Robert Anderson on the Katie John Litigation

Robert T. Anderson has published “The Katie John Litigation: A Continuing Search for Alaska Native Fishing Rights After ANCSA” in the Arizona State Law Journal (PDF).

Highly recommended!!!!

Bob Anderson on Indigenous Rights to Water and Environmental Protection

Robert T. Anderson has published Indigenous Rights to Water & Environmental Protection in the Harvard Civil rights-Civil Liberties Law Journal.

an excerpt:

This article examines the rights of Indian nations in the United States to adequate water supplies and environmental protection for their land and associated resources. Part I of this article provides a brief background on the history of federal-tribal relations and the source and scope of federal obligations to protect tribal resources. Part II reviews the source and nature of the federal government’s moral and legal obligations to Indian tribes, which are generally referred to as the trust responsibility. Indian reserved water rights and the difficulty tribes experience in protecting habitat needed for healthy treaty resources is discussed in Part III. Part IV reviews the Dakota Access Pipeline controversy and the shortcomings of federal law in protecting tribal reservations and resources. Part V concludes with recommendations for enhanced and improved access to justice as well as substantive changes in the law to advance environmental protection for Indian tribes in the United States.

Bob Anderson on Water Rights, Water Quality, and Regulatory Jurisdiction in Indian Country

Robert T. Anderson has posted his paper, “Water Rights, Water Quality, and Regulatory Jurisdiction in Indian Country,” forthcoming in the Stanford Environmental Law Journal, on SSRN.

The abstract:

In the seminal Indian water rights case, Winters v. United States (1908), the Court posed this question: “The Indians had command of the lands and the waters—command of all their beneficial use, whether kept for hunting, ‘and grazing roving herds of stock,’ or turned to agriculture and the arts of civilization. Did they give up all this?” The Court’s answer was no, and since then a large body of law has developed around Indian water rights, although the primary focus has been on the amount of water reserved for various tribal purposes. While Indian nations use property rights theories to protect their water resources from loss to non-Indian use, they also deploy their inherent governmental authority through tribal water codes and the federal Clean Water Act to protect water quality. As competition for water resources grows and development pressures adversely affect water quality, Indian Nations and their neighbors face new challenges in defining Indian water rights for instream habitat protection and traditional consumptive uses.

This article reviews the nature of Indian water rights—both on and off reservations—and the use of tribal sovereignty to protect those rights in terms of quantity and quality. The case law in this arena is sparse, and the ability to predict an all-or-nothing litigated outcome is correspondingly limited. Under these circumstances, parties would be best off to default to the usual presumptions recognizing inherent tribal authority over on-reservation water resources and state authority outside of Indian country. From this jurisdictional baseline, tribes, states and the United States should cooperate to ensure that a given regulatory regime protects water quality and access to water.

Highly recommended!