Online Articles

Conservation easement boundary sign with hills and a lake in the background

No Time to Ease Up on Easements

March 30, 2023 by Chris Gaarder Public Lands State and Local Wildlife

The Internal Revenue Code allows taxpayers to claim an income tax deduction for donating perpetual conservation easements to qualified organizations.[1] The federal government has foregone billions of dollars of tax revenue in exchange for such easements…

A skiier hitting the slopes in the American Rockies after a large snowfall.

Take Me to the River. . . Let’s Conserve the Water

February 13, 2023 by Allie Williams Climate change State and Local Water

Unprecedented, warmer, wetter winter seasons have ski communities across the Alps fearful of how rising temperatures and the looming reality of climate change might impact the winter sports industry in the years to come.[1]  By contrast, in the Western…

Windmills spin over rural Iowan farmland as cattle graze a field below.

The Power of the People: Resisting Big Wind in Rural Iowa

January 24, 2023 by Taylor Fisher Renewable Energy State and Local

Iowa is often seen as a drive-through state, known for its flat interstates, tall cornfields in the summer, and more recently, the seemingly never-ending array of windmills seen through car windows. At first glance, wind energy seems the perfect renewable…

 Rear Adm. John Fuller, commander of Navy Region Hawaii, briefs then-Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard during a visit to the Pearl Harbor Red Hill Fuel Storage Facility. Photo courtesy of Tulsi Gabbard

Hawaiʻi’s Red Hill Water Crisis Isn’t Over

April 28, 2022 by Grace Gibson Fossil Fuels State and Local Water

On November 20th, 2021, the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility in Honolulu leaked 14,000 gallons of water and fuel.[1] The facility, constructed in the early 1940s, holds over 100 million gallons of fuel a mere 100 feet above the Southern Oʻahu Basal…

An elephant at the Bronx Zoo. Image by Tammy Lo.

The Elephant in the Room: New York’s Highest Court Takes Up Animal Rights

February 23, 2022 by Gianfranco Cesareo Endangered Species Litigation State and Local Wildlife

When the New York Court of Appeals agreed in May 2021 to hear the habeas corpus case of an Asian elephant named Happy, it marked the first time that the highest court of any English-speaking jurisdiction agreed to hear a habeas corpus case brought on…

Installation of a rooftop solar photovoltaic system. Image by Greens MPs via Flickr.

So Long, Solar? The Future of Net Energy Metering in California Will Soon Be Decided

October 19, 2021 by Jaclyn Lee Energy Renewable Energy State and Local

In September 2021, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) began its highly anticipated proceeding to reevaluate the state’s net energy metering successor (NEM 2.0) tariff. Expected no later than January 2022, the decision from the national leader in solar electricity production could have far-reaching impacts on the future of customer-owned solar generation and battery storage.

The Public Trust Doctrine: A Cracked Foundation

April 15, 2021 by Myles Douglas Young Litigation Natural Resources Public Lands State and Local

The utilization of the Public Trust Doctrine in litigations is often premised on its supposed ancient Roman pedigree. This article explores the origins of the doctrine and finds that, in fact, the ancient doctrine was quite different from the one we see in the United States today. What errors do scholars make, and what do those errors mean for the survival of the modern doctrine?

By Myles Douglas Young, Administrative Editor

Courtesy of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

We're Falling into a Ring of Fire: Taking Stock of Wildfire Liability Regimes from Varying Perspectives in the United States

March 31, 2021 by Alec Williams Air Climate change Litigation Public Lands State and Local

After a record-breaking wildfire season in 2020, lawsuits are likely to flood the dockets of federal and state courts across the United States. Wildfire liability determinations at either level can be complex, typically implicating many parties and exorbitant damage awards. However, in light of the projected impact of climate change on wildfire frequency and severity, such lawsuits may become increasingly commonplace.

By Alec Williams, Managing Editor

Hand-made sign stating "Lead Keep Out." Photo by Steven Depolo, licensed under

The Flint Water Settlement and Implications of the Michigan Supreme Court’s Reaffirmation of State Constitutional Tort Claims

December 1, 2020 by Alexander Collingsworth State and Local Water

Residents of Flint, Michigan will likely receive some compensation soon for the poisoning of their drinking water. In August, the state of Michigan settled claims against it and Michigan officials, including former Governor Rick Snyder, for $600 million. What are the implications of the Michigan Supreme Court decision that opened the way for this settlement? And how much money are individual residents likely to see?