Garrett L. Hanken

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Where the Law and the Environment Connect.

Pressure Testing — Court Temporarily Halts Offshore Oil Exploration in Alaska

The events relating to the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico continue metaphorically to parallel the relationship between the courts and environmental review under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) with regard to deep water oil drilling off the north coast of Alaska. Shortly after BP installed a temporary...

Keeping PACE – California Sues Fannie Mae

California yesterday commenced a lawsuit seeking to prevent the Federal Housing Finance Agency and its arms Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac from interfering with California’s implementation of the PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) program for financing the greening of existing structures. The lawsuit is intended to prevent implementation of...

Property Rights: Carved in Stone or Written in Sand?

Property owners rely on the protection afforded by the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment to the U. S. Constitution to shield them against the government improperly interfering with their property rights. The Takings Clause requires “just compensation” to be given to the property owner if the government takes...

Are Current Judicial “Blowout Preventers” Sufficient?

As a BP oil well in the Gulf of Mexico continues to prove, at the rate of thousands of barrels of oil per day, that modern technology is no fail-safe against disastrous environmental mishaps, it provides a metaphor for a risk of malfunction in the legal system on which...

Top Kill

Shortly after the preceding blog entry was posted, President Barack Obama announced that he was suspending exploration of two locations off the coast of Alaska and suspending for six months the issuance of new permits to drill deepwater wells. He also noted that current laws and practices do not ensure “adequate environmental...