DOI Secretary Ryan Zinke Under Scrutiny

Ryan Zinke, secretary of the Interior Department, has been a key figure in the Trump administration’s push to roll back burdensome environmental regulations and ramp up domestic energy production. Mr. Zinke is facing increased scrutiny based on allegations that he abused travel spending by paying for his wife to travel with him, and maintained close […]

Proposed Presidential Budget Has Potential to Affect Public Lands

President Trump released his second proposed budget on February 12, 2018, and among the line items taking a hit is public lands. Funding for the Department of the Interior (“DOI”) is expected to be impacted by 17%. While the DOI will be impacted, the proposed budget does include $18 billion for the anticipated reorganization of […]

Ninth Circuit Rules on CWA Pollution Liability

On Thursday, the Ninth Circuit ruled that wastewater injections whose pollutions reach navigable U.S. waters via groundwater are subject to the Clean Water Act (“CWA”). Experts say this decision could drastically expand the scope of CWA liability and includes activities ranging from coal ash and pipeline spills to agricultural runoff. In coming to this decision, […]

EPA Chief Kills “Sue and Settle” Tactic Used By Environmental Groups

On October 16, 2017, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt issued an administrative order with the goal of ensuring that the Environmental Protection Agency is transparent when settling lawsuits – particularly those filed by environmental groups seeking to regulate through litigation. A press release accompanying the administrative order explains that the EPA has long been sued by […]

Nation’s High Court May Clarify CERCLA Cleanup Liabilities for Tenants and Subtenants

Last week, the United States Supreme Court was asked to consider whether former tenants and sublessees of a Superfund site may be liable for recovery costs – even though these parties were not technically “owners” under the meaning of CERCLA. In Next Millenium Realty LLC v. Adchem Corporation, No. 17-____, the Petitioners were the fee […]

Department of the Interior Issues Order Streamlining NEPA Analysis for Energy Projects.

In response to President Trump’s August 15, 2017 Executive Order directing administrative agencies to review and approve infrastructure approvals in a more expeditious manner, the Department of the Interior issued Order No. 3355 imposing page and time limits on Environmental Impact Statements. On August 15, 2017, Deputy Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt issued Order […]

Central Valley Farmer John Duarte Reaches Settlement with Federal Government

Just before the penalty phase of trial was set to begin on Tuesday, Northern California farmer John Duarte reached a settlement with the federal government, after being fined for plowing over disputed wetlands on his property. With the government seeking a $2.8 million fine and tens of millions of dollars in mitigation expenses, Duarte agreed […]

California Farmer Takes Clean Water Act Legal Fight to the Political Arena

Lobbyist, and former Republican Representative, Richard Pombo, has been retained by a California nursery owner facing a potential multi-million dollar fine for violating the Clean Water Act. Nursery owner, John Duarte of Duarte Nursery has retained the Washington, D.C. lobby to help fight his lengthy dispute with federal officials. Simultaneously, Mr. Duarte is facing a […]

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