Lynne Howard – With the end of President Obama’s term, the outgoing president sought to ensure that climate change action would be incorporated into the next administration’s national security policies. On September 21, 2016, Obama released a presidential memorandum to address the imminent and significant effects of climate change on national security by establishing a Climate and National Security Working Group (“Working Group”). The Working Group’s purpose is to “ensure that climate change-related impacts are fully considered in the development of national security doctrine, policies, and plans” by coordinating “the development of a strategic approach to identify, assess, and share information on current and projected climate-related impacts on national security interests.” Building on prior presidential directives and policies regarding the impacts of climate change, the presidential memorandum takes significant steps to ensure that the impacts of climate change are identified and incorporated into national security planning.
Grace Krasnerman – Hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) accounts for approximately 51% of oil production and 67% of natural gas production in the United States. The Energy Policy Act of 2005 (“EPAct”) generally excluded fracking from federal regulation under specified programs such as the Safe Drinking Water Act. Recently, however, the Bureau of Land Management (“BLM”) issued new fracking regulations to maintain public health and environmental welfare for fracking on public and tribal lands. Several Western states—the primary sites for fracking under BLM’s jurisdiction—filed suit against the Department of the Interior (“DOI”), asserting that BLM lacked the authority to regulate fracking. In Wyoming v. U.S. Department of the Interior, Judge Scott Skavdahl of the District Court of Wyoming enjoined BLM from implementing the new regulations and affirmed the states’ contention that it was wholly in their authority to regulate fracking. DOI is currently appealing this decision in the Tenth Circuit, and the […]