News & Updates from WAGLAC
Western Attorneys General Litigation Action Committee
February 10, 2020
WAGLAC Winter Meeting
February 17-18, 2020
Westin San Diego
San Diego, California

*Please note: agenda below includes final details an instructions for meeting attendees.

-Roundtable discussion of natural resource, environmental, and Indian law cases
-CLE on Water Law Issues
-Plan to arrive February 16th
-Contracted room rate $209/night
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, 2020
The Grove Hotel
Boise, Idaho

-Roundtable discussion of natural resource, environmental, and Indian law cases
-CLE on Indian Law issues
-Announcement and agenda to follow.
EPA Lawyer: WOTUS Rule Tackles 'Tortured' Legal History
E&E News
February 7, 2020

"EPA's top attorney said that the agency stands ready to defend its Clean Water Act protections for streams and wetlands against a wave of anticipated litigation that could stymie the rule's implementation across the country.

EPA General Counsel Matt Leopold said the Trump administration's "Navigable Waters Protection Rule" offers a definition of the Waters of the U.S., or WOTUS, rule that is simultaneously protective of the environment and respectful of property rights and state powers."
Trump WOTUS Supporters Air Concerns
E&E News
February 4, 2020

"Supporters of the Trump administration's Clean Water Act rollbacks say the new rule is an improvement on old regulations but not perfect.

According to federal data, the new "Navigable Waters Protection Rule" — also known as the Waters of the U.S., or WOTUS, rule — would eliminate Clean Water Act protections for more than half the nation's wetlands, and the more than 18% of streams nationwide that flow only after rainfall.
WOTUS Rule Change Graphic
Politico Pro DataPoint
February 7, 2020

Politico prepared a graphic display of difference between the old and new WOTUS Rule. Click the button below to view this graphic.
House Lawmakers Confused, Defiant After President Trump Yucca Tweet
E&E News
February 7, 2020

"President Trump's tweet giving up on the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste site is prompting confusion and defiance on Capitol Hill from lawmakers who have been working for years to resolve the stalemate over where to dump the country's nuclear refuse.

Trump's announcement surprised almost every lawmaker asked by E&E News about the implications of the move away from the decades long project. Many lawmakers didn't even know about the shift until asked by reporters.

President Trump's tweet: "Nevada, I hear you on Yucca Mountain and my Administration will RESPECT you!"
Missouri sues U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, other agencies to halt proposed water diversion program in North Dakota
Missouri Times
February 5, 2020

"The Missouri Attorney General’s Office and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation, and several other officials to stop the construction of a water diversion project in North Dakota. The Missouri Department of Natural Resources is the lead agency of the State of Missouri for all water quantity issues. "
Governor Launches Water Management Plan
E&E News
February 5, 2020

"Gov. Gavin Newsom unveiled a new plan for California's water that he said would boost conservation, double the state's salmon population and avoid drawn-out courtroom battles.

The Democrat's vision relies on "voluntary agreements" that he said will move the state away from the water wars that pit agricultural interests against environmentalists, and the wet northern part of the state against its arid south."
Emergency Water Rights Bill Heads to Idaho Governor's Desk
Associated Press
February 4, 2020

"Legislation granting an emergency water right when crews are trying to clean up spills in Idaho waterways passed the House on and is headed to the governor's desk.

The House voted 70-0 to approve the measure the state Department of Environmental Quality says is needed to prevent someone from contending their water right is being violated due to an emergency cleanup."
These southern Utah Sites Were Once Off-Limits to Development. Now, President Trump Will Auction the Right to Drill and Graze There
The Washington Post
February 6, 2020

"The Interior Department finalized plans to permit drilling, mining and grazing in areas of southern Utah that had once been protected as two national monuments, sparking an outcry from tribal groups and conservationists.

The decision comes more than two years after Trump dramatically cut the size of the monuments, Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante, and is likely to intensify a legal fight over the contested sites."
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.
Hawkins v. Bernhardt , ___ F. Supp. 3d ___, 2020 WL 516036 (D.D.C. Jan. 31, 2020) Landowners lacked standing to challenge protocol agreements between the Klamath Tribes and the Bureau of Indian Affairs concerning distribution of tribal reserved water rights determined in the administrative phase of the Klamath Basin Adjudication. 
In re Guardianship of Eliza W. , 304 Neb. 995, ___ N.W.2d ___ (Feb. 7, 2020) Guardianship proceeding initiated by maternal grandmother constituted a child custody proceeding subject to the Indian Child Welfare Act and the Nebraska Indian Child Welfare Act.
Narragansett Indian Tribal Historic Preservation Office v. Federal Energy Regulatory Comn. , ___ F.3d ___, 2020 WL 593866 (D.C. Cir. Feb. 7, 2020) Tribe lacked standing to challenge denial of its motions to intervene and for rehearing in a FERC proceeding for the purpose of opposing a gas pipeline that would destroy ceremonial stone landscapes having cultural and religious importance where the project had been completed. 
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.