News & Updates from WAGLAC
June 14th, 2021
CWAG Natural Resources and Environment Meeting and
WAGLAC Summer Meeting
June 15, 2021

The WAGLAC summer meeting will be held in conjunction with the AGA 2021 Annual Meeting. The CWAG Agenda scheduled for the morning of June 15th will feature panels on environmental justice, water marketing, the Colorado River water management, state/tribal consultation, and emerging environmental issues. The in person panel discussions will be broadcast live here.

There will be a short WAGLAC meeting on Wednesday June 16th from 7:30am - 9:00am HST for WAGLAC members in attendance.

Please email Andrea Friedman at for more information.
Coalition of Attorneys General Secures Agreement with EPA to Require Asbestos Reporting
Oregon Department of Justice
June 7, 2021

"Under a settlement reached by a coalition of 11 state Attorneys General, including Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has agreed to require the chemical industry to provide the agency with information about the use of asbestos. This important settlement will better protect the public from the significant health risks posed by exposure to highly toxic asbestos.

Asbestos is a mineral fiber used in a variety of construction materials, from roofing and flooring, to siding and wallboard, to caulking and insulation, as well as in aftermarket automotive brakes and brake linings, and other consumer products. Exposure to asbestos can lead to life-threatening illnesses, including asbestosis, lung cancer, gastrointestinal cancer, mesothelioma, and other lung disorders and diseases. Currently, those who import articles that contain asbestos or otherwise manufacture such products, including those products in which asbestos may be present as an unintentional contaminant, are exempt from providing EPA with information about these asbestos-containing products."
17 States Seek To Block Juliana Settlement
E&E News
June 9, 2021

"Seventeen Republican-led states have asked to get involved in the landmark kids' climate case as the youths enter settlement talks with the Biden administration.

In a motion docketed let yesterday in the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon, the red states sought to take part n Juliana v. United States, in which a group of young people are suing the federal government over its promotion of fossil fuels.

Led by Alabama Attorney General Marshall (R), the states expressed alarm that President Biden's Justice Department could reach a settlement with the youths that would harm the fossil fuel industry and raise energy prices nationwide."
U.S. Judge Rules Against Idaho Suction-Dredge Gold Miner
E&E News
June 9, 2021

"A suction-dredge gold miner who operated in an Idaho river containing federally protected salmon and steelhead without required permits is facing what could be substantial fines.

A U.S. District Court judge last week ruled Shannon Poe of Concord, California, violated the Clean Water Act on the South Fork of the Clearwater River when he suction dredge-mined 42 days in 2014 and 2015.

Suction dredge miners use an underwater hose to suck up gravel and sort it for gold in a sluice box mounted on a watercraft. The sediment is discharged downstream.

The waterway where Poe operated is designated critical habitat for federally protected steelhead, salmon and bull trout. Critics say dredging can destroy fish spawning beds, and that discharged sediment can smother fish eggs.

Another miner who also operated a suction dredge on the South Fork of the Clearwater River for one day received a penalty of $6,600 in a separate case."
CWA Section 401 Certification
Environmental Protection Agency
June 10, 2021

"Last week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it will revise the “Clean Water Act Section 401 Certification Rule” (2020 Rule) and initiate a series of stakeholder engagements on the upcoming rulemaking effort. 

Executive Order 13990 on “Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis” directed EPA to review and, as appropriate and consistent with applicable law, take action to revise or replace the 2020 Rule. EPA has completed this review and determined that it has concerns with the 2020 Rule, including that it is counter to the principles of cooperative federalism and does not reflect the authority of states and tribes to protect their vital water resources under the Clean Water Act."
Va. Pipeline Tests Landmark Environmental Justice Ruling
E&E News
June 14, 2021

"After spending about a year sidelined by the coronavirus pandemic, Elizabeth Jones is gearing up for a renewed
fight against a natural gas project near her home.

"It wasn't possible to do much," said Jones, 75, noting that residents in her rural Virginia county have mostly kept to themselves to avoid contracting COVID-19.

Now, as vaccines are distributed and caseloads are dropping, Jones is teaming up with conservation groups like the Chesapeake Bay Foundation to fight a new potential health threat to her community: a planned compressor station along the Mountain Valley pipeline.

"We are concerned about what this compressor will leave behind," she said, adding that her 82-year-old husband, Anderson, has asthma.

The looming conflict over the proposed Lambert Compressor Station in the low-income and majority Black Banister District of Virginia's Pittsylvania County is set to test the impact of a watershed court ruling last year on environmental justice."
Keystone XL Pipeline Developer Pulls Plug On Controversial Project
The Washington Post
June 9, 2021

"The firm behind the Keystone XL pipeline officially scrapped the project on Wednesday, months after President Biden revoked a cross-border permit for the controversial pipeline and more than a decade after political wrangling over its fate began.

The pipeline, which would have stretched from Alberta’s boreal forests to the refineries along the U.S. Gulf Coast, became the center of a broader controversy over climate change, pipeline safety, eminent domain and jobs. Those same concerns have spawned similar battles to stop pipelines in states including Montana, Minnesota and Virginia, part of an effort to keep fossil fuels in the ground.

The Keystone XL project also took on special significance because of the sea change in public and business attitudes toward climate change. The process of extracting bitumen-like oil from the thick tar sands consumes enormous amounts of energy — a combination of strip mining and underground steam injection — and exacerbates the impact on the planet’s atmosphere."
Klamath Battle Lines Blur As Protests Escalate
E&E News
June 3, 2021

"Tensions surrounding a Western water shortage are on the verge of exploding, with some activists threatening to seize control of federal water infrastructure and anti-government rabble-rouser Ammon Bundy waiting in the wings.

But several farmers and irrigators in the Klamath River Basin in southern Oregon and Northern California have a message for Bundy and others: Stay away.

And some are questioning the leaders' anti-government bona fides since public records show they have directly benefited from government programs.

The Bureau of Reclamation's Klamath Project provides water to about 240,000 acres of cropland spanning the California-Oregon border.

For the first time since the project came online in 1907, Reclamation has said it won't deliver any water this year due to extreme drought and the agency's endangered species obligations. There are threatened sucker fish species in the project's main reservoir and, downriver, a severely threatened salmon run."
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 reach out to Clay for questions regarding obtaining a copy of the American Indian Law Deskbook.
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.
Confederated Tribes and Bands of Yakama Nation v. Klickitat County, ___ F.3d ___, 2021 WL 2386396 (9th Cir. June 11, 2021)County lacked criminal jurisdiction over a track of land contained as part of the reservation established for the Yakama Nation under an 1855 treaty with the United States.
Wolfe v. Payne, 2021 Ark. 87, ___ S.W.3d ___ (Apr. 22, 2021)Cherokee Nation member arrested within the Nation’s Oklahoma territory for an offense in Arkansas failed to establish lack of jurisdiction in a habeas corpus proceeding challenging his guilty plea for capital murder and kidnapping.
In re L.L., 2021-Ohio-1959, 2021 WL 2374981 (Ct. App. June 10, 2021)Trial court did not violate the Indian Child Welfare Act when it failed to inquire about the involved child’s Indian status after the county agency moved for permanent custody when the court had made three such inquiries prior to the motion and received negative responses from the parents.
Chatta v. Bureau of Indian Affairs, ___ F. Supp. 3d ___, 2021 WL 2291144 (S.D. Ill. June 4, 2021)Motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis was denied because the complaint, which sought prospective and retroactive relief against the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Choctaw Nation, failed to identify any waiver of the Nation’s sovereign immunity or congressional grant of authority to maintain the action.
AG Alliance Cannabis Newsletter

If you are interested in following cannabis law developments, please sign up for the AG Alliance cannabis newsletter by emailing Cole White at
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 40 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 database of all previously published WAGLAC newsletters, please follow the link below.