Category Archives: Environmental Law

The Office of Surface Mining Loses Another NEPA Case — Do I Detect a Trend?

Last week, a federal judge once more rejected the Environmental Assessment for the expansion of the Spring Creek Mine in Montana.  The case does not really break any new ground, but it does add to the growing number of cases in which courts have rejected federal action approving a variety of large facilities related to energy production in one way or another.  The crux of this case was the failure of the EA to consider downstream, indirect, impacts of the proposed project.  Among the indirect impacts that the EA failed to consider were the following: Coal transportation Non-greenhouse gas emissions Greenhouse gas emissions Not surprisingly, the discussion of the GHG issue may be the most significant.  The Court acknowledged that OSM included an analysis of GHG emissions that, on its own, may have satisfied NEPA.  According to the Court, OSM went off the rails went it performed an assessment of the benefits of the project without considering the costs….. To continue reading this legal news please click Read full information...

Posted in Environmental Law | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I’ll Just Be Over Here In My Fallout Shelter

It would be impossible to react to every piece of misinformation or poor reporting about climate change—let alone every misguided opinion editorial—that lives online today, but Bret Stephens’ February 15 piece in the New York Times strikes me as warranting a response.  That’s not because of the clickbait title (“Is Nancy Pelosi A Climate Skeptic?”  You guessed it, she’s not.) or the now oft-repeated criticism of the Green New Deal (it’s too pie-in-the-sky, and everyone thinks so, says Mr. Stephens).  It’s because of the dangerous way the piece characterizes the problem of climate change. Mr. Stephens writes that no one really knows how bad climate change is.  If its effects will be severe and widespread, he admits, incremental policy change would be “like trying to put out a forest fire with a plant mister.”  The problem, he says, is that it’s all talk, and that nobody’s….. To continue reading this legal news please click Read full information...

Posted in Environmental Law | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cannabis Research Center

Over the past couple of years, California has moved into the brave new world of fully legalizing (as a matter of state law) recreational and medical cannabis.  That transition was premised in part on promises that legalization would reduce the negative environmental impacts from illegal cannabis cultivation, and would facilitate the development of a sustainable cannabis industry. However, the new regulatory system has had growing pains.  Relatively low percentages of existing cultivators have applied for licenses in the new regulatory system.  There are questions about how burdensome the regulatory system is, and how robust the legal market is in the state, compared to the still significant black market.  Moreover, there are growing concerns that the transition to legal cannabis may produce shifts in the scale and nature of the cultivation industry, prompting a move away from small-scale, individually owned and managed cultivation operations to large-scale,….. To continue reading this legal news please click Read full information...

Posted in Environmental Law | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

What I Wish The Green New Deal Hadn’t Left Out

While there’s certainly been no shortage of criticism of last week’s Green New Deal resolution, the common line hasn’t been that the resolution doesn’t try to cover enough ground.  On the contrary, it’s been called an everything-but-the-carbon-sink approach; even Trevor Noah devoted a few minutes of the Daily Show to gaping at the proposal’s efforts to tackle not just greenhouse gas emissions, but social and economic inequality as well. Others have done a great job of explaining why ambitious climate policies are needed, why tackling all these issues at once actually makes sense (spoiler alert: the economy and the environment are inextricably linked), and why the proposal does a good job of outlining the contours of this complex conversation while wisely leaving side-choosing to another day—so I’m not going to do any of those things here.  Instead, I’d like to focus on something the proposal largely leaves out:….. To continue reading this legal news please click Read full information...

Posted in Environmental Law | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Breaking Up with Fossil Fuels

WORLD: Thanks for the card. . . . But I think we need to talk. FOSSIL FUEL INDUSTRY: About what? W: About us. FFI: About us?? Can’t it wait until some other time? This is Valentine’s Day, and I’ve made plans for us.  Big plans. W: No, I think we need to get some things out in the open. FFI:  What “things”? W: It’s our relationship.  I think it’s become toxic. I don’t know, maybe it’s always been that way and I just didn’t realize. FFI: I can’t believe you’re saying this!  Or that you picked NOW of all times to bring it up.  What about those Spring days in the convertible with the top down, or the roaring coal furnace on cold winter nights. W: I felt you had tremendous energy in those days.  You had a big vision, and you were really taking my life to a new place. But now, I don’t know how to say this, but . . . FFI: You might as well spit it out! W:  I feel like I….. To continue reading this legal news please click Read full information...

Posted in Environmental Law | Tagged , , | Leave a comment