CPR Archive for Sandra Zellmer
Trump's Plan to Dismantle National Monuments Comes with Steep Cultural and Ecological Costs
Professors Michelle Bryan and Monte Mills of the University of Montana co-authored this article with Center for Progressive Reform Member Scholar and University of Nebraska—Lincoln Professor Sandra Zellmer. It originally appeared in The Conversation on May 3, 2017.
In the few days since President Trump issued his Executive Order on National Monuments, many legal scholars have questioned the legality of his actions under the Antiquities Act. Indeed, if the president attempts to revoke or downsize a monument designation, such actions would be on shaky, if any, legal ground.
But beyond President Trump's dubious reading of the Antiquities Act, his threats also implicate a suite of other cultural and ecological laws implemented within our national monuments.
By opening a Department of Interior review of all large-scale monuments designated since 1996, Trump places at risk two decades' worth of financial and human investment in areas such as endangered species protection, ecosystem health, recognition of tribal interests and historical protection.
Why size matters
Trump's order suggests that larger-scale monuments such as Bears Ears National Monument in Utah, or the Missouri River Breaks National Monument in Montana, run afoul of the Antiquities Act because of their size. Nothing is farther from the truth. The act gives presidents discretion to protect landmarks and "objects of historic or scientific interest" located within federal lands. Designations are not limited to a particular acreage,
Keystone XL Pipeline Route through Nebraska Upheld on Constitutional Technicality – for Now
In almost any other appellate court, winning over a simple majority of the justices means that you win the case. Not so in Nebraska. Last Friday, in Thompson v. Heineman, a majority of the Nebraska Supreme Court found the Keystone XL Pipeline routing law, LB 1161, which granted the Governor the power to approve Keystone’s route through the state, unconstitutional. The catch? Nebraska’s rarely invoked Const. Art. V, § 2, or “supermajority clause.” Under this clause, “no legislative act shall
A Win for Nebraska: Lancaster District Court Struck Down Governor's Approval of Keystone Pipeline
A Lancaster County District Court has struck down the governor's decision to approve Keystone XL's pipeline route through the state in Thompson v. Heineman, CI 12-2060 (Feb. 19, 2014). As described in a previous blog, LB 1161 was passed in 2012 to give Governor Dave Heineman the authority to approve the route rather than having the state's Public Service Commission (PSC) make the decision. The court found that the PSC--not the governor--is constitutionally empowered under Nebraska Constitution Art. IV §
Nebraska Activists Making a Difference in the Keystone XL Fight
A Nebraskan activist? Wait, you say, isn’t that an oxymoron? But the typically stoic, non-litigious citizens of Nebraska are indeed standing up and taking notice, and the nation is starting to take notice of them. A few days ago, a Washington Post headline predicted, “Nebraska trial could delay Keystone XL pipeline.” As you may already know from the news and my previous blogs, the State Department released a draft supplemental environmental impact statement (EIS) on the pipeline in March. It initiated this supplemental review to
CPR Scholar Sandi Zellmer: Senate Passes Wrong-Headed “States’ Water Rights Act” WRDA Amendment to Facilitate N.D. Fracking
The 2013 Water Resources Development Act (WRDA), as adopted by the Senate on May 13, S.601, would authorize $12 billion in federal spending on flood protection, dam and levee projects, and port improvements. A new version of WRDA is passed every few years, and it is the primary vehicle for authorizing U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ water projects and for implementing changes with respect to the Corps’ water resource policies. S.601 contains several notable provisions, not the least of which
Blistering Comments on State's Draft Keystone XL Environmental Impact Statement
Monday was the deadline for public comment on the State Department's draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on the Keystone XL Pipeline. Mine, which I submitted with the support of two of my University of Nebraska colleagues, are here. The State Department had initially announced that it would take the unusual path of refusing to make all of the comments available to the public absent a Freedom of Information Act request, but after a storm of criticism, the Department has reversed
The CWA's Antidegradation Policy: Time to Rejuvenate a Program to Protect High Quality Water
This post was written by CPR Member Scholars Robert Glicksman and Sandra Zellmer. Visual images of burning rivers, oil-soaked seagulls, and other grossly contaminated resources spurred the enactment of the nation’s foundational environmental laws in the 1970s, including the Clean Water Act (CWA). Similarly, evocative prose like Rachel Carson’s description of the “strange blight” poisoning America’s wildlife due to widespread use of pesticides played a critical role in alerting policymakers and the public to the need for robust legal protections
Protecting Our Greatest Asset: Ratifying the Convention on Biological Diversity
a(broad) perspective Today’s post, co-authored by CPR Member Scholar Sandra Zellmer and Policy Analyst Yee Huang, is the fourth in a series on a recent CPR white paper, Reclaiming Global Environmental Leadership: Why the United States Should Ratify Ten Pending Environmental Treaties. Each month, this series will discuss one of these ten treaties. Previous posts are here. Convention on Biological Diversity Adopted and Opened for Signature on June 5, 1992 Entered into Force on December 29, 1993 Number of Parties: 193 Signed by
The Pipeline That Refuses to Die
Last month, President Obama denied TransCanada’s permit application for the Keystone XL pipeline because a congressionally mandated deadline did not allow enough time to evaluate the project once Nebraska completed its analysis for re-routing of the pipeline around the Sand Hills. A January 26-29 poll from Hart Research Associates found that, after hearing arguments for and against the pipeline, 47% of voters in four Presidential battleground states polled agree with President Obama’s decision while 36% disagree with it. Yet just this
TransCanada Says Nebraska Bill on Pipeline Rerouting Is Unconstitutional. Here's Why They're Wrong.
The Nebraska Legislature is in a special session currently to consider five bills concerning the proposed Keystone XL pipeline. The situation was shaken up by Thursday’s announcement from the Obama Administration that it was pushing back its decision on federal approval of the pipeline. This news may take away some urgency for the Nebraska Legislature, but considering that no options (including the original proposed route) have been taken off the table, the bills remain firmly relevant. Nebraska—and any other states
Species Conservation Efforts Only a Scapegoat in Missouri River Flooding
This post was written by CPR Member Scholar Sandra Zellmer and John H. Davidson, an emeritus professor of law at the University of South Dakota. It appeared first in the Omaha World-Herald. As the Missouri River nears the 500-year flood mark, we sympathize with those whose homes and businesses are flooded. And we recognize that it’s natural for the afflicted to cast blame on a scapegoat — a practice as old as recorded history. But those who blame the flooding
Atrazine, Syngenta's Confidential Data, EPA's Review, and the Five Stages of Grief
My family has gotten a lot smaller lately. My mother died in 2004, my father in 2007, and my uncle in 2008. I’ve done the five stages of grief, as introduced by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross in 1969, but not exactly as she described. It’s true that I initially felt denial: “I’m a lucky person; this can't be happening.” Then I was angry and felt sorry for myself. Then, at least during my mother’s struggle with pancreatic cancer, I hit the bargaining