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Vibrant Environment

How Do We Bounce Back? Defining and Measuring Community Resilience

By Sierra Killian, Research Associate, and Rebecca L. Kihslinger, Senior Science and Policy Analyst
Monday, June 17, 2019

With climate change actively intensifying impacts from natural disasters, it is now more important than ever to design and implement community resilience plans and actions that will minimize damage when disasters occur. To prepare for an increasingly uncertain and fraught future, communities are identifying vulnerabilities, planning for forthcoming disasters, and taking action to become more resilient. But what exactly does resilience mean? What does it mean to be a resilient community? And, importantly, is there a concrete way to measure a community’s progress toward resilience as it is defined by the community so that its members can ensure they are taking appropriate steps to be better able to respond to a new normal?

Leadership of Women in the Environmental Movement

By Helena Kilburn, Educational Programming Intern
Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Women have been leaders in every major movement, though their contributions all too often go unrecognized. The environmental movement is no exception. Women striving toward the betterment of this field have faced many challenges, but through skill and determination, they persevered. The environmental movement is over two centuries long with generations of women shaping policies and laws within the field. This blog features just a handful of the numerous women who paved the way for future environmentally conscious generations.

Proposed Revisions to Improve and Modernize CEQ’s NEPA Regulations

Monday, June 10, 2019

In 2018, the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) announced its intentions to revisit and revise its 40-year-old NEPA regulations, following Pres. Donald Trump’s call in Executive Order No. 13807 to modernize the environmental review and authorization process. CEQ issued an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking last June and is now expected to send its proposal to the White House shortly.

Gender and the Environment

By Lynn L. Bergeson, Managing Partner, Bergeson & Campbell, P.C., and Lorentz Hansen, Legal Assistant/Paralegal, Acta Group
Friday, June 7, 2019

Many have argued that gender equality and women’s empowerment are essential to advancement in many areas of life, such as business, health, and education.  This brief blog post posits that the field of sustainable development and environmental protection are no different.  Gender equality and, more particularly, women’s empowerment, are critical to achieving sustainable development across the globe.  It is not a one-size-fits-all proposition, and the gender differences and deeply rooted policies that perpetuate inequality differ from region to region.

Strategizing Against the Flame: What’s Next for California’s Wildfires?

By Helena Kilburn, Educational Programming Intern
Wednesday, June 5, 2019

The 2018 wildfire season in California has been the state’s deadliest on record, and the 10 most deadly fires in California’s history occurred in the last four years. In a deviation from historic records, documentation of these recent fires show that their occurrence has become nearly year-round rather than seasonal. These fires pose extreme threats to 25 million acres of California’s wildlands, as well as to the 11 million people who live within the threatened area. In addition to intensifying climate change, faulty equipment and electric transmission from utility companies have contributed to the increase in wildfires in these high-risk regions. However, taking full monetary responsibility for these fires can lead to near or certain bankruptcy for the utility companies.

Confronting Environmental Gentrification: The Case of the Anacostia

By Kashaf Momin, Research & Publications Intern
Monday, June 3, 2019

In the shadows of the Potomac River, the Anacostia River has long been known as D.C.’s forgotten river due to the effects of heavy pollution and neglect. With recent efforts to remediate the river, the Anacostia and its surrounding neighborhoods are a site of urban development and environmental gentrification.

On the 20th Anniversary of Climate Change Law, Where Do We Go From Here?

Friday, May 31, 2019

Any self-respecting environmental lawyer knows, 2019 marks a major anniversary for environmental law: the Cuyahoga River fire of 1969. While we note the anniversary today, I doubt onlookers in Cleveland appreciated at the time that it would give rise to a five-decade era of environmental lawmaking.

The Fifth Circuit’s Partial Vacatur of EPA’s 2015 Effluent Limitation Guidelines

By Hunter Leigh Jones, Associate Editor, ELR
Wednesday, May 29, 2019

On April 12, 2019, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit vacated portions of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) 2015 Effluent Limitation Guidelines (ELGs) and Standards for the Steam Electric Power Generating Point Source Category (ELG Rule). ELGs are nationwide standards set by EPA to govern pollutant discharges from point sources.

Toward Citizen Science Policy Outcomes

By Kasantha Moodley , Manager, Innovation and Governance, and George Wyeth , Visiting Scholar
Wednesday, May 22, 2019

In ways that did not exist even ten years ago, everyday people are acting as scientists: contributing their time and data to make notable discoveries, answer lingering questions, and develop awareness. Motivated by technology innovations, public concern, and limited institutional capacity, citizen science is gently reshaping the conventional systems that address human health and environmental protection.

Of Walls . . . and Windows

By Scott Fulton, President, Environmental Law Institute
Wednesday, May 15, 2019

“For everything there is a season,” says the old Pete Seeger song, quoting the much older still book of Ecclesiastes. It seems that we are currently in the season of walls. The physical manifestation of this particular period may be the issue of the wall on our southern border. But there are other walls, and some of them have law as their concrete or steel.