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Research Reports

ELI publishes Research Reports available for free download that present the analysis and conclusions of the policy studies ELI undertakes to improve environmental law and policy. These reports contribute to education of the profession and disseminate diverse points of view and opinions to stimulate a robust and creative exchange of ideas. Those publications, which express opinions of the authors and not necessarily those of the Institute, its Board of Directors, or funding organizations, exemplify ELI’s commitment to dialogue with all sectors.

When Software Rules: Rule of Law in the Age of Artificial Intellegence

When Software Rules: Rule of Law in the Age of Artificial Intelligence

Dave Rejeski, Lovinia Reynolds, and Sarah Wright
February 2018

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is changing how our society operates. AI now helps make judiciary decisions, medical diagnoses, and drives cars. The use of AI in our society also has important environmental implications. AI can help improve resource use, improve energy efficiency, predict extreme weather events, and aid in scientific research. But while AI has the potential to improve human interaction with the environment, AI can also exacerbate existing environmental issues. Some form of governance is needed to ensure that AI is deployed in a manner that is beneficial for our environment. Read More >

Ethane Cracking in the Upper Ohio Valley

Ethane Cracking in the Upper Ohio Valley: Potential Impacts, Regulatory Requirements, and Opportunities for Public Engagement

Environmental Law Institute
January 2018

The ongoing boom in shale gas production has created a market for shale gas byproducts, including ethane, in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia. "Cracker" facilities convert ethane into usable chemical products, and several of these cracker facilities are proposed or already under construction in this region. However, many residents want to know more about the potential impacts of these facilities. Read More >

Fast Tracking Restoration: Addressing Resource Constraints in Federal Agencies

Benjamin Solomon-Schwartz, Teresa Chan, Amy Streitwieser, Jay Austin, Azi Akpan
December 2017

In general, federal agencies can only expend funds allocated to them through the Congressional appropriations process. Under some circumstances, however, federal agencies are allowed to accept outside funds or share personnel with other entities. This report highlights some of these circumstances. Appropriately applied, these provisions may assist federal agencies overseeing Gulf restoration in addressing at least some of their resource constraints related to environmental compliance. Read More >

Financing & Incentivizing Floodplain Buyouts: A Guide

Financing and Incentives Guide for Floodplain Buyouts

Environmental Law Institute, University of North Carolina Institute for the Environment
December 2017

Our Financing & Incentives guide is based on a review of what communities across the country are doing to make floodplain acquisitions a reality. We provide an overview of the sources and types of funds that exist and can be used to contribute to acquisition projects. Key insights provide a concise summary of how to approach this critical component of a successful buyout project.   Read More >

Prioritizing Future Floodplain Acquisitions (Cover)

Prioritizing Future Floodplain Acquisitions: Maximizing Opportunities for Habitat Restoration, Community Benefits, and Resilience

Environmental Law Institute, University of North Carolina Institute for the Environment
December 2017

This guide provides local governments and communities with ideas for proactively planning floodplain acquisitions and related projects in order to maximize community benefits. Understanding that mitigating risk and getting people out of harm's way are the main objectives of such projects, floodplain buyouts also provide opportunities for restoring habitat, improving resilience, and creating outdoor or recreation opportunities. Read More >