeys, Hannah J. Wiseman May 24, 2016

Unconventional oil and gas production (or "fracking") has generated new wealth, new jobs, and new sources of energy for many Americans. But fracking has also generated local congestion and pollution problems, and some believe that it creates significant risks for state fresh water supplies or global climate change. In many states, localities opposed to fracking are trying to ban the practice or impose long moratoriums on it within municipal limits, notwithstanding statewide political support for fracking. The tensions between state-level energy policies and local restrictions raise legal questions about when statewide energy regulations should preempt local efforts to restrict fracking using local powers over land use. Earlier this month, the Colorado Supreme Court handed down two new and important preemption decisions, City of Fort Collins v. Colorado Oil & Gas Association, and Longmont v. Colorado Oil & Gas Association. Our experts discussed both cases, their significance in Colorado, and their implications for fracking and preemption law elsewhere in the United States.

Featuring:

  • Prof. Eric R. Claeys, Professor of Law, George Mason University School of Law
  • Prof. Hannah Wiseman, Attorneys' Title Professor, Florida State University College of Law

Governmental Power versus Free Speech? - Podcast

Practice Groups Podcast
John S. Baker, Jr., C. Boyden Gray, Scott Pruitt May 16, 2016

Several state attorneys general have banded together to investigate what ExxonMobil did and did not know about global warming over the past decades.  A subpoena issued by the attorney general of the U.S. Virgin Islands seeks Exxon records dating back to 1977, including communications with some 90 private organizations and dozens of private individuals.  Other subpoenas have been issued to private organizations.  Our panel of experts discussed the merits of the investigation, how widely it might range, and its implications.

Featuring:

  • Prof. John S. Baker, Jr., Visiting Professor, Georgetown University Law Center
  • Hon. C. Boyden Gray, Founding Partner, Boyden Gray & Associates
  • Hon. Scott Pruitt, Attorney General, State of Oklahoma

Free Speech and Climate Change

Short video featuring Andrew Grossman
Andrew Grossman April 19, 2016

Andrew Grossman, Partner at BakerHostetler, explains the investigation of the fossil fuel industry and public policy groups skeptical of climate change by the Attorneys General of nineteen states. He underscores the importance of free speech in public policy debates on climate change. Mr. Grossman is also Counsel for the Competitive Enterprise Institute.