WAGLAC News & Updates
March 18, 2019
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@cwagweb.org. For a complete, searchable database of all previously published WAGLAC newsletters, please follow the link below.
WAGLAC meeting dates and locations are under development.
Please check the next coming newsletters for related News and Updates.
US Eases Land Restrictions Meant To Protect Bird In West
March 15, 2019

"The Trump administration finalized changes to sweeping federal land use plans for the West, easing restrictions on energy companies and other industries in a way officials said would still protect a struggling bird species.

The changes by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management will guide future efforts to conserve greater sage grouse, ground-dwelling birds that range across portions of 11 Western states."
Big Oil Is Backing Methane Regulation
Yahoo Finance
March 14, 2019

"The oil industry has suddenly grown concerned about its methane emissions. In Houston, Shell executives urged the EPA to stick with federal regulations on methane. EOG Resources has agreed to methane targets at the behest of its own shareholders. BP’s CEO Bob Dudley made a big show of support for action on climate change, as well as a more open approach to the way the oil industry does business. Meanwhile, the Trump administration is rolling back methane limits at the federal level."
Ninth Circuit Upholds Motorized Big Game Retrieval for Elk and Bison
State Successfully Defends Motorized Big Game Retrieval
March 14, 2019

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the limited use of motor vehicles to retrieve lawfully taken elk and bison on the Kaibab National Forest.

In January 2016, several environmental litigants (WildEarth Guardians, Grand Canyon Wildlands Council, Wildlands Network, and the Sierra Club) sued the U.S. Forest Service over its decision to allow hunters to drive cross-country up to one mile off of designated roads to retrieve elk and bison lawfully taken on the Kaibab National Forest. 
Pentagon Pushes for Weaker Standards on Chemicals Contaminating Drinking Water
The New York Times
March 14, 2019

"Facing billions of dollars in cleanup costs, the Pentagon is pushing the Trump administration to adopt a weaker standard for groundwater pollution caused by chemicals that have commonly been used at military bases and that contaminate drinking water consumed by millions of Americans."
Landowner Petitions For Review Of Eminent Domain Power Under Natural Gas Act
Lynda Like, a private landowner, filed a petition for cert. in the United States Supreme Court seeking review of whether the Natural Gas Act (15 U.S.C. § 717f(h)) delegates to certain private companies eminent domain power to condemn land and then buy the land at an adjudicated price after final judgment.  The challenge stems from the Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Co. LLC's use of eminent domain to build the Atlantic Sunrise natural gas project. The question presented states:

“The Natural Gas Act (15 U.S.C. § 717f(h)) delegates to certain private companies the ordinary eminent domain power: that is, the power to bring a condemnation lawsuit and then buy land at an adjudicated price after final judgment. The Act does not delegate the separate power to take immediate possession of land. Notwithstanding the Act’s limited delegation, are district courts empowered to enter preliminary injunctions giving private companies immediate possession of land before final judgment in Natural Gas Act condemnations?”
Clay Smith, the American Indian Law Deskbook chief editor, summarizes Indian law decisions assigned headnotes by Westlaw to facilitate the Deskbook’s annual revision. 
Recent Indian Law Case Summaries
Blue Lake Rancheria Economic Development Corp. v. Commissioner , ___ F. Supp. 3d ___, 152 T.C. No. 5, Tax Ct. Rep. Dec. (RIA) 152.5 (Mar. 6, 2019): Tribal corporation operating under a Federal Charter issued pursuant to 25 U.S.C. §5124 possessed authority to create subdivisions for the purposes of segregating the assets and liability of the corporation’s discrete business endeavors.
Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation v. U.S. Dept. of Interior , ___ F. Supp. 3d ___, 2019 WL 451351 (D.D.C. Feb. 5, 2019): Venue for action brought by a tribe in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia challenging approval of drilling permits transferred to the United States District Court for the District of North Dakota.
Frank’s Landing Indian Community v. National Indian Gaming Comm’n , ___ F.3d ___, 2019 WL 1119912 (9th Cir. Mar. 12, 2019): Tribal status for purposes of coverage under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act requires Secretarial recognition as reflected on the Federally Recognized Indian Tribes List.
Knighton v. Cedarville Rancheria of Northern Paiute Indians , ___ F.3d ___, 2019 WL 1145150 (9th Cir. Mar. 13, 2019): Tribe possessed adjudicatory jurisdiction over claims against former nonmember Tribal Administrator for tortious conduct related to her employment.
Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians v. Whitmer , ___ F. Supp. 3d ___, 2019 WL 687882 (W.D. Wis. Jan. 31, 2019): Tribe’s claim that Michigan has failed to recognize the existence of its reservation is not barred by judicial estoppel, issue preclusion, or statute of limitations based on the Indian Claims Commission Act and proceedings.
Texas v. Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas , ___ F.3d ___, 2019 WL 1199564 (5th Cir. Mar. 14, 2019): Chevron deference is not due National Indian Gaming Commission chairman’s determination that tribes may conduct class II gaming which conflicts with a prior judicial determination that the gaming provisions of the Ysleta del Sur Pueblo and Alabama and Coushatta Indian Tribes of Texas Restoration Act displace the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.
All summaries are posted in CWAG's google docs acc ount, accessible through the link below. Should you have any issues with the links, contact Andrea Friedman with any questions.
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
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.