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Vibrant Environment

An Ongoing Battle: Fighting the Impacts of Uranium Mining in Southwestern Indigenous Communities

By Siena Fouse, Intern, Research and Publications
Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Indigenous communities in the Southwestern United States have been battling the impacts of uranium mining since the early 1940s. The geology of the Colorado Plateau was found to be rich in the radioactive mineral and drew mining to the area. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) sought uranium to develop nuclear weapons during the Cold War, which fueled the interest of mining companies that opened uranium mines and mills on and around indigenous land.

Complex Implications of the COVID-19 Pandemic for Climate Mitigation

By Alan B. Horowitz, Co-Founder, Green Street USA and Principal and Managing Director, Trusted Companies LLC, Michael P. Vandenbergh, Director, Climate Change Research Network, Co-director, Energy, Environment, and Land Use Program, Vanderbilt University, and Margaret Badding , Research and Publications Intern, ELI
Monday, June 22, 2020

With the sweeping and difficult changes brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, including social distancing and an economic downturn with record-high unemployment, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions have plummeted globally. Reductions in emissions for the year are projected to be between 4% and 7% globally and between 6.7% and 11% in the United States.

Getting to the Meat of the Matter

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

The coronavirus pandemic is affecting a variety of industries, from travel to retail to restaurants. But perhaps the hardest-hit are meat and poultry processing plants, which have been experiencing outbreaks throughout the United States. In April, President Trump issued an Executive Order declaring these plants “critical infrastructure” to make sure they stay open, and the number of cases in these plants continued to rise in the days and weeks that followed. According to the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting, as of June 15 there have been over 25,000 reported positive cases tied to meatpacking facilities in at least 235 plants in 33 states, and at least 90 reported worker deaths at 39 plants in 24 states.

Mapping Inequity

By Siena Fouse, Intern, Research and Publications, and Lovinia Reynolds , Policy Analyst and Environmental Justice Coordinator
Wednesday, June 10, 2020

To address environmental inequity, we first need to understand where inequity exists geographically. Maps help model our reality and are a useful tool for locating and addressing environmental inequity. The power of maps in environmental justice was first revealed in 1987 in Toxic Wastes and Race in the United States, published by the Commission on Racial Justice.

New Executive Environmental Waiver—What Does It Do?

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By James M. McElfish, Jr., Senior Attorney; Director, Sustainable Use of Land Program, and Jay Austin, Senior Attorney; Editor-in-Chief, Environmental Law Reporter®
Monday, June 8, 2020

On June 4, President Trump signed an Executive Order entitled “Accelerating the Nation’s Economic Recovery from the COVID-19 Emergency by Expediting Infrastructure Investments and Other Activities.” The Order notes that in his March 13 declaration of a national emergency related to the pandemic, the President had invoked “national security” under the National Emergencies Act, 50 U.S.C. 1601 et seq., and “an emergency of nationwide scope” under the Stafford Act, 42 U.S.C. 5191(b).

Disparity, Disease, and Drinking Water: COVID-19 and Safe Drinking Water Access in Indian Country

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By Cynthia R. Harris, Staff Attorney; Director of Tribal Programs; Deputy Director of the Center for State, Tribal, and Local Environmental Programs
Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Pandemics are global in nature, but their impacts are anything but uniform. COVID-19 is exposing substantial inequities, including disproportionate health and economic consequences for minorities. From medical care to broadband, different demographics have vastly different access to critical resources in a widespread crisis. Indian country is especially hard hit by coronavirus. It is the locus where matters of public health, Indigenous sovereignty, and environmental justice collide. Access to clean, safe, and affordable water offers a particularly stark example. Without water, even following the common sense admonition to frequently wash one’s hands becomes an insurmountable challenge.

A Three-Ring Balancing Act: Extinction, Conservation, and CRISPR

By Micah Bradley, Vanderbilt Law School 3L, Member of Environmental Law and Policy Annual Review Class, and Linda Breggin, Senior Attorney; Director of the Center for State, Tribal, and Local Environmental Programs
Monday, June 1, 2020

In his 2019 article, Governing Extinction in the Era of Gene Editing, Prof. Jonas J. Monast of the University of North Carolina School of Law recommends using the Endangered Species Act (ESA) framework to regulate the growing use of gene-editing technology.

The Proverbial Fork In The Road: NEPA’s Uncertain Future

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Heralded in 1970 as the nation’s “environmental Magna Carta,” the National Environmental Policy Act’s (NEPA’s) future seems uncertain. As Trump Administration initiatives threaten to diminish and perhaps even dismantle aspects of NEPA, an article in the May issue of ELR—The Environmental Law Reporter chronicles how this merely continues NEPA’s unfortunate trajectory, examining how the courts, the U.S.

Clean Water as a Pathway to Stopping COVID-19 and Advancing Biodiversity

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By Sasha Koo-Oshima, Deputy Director of Land and Water Division, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, and Nicholas A. Robinson, University Professor on the Environment, Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University
Friday, May 22, 2020

Washing hands—repeatedly—is the first line of defense against the COVID-19 virus. Now, more than ever, water is seen an essential element of life.

Although the pandemic indiscriminately attacks rich and poor, old and young, worldwide, it does victimize one out of every four humans disproportionately. These are the 2.2 billion persons who lack clean water. They lack the “luxury” of washing hands, or bathing or drinking clean water.

Why Are Bike Equity Initiatives Needed and How Should Cities Incorporate Them?

By Zoe Bertol-Foell, Research and Publications Intern, ELI
Wednesday, May 20, 2020

If you have walked across downtown Manhattan recently, you may have been blinded by the new colorful green pavement marking protected bike lanes. NYC is one of many cities flaunting their new bike safety initiatives in political speeches, tourist brochures, and subway ads. Given the multiple economic, health, and environmental benefits of replacing car trips with bike trips, their pride is well-deserved. But in order for such initiatives to serve all New Yorkers, they must go a step further.

All blog posts are the opinion of its author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of ELI the organization or its members.