Weekly update from the President

June 01, 2012 | By ROB RIVETT

Hello Liberty Blog readers.  I am Rob Rivett, President of Pacific Legal Foundation.  Each Friday I am going to give you an update on some of the most interesting happenings around PLF.  Please stop by our Facebook page, and let me know what you think of these updates, and what other things you would like me to include.  Without further ado, here’s my first weekly update.

Environment – Global Warming Project

We had a very nice victory, described here, in Alec L. v. Jackson.  That is the case where environmentalists sued on behalf of a group of minors, alleging that there is a “public trust” in the atmosphere.  Consequently the alleged that federal government must do more to control greenhouse gas emissions that lead to global warming.  PLF attorneys represented a group of intervenors who would be subject to increased regulations sought by plaintiffs.  In Thursday, the D.C. district court tossed the case, in this opinion, agreeing with PLF that the court did not have jurisdiction.  The court recognized that there is no federal public trust doctrine.  Even if there were, existing statutes and regulations would have displaced any federal public trust doctrine in the air.

Environment – Endangered Species Act

As reported on in more detail here, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service announced that it will publish an “initial finding” on our petition to delist or downlist six species listed under the Endangered Species Act in Oregon and California.   In doing a review of its listings, the Service previously found that the Inyo California towhee should be removed altogether from the list, and that five species should be downlisted from “endangered” to “threatened.”  These five are the Indian Knob mountain-balm, Lane Mountain milk-vetch, Modoc sucker, and Santa Cruz cypress. When the Service failed to act on its own science-based determinations, PLF filed this petition.

Property Rights – Unlawful Exactions

We filed our petition for cert with the United States Supreme Court in Koontz v. St. Johns Water Management District.  This is the case where the district has demanded the property owner build off-site infrastructure improvements in exchange for a permit.  The Florida Supreme Court had ruled that Nollan and Dolan do not apply to mitigation measures, but only to forced dedications of real property.  Moreover, those decisions do not apply where a permit has been denied (because the owners would not accept the conditions).

Individual RightsEquality Under the Law Project

In Connerly v. State of California, we survived a demurrer filed by defendants.  This is the case where we are challenging the use of racial factors in establishing California’s redistricting commission in violation of Proposition 209.  The case will move on the merits.

Thanks for your continued support of Pacific Legal Foundation!