Federal Treaty and Trust Obligations, and Ocean Acidification

Federal Treaty and Trust Obligations, and Ocean Acidification. Robert T. Anderson, University of Washington School of Law, June 1, 2016. Washington Journal of Environmental Law & Policy, Vol. 6, No. 2, Pp. 474-95 (2016) University of Washington School of Law Research Paper 2016-17.
Year Published
UW School of Law

This essay describes the nature of Indian treaty rights and the federal-tribal relationship, shows how the United States has sometimes acted to protect Indian treaty rights, and argues that the United States must do more to protect and enhance environmental conditions that are causing ocean acidification. Tribal property rights secured by treaty and the federal government's trust responsibility require serious protective action by the United States to stop the increase in ocean and freshwater acidification. Part II describes the federal-tribal relationship and the parameters of the federal trust responsibility. Part III reviews legal authority supporting federal litigation and administrative actions to protect Indian treaty rights to hunt, fish, and gather and to the habitat upon which those rights depend. Part IV concludes the piece with a normative discussion of why the federal trust responsibility requires the robust use of protective, proactive, and ameliorative efforts outlined by others in this book. In sum, it will take a broader view of the trust responsibility and more aggressive action by policy makers to force limitations on greenhouse gas emissions and stem the harm from increasing ocean acidification.