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Developments in Standing for Public Lands and Natural Resources Litigation

December 2018

Citation: 48 ELR 11098

Issue: 12

Author: James M. McElfish Jr.

This Article offers a framework for analysis of potential developments in the law of standing in cases involving public lands and natural resources. It is based on recent federal case law and academic literature addressing the law of standing in cases that involve planning, conservation, exploitation, and disposition of public lands and resources administered by the federal government. While necessarily grounded on U.S. Supreme Court doctrines, the focus is on the application and development of standing law in the lower federal courts. The Article examines public lands and natural resources cases decided by the U.S. Courts of Appeals since the turn of the 21st century in order to capture developments applying standing doctrines within the modern Supreme Court framework. It also discusses district court opinions, particularly in the D.C. Circuit and in the western circuits, mostly where these were final decisions on standing issues. It identifies current developments, and incremental and logical steps that might support and extend the ability of interested parties to access judicial review.

James M. McElfish Jr. is a Senior Attorney at the Environmental Law Institute.

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