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In 1972, in his dissent to the majority’s decision in Sierra Club v. Morton, Justice Blackmun posed a question: “Must our law be so rigid and our procedural concepts so inflexible that we render ourselves helpless when the existing methods and the traditional concepts do not quite fit and do not prove to be entirely adequate for new issues?” Forty years later, Aotearoa New Zealand’s parliament answered in the negative.
In 2013, the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians sued the Coachella Valley Water District and Desert Water Agency after nearly two decades of voicing its concerns to the agencies over their unsustainable groundwater management practices. Specifically, the Agua Caliente disapproved of the agencies’ overdraft mitigation techniques, which involve artificially replenishing the region’s groundwater basin with lower-quality water imported from the Colorado River.
On August 15, 2017, the White House issued Executive Order 13,807, which cited the need to improve domestic infrastructure as the basis for its mandate to cap the amount of time federal agencies may spend preparing an Environmental Impact Statement for certain major infrastructure projects. This development followed Executive Order 13,766, which called for streamlining and expediting the NEPA process for infrastructure projects, particularly those deemed to be of “high priority” to the nation.
Throughout the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the gray wolf was systematically eradicated from most of the lower forty-eight states. A population of hundreds of thousands was whittled down to a few hundred, concentrated only in the woods of Minnesota and Isle Royale, Michigan. The wolf has rebounded, thanks to robust federal protection. But full recovery remains elusive—in part because of the federal government’s narrow expectations for recovery.