By: Trevor Gopnik 16th November, 2016 On September 27, 2016, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit sat en banc to hear oral argument in West Virginia v. EPA. The outcome of the case, which will almost certainly be appealed to the Supreme Court, could determine the Obama administration’s legacy on climate change action: federal regulation of greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. Members of the public, including the author, began lining up before 7:00 AM seeking a seat in the courtroom or one of the two overflow rooms with live video feeds. Oral argument started promptly at 9:30 AM and continued with only a short break until 6:00 PM.
By: Sahand Farahati 16th November, 2016 On August 22, 2016, the California Supreme Court rendered a decision in People v. Rinehart that upheld an effective ban on suction dredge mining in the state. Suction dredge mining is a method that uses a high powered suction device to vacuum loose material from streambeds and then separate the silt and gravel from valuable minerals, often gold. This method of mining is known to disturb endangered coho salmon habitats and contribute to mercury poisoning in humans and fish. At the same time, miners argue that it is the only practicable method of excavating gold. These conflicting interests were described by the Rinehart court as “arising from the competing desires to exploit and to preserve [the state’s] various resources.” Despite the court’s ruling, this may not be the end of the line for the case. James Buchal, the attorney arguing against the ban, has said he […]