Jonathan Wood

Attorney

D.C.

Jonathan Wood is an attorney at PLF’s DC Center, where he litigates environmental, property rights, and constitutional cases. He is passionate about finding constitutional, effective, and fair solutions to environmental problems. He believes that property rights are our greatest tool for improving the environment and, through PLF, he fights to defend those rights every day.

Jonathan stumbled into his interest in property rights and free market environmentalism while pursuing a master’s degree at the London School of Economics. He spent his time in college at the University of Texas at Austin (Hook ’em) thinking he would be an academic economist. But, in grad school, he studied Namibia’s free market environmental reforms and learned how important clear and secure property rights are to protecting everything from water quality to endangered species.

Jonathan’s burgeoning interest in libertarian environmentalism led him to the NYU School of Law, home of several leading libertarian law scholars and a premier environmental law program. During law school, he worked for the Cato Institute, a federal judge, and PLF. Since joining the PLF team after law school, Jonathan’s work has focused on defending and promoting property rights’ role in protecting the environment and fighting government actions that trample liberty without any benefit to the environment, especially overcriminalization and constitutional violations.

In addition to his work for PLF, Jonathan is an Adjunct Fellow with the Property and Environment Research Center, a member of the Executive Board for the Federalist Society’s Environmental Law and Property Rights Practice Group, and publishes FREEcology—a blog on libertarian environmentalism.

Jonathan Wood is an attorney at PLF’s DC Center, where he litigates environmental, property rights, and constitutional cases. He is passionate about finding constitutional, effective, and fair solutions to environmental problems. He believes that property rights are our greatest tool for improving the environment and, through PLF, he fights to defend those rights every day.

Jonathan stumbled into his interest in property rights and free market environmentalism while pursuing a master’s degree at the London School of Economics. He spent his time in college at the University of Texas at Austin (Hook ’em) thinking he would be an academic economist. But, in grad school, he studied Namibia’s free market environmental reforms and learned how important clear and secure property rights are to protecting everything from water quality to endangered species.

Jonathan’s burgeoning interest in libertarian environmentalism led him to the NYU School of Law, home of several leading libertarian law scholars and a premier environmental law program. During law school, he worked for the Cato Institute, a federal judge, and PLF. Since joining the PLF team after law school, Jonathan’s work has focused on defending and promoting property rights’ role in protecting the environment and fighting government actions that trample liberty without any benefit to the environment, especially overcriminalization and constitutional violations.

In addition to his work for PLF, Jonathan is an Adjunct Fellow with the Property and Environment Research Center, a member of the Executive Board for the Federalist Society’s Environmental Law and Property Rights Practice Group, and publishes FREEcology—a blog on libertarian environmentalism.

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Property Rights

Ross v. Acadian Seaplants Ltd.

Secure property rights are key to conservation efforts

Kenneth Ross owns coastal property on Cobscook Bay, Maine, on which rockweed grows in the intertidal area. Acadian Seaplants is licensed by the state to collect rockweed in areas “where seaweed may legally be taken.” Ross and other coastal owners sued to stop Acadian from harvesting rockweed on their property and Arcadian argues that the intertidal zone is held by the public and does not implicate private property rights. The Maine Supreme Court will determine whether the intertidal zone is privately owned property or whether to expand the public trust doctrine to cover it. On behalf of itself and the Property and Environment Research Center, PLF filed an amicus brief supporting private property rights.

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Procedural Guarantees

Center for Biological Diversity v. Zinke

Congress’s power exceeds administrative agencies

The Center for Biological Diversity, a group that favors expansive government control over the environment, sued Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke when Congress voted, pursuant to the Congressional Review Act, to rescind an Alaska wildlife refuge rule related to predator control. CBD argues that the CRA is an unconstitutional abridgment of executive power, and that regulations cannot be rescinded by Congress unless it also rewrites the underlying legislation. Representing itself as well as a coalition of individual Alaskans and related organizations, PLF seeks to intervene in support of the rule’s rescission and the constitutionality of the Congressional Review Act.

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Procedural Guarantees

American Federation of Aviculture v. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Thriving golden parakeets no longer need Endangered Species Act protection

Thanks to the efforts of private breeders, the golden parakeet is no longer threatened with extinction. Although the federal government acknowledges the bird’s tenfold increase in numbers, it has refused to comply with a law that requires it to make a final decision to delist or downlist the parakeet within 12 months of that finding. On behalf of a coalition of breeders and bird owners, the American Federation of Aviculture, PLF is suing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to force it to comply with the law, reclassify the golden parakeet, and lift onerous restrictions that prevent breeders from selling to all other breeders.

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Post

PLF sends dilatory Service notice of a lawsuit threequel

What does it take to get the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to follow the law? For the citizens of Bonner County, Idaho, and members of the Idaho State Snowmobile Association, the answer is AT LEAST one petition, two formal comment letters, and three federal lawsuits. That’s ridiculous!

This past Friday, on behalf of Bonner County and ISSA, PLF sent a 60-day notice of our intent to sue the Service for failing to reach a final determination on its May 2014 proposal to remove the Southern Selkirk Mountains population of caribou from the Endangered Species List. The Endangered Species Act requires the Service to issue a final rule on a proposal within one year. The Service is over two years late meeting that obligation.

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Post

New Jersey goes all in on the Constitution in sports betting case

Can Congress dictate to states what their own laws must be? Anyone familiar with federalism will likely immediately say “no.” Our Founders drafted a Constitution that preserved the independence of the the states, believing that dividing power between the federal government and the states would be a bulwark to protect our liberty. To preserve the Founders’ design, the Supreme Court has said that the federal government cannot “commandeer” the states by requiring them to adopt or enforce federal policy.

Yet the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, passed by Congress in 1992, purports to tell most states—but not others—that they must forbid sports gambling. In particular, it forbids states from “authorizing” sports betting “by law,” which means that those states that forbade sports betting in 1992 must continue doing so forever. That’s unconstitutional.

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Post

Pacific Legal Foundation Applauds Administration’s Monument Review

Today, the Department of Interior and Secretary Zinke announced the conclusion of an extensive, public review of national monuments. The agency has not disclosed its recommendations for individual monuments, which … ›

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Op-Ed

In sports-betting case, the Supreme Court should bet on federalism

Can Congress dictate to states what their own laws must be? The Supreme Court agreed to decide that question in Christie v. National Collegiate Athletic Association, the latest iteration of New … ›

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Post

Secure property rights are the key to conservation

Too often, property rights and conservation are treated as if they are in tension. But, in reality, property rights are a proven means to encourage responsible stewardship, resolve conflicts over … ›

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Post

What next for President Trump's reconsideration of national monuments?

Yesterday was the deadline for public comments on the Department of Interior’s recommendation to the President about what to do about the 27 large national monuments established since the Clinton … ›

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