A high-ranking environment lawyer from the Justice Department is up for a lifetime appointment on the powerful Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
President Donald Trump on Sept. 20 announced the nomination of Lawrence VanDyke, who is a deputy assistant attorney general in DOJ’s Environment and Natural Resources Division, overseeing federal litigation involving natural resources.
VanDyke joined the Justice Department in April and has helped defend against several high-profile lawsuits involving the Trump administration’s efforts to bolster energy development on public lands, including litigation over oil and gas development near New Mexico’s Chaco Canyon; federal royalty rates for production of federal fossil fuels; and the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement’s rollback of some safety rules for offshore drilling.
He previously served as solicitor general for Nevada, representing the Silver State in a variety of major cases, including the multistate challenge to the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan. VanDyke, who served under Nevada’s then-Attorney General Adam Laxalt (R), filed an amicus brief for the state in opposition to the Environmental Protection Agency’s climate rule.
VanDyke also previously worked in private practice and as solicitor general for Montana.
If confirmed by the Senate, VanDyke will likely consider environmental issues often. The San Francisco-based Ninth Circuit fields a heavy docket of natural resources and environmental regulation cases.