The Department of Justice (DOJ) announced this week the State of California is being sued over a state law, Senate Bill 50, which requires the federal government give the California State Lands Commission an opportunity to purchase federal land before it is transferred to a private owner. SB 50 is designed to prevent the Trump Administration from selling federal lands the state deems worthy of further conservation.
The DOJ argues the California law is an unconstitutional override of federal law. In a press release, Attorney General Jeff Sessions told reporters the federal government, not state legislatures, has sole authority over when and how federal lands are sold.
The DOJ announced the lawsuit the same week that the Environmental Protection Agency rolled back Obama-era emissions rules nationwide and threatened to revoke a waiver that allows California to impose tougher standards for auto manufacturers.
The animosity between California and President Trump is nothing new, but the Administration is expected to ramp up its campaign against Obama-era environmental standards which will escalate tensions between federal agencies and California’s regulatory policies.