Environmental lawsuits are not known for being speedy. Litigation takes careful research and planning, and courts must be slow and thorough when reviewing disputes. These things are true in all areas of the law, but in environmental disputes, the plaintiffs’ goal is often not compensation for damages, but simply to stop a project or slow things down.
A frustrating dynamic
Landowners, developers and other business groups want to get started building, while opponents seek an injunction or some other relief that will keep them from breaking ground for as long as possible. This dynamic can make environmental lawsuits frustrating for everyone involved.
Joshua tree dispute
A recent environmental law dispute may be more even more frustrating and confusing than most such cases. The case involves the Joshua tree, the famous symbol of inland Southern California’s desert environment. Earlier this year, the California Fish and Game Commission voted to extend endangered species protection to the western Joshua tree for a year while it considers the viability of the species, which is threatened by climate change. The move was opposed by property owners and business groups who fear that endangered species protections for the tree will create huge legal burdens on them.
According to a recent news story, property owners, industrial trade groups and others joined together to file a lawsuit against the endangered species designation. In their claim, they do not argue that the western Joshua tree should not be protected, but rather, they argue that the Fish and Game Commission’s actions in granting the temporary status did not follow legally required procedures.
Disputes in environmental law can turn on extremely technical details, and it can be crucial to follow all procedures. It’s important for both plaintiffs and defendants, conservation groups and business groups, to seek out help from attorneys with experience in environmental law.