ClimateWire: Study attempts to set a liability scheme for underground leaks of stored CO2 - March 25, 2013 - “We are offering a way to supplement existing regulation,” said David Adelman of the University of Texas School of Law, co-author of the paper, published in the Duke Environmental Law & Policy Forum and in the Environmental Law & Policy Annual Review (ELPAR). Adelman’s paper, which was discussed at the 2013 ELPAR conference on Capitol Hill, is mentioned in the article.
The conference and Adelman’s research was also cited in Bloomberg BNA “Climate Change: Academics, Attorneys Delve Into Prospects For Using Tort Law in Carbon Sequestration” (subscription required):
Academics, Attorneys Delve Into Prospects For Using Tort Law in Carbon Sequestration
By Alan Kovski
A system of federal law and regulation for carbon sequestration that introduces strict legal liability for some categories of problems could add clarity but could also be a disincentive to sequestration and could stir a federal-state conflict, according to participants in a March 22 discussion.
The liability proposal came from two University of Texas academics. They proposed that sequestration sites could be assessed and ranked by quality, and then the tort law concept of strict liability could be applied to the corporate operators of lower-quality locations. That would encourage developers to select higher-quality sites. They presented their idea at a discussion hosted by the Environmental Law Institute and Vanderbilt University Law School.
Priya Aiyar, Energy Department deputy general counsel for environmental and nuclear programs, questioned the value of adding mixing tort law with regulation. Strict liability would not work better than regulation, in her view.
The capture and sequestration of carbon dioxide has been proposed as a partial solution to limiting climate change, although it is has not been done in the United States and has only been tested in a few other nations. U.S. carbon storage would be regulated through the Underground Injection Control program, governing disposal of gases and liquids in such places as deeply buried saline aquifers.
Another participant in the discussion asked David Adelman, one of the authors of the liability proposal, what weaknesses he saw in the Underground Injection Control program that needed to be remedied with a layer of tort law. Adelman acknowledged the question as a good one for which he had no immediate answer.
State Authority, Federal Legislation
Aiyar also cautioned that a federal law designed to control risks to water could clash with the interests of states. States regulate water rights and also used federal authority delegated to them under the Clean Water Act and several other laws. A similar concern was expressed by John Pendergrass of the Environmental Law Institute.
“States have jealously guarded their authority over groundwater,” Pendergrass said.
A federal requirement for strict liability applicable to any category of carbon sequestration also would require legislation. Speakers only briefly touched on the questionable prospects of any bill to impose strict liability for sequestration site operators.
Aiyar and Fred Eames, a partner in the Hunton & Williams law firm, both emphasized that industry needs more incentives, not more liabilities, to encourage it to begin trying carbon sequestration. Adelman did not dispute the need for incentives.
The proposal by the two academics also attempted to avoid the subject of long-term responsibility covering not only underground injection of carbon dioxide. Aiyar and Eames both suggested the long-term aspects of the issue probably are not be separable from near-term aspects.
Reproduced with permission from Daily Environment Report, 57 DEN A-11 (March 25, 2013). Copyright 2013 by The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. (800-372-1033) <http://www.bna.com>
Bloomberg BNA: Interior Plans 'Major Announcements' Soon on Species Protection, Habitats, Official Says - March 25, 2013 - The article discusses the panel on Professor Dave Owen's paper at the 2013 ELPAR conference on Capitol Hill. A copy of the paper is available here.
[Reproduced with permission from Daily Environment Report,57 DEN A-15 (March 25, 2013). Copyright 2013 by The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. (800-372-1033) <http://www.bna.com>]
Bloomberg BNA: Officials, Legal Experts Differ in Approach to Integrated Water Resources Management - March 25, 2013 - The article discusses the panel on Professor Barton Thompson's paper at the 2013 ELPAR conference on Capitol Hill. A copy of the paper is available here.
[Reproduced with permission from Daily Environment Report,57 DEN A-7 (March 25, 2013). Copyright 2013 by The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. (800-372-1033) <http://www.bna.com>]
Inside EPA: A Weekly Report: Appeals Courts Urged to Resolve Climate Tort Questions to Drive Policy - May 7, 2012 - Legal experts say federal appeals courts hearing novel climate change tort claims must help drive federal climate policy by resolving key questions in the suits such as the severity of harm from greenhouse gases (GHGs) and the need to curb their release. Even though the cases are still likely to fail, the experts argue it is important that they fail on their merits rather than on procedural grounds such as lack of standing. Yale Law School Professor Douglas Kysar, one of the authors who presented his paper at the 2012 ELPAR Conference on Capitol Hill, is quoted (subscription required to read the full article).
Spinach in Our Teeth: All Sorts of Green Things to Chew On: “Prizes or Grants: Which is Better at Yielding Real Solutions?” - April 14, 2012 - In his paper, “Eyes on a Climate Prize: Rewarding Energy Innovation to Achieve Climate Stabilization,” Professor Jonathan Adler of Case Western University’s School of Law argues that one of the best ways for the federal government to find solutions to our energy needs and climate change is not through the traditional federal grant process, but rather by creating prize competitions. His paper, and the 2012 ELPAR conference on Capitol Hill, is discussed in this blog post.
The Tennessean: Panel at Vanderbilt law school to discuss residential solar - February 21, 2012 - The Environmental Law and Policy Annual Review will hold its annual panel in Nashville. The future of energy law—specifically related to renewable solar power for homes—will be discussed from noon to 1:30 p.m. Thursday in Flynn Auditorium, Vanderbilt University Law School. Joel B. Eisen, a professor at the University of Richmond School of Law who proposes a “solar utility” model, is among the panelists.
ELPAR co-founder Chris Bowles, class of 2010, was mentioned in the Nashville City Paper regarding his progress as Director of Nashville’s Office for Environment and Sustainability - February 2011.
Should states force cities to go green? (Nashville) - April 1, 2010 - Should states begin exerting more authority over their individual municipalities? This was the question posed to panelists Thursday at the Environmental Law and Policy Review, sponsored by Vanderbilt University Law School and The Environmental Law Institute.
Nashville Mayor Karl Dean announces the creation of a new environmental office at the Nashville ELPAR Conference, appointing ELPAR co-founder Chris Bowles, class of 2010, as its director - April 2010
European Tropical Forest Research Network (ETFRN) - September 23, 2010 - Michael Vandenbergh, the Tarkington Chair in Teaching Excellence and director of the Environmental Law Program, coauthored this article, which was featured in the September issue of the ETFRN newsletter.
ELI Press Release - April 1, 2008 - The Environmental Law nstitute (ELI) and the Vanderbilt University Law School present a conference on the best environmental law and policy ideas from the academic literature of 2007. Members of the press are invited to participate in the conference, which provides an exciting opportunity to be briefed by some of the leading law professors in the country, such as University of Chicago’s Cass Sunstein and University of California-Berkeley’s Daniel Farber, on their innovative ideas for addressing the most pressing environmental problems of our day.