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Wanted: 'Legion of lawyers' to fight climate change

ClimateWire (by Ellen M. Gilmer, E&E News Reporter)
April 24, 2019

Two leading environmental law scholars are out with a new trove of recommendations for fighting climate change, and they're recruiting lawyers to put the plan in action. Columbia University's Michael Gerrard and Widener University's John Dernbach released an extensive playbook this spring designed to assist lawyers and policymakers working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

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Tribal Regulation of Single-Use Plastics

The Regulatory Review (by Cynthia R. Harris)
April 23, 2019

The world is waking up to the growing problem of plastic waste contaminating our ocean and terrestrial environments. Local governments—lauded as laboratories of innovation—have begun enacting bans and fees on single-use plastics, reducing the amount entering the waste stream in the first place. Businesses are stepping up; national and multinational governance bodies are adopting laws cutting down on the manufacture and distribution of single-use plastics.

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‘This is how to build it’: Book aims to provide a legal guide to decarbonization

Energy News Network (by Marie Cusick)
April 18, 2019

In response to the sometimes mind-numbing and frightening challenges that climate change presents to humanity, a pair of legal scholars have something to offer — an enormous new book filled with over 1,000 potential solutions. Legal Pathways to Deep Decarbonization in the United States outlines recommendations to help arm policymakers, the legal community, and everyday citizens with a giant menu of legal options to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80 percent from 1990 levels by the year 2050.

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Fostering Citizen Enforcement and Rule of Law Could Cut Down Illegal Logging

New Security Beat (by Kyla Peterson)
April 11, 2019

"The trade in illegal timber products—those harvested and exported in contravention of the law of the producer country—is entangled in corruption, conflict, insecure land rights, and poor governance,” said Sandra Nichols Thiam, Senior Attorney of the Environmental Law Institute. She moderated a panel titled “Citizen Enforcement in the Forestry Sector” hosted by the Environmental Law Institute that explored illegal logging within the forest sector.

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Court overturns permits for transmission line built over James

Bay Journal (by Sarah Vogelsong)
April 10, 2019

Mere days after Dominion Energy powered up its new transmission line across the James River from Surry to Jamestown, VA, a ruling by a federal court of appeals cast the controversial infrastructure’s future in doubt. On March 1, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia issued an opinion overturning the project’s key permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on the grounds that the agency did not meet its obligations under the National Environmental Protection Act and directing the Corps to prepare an environmental impact statement on the 17-tower, 500-kilovolt line.

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Atlantic Coast permit pileup: Where things stand

E&E EnergyWire (by Pamela King)
February 7, 2019

Though the Atlantic Coast pipeline's path winds through mountainous Appalachia, the contentious gas project may face its biggest uphill battle in court.

Over the last two months, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has instructed or allowed federal agencies to revisit a slate of critical approvals for the gas pipeline. The court's Dec. 7 delay of a key Fish and Wildlife Service Endangered Species Act review, which the 4th Circuit has now twice rejected, led developers to halt construction.

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How the 2008 Mitigation Rule Helped Developers and Built a Restoration Economy

Ecosystem Marketplace (by Genevieve Bennett)
January 31, 2019

Legal scholar Zechariah Chafee, Jr, said it best: “Your right to swing your arms ends just where the other man’s nose begins,” he wrote in 1919, attributing the quote to an unnamed judge – and reflecting the fundamental challenge of all regulation, including the rules and laws that protect the waters of the United States. The Clean Water Act (CWA), for example, evolved over decades, as

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Environmental Laws Won’t Fix Climate Change Unless We Enforce Them, New UN Report Says

Motherboard (by Kaleigh Rogers)
January 24, 2019

The number of environmental protection laws around the world has increased 38-fold since 1972, but a lack of sufficient enforcement has rendered many of them useless, a new United Nations report has found.

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Rare pangolins languish in China wildlife rescue system

Washington Post (by Christina Larson / AP)
January 24, 2019

When Chinese police found them in the trunk of a smuggler’s car, 33 of the trafficked pangolins — endangered scaly mammals from southern China — were still alive, wrapped in plastic bags soaked with their own urine.

But the fate of the creatures — whose scales are worth nearly their weight in silver on the black market — was not a happy one. Every last pangolin died in government captivity within a few months of the August 2017 seizure.

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UN: Poor Enforcement of Laws Worsens Environmental Threats

New York Times (by Associated Press)
January 24, 2019

A United Nations report says that a global failure to enforce environmental protection laws is exacerbating threats.

The report from the United Nations Environment Program released Thursday says there is a lack of monitoring agencies capable of effectively enforcing laws. It says poor implementation is one of the "greatest challenges to mitigating climate change, reducing pollution and preventing widespread species and habitat loss."

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