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What impacts could Trump's proposed offshore drilling plan have on MPAs and other current closures in US waters? Here's a primer

MPA News
February 22, 2018

In early January 2018, the US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management released a draft five-year program to guide leasing of the nation’s Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) areas for oil and gas drilling, from 2019-2024. The draft, which reflects the views of the administration of President Donald Trump, is aggressive. It would make over 90% of the nation’s total OCS area available to exploration and development. By comparison, the current five-year program puts 94% of the OCS off-limits to oil and gas exploration.

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Environmental Peacebuilding

BioScience, by Lesley Evans Ogden
January 30, 2018

As the River Jordan meanders between Israel, Palestine, and Jordan, disease-causing microbes that thrive in water contaminated with sewage pass over geopolitical lines without passports or border checks. By drinking or bathing in that contaminated water, children on each side of the border get sick. But proposed solutions could provide an opportunity to heal more than just disease. Cross-border investment in water treatment can be a mechanism for brokering peace.

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Zinke cut Fla. from 5-year plan. Can he do that?

E&E EnergyWire
January 11, 2018

The Interior Department's decision this week to withdraw Florida's federal waters from the agency's five-year offshore drilling plan brought more questions than answers. Chief among those queries: Can Interior do this? The answer: Yes?

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Furthering Civic Engagement in the Environmental Arena

JOTWELL - Journal of Things We Like (Lots)
December 13, 2017

Since January 2017, the news headlines have been screaming about one administrative law issue after another—everything from the Congressional Review Act to regulatory rollbacks, from Executive Orders to agency enforcement priorities. These news headlines have quite understandably prompted a flood of questions about what the law does, and does not, allow the president and others within the Executive Branch to do. For example, can a president use an Executive Order to unilaterally revoke an agency rule that is already on the books?

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China Needs Urgent Oversight of Investments

China Dialogue
December 1, 2017

With the advent of the Belt and Road Initiative, China’s ever-increasing overseas investments have been attracting more attention. In Latin America alone, China has direct investments worth over US$110 billion, and in countries such as Brazil, China’s investments rank alongside those of the US and Spain.

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Report: Illegal Fishing Should be Major National Security Issue

November 16, 2017

Illegal and unregulated fishing supports transnational crime, piracy, insurgency and terrorism and should be treated as a national security issue, a new report from the National Geographic Society and the Center for Strategic and International Studies says.

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Hurricane Harvey: Texas' buyout plan to cope with floods may be unprecedented

E&E EnergyWire
November 8, 2017

Officials in the Houston area have asked Congress to pay for one of the largest home buyout programs ever, maybe even the biggest, in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. If the money is approved in Washington, which is by no means certain, the Harris County Flood Control District would buy and demolish 5,000 homes and other buildings in the floodplain, using $800 million in federal money. Two other branches of Harris County's government have asked for $329 million to buy out 1,725 homes. . . .

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Memo To EPA Chief Pruitt: Let’s End Subsidies For Fossil Fuels, Not Renewables

Huffington Post
October 24, 2017

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt recently proposed eliminating federal tax credits for wind and solar power, arguing that they should “stand on their own and compete against coal and natural gas and other sources” as opposed to “being propped up by tax incentives and other types of credits....”  Stand on their own?  Pruitt surely must be aware that fossil fuels have been feasting at the government trough for at least 100 years. Renewables, by comparison, have received support only since the mid-1990s and, until recently, have had to subsist on scraps. .

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Alumni Profiles: Xiao Recio-Blanco LLM ’12, SJD ’15

Duke Law News
October 11, 2017

As the director of the Ocean Program at the Environmental Law Institute (ELI), Xiao Recio-Blanco oversees a range of projects directed at the conservation and sustainable use of marine resources. Recio-Blanco manages initiatives along a broad spectrum of legal frameworks involving domestic and international law.

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WOTUS rollback seen as death blow for 'very unique habitat'

Greenwire (E&E)
October 2, 2017

POCOSIN LAKES NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE, N.C. — Tea-colored water seeps from bogs here in eastern North Carolina's soggy, shrubby "blacklands," as local farmers call them. The Algonquin Indians called them pocosins. "They're not the most charismatic wetland," said Eric Soderholm, a wetland-restoration specialist for the Nature Conservancy. "But their impact on the ecosystem is invaluable." Pocosins serve as ecological sentries regulating freshwater quantity and quality in estuaries. But they are also coveted by farmers for their rich soil.

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