Land Use

Federalism, the Environment, Land Use, and Energy Independence - Event Audio/Video

2016 Annual Western Chapters Conference
Anthony L. Fran├žois, Richard Frank, Donald J. Kochan, Justin Pidot, Milan D. Smith, Jennifer Perkins February 17, 2016

Some states have criticized Washington overreach on a number of energy and environmental issues, from fracking, the sale of public lands, utility regulation, and clean air and water regulation. Many state attorneys general have banded together to challenge alleged overreach in the environmental arena, including litigation against the EPA’s coal-fired power plant regulation plans. What are the proper federalism models for environmental regulation? What role should the courts and state attorneys general play? A panel of experts will discuss.

This panel was part of the 2016 Annual Western Chapters Conference at The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, CA on January 30, 2016.

Federalism, the Environment, Land Use, and Energy Independence

  • Mr. Anthony L. (Tony) François, Senior Staff Attorney, Pacific Legal Foundation
  • Prof. Richard Frank, Director, California Environmental Law and Policy Center, UC Davis School of Law
  • Prof. Donald J. Kochan, Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Development; Dale E. Fowler School of Law, Chapman University
  • Prof. Justin Pidot, Sturm College of Law, University of Denver
  • Moderator: Hon. Milan D. Smith, Jr., U.S. Court of Appeals, 9th  Circuit
  • Introduction: Ms. Jennifer Perkins, Assistant Solicitor General, AG Opinions and Ethics at Arizona Attorney General's Office

The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library
Simi Valley, CA

Sturgeon v. Frost - Post-Argument SCOTUScast

SCOTUScast 2-17-16 featuring Gale Norton
Gale Norton February 17, 2016

On January 20, 2016, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in 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 Ninth Circuit affirmed that judgment as to Sturgeon but ordered that Alaska’s case be dismissed for lack of standing.

The question before the Court is 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.

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

Public Land Controversy: The States v. The Federal Government - Podcast

Environmental Law & Property Rights and Federalism & Separation of Powers Practice Groups Podcast
Donald J. Kochan, David Garbett June 25, 2014

public lands mapControversies over jurisdiction and management of public lands are building. Whether grazing rights disputes in Nevada or New Mexico, alarm over federal disinterest in long recognized local partnerships for management of multi-use lands, BLM review of millions of acres to balance factors like environmental justice, and complaints of forest maintenance hazards, states are increasingly concerned. Western states contend that return of public lands to state control would generate a North Dakota-like renaissance of jobs, access to resources, and economic activity. Several Western states are investigating the legal basis for challenging federal retention of these public multi-use lands as described in state charter enabling acts. The state of Utah now has statutory authority to sue the federal government for return of its lands in January, 2015. How sound is the legal case, and what are the economic implications for the Western states -- as well as the country in general? What are the environmental policy issues and is state stewardship of these lands best?

  • Hon. Ken Ivory, State Representative, Utah House of Representatives
  • Prof. Donald J. Kochan, Professor of Law, Chapman University School of Law
  • Carl Graham, Director, Center for Self-Government in the West, Sutherland Institute
  • David Garbett, Staff Counsel, Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance

Koontz v. St. Johns River Water Management District and Its Implications for Takings Law

Engage Volume 14, Issue 3 October 2013
Brian T. Hodges February 28, 2014

Supreme CourtThe U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision in Koontz v. St. Johns River Water Management District is one of the most significant and decisive victories for property owners in decades. In broad terms, the Court’s opinion recognizes that the Takings Clause of the U.S. Constitution places strict limits on the all-too-common municipal practice of exacting money from land-use applicants to fund unrelated public projects. The decision holds that the government cannot use the land-use permit process to compel landowners to give up land, money, or any other property as the “price” of obtaining development approval, unless the government can show that its demand is necessary to mitigate some harmful impact caused by the proposed land use....[Read Now!]

Unresolved Takings Questions Following the October 2012 Supreme Court Term - Podcast

Environmental Law & Property Rights Practice Group Podcast
James S. Burling, Steven J. Eagle, Thomas W. Merrill, Dean A. Reuter September 18, 2013

Supreme Court frontThe United States Supreme Court issued three notable takings decisions during the October 2012 term in Koontz v. St. Johns Water Management DistrictArkansas Game & Fish Commission v. United States, and Horne v. Department of Agriculture. Our experts will discuss these opinions and the questions that they leave unresolved ahead of the 2013 term.


  • James S. Burling, Director of Litigation, Pacific Legal Foundation
  • Prof. Steven J. Eagle, Professor of Law, George Mason University School of Law
  • Prof. Thomas W. Merrill, Charles Evans Hughes Professor of Law, Columbia Law School
  • Moderator: Dean Reuter, Vice President and Director of Practice Groups, The Federalist Society

[Listen now!]