ELI In the News
At a meeting tomorrow, the US Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to confirm President Trump’s nomination of 37-year-old Justin Walker to become a judge on the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, the second-most-powerful court in the land and often a stepping-stone to the Supreme Court. The DC appeals court has made some key rulings on climate cases, and Walker will hold a lifetime appointment to it. Does he believe human activity is contributing to or causing climate change? . . .
A top Justice Department lawyer is defending the agency’s elimination of a popular settlement tool in environmental cases—and offering reassurances that the government will still require polluters to clean up their messes. Deputy Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Brightbill on Wednesday stressed that a March memo eliminating supplemental environmental projects, or SEPs, in federal enforcement deals doesn’t affect mitigation and other cleanup requirements. . . .
I know this risks sounding like what my kids call a ‘grandpa story,’ but context is important, particularly when talking about environmental regulation. Most Americans alive today were born after April 20, 1970, so have no personal frame of reference for what the country’s environment looked like before the first Earth Day, but it was not good. . . .
Plumas Unified School District’s Outdoor Core and science education coordinator Rob Wade is the recipient of a national award. Wade was acknowledged for promoting awareness in the field of wetlands conservation. . . .
A looming Supreme Court showdown over water flows from the Pecos River may be the first in a rising swell of interstate water battles driven by climate change. The justices had been set to hear Texas v. New Mexico, a dispute over floodwaters that overwhelmed the Pecos River in 2014 and 2015, last month, but the court bumped oral arguments to next term in light of the coronavirus pandemic. Several other battles between states over water from rivers and aquifers could also soon make it to the nation's highest bench, said Beveridge & Diamond PC principal John Cruden to an audience during a recent conference hosted by the Environmental Law Institute and American Law Institute. . . .
Trailblazing ecologist Rebecca R. Sharitz spent almost her entire career at the University of Georgia Savannah River Ecology Laboratory. A world-renowned expert on wetlands with more than 160 peer-reviewed publications to her credit, she was also revered as a teacher and mentor to graduate students, postdoctoral researchers and volunteers. . . .
Environmental law experts said they’re looking to federal courts and agency action to clarify a new water permitting standard the U.S. Supreme Court established last week. But the prospect of repeated litigation over the scope of the Clean Water Act is “pretty scary,” said Hilary Meltzer, chief of the Environmental Law Division of the New York City Law Department. . . .
Earlier this year Mayor John Cooper announced the names of 48 members of the Nashville community to serve on the Mayor’s Sustainability Advisory Committee. Since the announcement, the Committee has been advising and supporting the City’s commitment pursuant to the Global Covenant of Mayors to develop a Climate Action and Adaptation Plan for the city of Nashville. In celebration of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, Socket reached out to the committee’s Co-Chairs, Linda Breggin and Eric Kopstain, and the Co-Chairs of the sub-committees to have them share what they see for the future of a sustainable Nashville. Hear their voices of sustainability. . . .
Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are the root cause of anthropogenic climate change. In the United States, about 80% of these emissions come from fossil fuel combustion; globally, the figure is about 72%. Most of the rest is from agriculture, deforestation, and other land use changes. Thus, the most important task in reducing climate change is transitioning away from fossil fuels. . . .
A new website, Model Laws for Deep Decarbonization in the United States, was launched on Tuesday to help accelerate a sustainable U.S. transition to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions. It will provide policy makers at the federal, state and local levels with the legal tools needed to transition away from fossil fuels. . . .