News & Updates from WAGLAC
Western Attorneys General Litigation Action Committee
March 16, 2020
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.
States Split over Proposed NEPA Overhaul

"On March 2, the Western Governors’ Association (WGA) sent a letter to Mary Neumayr, Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), submitted as a comment to the proposed rule ‘Update to Regulations Implementing the Procedural Provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)’ (85 FR 1684). WGA said it will defer to individual western states to submit substantive comments addressing the proposed rule, but that WGA supports meaningful and ongoing consultation between the states and federal government, through the Governors or their designees.

‘Because states manage environmental and natural resources within their borders and serve as cooperating agencies under NEPA, Governors are critical and essential partners with federal agencies in the statute’s implementation.’”
Nineteen State Attorneys General submitted comments strongly opposing the Council on Environmental Quality’s proposed revisions to the NEPA regulations and requested that proposed rule be withdrawn in its entirety.
DOJ Nixes Major Environmental Enforcement Tactic
E&E News
March 13, 2020

"The Justice Department fully eliminated a major legal tool that allowed polluters to complete EPA-approved environmental projects in exchange for smaller civil penalties.

In a memo published on DOJ's website, the department ended its use of "supplemental environmental projects," or SEPs, in civil settlements with private parties.

The document, dated March 12, provides a "fuller treatment" of the issues raised in an earlier memo targeting the use of SEPs in settlements with state and local governments, said Jeffrey Bossert Clark, head of DOJ's environment division (Greenwire, Aug. 21, 2019)."
Judge Won’t Let US Derail California-Quebec Climate Deal
Courthouse News
March 12, 2020

"A federal judge denied the Trump administration’s bid to erase a cap-and-trade agreement between California and the Canadian province of Quebec, finding the deal is voluntary and far from a treaty.

Earlier this week, the federal government argued in court the lucrative carbon trading system interferes with President Donald Trump’s ability to conduct foreign policy on greenhouse gas emissions and other environmental deals. In its lawsuit, the Trump administration accused California of trying to set its own foreign policy by arranging the nonbinding deal with Quebec."
Judge Again Rejects Vegas Pipeline From Rural Valleys
E&E News
March 11, 2020

"A state judge has again rejected a decades long bid to tap groundwater beneath vast rangelands in northeast Nevada and pipe it to fast-growing suburbs and glittering gambling resorts in and around Las Vegas.

In a strongly worded statement, Judge Robert Estes said he saw no reason to undo findings he made in December 2013 that block a Southern Nevada Water Authority plan to spend billions of dollars to pump groundwater from four rural valleys in White Pine and Lincoln counties near the Utah border."
Nuclear Waste Legislation
March 13, 2020

“Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette agreed to work with the Senate on bipartisan legislation that would end the nation's nuclear waste logjam by authorizing interim storage, amid debate over the administration's plans to walk away from Yucca Mountain.
Testifying at a Senate Appropriations subcommittee, Brouillette said he was familiar with and could work with legislation that has been championed for years by Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and ranking member Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) ( E&E News PM , April 30, 2019).

[Brouillette’s] all but endorsement of the Alexander-Feinstein proposal,  S. 1234 , comes days after the secretary said his department had no plans to provide its own legislative proposal on interim storage.”
Governor Signs Bill Cloaking Endangered Species Info
E&E News
March 11, 2020

"Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) signed a bill requiring information gathered in state-sponsored endangered species surveys on private property to be kept secret, even from federal agencies charged with protecting plants and animals from potential extinction.

Republicans who pushed the proposal through the Legislature said the shield is needed to protect private property rights. Minority Democrats unsuccessfully argued that if the new policy becomes law it will hinder public monitoring of recovery plans for endangered plants and animals.

The bill was approved along party lines in the House and Senate."
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.
There are no new Indian Law cases this week. Please check back next week for more updates!
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.