Tuesday, June 6, 2017
Nadia Ahmad (Barry University) has two new pieces that both touch on environmental justice and land use, albeit in slightly different ways. In her article Trust or Bust: Complications with Tribal Trust Obligations and Environmental Sovereignty, 41 Vermont L. Rev. 799 (2017), Ahmad looks at environmental justice and land use from a Native American perspective. Ahmad examines infrastructure projects on tribal lands and argues that current federal right-of-way law chisels away at tribal land rights. In The Baseline Bar, 65 Kansas L. Rev. 579 (2017), Ahmad explores the National Environmental Policy Act's "no action" alternative provision used to assess whether a project moves forward. Ahmad asserts that the "no action" alternative is used more as a tool of assessment to move a project forward than as a tool of prohibition to halt a project and its deleterious environmental impacts. To strengthen the “no action” alternative, this article recommends a more detailed analysis to conserve delicate environmental spaces and alleviate the phenomenon of environmental racism. While both these articles explore land use through different lenses, both articles address the issue of infrastructure projects and property rights issues related to natural resources, indigenous land rights, extraction activities on federal lands, and environmental justice concerns for land use.