News & Updates from WAGLAC
Western Attorneys General Litigation Action Committee
April 6, 2020
Letter to WAGLACers:
We are hopeful that the June 2020 WAGLAC Meeting in Bozeman will proceed as scheduled, and therefore, encourage you to make with your travel arrangements. CWAG per its policy will cover attendance costs for one person from each member and affiliate member state. Early registration is encourage because seating on the bus for the field trip is limited. 
CWAG is dedicated to ensuring the health and safety of our members and will advise you if the COVID 19 crisis requires adjustments to the meeting schedule. Do not hesitate to reach out to us with any questions or concerns.
On behalf of Karen White and CWAG, we hope that you and your families remain safe during these uncertain times. Thank you for your continued support.
WAGLAC Summer Meeting
June 7-10, 2020
Springhill Suites
Bozeman, Montana

-Roundtable discussion of natural resource, environmental, and Indian law cases
-CLE on Natural Resource Damages
-Field trip to Butte and Anaconda CERCLA sites
October 12-13, 2020
The Grove Hotel
Boise, Idaho

-Roundtable discussion of natural resource, environmental, and Indian law cases
-CLE on Indian Law issues
-Agenda to follow.
Greens Plot ESA Lawsuit Over Trump's WOTUS Rule
E&E News
March 31, 2020

A coalition of conservation groups told the federal government they stand ready to launch a legal challenge against the Trump administration's revamped protections for waterways and wetlands.

Attorneys for the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Conservation Law Foundation and other groups said President Trump's EPA and Army Corps of Engineers violated consultation requirements under the Endangered Species Act in shaping their new definition of the Waters of the U.S., or WOTUS, rule.
U.S. DOT and EPA Put Safety and American Families First with Final Rule on Fuel Economy Standards
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
March 31, 2020

The U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released the final Safer Affordable Fuel-Efficient (SAFE) Vehicles Rule setting corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) and CO2 emissions standards for model years 2021-2026 passenger cars and light trucks.
Indian Tribes' COVID-19 Responses

Indian tribes, like States and local governments, are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. Aside from stay-at-home or sheltering protocols and closing gaming-related facilities, some are restricting access to reservations. The Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, for example, issued the attached “COVID-19 Emergency Response Status” directive on March 30, 2020 establishing responses triggered by specific COVID-19 contagion levels. The fifth level—multiple COVID-19 cases on its reservation—include both quarantine of affected communities or zones and restricting entry and exit points to the quarantined areas. The recently passed COVID-19 relief legislation (the “CARES Act”) contains $8 billion for tribal governments, the Indian Health Service and the Bureau of Indian Education.

The American Bar Association is sponsoring a free webinar “Issues Affecting Native American Communities During the COVID-19 Crisis” on April 8, 2020 commencing at 3:00 pm EDT. The IHS reports COVID-19 data by its administrative areas.
Links to the ABA webinar and the IHS data follow.
California Rules Anger Agencies, Environmental Groups
E&E News
April 1, 2020

California regulators set new rules about how much water can be taken from the state's largest rivers, angering water agencies for restricting how much they can take and environmental groups for not making those limits low enough to protect endangered species.

The federal government's rules do not limit how much water can be pumped out of the rivers during storms or months when there is a lot of rain. The state's rules do, limiting agencies at pumping no more than 6,250 cubic feet per second. One cubic foot per second equals more than 1.5 million gallons. That means different rules for state and federal water agencies that are both taking water from the same source.
Settlement Forces More Water Down Klamath River
E&E News
April 2, 2020

The Bureau of Reclamation will send more water down the Klamath River from Oregon to Northern California to aid struggling salmon runs under a settlement with a Native American tribe and fishing groups announced this week.

Reclamation has adopted a new three-year plan for the Klamath Project, a federal irrigation program that provides water to some 200,000 acres of cropland in southern Oregon and Northern California, the groups said.

Reclamation published the new draft environmental assessment of the operating procedures for the next three years.
President Trump Admin Appeals Ruling Nixing $125M Lease Sale
E&E News
April 1, 2020

The Trump administration is once again challenging a federal judge's decision blocking revisions to greater sage grouse protections.

And the state of Wyoming and the oil and gas industry are joining them in the fight.

The Justice Department filed a formal notice of appeal to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on behalf of the Interior Department and Bureau of Land Management. They plan to challenge a judge's February order that tossed out BLM-adopted rule changes shortening public comment and protest periods involving oil and gas lease sale parcels that overlap sage grouse habitat (Energywire, Feb. 28).
Erik Peterson Appointed DOI Intermountain Regional Solicitor

Erik Petersen was recently appointed Regional Solicitor for the Department of the Interior's Intermountain Region (Utah, Arizona, and parts of Nevada). For the past five years, Erik supervised the Natural Resources Section of the Wyoming Attorney General’s Office. Erik managed all aspects of Wyoming’s natural resource litigation. 

"Erik is one of the finest attorneys I've had the pleasure to work with,” said Wyoming Attorney General Bridget Hill. “His knowledge and expertise in natural resource matters are second to none. He will be sorely missed in the Wyoming Attorney General's Office, but I know he will continue to accomplish great things and I can't wait to watch with joy as he further proves his tremendous talent in the natural resource arena."

Erik was an active member of WAGLAC while serving in the Wyoming Attorney General’s Office . Erik said, “I look forward to working with CWAG and WAGLAC, particularly in the states for which I will be responsible.” Please join CWAG in congratulating Erik on his appointment as Regional Solicitor. We look forward to working with Erik on Western natural resource issues.
  • Managing Attorney - Cheyenne, Wyoming Attorney General's Office
Clay Smith, the American Indian Law Deskbook chief editor, summarizes Indian law decisions assigned headnotes by Westlaw to facilitate the Deskbook’s annual revision. 

Please note, The 2019 Edition now appears on Westlaw under the Secondary Sources/Texts & Treatises category. We anticipate that the hardbound version will be out later this month
Indian Law Case Summaries
All summaries are posted in CWAG's google docs account, accessible through the link below. Should you have any issues with the links, contact Andrea Friedman with any questions.
Rosebud Sioux Tribe v. U.S. , ___ F. Supp. 3d ___. 2020 WL 1516184 (D.V.D. Mar. 30, 2020) The United States has an enforceable trust duty under the 1868 Treaty of Fort Laramie to provide competent health care to the Rosebud Sioux Tribe’s members.
Leachman v. U.S. , ___ F. Supp. 3d ___, 2020 WL 1511262 (D. Mont. Mar. 30, 2020) Jurisdiction did not exist under the Federal Tort Claims Act against the United States based upon tribal court rulings, and in any event judicial immunity under state law barred the FTCA claim.
Texas v. Ysleta del Sur Pueblo , ___ F.3d ___, 2020 WL 1638408 (5th Cir. Apr. 2, 2020) The gaming provisions of the Ysleta del Sur Pueblo and Alabama and Coushatta Indian Tribes of Texas Restoration Act control over the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, and tribal bingo gaming in violation of Texas law therefore was properly enjoined.
Updated  American Indian Law Deskbook  Is Now Available

The  American Indian Law Deskbook  is a concise, direct, and easy-to-understand handbook on Indian law. The chapter authors of this book are experienced state lawyers who have been involved in Indian law for many years.

American Indian Law Deskbook  addresses the areas of Indian law most relevant to the practitioner.
Topics include:
  • Definitions of Indians and Indian tribes
  • Indian lands
  • Criminal, civil regulatory, and civil adjudicatory jurisdiction
  • Civil rights
  • Indian water rights
  • Fish and wildlife
  • Environmental regulation
  • Taxation
  • Gaming
  • Indian Child Welfare Act and tribal-state cooperative agreements
Western Attorneys General Litigation Action Committee
CWAG oversees and coordinates the Western Attorneys General Litigation Action Committee (WAGLAC), which consists of assistant attorneys general involved in litigation related to the environment, natural resources, public lands and Indian law. WAGLAC was formed over 30 years ago and meets three times per year to discuss the latest developments in these areas of the law. AGO staff gain important contacts throughout the country in these important areas of the law.
Contributions For WAGLAC Newsletter
We rely on our readers to send us links for the WAGLAC Newsletter. If you have or know of a recent (published in the last two weeks) case, statute or article relating to natural resources, environment, Indian law or federalism that you would like us to consider for inclusion in the Newsletter, please send it to Clive Strong. For a complete, searchable database of all previously published WAGLAC newsletters, please follow the link below.