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News Posted on May 5, 2017

Professor Frank Comments on California Supreme Court Case for San Diego Union-Tribune

Professor of Environmental Practice Richard Frank ’74 commented for the San Diego Union-Tribune and Climatewire on a California Supreme Court case involving the California Coastal Commission’s power to regulate the ability of private landowners to construct sea walls to protect their properties from erosion.

Frank said the outcome of the case was likely to have long-ranging impacts, as the state seeks to address the impacts of climate change.

“The specific climate impact that the Coastal Commission is focused on is sea level rise, and increased frequency and intensity of coastal stores,” Frank told the Union-Tribune.  “This is the first time this issue of the propriety of long-range planning efforts in relation to projected climate change impacts has gotten to the Supreme Court.”

Speaking with Climatewire, Frank said that if the court rules for the homeowners, "it would not bode well for future efforts by California governments at the state and local level to try and plan, and act proactively, to keep their options open to assess the future impacts of sea-level rise and storm surges along the coast."  A ruling in favor of the state would signal to planning agencies that "it's permissible to make their permitting decisions and make their land-use planning decisions with a firm eye on climate change," he said.

Frank is a leader in the field of environmental law and the founding Director of the California Environmental Law and Policy Center at UC Davis School of Law.