WAGLAC News & Updates
November 25, 2019
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
-Please plan to arrive February 16th
-The contracted room rate is $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
-Announcement and agenda to follow
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.
Trump Administration Scales Back Safety Rules Adopted After Deadly Chemical Explosion
The Washington Post
November 21, 2019

"The Environmental Protection Agency weakened a rule governing how companies store dangerous chemicals. The standards were enacted under President Barack Obama in the wake of a 2013 explosion in West, Tex., that killed 15 people, including 12 first responders.

Under the new standards, companies will not have to provide public access to information about what kinds of chemicals are stored on their sites. They also will not have to undertake several measures aimed at preventing accidents, such as analyzing safer technology and procedures, conducting a “root-cause analysis” after a major chemical release or obtaining a third-party audit when an accident has occurred."
Western Governors' Association (WGA), 10 Other Associations, Oppose Actions Altering state authority in Clean Water Act Section 401
Western Governors' Association
November 18, 2019

WGA and 10 other associations of state officials express "concerns about any legislation or federal action that would alter states’ water quality certification processes under Section 401 of the federal Clean Water Act (CWA)" in outreach to leadership of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. The letter of Nov. 18, 2019 to Senators John Barasso and Tom Carper notes "Congress purposefully designated states as co-regulators under a system of cooperative federalism that recognizes state interests and authority. This approach continues to serve the nation well." Other signatories include, among others, the National Council of State Legislatures, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the Council of State Governments, and the Western States Water Council.
Hearing on S. 1087, the Water Quality Certification Improvement Act of 2019, and Other Potential Reforms to Improve Implementation of Section 401 of the Clean Water Act: State Perspectives

"The Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works held a legislative hearing entitled, “Hearing on S. 1087, the Water Quality Certification Improvement Act of 2019, and Other Potential Reforms to Improve Implementation of Section 401 of the Clean Water Act: State Perspectives.” Please follow the link below to view this archived webcast as well as the current issue of the Western States Water Council (WSWC) newsletter and special report regarding these hearing discussions.
Pre-Publication Version of the Proposal Modernizing the Administrative Exhaustion Requirement for Permitting Decisions and Streamlining Procedures for Permit Appeals
Environmental Protection Agency

"EPA is providing a pre-publication version of a proposed rule intended to streamline and modernize part of the Agency's permitting process by creating a new, time-limited alternative dispute resolution process (ADR process) as a precondition to judicial review. While EPA has taken steps to ensure the accuracy of this copy of the proposal, it is not the official version of this action. Please refer to the official version in a forthcoming Federal Register publication, which will appear on the  Government Printing Office's website."
State Comments on Oil and Natural Gas Sector: Emission Standards for New, Reconstructed, and Modified Sources Review
California,1 Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, the Commonwealths of Massachusetts and Pennsylvania, the District of Columbia, the City of Chicago, the City and County of Denver, and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (“States and Cities”) submitted comments in opposition to the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed rule titled “Oil and Natural Gas Sector: Emission Standards for New, Reconstructed, and Modified Sources Review,” 84 Fed. Reg. 50,244 (Sept. 24, 2019). As detailed in their comments, the States and Cities oppose the proposed rule and continue to support EPA’s 2016 emission standards for new, reconstructed, and modified sources in the oil and natural gas sector codified at 40 Code of Federal Regulations part 60, subpart OOOOa.  
Oregon Loses $1 Billion Timber Lawsuit to Rural Communities
The Oregonion
November 20, 2019

"The state of Oregon breached its contract with 13 rural counties and 151 local taxing districts by failing to maximize timber harvests on state forests and resulting payments to those counties during the last two decades, a jury in Linn County found on Wednesday after nearly a month-long trial.

The jury found that the state owed those counties $1.1 billion in damages, including $674 million the counties contend they lost since 2001 because the state didn’t cut enough trees. The verdict also includes $392 million in future damages, which assumes the state will continue to manage the state forests in the same fashion, and fail to maximize timber revenues for the next 50 years."
A Wet Year Causes Farm Woes Far Beyond the Floodplain
The New York Times
November 21, 2019

"The damage from the destructive spring flooding in the Midwest has been followed in parts of the country by a miserable autumn that is making a bad farming year worse, with effects that could be felt into next spring.

It was the wettest year on record for the lower 48 states, with the kind of extreme rainfall events that are increasingly associated with climate change. And then fall came in with unseasonably heavy rains and snow. "
New Indian Law Case Summaries
In re Roman A. , ___ A.3d ___, 2019 WL 6112544 (R.I. Nov. 18, 2019) Family court properly found that the active efforts requirement of the Indian Child Welfare Act was satisfied and that the mother’s continued custody would likely result in serious emotional or physical harm to the child.
Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes v. Lake County Board of Commissioners , ___ F. Supp. 3d ___, 2019 WL 6173181 (D. Mont. Nov. 20, 2019) County’s and individual landowner’s counterclaims in quiet title action brought by tribe were barred by tribal immunity from suit.
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
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.