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Making a Difference: ELI in Action

ELI has a proud record of making law work for people, places, and the planet for nearly 50 years. Here we highlight some of our more recent accomplishments with regard to environmental law, policy, and protection.


Analyzing Regulatory Reform in the Trump Era

white houseEarlier this year, in response to the growing demand for unbiased answers and analysis on how deregulatory initiatives by the new Administration and Congress will impact environmental protection, governance, and the rule of law, ELI released a special report, Regulatory Reform in the Trump Era. On April 27, 2017, ELI President Scott Fulton and the authors of the report discussed the report's findings and answered questions from the audience.

 Improving Community Resilience and Habitat Through Targeted Floodplain Buyoutsfloodplain buyouts

ELI, in partnership with the University of North Carolina Institute for the Environment, issued Floodplain Buyouts: An Action Guide for Local Governments on How to Maximize Community Benefits, Habitat Connectivity, and Resilience. This Action Guide is designed to help local governments across the country leverage hazard mitigation buyouts to protect, restore, and connect habitats in local communities. Greatly informed by the information gathered through in-depth case studies and conversations with key players in local buyout programs, the Guide highlights management approaches that will be useful and practicable for the local officials and managers who have the authority to target their acquisitions in ways that improve habitat connectivity and resilience while also reducing flood hazards.

Providing Gulf Communities With Information to Ensure Better Restoration Projects

ELI continues its work to support meaningful public engagement in the restoration processes that were set up in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster. Our latest effort is a guide that Gulf Coast citizens can use to determine whether a restoration project is good or not: Good Projects Checklist: Important Elements for Gulf Restoration Projects. This checklist includes seven different elements of what to look for in a project. For each element, we provide: (1) a list of questions to determine whether a project adequately includes that element; (2) guidance on how to apply the element; and (3) an example of a Gulf project that satisfies the element.

 Visit https://www.eli.org/research-reports to download these and other recent reports from ELI.


Assessing the Reform of the Toxic Substances Control Act: One Year Laterchemical

On June 27, in partnership with Bergeson & Campbell, P.C., Environmental Defense Fund, and George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health, ELI hosted TSCA Reform: One Year Later. The day-long conference explored the federal government’s implementation of the Act passed last year. A broad array of speakers discussed key components of the bipartisan legislation and the current state of implementation. Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL) and Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM) gave keynote remarks.

Looking for Climate Change Solutions

power plantsThought leaders around the world are seeking approaches that can drastically reduce dependence on fossil fuel energy generation and other processes that emit greenhouse gases. “Deep decarbonization” is seen by some as the only way to achieving the Paris Agreement’s call to limit warming to “well below 2° Celsius.” On May 11, ELI hosted a seminar, Deep Decarbonization: The Legal and Economic Framework, to examine pathways toward long-term deep decarbonization within the United States. This topic is examined further in the latest issue of the Environmental Law Reporter's News & Analysis in an article by Michael B. Gerrard, Legal Pathways for a Massive Increase in Utility-Scale Renewable Generating Capacity (July 2017).

Greening Finance to Catalyze Sustainabilitygreen finance

Governments, intergovernmental organizations, financial institutions, corporations, and NGOs are examining green financing mechanisms in earnest, and many are working toward their implementation. On June 6, ELI held a seminar, Green Finance: Leveraging Investment for Environmental Protection, to examine how law and policy can help inform green financing and vice versa, and what barriers may be preventing more investment in projects and companies with positive environmental missions.

Improving Rule of Law in Critical Watersheds in the Andes

andesIn the Magdalena-Cauca watershed of Colombia and the Napo watershed of Ecuador, infrastructure, mining, and energy projects can pose serious threats to biodiversity. ELI is working to improve watershed health and biodiversity in Colombia and Ecuador by strengthening the judiciary´s knowledge and capacity to make informed decisions on environmental cases, ultimately leading to enhanced environmental protection in these two nations. Through training workshops and materials tailored to conservation issues in the target watersheds, judges will understand the interconnections between science, economics and the law, sustainable development, ecosystem services, and legal remedies and considerations. This three-year project, which ELI is doing in partnership with Fundepublico in Colombia and Centro Internacional de Investigaciones Sobre Ambiente y Territorio of the Universidad de los Hemisferios in Ecuador, also includes a robust “training-the-trainers” effort to lead to further education after the project is completed in 2019. Visit https://www.eli.org/judicial-education to learn more about ELI's judicial training program more generally.


TEFNew Column on the Intersection of Law Firm Practices and Environmental Public Policy

The Environmental Law Institute is pleased to announce that Ethan G. Shenkman is now a regular columnist for The Environmental Forum, ELI’s award-winning policy journal. Mr. Shenkman’s inaugural column, Private Practice, Public Policy, appears in the magazine’s July-August issue.

The Emergence of Seabed Mining as an Environmental Issue

The issue of deep seabed mining--how to manage it, and who benefits from it--was a topic of intense debate in the 1970s and 1980s. Deep seabed mining could disrupt sensitive ecosystems that we know little about, but it could also lead to abundant sources of now-rare minerals. For some time, the issue had drifted into relative obscurity. But today, a growing number of prospectors are obtaining exploration leases with the goal of achieving commercial-scale exploitation of areas as large as medium sized countries. Read Years After Treaty Goes Into Force, Mining on the Seafloor Ratchets Up in the May/June issue.


blogBe sure to check out ELI's blog series, Vibrant Environment. Some recent postings include:

—Shareholder Engagement Greens Corporations, by Linda Breggin, Senior Attorney

—When Cars Lie, by Dave Rejeski, Director; Technology, Innovation and the Environment Project

—Regulation: Is $100 Million What It Used to Be?, by James M. McElfish, Jr., Senior Attorney; Director, Sustainable Use of Land Program



N&AEach month, the Environmental Law Reporter's News & Analysis offers insightful features relevant to both legal practice and policy on today's most pressing environmental topics. Recent articles include:

—Scott Fulton, David Clarke, and María Amparo Albán, Environmental Sustainability: Finding a Working Definition (June 2017)

—Benjamin Wilson, Barry Hill, Quentin Pair & Suzie Ruhl, The State of Environmental Justice: An Obama Administration Retrospective (May 2017)


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