This casebook is the authoritative introduction to public land and resources law. Case studies, case notes, and examples illustrate legal points with special attention to historical and social context. Thought-provoking questions facilitate classroom discussion. This new edition is completely updated, including thorough revisions of all chapters, considerable streamlining, and many new principal cases. It includes a new chapter on energy resources, which covers fossil fuel leasing as well as renewable sources of power. The new edition increases emphasis on climate change, marine conservation, hydraulic fracturing, solar and wind energy, and other topics of contemporary interest.

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Imprint: Foundation Press
Series: University Casebook Series
Publication Date: 05/30/2014
Related Subject(s): Natural Resources

George C. Coggins, University of Kansas School of Law

Charles F. Wilkinson, University of Colorado School of Law

John D. Leshy, University of CA-Hastings College of Law

Robert L. Fischman, Indiana University School of Law - Bloomington


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This updated edition reflects some reorganization as well as new material. In general, our aim is to allow classes to cover the foundational material in chapters 1-5 efficiently before getting to the resource-specific chapters (6-13). Chapter 1 contains fewer excerpts and more narrative discussion of the ideas influencing public natural resources management. Chapter 2 concisely explores history through many of the current conflicts influenced by old decisions. The discussion of various trust doctrines reflects new caselaw and principal cases.

Chapter 3 addresses the ubiquitous concern of state-federal relations, with special emphasis on constitutional law. We have selected new preemption cases. The delegation section now introduces students to stewardship agreements as an example of modern delegation of resource management away federal agencies.

Chapter 4 consolidates four overarching legal issues that pervade natural resources law along with many other subjects of public administration. It employs several new principal cases. We have added a case to illustrate the importance of mitigated FONSIs in NEPA practice and to illustrate the role of climate change in species listing and delisting.

Chapter 5 closes in on issues peculiar to federal land management, including access to and across public lands. We have expanded the discussion of right-of-way permits under ANILCA and FLPMA. A new case updates FLPMA land exchange issues.

Chapters 6–13 address the law resource-by-resource. While we expect all courses to cover at least parts of each of the first five chapters, we have designed the book so that teachers may pick and choose which resources to cover in the final eight chapters. This book works equally well as a survey to touch upon many resource issues, or as an in-depth exploration of three or four resources. The most significant change in the resource-specific chapters is the addition of a new chapter on energy. It addresses disposition of resources under the Mineral Leasing Act, hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”), the problems of split estates (particularly oil/gas development under acquired federal lands), solar and wind energy production, and hydropower licensing.

We transformed the old timber resource chapter into a new forest resource chapter, which we believe more accurately portrays the issues at stake in national forest management. The new material addresses directly the issues emerging from the 2013 planning rule and the 2011 decision settling roadless area management. The wildlife resource chapter now grapples with the use of genetically modified crops in national wildlife refuges. Finally, the preservation resource chapter has a new section on marine conservation.

Learn more about this series.