Polluters 5, Environmentalists 0: Supreme Court term reviewed

FURTHER to last week’s 6-3 Supreme Court Decision in Coeur Alaska, Inc v. Southeast Alaska Conservation Council et al,  the Center for Law, Energy and the Environment (CLEE) at UC Berkeley will be holding a live Webcast Tuesday June 30, 10-11.30am Pacific Time discussing the environmental record of the concluding Supreme Court term.

Panelists include CLEE executive director Richard Frank and Berkeley professors Dan Farber and Holly Doremus, and assistant professor Eric Biber.

The cases under discussion will include Winter v. Natural Resources Defense Council (environmental organizations’ challenge to the U.S. Navy’s active sonar testing program); Summers v. Earth Island Institute (environmental groups seeking to block the sale of timber from fire-damaged federal lands in California); Entergy Corp. v. Riverkeeper (environmentalists challenging the EPA’s use of cost-benefit analysis for power plant projects); Burlington Northern v. United States (federal government trying a case under Superfund law that would have

Lake or dump? You decide

 

Slate Lake in the Tongass National Forest, Alaska. Photo: Sierra Club.

FOR THOSE wondering about whether there is recourse to the Supreme Court’s  Coeur Alaska ruling last Monday, there is.

The decision, which by a 6-3 vote upheld the legality of dumping gold mine waste into Lower Slate Lake in Alaska’s Tongass National Forest, “can be undone in one of two ways,” said Ed Hopkins, Director of Sierra Club Environmental Quality Program. “One is the Obama administration could issue a rule-making and overturn a rule that the Bush administration did in 2002, which essentially created this problem. Or Congress can pass the the Clean Water Protection Act, which would also overturn the 2002 Bush administration rule.”

The Clean Water Protection Act would return the definition of “fill” to its original meaning (ie: not including pollutants), but it has been stymied in the past by advocates of mountain top removal

Nevada Supreme Court to Judge State Engineer

ASK any of the rural Nevadans who stand to lose their water to Las Vegas and its proposed 300-mile pipeline into central Nevada if the proceedings were fair, and they will laugh at your naivete. For them, Las Vegas gamed the table before the rural communities even knew that a game was on. One of their last recourses to stop the pipeline is a suit coming before the Nevada Supreme Court on Monday at 10.30am.

The court’s summary of Great Basin Water Network versus the State Engineer of Nevada reads: “In 1989, the predecessor to the Southern Nevada Water Authority filed applications for unappropriated water rights from rural Nevada for use in Las Vegas. More than 800 interested persons filed protests. In 2005, the State Engineer notified roughly 300 of the interested persons that a prehearing conference would be held to discuss the water rights applications. Some organizations and individuals