ELI In the News
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court upheld a borough’s denial of a conditional use permit for unconventional oil and gas development in an oil and gas overlay zone, ruling that the borough could rely on testimony from residents of an adjacent township about their adverse experiences with development by the same applicant. On May 31, 2019, in EQT Production Co. v. Borough of Jefferson Hills, the Court by 6-1 decision reversed the Commonwealth Court’s 2017 decision which had required the borough to issue the permit for a 30-acre 16-well site.
Scientific reports, coming in a steady stream, are highlighting the urgency of reducing greenhouse gas emissions so as to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. Already, hurricanes, coastal and inland flooding, wildfires, heat waves and other extreme weather events are causing severe economic damage and loss of life, and their increasing severity has been attributed to climate change. The decades to come promise to be even worse. [Click here to read the full article.]
Richard Grant has dedicated the last 47 years to helping protect and preserve Narrow River, a lifetime body of work that recently received national attention. As the president of the Narrow River Preservation Association (NRPA), Grant was honored last week by the Environmental Law Institute (ELI), being presented with the organization’s 30th anniversary lifetime achievement award at the in Washington, D.C.
Your next visit to the Nashville Farmers’ Market on Rosa Parks Boulevard will include six new items. No, not necessarily farm-fresh peaches or asparagus, though those will likely be there too, depending on when you arrive. The market is introducing six custom-designed receptacles that allow customers to sort their trash. . . .
In a major victory for environmentalists, Maine has become the the first state to ban Styrofoam containers for food and beverages. The ban, signed by Democratic Governor Janet Mills on Tuesday, will take effect on January 1st, 2021.The ban will make it illegal for restaurants to sell or distribute the containers (such as bowls, plates, cups, trays, and cartons), with penalties of up to $100 in fines. In addition, grocery stores and other businesses will be prohibited from using the containers. There are some exceptions: Hospitals, seafood shippers, and state-funded meals-on-wheels programs will still be allowed to use Styrofoam. . . .
The city of Arcata produces more than two million gallons of sewage per day — there is nothing out of the ordinary about that statistic; it’s in line with the amount of sewage generated by cities of similar size. The difference between Arcata and those other similarly sized cities is the manner in which the sewage is treated. The procedure the city currently uses to process its wastewater didn’t exist 50 years ago. It was the engineering skill of two men that led to an innovative wastewater treatment system that not only handles the city’s sewage but also provides a wildlife sanctuary that is one of the city’s most popular attractions.
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.
In a hefty 1,000-plus pages, "Legal Pathways to Deep Decarbonization in the United States" explores various strategies for slashing emissions of carbon dioxide and other planet-warming gases. The tome builds upon research from the Deep Decarbonization Pathways Project, a global collaboration that focuses on technical approaches to limiting global warming to 2 degrees Celsius. [click here to read the full story]
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. In the United States, California, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, and Maine have initiated statewide restrictions, while Oregon and Washington are considering similar measures.
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. “No one has done this, at this scale, in the U.S.,” said John Dernbach, director of the Environmental Law and Sustainability Center at Widener University in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Dernbach co-edited the book, along with Michael Gerrard, director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia University. . . .
"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.