Ecosystem services and Federal Public Lands: A Quiet Revolution in Natural Resources Management

The major federal public land management agencies (the Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, Park Service, Fish & Wildlife Service, and Department of Defense) have increasingly adopted a language that did not exist twenty-five years ago—the language of ecosystem services. Ecosystem services are the range of benefits that ecological resources provide to humans, from water purification and pollination to carbon sequestration and wildlife habitat. The scientific discipline advancing the ecosystem services framework arose in the mid-1990s and quickly became a central strategy for fusing ecology Continue reading →

Contingent Delisting

Introduction The Endangered Species Act (ESA) is among the strongest biodiversity protection laws anywhere in the world.[2] Its animating principle is that we, as a society, should do whatever it takes to prevent the extinction of the plants and animals that share our planet[3]—a moral intuition shared by most Americans.[4] As preventative medicine, the ESA has been a wild success. A recent study found that less than 1 percent of the 1,747 species listed as threatened or endangered have gone extinct.[5] So far, the Act Continue reading →

Not yet America’s Best Idea: Law, Inequality, and Grand Canyon National Park

Absolutely American, absolutely democratic, they reflect us at our best rather than our worst. . . . The national park idea, the best idea we ever had. –Wallace Stegner[2] [P]arks are not ‘America’s best idea’ . . . . The ‘best idea’ language has the potential to alienate more people than it attracts; . . . If asked to choose between the Grand Canyon or a landmark decision on Civil Rights that guarantees me equal protection under the law, Brown v. Board of Education wins Continue reading →

Bulldozing Infrastructure Planning and the Environment through Trump’s Executive Order 13807

The United States’ infrastructure is in trouble. Tunnels are falling apart,[2] and water pipes are lead-laced.[3] Independent analyses rate U.S. infrastructure an appalling D+,[4] and countless government studies confirm the need to mend, expand, and upgrade public infrastructure in a wide range of sectors.[5] Prominent progressive[6] and conservative[7] policymakers, from Donald Trump[8] to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez,[9] concur that America’s infrastructure must be transformed. So at the outset of the Trump Administration, many hoped Congress and the President could reach a bipartisan infrastructure agreement. Members of Congress Continue reading →

Streamlining or Steamrolling: Oil and Gas Leasing Reform on Federal Public Lands in the Trump Administration

President Donald Trump promised on the campaign trail that he would make American energy “great again.”[2] He explained that much of the nation’s energy resources remained untapped and that the country suffered from a self-inflicted wound. He said it was time to heal, and he had a plan: an “America First” energy plan.[3] Trump planned to eliminate excessive regulation, open up more federal land to oil and gas development, and bring back the coal industry.[4] This plan contained few details but many promises. President Trump Continue reading →

Reevaluating Environmental Citizen Suits in Theory and Practice

Citizen suits are frequently cited as an essential legal innovation by virtue of their capacity to provide a backstop to lax or ideologically antagonistic administrations. Drawing on data from fifteen years of litigation under two prominent environmental statutes, we find little evidence that citizen suits effectively serve this role in practice. Instead, we find that limited resources and institutional barriers strictly limit the number of citizen suits filed annually against the federal government under two of the most litigated environmental statutes, the National Environmental Policy Continue reading →

Toward Sustainable Recreation on Colorado’s Fourteeners

Colorado’s fourteen-thousand-foot mountains, commonly known as fourteeners, are attracting visitors in unprecedented numbers. As people flock to the state’s most popular peaks, hikers degrade the environment and create safety problems. This Comment addresses potential approaches to recreation management on fourteeners and argues that traditional use-limit management methods, like visitor quotas, do not align with sustainability objectives. The Forest Service, the primary land management agency for most fourteeners, has a duty to promote sustainable recreation by incorporating environmental, social, and economic factors into its decision-making processes. Continue reading →

Uber’s Efficiencies: A Modest Proposal for Limiting Use of Antitrust’s Per Se Rule

In antitrust law, the per se rule against horizontal price-fixing seems set in stone. Over time, however, antitrust enforcers and courts have declined to use this rule and instead have used the rule of reason. This change stems directly from the recognition that the per se rule’s blunt application may end up harming consumers in some contexts. Using Uber as an example of a consumer-friendly, efficiency-enhancing business model, this Comment argues that using the per se rule to analyze horizontal arrangements like Uber’s sacrifices consumer Continue reading →

CERCLA: It’s Time to Prioritize Climate Threats

Climate change will bring more extreme weather, including increased flooding and wind damage, to all stretches of the United States. These effects of climate change will cause profound consequences for communities living near sites with a legacy of toxic waste. With 1,883 Superfund sites on the National Priorities List and countless other U.S. properties with some degree of contamination, climate change will result in increased risk of exposure for surrounding local populations and environments. Currently, the Hazard Ranking System does not consider effects of climate Continue reading →

The Kids Are Alright: Teen Sexting, Child Pornography Charges, and the Criminalization of Adolescent Sexuality

“Sexting” is a term that refers to the exchange of sexually explicit or sexually suggestive messages or images between individuals using electronic messaging. Teenage sexting is a controversial legal topic because the act of taking nude or semi-nude pictures of a minor technically constitutes child pornography under federal law, even when those pictures were self-portraits taken by the minor in question. This Comment argues that the prosecution of sexting under federal child pornography law constitutes the criminalization of adolescent exploration of sexuality and that states Continue reading →