A Colorado court struck down a city's ban on hydraulic fracturing. In 2012, voters passed an amendment to the city charter that bans fracking and the storage and disposal of fracking waste within city limits. The oil and gas industry challenged the ban, arguing that it was preempted. The court agreed, rejecting the city's claims that the ban is a valid exercise of its home rule police and land use authority. Given the state interest in production, prevention of waste, and protection of correlative rights on the one hand, and the city's interest in banning hydraulic fracturing on the other, the court ruled that the operational conflict in this case is "obvious and patent on its face."
Public Trust Doctrine Applies to Navigable Waterways
A California court held that the public trust doctrine protects navigable waterways from harm caused by groundwater extraction. Concerned about the management of the Scott River in northern California, environmental groups filed suit against Siskiyou County, claiming the county must consider the public trust prior to issuing well drilling permits. The court agreed, holding that the public trust doctrine protects navigable waters from harm caused by extraction of groundwater where the groundwater is so connected to the navigable water that its extraction adversely affects public trust uses.
The August issue of ELR's News & Analysis features the annual Environmental Law and Policy Annual Review (ELPAR), published in partnership with Vanderbilt University Law School. ELPAR provides a forum for the presentation and discussion of the best law and policy-relevant ideas on the environment from the legal academic literature each year. ELI and Vanderbilt formed ELPAR to accomplish three principal goals: to provide a vehicle for the movement of ideas from the academy to the policymaking realm; to improve the quality of legal scholarship; and to provide a first-rate educational experience to law students interested in environmental law and policy.