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Vibrant Environment

A Group Launches a Law Movement

By Stephen R. Dujack, Editor, The Environmental Forum®
Monday, October 14, 2019

The New York Times reported on a conference of prominent lawyers to address the following question, “Do people have a constitutional right to freedom from air pollution and other environmental hazards and annoyances?”

What was an “unusual meeting” in the Times’s phrasing was held not last month but a half century ago at a rural conference center known as Airlie House just outside Warrenton, Virginia. The venerability of that clipping can be seen by the newspaper’s citing “the new field of ‘environmental law.’”

Juliana Studies Abroad: Lessons From Global Climate Change Litigation

By Kieran Minor, Research & Publications Intern
Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Greta Thunberg’s arrival in New York last month was highly publicized. So was her choice to travel via a “zero-emissions” yacht and her speech before the U.N. General Assembly. What many missed was that she also filed a complaint against five countries over their climate negligence during her visit. But before Greta, there was (is) Juliana (well, Kelsea). Kelsea Cascadia Rose Juliana is the leading plaintiff in Juliana v. United States, otherwise known as the Youth Climate Case. Supported by the nonprofit organization Our Children’s Trust, Juliana and 20 other youth plaintiffs sued the U.S. government in 2015 over its lack of action to combat climate change. Greta and Juliana’s cases are among a small but growing docket of climate-related litigation around the globe, cases that may become the Marbury v. Madison of climate case law.

A Tax by Another Name? EPA’s Existing Authority to Impose a Carbon User Fee

Monday, October 7, 2019

A number of bills have been introduced in recent years to price greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions via a federal carbon tax. These proposals proceed from the implicit assumption that the federal government in general, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in particular, does not already have such authority. But this assumption, according to former EPA Assistant Administrator and General Counsel E. Donald Elliott, is incorrect.

Carbon Pricing Drives Innovation

Friday, October 4, 2019

The easiest way to reduce emissions is to avoid producing them in the first place. Because a carbon fee makes it more profitable to avoid carbon emissions, it encourages businesses and individuals to conserve energy, reduce emissions, and develop innovative technology.

Celebrating 30 Years of Environmental Collaboration With INECE and AELERT

By Avital Li, Research Associate
Wednesday, October 2, 2019

In May 2020, the International Network for Environmental Compliance and Enforcement (INECE) will celebrate the 30th anniversary of its first international workshop that was held in Utrecht, Netherlands. In the 30 years since its foundation, we have witnessed an explosion in the development of environmental laws around the world.

Of Walls . . . and Windows

By Scott Fulton, President, Environmental Law Institute
Monday, September 30, 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.

Innovating Environmental Protection for the Future

By Kasantha Moodley , Manager, Innovation and Governance
Wednesday, September 25, 2019

On the first Earth Day in 1970, Sen. Edmund Muskie called for “A total strategy to protect the total environment.” At that time – and for several decades – the overarching approach was one of regulatory compliance, largely directed by government. But the next 50 years of environmental protection will not look like the first 50—they will be driven by technology as much as by regulation.

Updates on New York’s Proposed Consumer Product Labeling Requirements

By Claire Mathis, Senior Associate Health Scientist, Cardno ChemRisk, and Allison Killius, Associate Health Scientist II, Cardno ChemRisk
Monday, September 23, 2019

On August 27, the New York Supreme Court struck down the New York Household Cleansing Product Information Disclosure Program (HCPDIP), which requires manufacturers to list chemical ingredients of concern on their website. The court struck down the HCPDIP on the basis that the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) did not follow proper procedures under the State Administrative Procedures Act (SAPA). The court stated that though the department issued it as a "guidance," it was in fact a binding rule and did not follow the proper procedures in creating a formal law. The HCPDIP was declared "null and void" and remitted back to the DEC for compliance with the SAPA. In light of the court’s ruling, cleaning product manufacturers no longer have to comply with listing requirements by January 2020.

Climate Gentrification and Resilience Planning: What Is at Stake for At-Risk Communities?

By Anna Beeman, Research Associate
Wednesday, September 18, 2019

It is estimated that over 800 million people will be at risk from the impacts of rising sea levels by 2050, concentrated among 570 coastal cities across the world. Some of these cities have already started to experience the impacts of sea-level rise and storm surges, which has catalyzed efforts by governments and individuals to begin preparing for more projected effects.

ESA Implementing Regulations Revised & Released

By Barbara D. Craig, Partner, Stoel Rives LLP, and Cherise M. Gaffney, Partner, Stoel Rives LLP
Monday, September 16, 2019

On August 12, 2019, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) (together the “Services”) jointly announced final revisions to their regulations for listing and delisting species, making critical habitat designations, and undertaking consultations with federal agencies under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The final rules are here. These rules become effective 30 days from publication.