California Court of Appeal imposes public trust obligations on groundwater well permits

August 29, 2018 | By JEREMY TALCOTT

This morning a California Court of Appeal issued an unfortunate opinion (although given the state of California courts, perhaps an unsurprising one) affirming in full a trial court decision that imposed public trust obligations on the County of Siskiyou’s issuance of groundwater well permits. The decision could have a significant negative imp ...


Opposition to transfer venue filed in jaguar critical habitat case

June 09, 2016 | By RAYMOND NHAN

As our regular readers will know, PLF is representing three New Mexico organizations—New Mexico Farm & Livestock Bureau, New Mexico Cattle Growers’ Association, and New Mexico Federal Lands Council—challenging the illegal critical habitat designation for jaguars in New Mexico. Despite only challenging the designation of land in New M ...


The Center for Biological Diversity goes batty

February 15, 2016 | By JONATHAN WOOD

The Center for Biological Diversity is threatening to sue the Fish & Wildlife Service for not imposing ruinous and unnecessary restrictions on private property owners throughout 37 states to protect the Northern long-eared bat. It contends that heavy-handed “take” regulations should be imposed despite the fact that the species is th ...


Is environmental law an ass?

January 28, 2016 | By JONATHAN WOOD

No, according to a decision from the Second Circuit issued this week. In Friends of Animals v. Clay, a radical animal rights group challenged a federal permit to take migratory birds that pose a risk to planes at New York’s La Guardia and JFK airports. Birds can be a major threat to planes. Collisions can … ...


Has the pit bull of environmental law been spayed?

December 18, 2015 | By JONATHAN WOOD

The Endangered Species Act has often been called the “pit bull of environmental law” because “it’s short, compact and has a hell of a set of teeth. Because of its teeth, the act can force people to make the kind of tough political decisions they wouldn’t normally make.” As we’ve regularly reported, it can i ...


The lesson of the Animas River spill

September 10, 2015 | By JONATHAN WOOD

In the Wall Street Journal, attorney and former high-ranking EPA official Bill Wehrum has an op-ed $ arguing that the Animas River spill shouldn’t lead to criminal punishment, but neither should similar accidents caused by private companies. As you’ll undoubtedly recall, last month workers for EPA accidentally breached an abandoned mine ...


PLF A.B. 32 legal challenge to be highlighted at American Bar Association annual meeting


On Friday, August 9, 2013, I’ll be speaking to lawyers from around the nation converging at the annual meeting of the American Bar Association in San Francisco, regarding PLF’s legal challenge to CARB’s Cap and Trade Regulation.  The regulation is the only one of its kind among the 50 states, and the lawsuit has garnered natio ...


Are environmental law and the rule of law in conflict?

April 08, 2013 | By JONATHAN WOOD

In his best known work The Morality of Law, legal philosopher Lon Fuller identified the conditions that must be satisfied for any legal system to comply with the rule of law.  Among other things, rules must be of general application – ad-hoc and inconsistent rules are forbidden – and be publicized, clear, and consistent.  Many … ...


A case of art imitating bureaucracy


Author: Brian T. Hodges Full disclosure: I am a huge fan of the TV series Breaking Bad.  For the uninitiated, this show chronicles the downward spiral of Walter White (Bryan Cranston), a struggling high school chemistry teacher who is diagnosed with cancer.  Walt turns to a life of crime, manufacturing methamphetamine with the aim of & ...