WAGLAC News & Updates
May 6, 2019
To optimize the opportunity for state coordination on environmental, natural resource and Indian law issues, the WAGLAC summer meeting will be a stand-alone meeting rather than as part of the CWAG Summer meeting. The stand-alone WAGLAC summer meeting will expand from one and a half day to two full days. We are excited to have you all at our upcoming WAGLAC meeting! Clive
WAGLAC Meeting
June 24 - 25, 2019
Double Tree by Hilton
Park City, Utah
WAGLAC (Western Attorneys General Litigation Action Committee) meets three-times a year to discuss current litigation and issues facing Western States. The WAGLAC meeting will be held on June 24-25, 2019 at The Doubletree by Hilton Park City. 

In addition to the roundtable discussion of natural resource, environmental, and Indian law cases, there will be a CLE on public lands issues.  Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden will discuss the fiduciary duties of state trust land managers. Please fill out and return the form below or email CWAG Legal Director Clive Strong at Clive.Strong@cwagweb.org. Please email to Clive any items you wanted distributed at the meeting.
Trump Administration Eases Obama-Era Offshore Drilling Safety Rules
The Hill
May 2, 2019

"The Trump administration announced final plans to ease oil and gas drilling rules that were originally established as a response to the deadly 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster.

The move will remove some of the safety mandates placed on the oil and gas industry under former President Obama, which industry members argued were too burdensome and cost prohibitive.

Interior Secretary David Bernhardt announced the rule revision in Port Fourchon, La., a major location for offshore drilling near the Gulf of Mexico."
North Dakota, Washington State at Odds Over Oil Train Rules
AP News
April 30, 2019

North Dakota officials are pressuring the state of Washington to back off from legislation requiring oil shipped by rail to have more of its volatile gases removed, urging the governor to veto the bill and promising a lawsuit if he doesn’t.
North Dakota Prevails on Legal Challenge to the Northwest Area Water Supply Project
North Dakota and the Bureau of Reclamation are seeking to divert water from the Missouri River to Minot and surrounding counties in northwest North Dakota. In 2002, Manitoba and Missouri challenged the Environmental Impact Statement for the project. In August 2017 the Federal District Court for the District of Columbia held the EIS complied with NEPA and that Missouri lacked standing to challenge the EIS. Last Friday the United States D.C. Circuit Court Appeals affirmed the lower court’s decision. 
The Court of Appeals held that Missouri failed to establish standing to challenge the EIS. Missouri alleged standing based upon direct injury and in a representative capacity on behalf its citizens. The Count found Missouri had waived it claim to standing based upon a direct injury by failing to raise the issue below. The court also found Missouri was precluded from bringing the action in a parens patraie capacity under the so called “Mellon Bar”.  In Massachusetts v. Mellon, 262 U.S. 447, 485-86 (1923), the Supreme Court held that a state lacks standing to bring an action to enforce the rights of its citizens with “respect of their relations with the federal government.” The Circuit Court rejected Missouri’ claim that an APA action is an exception to the Mellon Bar.
“This is a significant and long-sought victory for the citizens of North Dakota,” said North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem. “The State has gone to extraordinary lengths to ensure the safe and successful completion of this project, and it is encouraging to finally move towards the goal of bringing a safer and more reliable source of drinking water to the citizens of Minot and the surrounding counties.”
Thacker v. Tennessee Valley Authority
April 29, 2019

"In Thacker v. Tennessee Valley Authority , the federal government asked for broad policy immunity to shield choices by the Tennessee Valley Authority about the safety measures the TVA employed when stringing a power line across a river. In this decision, the Supreme Court unanimously refused to infer limits on the statutory authorization for suit against the TVA and emphasized the rather ordinary commercial nature of the TVA’s activity. The court reversed the dismissal by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit of a tort suit brought by a recreational fisherman who was injured (and his passenger killed) when his boat struck a fallen power line that TVA employees were pulling up from the water."
Interior Department Reorganization Plans Draws Criticism, Praise At Oversight Hearing
Western Wire
May 2, 2019

"An Interior Department employee touted the progress made in improving communications and stakeholder engagement across the department’s numerous agencies in a congressional hearing Tuesday, while a former employee criticized the handling of the reorganization launched under Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke."
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
Stockbridge-Munsee Community v. Wisconsin , ___ F.3d ___, 2019 WL 1923403 (7th Cir. Apr. 30, 2019) :  (1) Tribe’s claim alleging violation of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act was barred by the six-year limitation period under 28 U.S.C. § 2401(a). (2) Tribe’s claim against a State alleging failure to enforce the provisions of a compact with another tribe was barred by the state statute of limitations on contract claims.
T.W. v. Shelby County Dept. of Human Resources , ___ So. 3d ___, 2019 WL 1970066 (Ala. Ct. App. May 3, 2019) Father’s and paternal grandmother’s statements that a child may have Indian ancestry did not carry his burden of showing “reason to know” Indian child status sufficient to trigger Indian Child Welfare notice requirements.
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.
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.