What Can Biden Do On Day 1?  Litigate and Enforce Environmental Laws click button

What Can Biden Do On Day 1? Litigate and Enforce Environmental Laws

The incoming Biden Administration’s Department of Justice and Environmental Protection Agency can immediately reverse current policies directing lax enforcement of the nation’s pollution laws, which undoubtedly have resulted in decreased compliance by facilities across the country.

Why This Matters:  The likelihood of a divided government has led many legal and climate experts to worry that a Biden administration will be hamstrung on climate change.

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Supreme Court Hears FOIA Case About Endangered Species

Supreme Court Hears FOIA Case About Endangered Species

On Monday, which seems like a millennium ago, the newly constituted Supreme Court heard its first environmental case — which was a case about the secrecy of government deliberations.  In this case, those deliberations involve the science behind endangered species protections.

Why This Matters:  The case has ramifications beyond endangered species — it goes to scientific integrity and government transparency.

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Environmental Cases in the Cross Hairs As Trump Nominates Amy Coney Barrett

Environmental Cases in the Cross Hairs As Trump Nominates Amy Coney Barrett

On Saturday, President Trump announced he would nominate Appeals Court Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, and predictably her approach to environmental cases is likely to be quite conservative.

Why This Matters:  Environmental cases are likely to be heading to the Supreme Court as many statutes need to be interpreted to deal with today’s environmental challenges.

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Justice Ginsburg’s Death Puts Supreme Court on Even Shakier Ground for Environmental Cases

Justice Ginsburg’s Death Puts Supreme Court on Even Shakier Ground for Environmental Cases

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a rock-steady vote in favor of environmental protection and sympathetic on issues involving clean water and air.

Why This Matters:  There are many challenges to President Trump’s rollbacks of environmental laws that are working their way to the Supreme Court. Once there, the Court can effectively re-write those laws narrowing them considerably by upholding the Trump deregulatory position even if it is contrary to prior interpretations or other plausible interpretations of the statute itself. 

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Dakota Access and Keystone XL Pipelines Stymied, BUT SCOTUS Gives Other Projects a Pass

Dakota Access and Keystone XL Pipelines Stymied, BUT SCOTUS Gives Other Projects a Pass

A federal judge in Washington, DC ruled yesterday that the Dakota Access Pipeline must shut down and empty all its oil until the government completes an environmental review of the pipeline’s impacts, giving the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, whose reservation lies downstream, a huge victory.  Similarly, late in the day, the Supreme Court refused to overturn the order of a district judge that shut down construction of parts of the Keystone XL pipeline so it is also blocked for now.

Why It Matters:  The Dakota and Keystone XL news is greatly tempered by the fact that numerous other pipeline projects can go ahead despite their inadequate permit unless they are individually challenged in court and blocked.

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Supreme Court Decisions Provide Opportunities for Wins in Climate and Environment Cases

Supreme Court Decisions Provide Opportunities for Wins in Climate and Environment Cases

This week, the Supreme Court decided important cases favoring the rights of LGBTQ individuals and the policy of allowing the “Dreamers” who were brought to the U.S. by their parents at a young age to remain in the U.S. undocumented.  Both cases provide important legal principles that could be significant in a host of litigation over climate change and the rollback of environmental protections. 

Why This Matters:  The Trump administration has been ruthless and careless in its quest to blunt the impacts of the nation’s environmental laws and rollback related policies and regulations.

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