News & Updates from WAGLAC
November 9th, 2020

The WAGLAC winter meeting will be held as a virtual meeting February 16-18, 2021. Additional Details to follow.
AG Alliance Cannabis Newsletter

If you are interested in following cannabis law developments, please sign up for the AG Alliance cannabis newsletter by emailing Cole White at
Knudsen Gets the Nod for Attorney General
Montana Free Press
November 4, 2020

"AP has called Montana’s attorney general race for Republican Austin Knudsen. The current Roosevelt County Attorney and former state House Speaker led his opponent, Democrat Raph Graybill, by more than 90,000 with 93% of precincts reporting."
Oregon Attorney General's Race: Ellen Rosenblum Wins a Third Term
The Oregonian
November 3, 2020

"Democrat Ellen Rosenblum easily won another four years as Oregon’s attorney general, cruising to victory with a 17 percentage point lead over Republican Michael Cross in partial returns.

With the win, Rosenblum is on track to be the state’s third longest serving attorney general.

In her third term, Rosenblum plans to push the Legislature to pass consumer privacy and gun safety laws."
GOP Attorney General Sean Reyes Prevails As Democratic Underdog Concedes
Salt Lake Tribune
November 4, 2020

"Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes coasted to another term, easily outpacing Democratic challenger Greg Skordas.

Unofficial ballot returns showed the Republican incumbent capturing 60.5% of the tally, while Skordas snagged 34.6% in the statewide chase.

The results catapulted Reyes, who was first appointed to the office in late 2013, to a second full term."
Bob Ferguson Defeats Matt Larkin in Washington State Attorney General Election Results
The Seattle Times
November 3, 2020

"Taking President Donald Trump to court, over and over again, seems to have paid dividends at the ballot box for Attorney General Bob Ferguson.

The activist AG defeated his Republican opponent, Matt Larkin, with 59% of the vote count, to Larkin’s 41%. While a few counties had not yet reported, and many ballots remained to be counted, Ferguson’s lead was insurmountable."
A Biden Victory Positions America for a 180-Degree Turn On Climate Change
The Washington Post
November 7, 2020

"Joe Biden, the projected winner of the presidency, will move to restore dozens of environmental safeguards President Trump abolished and launch the boldest climate change plan of any president in history. While some of Biden’s most sweeping programs will encounter stiff resistance from Senate Republicans and conservative attorneys general, the United States is poised to make a 180-degree turn on climate change and conservation policy.

Biden’s team already has plans on how it will restrict oil and gas drilling on public lands and waters; ratchet up federal mileage standards for cars and SUVs; block pipelines that transport fossil fuels across the country; provide federal incentives to develop renewable power; and mobilize other nations to make deeper cuts in their own carbon emissions."
President Trump Leaves Unfinished Business in Environmental Litigation
Bloomberg Law
November 7, 2020

"Major environmental litigation is set for an abrupt shift after President-elect Joe Biden steps into the White House, as the Trump administration leaves behind a trail of unanswered legal questions.

In four years, President Donald Trump and his appointees in the Environmental Protection Agency, Interior Department, and other agencies made dramatic regulatory changes that sparked an ongoing series of legal battles. Biden’s team is expected to reverse course on big-ticket items, stopping many of those lawsuits in their tracks."
Salmon Fight Highlights FDA's Reach, Potential for Change
E&E News
November 6, 2020

"A dispute over genetically engineered salmon has now surfaced a broader question about the Food and Drug Administration's mandate to consider the far-reaching environmental consequences of its approval actions.

It's a question that could present one more green test, and a chance for new direction, for a potential Biden administration and new FDA leadership.

In a ruling ordering a more comprehensive review of genetically engineered salmon, a federal judge rebuked the FDA for taking a "narrow view of its authority" to take environmental impacts into account."
Federal Judge Sides With Tennessee in Water Rights Case
Memphis Flyer
November 6, 2020

"Tennessee has not been stealing billions of gallons of Mississippi’s waters for years, according to an opinion issued in a legal battle over water rights here that began in 2006.

The original suit claimed wells drilled in Memphis siphoned off water that belonged, exclusively, to Mississippi. Mississippi officials wanted the U.S. Supreme Court to recognize the state’s right to the water and wanted Tennessee to pay $615 million for the water Tennessee had already consumed.

But a federal judge working on the case opined against Mississippi’s claim. Judge Eugene Siler, appointed as Special Master on the water suit, recommended that the suit be dismissed and for the states to share the water.

The core of Siler’s ruling was that the disputed waters flow between many states. Thus, they become an “interstate resource,” meaning rights to the water are held by many states. Mississippi officials claimed the water is stored under their state boundaries and belongs only to them, making the water an “intrastate resource.”
In Historic Move, Colorado Voters Decide To Reintroduce Gray Wolves
November 6, 2020

"In Colorado, a historic ballot measure to force the state to reintroduce gray wolves has passed by the slimmest of margins.

Proposition 114 directs state wildlife managers to bring wolves back to Colorado's western mountains by 2024. Supporters suspected it would sail to victory, but voters appear wary of wolves. By the time opponents conceded the race, the initiative was only ahead by half of 1 percentage point."
Clay Smith, the American Indian Law Deskbook chief editor, summarizes Indian law decisions assigned headnotes by Westlaw to facilitate the Deskbook’s annual revision.

Please note, The 2019 Edition now appears on Westlaw under the Secondary Sources/Texts & Treatises category. We anticipate that the hardbound version will be out later this month
Indian Law Case Summaries
All summaries are posted in CWAG's google docs account, accessible through the link below. Should you have any issues with the links, contact Andrea Friedman with any questions.
Corporation of President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints v. BN, ___ F. Supp. 3d ___, 2020 WL 6424117 (D. Utah Nov. 2, 2020)Defendant in state court action seeking to enjoin her from proceeding in a tribal court action against the state court plaintiff was properly removed to federal court, and the state court was held to lack subject-matter jurisdiction to grant such relief.
Adams v. Elfo, ___ F. Supp. 3d ___, 2020 WL 1929375 (W.D. Wash. Apr. 21, 2020), on reconsideration, ___ F. Supp. 3d ___, 2020 WL 64848399 (W.D. Wash. Nov. 4, 2020)Magistrate judge’s recommendation concerning dismissal of a suit under the habeas corpus provision of the Indian Civil Rights Act remanded for determination of whether the lack-of-jurisdiction exception to the exhaustion requirement applies. On reconsideration, magistrate judge also directed to consider Public Law 280 issue.
Updated American Indian Law Deskbook Is Now Available

The American Indian Law Deskbook is a concise, direct, and easy-to-understand handbook on Indian law. The chapter authors of this book are experienced state lawyers who have been involved in Indian law for many years.

American Indian Law Deskbook addresses the areas of Indian law most relevant to the practitioner.
Topics include:
  • Definitions of Indians and Indian tribes
  • Indian lands
  • Criminal, civil regulatory, and civil adjudicatory jurisdiction
  • Civil rights
  • Indian water rights
  • Fish and wildlife
  • Environmental regulation
  • Taxation
  • Gaming
  • Indian Child Welfare Act and tribal-state cooperative agreements
Western Attorneys General Litigation Action Committee
CWAG oversees and coordinates the Western Attorneys General Litigation Action Committee (WAGLAC), which consists of assistant attorneys general involved in litigation related to the environment, natural resources, public lands and Indian law. WAGLAC was formed over 30 years ago and meets three times per year to discuss the latest developments in these areas of the law. AGO staff gain important contacts throughout the country in these important areas of the law.
Contributions For WAGLAC Newsletter
We rely on our readers to send us links for the WAGLAC Newsletter. If you have or know of a recent (published in the last two weeks) case, statute or article relating to natural resources, environment, Indian law or federalism that you would like us to consider for inclusion in the Newsletter, please send it to Clive Strong. For a complete database of all previously published WAGLAC newsletters, please follow the link below.