ELI In the News
Mayor John Cooper’s early 2022 sustainability agenda begins with a bold pledge: cut Metro government’s greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent. Meanwhile, the Mayor’s Office is working on a solar feasibility assessment for 600-plus city-owned sites as the mayor also pledged his support for a much-needed tree-planting effort. “America’s cities are on the front lines of combating climate change and increasing our resilience to natural disasters,” Mayor Cooper said. “Nashville has brought a sense of urgency and a practical, collaborative approach to getting this work done. We made strong gains in 2021, and I’m committed to doing more.” . . .
The court decision late last week to halt a large lease sale in the Gulf of Mexico was both nuanced and far-reaching. It is unlikely to lead to the long-term ban of future oil and gas leases both on and offshore, experts tell Axios. Why it matters: The decision to cancel a $192 million lease sale and send it back to the Interior Department for a new environmental analysis under the National Environmental Policy Act provides the Biden administration with some breathing room to review its leasing policies. . . .
The Environmental Law Institute yesterday welcomed Jordan Diamond as its next president. Diamond has recently held leadership positions at her alma mater the University of California, Berkeley, where she has overseen initiatives related to climate, energy and marine policy. She replaces former EPA general counsel Scott Fulton, who served for about six years as president of ELI, a leading nonpartisan voice on environmental education, policy and law. “For over 50 years, ELI has been an unassailable source of leading insight on environmental law and policy. It has published, researched, convened, and educated all in the name of safeguarding environmental governance in a changing world,” said Jordan in a statement yesterday. . . .
Courts in the United States and abroad served as flashpoints on climate change this year as governments struggled to address the growing threat. U.S. climate litigation is expected to gain velocity in 2022, following a pair of unrelated Supreme Court actions concerning EPA's carbon rules for power plants and local governments' climate liability lawsuits. The legal battles have attracted heightened attention as the Biden administration fights to enact an ambitious climate change agenda amid congressional wrangling. . . .
Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan will visit Houston on Friday as part of a weeklong tour of neighborhoods across the South where pollution has impacted people’s health — predominantly for Black and Latino residents. In Jackson, Mississippi, on Monday, Regan said he would discuss what people deserve from the federal environmental agency and the disproportionate impact pollution has had in historically marginalized communities. . . .
Paul Hanle ’69 has a gift for explaining science to non-scientists. He’s been doing it for decades — to families and teachers through science museums, and later to adults through agencies on up to the White House and the United Nations. Now he’s explaining the science of climate change to a group of people with real power to act on it: judges. About three years ago, Hanle helped found the Climate Judiciary Project at the Environmental Law Institute. It fills a need that’s growing primarily in the U.S. but also internationally, as more lawsuits are filed over climate change and appear before judges who don’t often have a science background. . . .
“Think globally, act locally” is a motto used for years to encourage local action on environmental problems. Seventeen-year-old Sonja Michaluk has been thinking globally and acting locally since she was a six-year-old monitoring streams for water quality in her hometown of Hopewell Township. And the Carnegie Mellon University student went on to act globally as well – and for that she was just named a winner of the 2021 Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes. The Barron Prize annually honors 25 outstanding young leaders who have made a significant positive impact on people, their communities, and the environment. . . .
The new head of the EPA’s in-house financial advisory board wants to prove low-income communities of color aren’t risky places for private investors to park their money. That goal is crucial because President Joe Biden has made environmental justice one of his central concerns. But it’s historically been hard to convince bottom line-oriented investors that projects such as laying down permeable pavement or shoring up disaster resiliency are worth financing, especially in rural areas without much economic activity. . . .
When the people of Rio Blanco first saw workers bringing heavy construction machinery into their village along the sacred Gualcarque River in Honduras 15 years ago, they went to Berta Isabel Cáceres for help. Cáceres, an activist representing the Lenca tribe who co-founded the National Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH), would go on for a decade leading a campaign to stop the Agua Zarca Dam, a joint venture between a Chinese dam developer, the largest in the world, and a Honduran company, Desarrollos Energeticos SA (Desa). . . .
Towns and cities throughout the U.S., and globally, are on the front lines when it comes to addressing food waste and climate change. Recognizing the link between these two challenges, the Environmental Law Institute (ELI) released a new report in August to help address them simultaneously — in their climate action plans (CAPs). “As the entities primarily responsible for managing waste and safeguarding public health, including ensuring that low-income communities and communities of color do not bear disproportionate burdens, cities are well situated to leverage their on-the-ground expertise and local policymaking authorities to simultaneously address climate change, food security, waste reduction, and environmental justice,” explains Linda Breggin, Senior Attorney and Director of ELI’s Center for State, Tribal, and Local Environmental Programs. . . .