The Reclamation Project: Engaging Community for 15 Years Through Participatory Eco-Art
Reclamation Project installation of mangrove propagules
Thursday, May 20, 2021

I was introduced to mangroves early in my childhood during family trips to Bear Cut in Key Biscayne, Florida—the same plants that grew in my family’s hometown on the northern coast of Cuba. In 2003, I first used mangrove imagery in my artwork as a metaphor for the immigrant. I imagined the mangrove propagules floating along the water and setting root on a sandbar. Little by little they would grow alongside each other, capture sediment, create land, and build new habitats. Like immigrants in a community who come together to support one another, the roots of each mangrove tree come together to create a formidable structure that protects against the dangers of storm surge.

Environmental Review in the Gulf: How Might Revised NEPA Regulations Impact Coastal Restoration?
Children playing on Alabama Gulf Coast shoreline
Saturday, February 15, 2020
Last month, the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) proposed a rule that would considerably change the implementing regulations of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) (ELI’s guide to the proposed regulations is available here). NEPA requires that major Federal actions undergo environmental review before being carried out. The review process involves examining environmental impacts and alternative actions, consulting interested parties, and identifying mitigation; and, while procedural in scope, it aims to ensure that environmental considerations are incorporated in government decisionmaking.
Navigating the Public Comment Process for the Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion Project
Bridge over Mississippi River
Wednesday, April 14, 2021

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New Orleans District, is seeking comment on the draft environmental impact statement (EIS) for the Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion (MBSD) restoration project. If approved, the MBSD would reconnect the Mississippi River to Louisiana’s Barataria Basin and, through the controlled release of sediment-laden freshwater from the river, allow sediment and nutrients to flow into the basin with the goal of restoring wetlands and slowing the rate of coastal land loss. (Read more about sediment diversions in our earlier blog post.)

The Future of Food: How Drones Seek to Revolutionize Agriculture
Drone flying over crop
Friday, March 19, 2021

The agricultural industry is developing fast. With new and emerging technologies on the rise, industrial agriculture continually strives to incorporate sustainability and efficiency into its operations. Although the industry produces significant pollutants, including animal waste, chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and other agricultural inputs and byproducts, incorporating new technologies, such as drones, helps to mitigate the hazardous pollutants associated with industrial agriculture. In addition to mitigating environmental harm, incorporating sustainable technology into agricultural practices can improve water conservation and bolster efficiency.

Assessing the Arctic: Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
Bears in Alaska
Friday, March 5, 2021

High reward or high risk—that’s the potential billion-barrel question. Often referred to as America’s last great wilderness, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) consists of 19.64 million acres in the Alaska North Slope region and is the largest National Wildlife Refuge, supporting an enormous variety of biodiversity and robust Indigenous communities. In 1960, President Dwight Eisenhower declared the refuge a federally protected area, and oil and gas drilling was banned in 1980. In the decades following, numerous presidents and Congresses have resisted efforts to authorize extraction exploration in the area.

Reaching Out With a Digital Helping "Handprint" to Decarbonize Every Sector
Earth surrounded by digital numbers
Thursday, February 4, 2021

“The future has arrived—it’s just not evenly distributed yet,” observed writer William Gibson, whose observation was cited during the Environmental Law Institute’s November 17 webinar, “Digital Solutions to Climate and Water Challenges,” the first in a series that will serve to continue exploring the dynamic intersection of policy and cutting-edge technologies begun in 2019 with ELI’s inaugural GreenTech conference in Seattle.

Abandoned Mine Lands: Deciding the Future of Toxic Contamination
Mining Excavator
Thursday, January 28, 2021

On August 5, 2015, EPA personnel assigned to mitigate pollutants from the foreclosed Gold King Mine in Colorado caused the discharge of toxic wastewater into the Animas River watershed, releasing lead, arsenic, and other metals and toxic elements. Even though Colorado Governor Hickenlooper eventually declared the area a disaster zone, the delayed response and devastating environmental impacts from the Gold King Mine wastewater spill revealed an urgent need to address the nearly 500,000 Abandoned Mine Lands throughout the United States.  According to the EPA, the total cost to clean up AMLs ranges from $50-70 billion. Although the burden of mitigating toxic pollutants from AMLs may appear to rest solely upon the federal government, the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) mandates that the party responsible for AML hazardous contamination must assume financial responsibility.

Sediment Diversions: Big Projects Confront Land Loss in the Mississippi River Delta
Thursday, January 14, 2021

The Mississippi River Delta and Louisiana coastline are disappearing. Since the late 1920s, efforts to control the Mississippi through levees and dams have impeded its natural ability to deposit sediment downstream, contributing to large-scale land loss. It’s estimated that Louisiana’s coastal parishes lost roughly two thousand square miles of land between 1932 and 2016. As rising seas driven by climate change threaten to further consume the Gulf coast, there is an imperative to address the growing problem of shrinking landmass. Confronting this threat with a sense of urgency will allow for preservation of Louisiana’s communities, economies, and cultural resources into the future.