NEPA

Revised Waters of the U.S. Rule Update

On December 28, 2018, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) and the Army Corps of Engineers (“Corps”) published a revised Waters of the U.S. (“WOTUS”) to clarify the scope of waters federally regulated under the Clean Water Act (“CWA”). The proposed rule is open for a 60-day comment period. The proposed rule is intended to […]

Tribal Energy Development Promoted by President Trump

On December 18, 2018, President Trump signed into law the Indian Tribal Energy Development and Self-Determination Act (“Act”). The Act is a bipartisan bill that was introduced by Senator John Hoeven from North Dakota. Hoeven is the chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs. The new law preserves trust reform principles and mechanisms in […]

Supreme Court: Property Rights Reign over Dusky Gopher Frog

The U.S. Supreme Court released its decision in Weyerhaeuser Co. v. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (“USFWS”) that resulted in a significant victory for private property rights. Using common sense, the Supreme Court interpreted the Endangered Species Act (“ESA”) to allow critical habitat designations only in areas that the USFWS determines are actually habitat for […]

Trump Lifts Habitat Protections for Sage Grouse

On Thursday, December 6, 2018, the Bureau of Land Management (“BLM”) released proposals that would revise conservation efforts for the sage grouse made under the Obama administration. The changes are being made to enhance cooperation with Western states, and ease restrictions on oil and natural gas drilling, mining, and other activities. In 2017, the Trump […]

EPA Announces Rollback of Obama Era Carbon Rule

Last Thursday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) announced a proposed rollback of a 2015 Obama administration rule setting CO2 emissions standards for new or modified coal-fired steam generating units. Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler stated that the Obama era standards were set too high and that carbon capture and sequestration is not the best […]

Watchdog clears Zinke of wrongdoing in redrawing of Utah monument boundaries

The Interior Department’s internal watchdog has absolved Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke after an examination of his handling of a controversial national monuments review. In a report summary dated Nov. 21, Deputy Inspector General Mary Kendall said investigators “found no evidence” that a former Utah state representative who owned property within the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument […]

Zinke Orders Review Of Obama-Era Greater Sage Grouse Protections

Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke ordered the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to review federal conservation efforts of the greater sage grouse Wednesday. Zinke wanted the federal government to be “a good neighbor” and certify that officials in 11 Western states were fully consulted about the conservation program, according to the Associated Press. The […]

Mining Companies Fight Tribal and Environmental Groups’ Challenges to an Issued BLM Permit

Constantine Metal Resource Ltd., Alyu Mining Co. Inc., and Haines Mining & Exploration Inc. fought back last Thursday against the Chilkat Indian Village and Southeast Alaska Conservation Council’s claims that the BLM violated NEPA when it issued Constantine a permit for mineral exploration in Alaska. The environmental and tribal groups believe that the permit allows […]

Circuit Split: Regulatory Reach of Clean Water Act

On September 24, 2018, the 6th Circuit issued rulings in two cases over the question of how direct a connection there must be between the source of pollution and waters that were allegedly polluted for the Clean Water Act (“CWA”) to apply. The 6th Circuit rulings created a split in the circuits on issue of […]

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