Notes and Case Comments

Can You Sue the Government? An Examination of the Legal Doctrines for Government Liability Regarding Their Involvement with Wind Power Development

By: Esther Y. Kim   With increasing government involvement in the development of wind power, neighboring landowners experiencing harms related to wind turbines might wish to—indeed, in some cases may need to—recover from the government as well as private parties.  They may wish to bring nuisance claims against the government, which will largely mirror claims against private wind developers, and may bring claims alleging a Taking in violation of the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution.  Government liability for harms caused by wind farms may increase the costs of wind power development. This Note determines that the Takings claim is the stronger claim and proposes which Takings jurisprudence courts should apply, depending on the nature and scope of government action in particular cases.  Specifically, this Note focuses on the three possible ways that the government may become involved with the development of wind farms: (1) explicit grants of nuisance […]

Reforming “The Blob”: Why California’s Latest Approach to Amending CEQA Is a Bad Idea

By: Katherine V. Mackey The story of Moe’s Stop, a small gas station in San Jose, demonstrates a major problem with the California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”).   The owner of Moe’s wanted to add three new pumps to his existing station—an action without any obvious environmental effects—but the owner of a rival gas station across the street used CEQA to convince a judge to order an environmental review of the project, which halted construction for two years.   After the completion of the environmental review, Moe added the new pumps, but the rival owner still went back to court to argue that the environmental review had been flawed.   The mayor of San Jose, an environmental lawyer, stated that the lawsuit was “ridiculous” and described it as “obviously anticompetitive” in its intent.   The cost to the owner of Moe’s of the litigation and associated delays was over $1 […]