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Year: 2019

April 17, 2019

Why water regulations should only regulate water

Government bureaucracy can often seem designed to fail, even with something as simple as water. This glib reality is on full display with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). If a federal law says "don't discharge pollutants in navigable waters," most people would assume it means not to dump harmful chemicals into large bodies of water. ...

April 15, 2019

Supreme Court allows widow to pursue justice for late husband, sends case back for reconsideration

The U.S. Supreme Court today gave Carrie Robertson the chance to pursue justice for the federal government's terrible wrong against her late husband, Joe.   At age 78, the Navy veteran spent a year and a half in prison for digging fire protection ponds near his home in Montana without Clean Water Act permits. The feds' conviction also include ...

April 12, 2019

Weekly litigation report — April 12, 2019

Agencies agree to comply with the Congressional Review Act In February, PLF secured an important victory in Tugaw Ranches, LLC v. Department of Interior, when the District Court for the District of Idaho ruled that agency violations of the Congressional Review Act (CRA) can be challenged in court. The CRA is a key law for ...

April 11, 2019

PLF Challenges Marin County’s Forced-Farming Mandate

Last Friday, Pacific Legal Foundation helped Arron and Arthur Benedetti to challenge Marin County's new forced-farming mandate that requires landowners to remain personally engaged in commercial agriculture in perpetuity as a condition of granting a building permit. Arron and Arthur are the sons of the late Willie Benedetti, who worked with PLF to ...

April 11, 2019

OMB adopts PLF’s interpretation of the Congressional Review Act’s scope

Today the Office of Management and Budget issued a memorandum to executive agencies directing them that the Congressional Review Act applies to all guidance documents and non-notice-and-comment rules. The CRA requires agencies to submit all rules, not just formal regulations, to Congress for review and possible disapproval before they can take effe ...

April 11, 2019

The Hill: It’s time for the Supreme Court to end regulators’ abuse of Clean Water Act rule

This article was originally published by The Hill on April 11, 2019. For years, federal regulators harassed U.S. Navy veteran Joe Robertson, charging him with violating the Clean Water Act for digging ponds on private property and subjecting him to ongoing legal proceedings. They even put him in prison for a year and a half. Robertson, 80, died ...

April 10, 2019

Property owners have the right to a fair hearing first

This article was originally published by The Daily Journal on April 10, 2019. It is coauthored by Paul Beard who is an environmental and land-use attorney who co-leads Alston & Bird's Environmental Appellate Litigation Team and its Coastal Land Use Team. Should government agencies have the power to issue multi-million-dollar fines against hom ...

April 10, 2019

The California DMV can’t censor team spirit

Jon Kotler is the latest in a long line of Americans who have chosen to stand up for their First Amendment rights to free speech. Jon is an unassuming man with an encyclopedic knowledge of sports. He could talk to you about everything from the conditions of old Candlestick Park to the skill set of ...

April 09, 2019

Patience and persistence: A First Amendment odyssey

Last summer, the Supreme Court decided Janus v. AFSCME, holding that public employees' political autonomy is protected by the First Amendment and that states may not, therefore, allow unions to garnish workers' wages for "dues" without the workers' affirmative consent. States and public employee unions are slowly coming into line, and many non-unio ...

April 09, 2019

The President’s abuse of the Antiquities Act violates the Constitution’s separation of powers

In 1972, Congress authorized the Executive Branch to set aside special areas of the marine environment—including the ocean up to 200 miles from the nation's coast—as marine sanctuaries. However, it imposed appropriate limits on this power—requiring public notice of proposed sanctuaries, studies of environmental tradeoffs, and input from Congr ...