News & Updates from WAGLAC
Western Attorneys General Litigation Action Committee
January 13, 2020
WAGLAC Winter Meeting
February 17-18, 2020
Westin San Diego
San Diego, California

-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.
President Trump Moves to Speed Infrastructure Projects by Curbing Environmental Reviews
The Wall Street Journal
January 10, 2020

"President Trump proposed the first comprehensive overhaul of National Environmental Policy Act rules in more than 40 years, saying changes are needed to streamline approval of highways, energy pipelines and other infrastructure projects, as part of his administration’s broader efforts to pare environmental regulations.

The proposal was hailed by business groups, energy companies and construction unions but criticized by environmentalists, who said it comes as mounting threats posed by climate change make thorough review of infrastructure projects more critical than ever.

Among the more than a dozen proposed changes to NEPA’s environmental-permit rules, the government for the first time would set limits for completion of environmental reviews, which can sometimes take a decade or longer. Full environmental impact statements would need to be completed within two years, while less comprehensive environmental assessments would have to be concluded within one year."
President Trump's 2020 Plan: Change the Rules on Rules
E&E News
January 3, 2020

"In the first half of 2020, Trump officials are hurrying to fundamentally change the way environmental rules are crafted.

The administration plans to finalize regulations that could hamstring future presidents from making rules that rely on public health studies or fail to fully consider the benefits to Americans.

Trump's regulatory plan released last fall showed hundreds of "economically significant" actions that the administration plans to finalize this year. Of those, at least 18 are noteworthy environmental rules — on air pollution and emissions to drilling and water quality.

But it's Trump's rules on the rulemaking process itself that could have the most lasting impact, according to experts."
Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson, Backed by Six Additional AGs, Urges 9th Circuit to Uphold Permit Denial for Proposed Coal Terminal 
The State Energy & Environmental Impact Center

"Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson filed a brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit on December 30 in support of a district court finding that the Interstate Commerce Commission Termination Act (ICCTA) does not preempt Washington’s decision to deny water quality certification for the proposed Millennium Bulk Terminal project under state law. If constructed, the Millennium Bulk Terminal would be the largest coal export facility in North America, primarily handling coal transported by rail from Montana, Wyoming, Colorado and Utah. In the brief, AG Ferguson emphasizes that the permit denial decisions “are clearly within the State’s authority to make,” and warns that the plaintiffs’ constitutional claims “constitute nothing more than an attempt to run roughshod over state land use laws and procedures.”
FOIA Overhaul Continues with Creation of Legal Team
E&E News
January 8, 2020

"The Interior Department plans to establish a new "litigation unit" to consolidate legal challenges over Freedom of Information Act requests, part of the agency's ongoing overhaul of its handling of public records demands.

Interior Secretary David Bernhardt signed off on the new legal team in Secretarial Order 3378.

The document detailed the role of Interior's new deputy chief FOIA officer, who will oversee the agency's public records program via the newly established "Departmental FOIA Office."

The FOIA office will also be tasked with creating an "oversight program to monitor FOIA-related activities throughout the Department, including developing and assisting with the implementation of quality control review plans for each Bureau/office to ensure that FOIA processing is consistent, efficient, and accurate."

The order also puts all FOIA personnel — identified as Interior employees who have any role in processing, preparing or reviewing public records requests, whether full time or as a "collateral duty" — under the direct authority of the new office."
Executive Director’s Notebook: The Western Governors’ Launched the Center of Excellence for Improving the State Federal Relationship
Western Governors' Association (WGA)
January 1, 2020

During its 2019 Winter Meeting in Las Vegas, the Western Governors' Association launched the Western Governors’ Center of Excellence for Improving the State-Federal Relationship, an online repository of WGA resources on federalism issues, including case studies, reports, correspondence and other products of the Governors’ research and policy work to improve the state-federal relationship
California is Suing a Silicon Valley Billionaire for Blocking Public Access to a Beach
January 8, 2020

"For nearly a century, people flocked to Martin's Beach, a picturesque stretch of sand just south of Half Moon Bay in the San Francisco Bay Area, to swim, surf and dig their toes into the sand.

Then in 2008, Silicon Valley billionaire Vinod Khosla, through two limited liability companies, bought two large pieces of land next to the popular beach, which happened to contain the only viable public path to the shore.
For more than a decade, Khosla has fought numerous legal battles to keep the public off the beach -- and has shown no signs of giving in.

Now the state of California is the latest player to take on the venture capitalist, in a challenge that could set a precedent for whether the public is entitled to have access to the state's coastline.

The California State Lands Commission and the California Coastal Commission announced the state has filed a lawsuit to restore full public access to Martin's Beach."
New Special Master Finds for Georgia in Most Recent Round of Water Dispute
January 9, 2020

"On November 7, 2019, the parties in Florida v. Georgia again presented their arguments over equitable allocation of water between the states after the U.S. Supreme Court remanded the case in June 2018 and appointed a new special master, Judge Paul Kelly Jr. of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit, in August 2018. In remanding the case, the court set out specific questions for the parties to answer. Kelly asked for additional briefings, then eventually set an oral argument at the request of Florida. The transcript of the November 7, 2019, hearing is available online, as is the overall court docket .

During oral argument, Florida argued that it had met its initial burden of proving substantial injury to the Apalachicola Bay oyster fisheries and should be entitled to relief from Georgia’s water use that would ensure a minimum flow of 1,000 cubic feet per second of freshwater during drought years. Florida highlighted evidence in the record about both drought years and low-flow years, and argued that the benefit Florida would receive outweighed the cost to Georgia of reducing its agricultural water use."
Organization & Department: Wyoming Attorney General’s Office, Water & Natural Resources Division
State: Wyoming
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.
Eglise Baptiste Bethanie de Fort Lauderdale, Inc. v. Seminole Tribe of Florida , ___ F. Supp. 3d ___, 2020 WL 43221 (S.D. Fla. Jan. 3, 2020) Tribe possessed immunity from suit for off-reservation conduct by its law enforcement officers.
U.S. v. Uintah Valley Shoshone Tribe , ___ F.3d ___, 2019 WL 97964 (10th Cir. Jan. 9, 2020) A group denominating itself as the Uintah Valley Tribe lacked authority to sell hunting and fishing licenses to its members to take wildlife on the Uintah and Ouray Reservation.
Red Cliff Bank of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians v. Bayfield County, Wisc. , ___ F. Supp. ___, 2020 WL 108672 (W.D. Wis. Jan. 9, 2020) County lacked authority to apply zoning ordinance to on-reservation lands owned in fee by tribal members.
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.