Supreme Court rejects Antiquities Act fight

Mar 26, 2024

The Supreme Court rejected two cases yesterday that could have curtailed the president’s power to establish new national monuments. 

The two cases centered on President Obama’s expansion of Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument. The timber companies involved argued the expansion was a misuse of the Antiquities Act, because it blocked timber harvests that Congress required on some of the same lands. The cases also asked whether the Supreme Court could restrict the president’s ability to set aside existing public lands to protect natural, cultural, or scientific features.

Only Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch indicated interest in hearing the Cascade-Siskiyou cases. It takes the vote of four justices to decide to hear a case. Notably, Justice John Roberts did not vote to hear the case, despite indicating interest in curtailing the Antiquities Act in the past.

“Legal scholars have already weighed in to remind Chief Justice Roberts about the century of legal precedent that underlies the Antiquities Act,” Center for Western Priorities Deputy Director Aaron Weiss told E&E News. “Today’s decision adds yet another important case that a future court would have to toss out if it considers undermining one of America’s bedrock conservation laws.”

Judge rules on first oil and gas sale under Biden

A federal judge has upheld the first oil and gas lease sale held by the Biden administration, ruling that the government adequately considered environmental impacts from the 2022 sale. In a separate ruling regarding the sale, the same judge also ruled that the Bureau of Land Management underestimated the sale’s impacts to groundwater and wildlife in Wyoming. The judge ordered another round of briefings in the litigation before he rules on a remedy.

Quick hits

Judge rules on first oil and gas sale under Biden

Bloomberg | Reuters

Lawsuit claims trash and cattle are overwhelming two national monuments in Nevada

Las Vegas Journal-Review | E&E News

Report: California home to America’s most polluted national parks, report says

Fox Weather

Asphalt, gravel demand is rising as residents near Colorado mines push back against expansion

Colorado Sun

Opinion: As Big Oil’s mess in our oceans grows, its bonding requirements should too

The Hill

Proposed lithium mine near Wikieup would endanger sacred sites, Native activists say

Arizona Republic

Climate change is happening too fast for migrating birds

High Country News

The Eastern Shoshone Tribe is reclaiming its land—starting with one animal


Quote of the day

I want to see thousands of buffalo and tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of acres protected for wildlife… What we do here on the reservation could set precedent for what buffalo restoration can look like.”

—Jason Baldes, Eastern Shoshone Tribe Buffalo Manager, HuffPost

Picture This

purple and yellow desert flowers in bloom


The Desert Lily Sanctuary in California protects 2,000 acres of prime wildflower habitat. In the spring, purple desert verbena, yellow desert dandelion, bright evening primrose, white desert lilies and other gorgeous wildflowers carpet the floor of the valley as far as the eye can see. Photos by Bob Wick and Kyle Sullivan / @mypubliclands
Feature image: Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument, BLM/Flickr