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Vibrant Environment

The EPA Pith and the Law Pendulum

William Ruckelshaus is sworn in as administrator of the new Environmental Protec
By Stephen R. Dujack, Editor, The Environmental Forum®
Monday, July 30, 2018

I met William D. Ruckelshaus a year after the Saturday Night Massacre, and 18 months after he left the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as its founding administrator. I was a reporter for the Daily Princetonian, and he was on campus to give a talk. I recognized that here was a true American hero. Nine years later, Ruckelshaus would return to EPA for more heroics: restoring the Agency to its original sense of idealism and high purpose.

An Endangering Act? Proposed Regulatory Changes to the Endangered Species Act

Wolf
By Lovinia Reynolds , Policy Analyst and Environmental Justice Coordinator
Wednesday, July 25, 2018

On July 19, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released their highly anticipated proposed changes to the rules implementing the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Enacted in 1973, the ESA is credited with saving iconic American species like the bald eagle and the grizzly bear. It is one of the hallmark pieces of legislation of the early environmental movement and the legislation for species conservation in the United States. While the public generally supports the Act, the ESA is notoriously controversial for corporations and agribusiness. Industries such as oil and gas, land development, and mining criticize the ESA as a costly barrier to project development. Supporters of the ESA highlight its role in preventing the extinction of species that are crucial to U.S. ecosystems.

Justice Kennedy’s Retirement and the Future of Environmental Law

Justice Anthony Kennedy
By Hunter Leigh Jones, Associate Editor, ELR
Monday, July 23, 2018

On June 27, 2018, Justice Anthony Kennedy announced that he will retire from the U.S. Supreme Court on July 31, 2018. Kennedy, who was nominated by former President Ronald Reagan and confirmed in 1988, became a crucial swing vote on a variety of environmental issues during his tenure. On July 11, 2018, ELI hosted John Cruden, John Elwood, and Richard Lazarus at a Breaking News webinar to explore the influence Kennedy has had on environmental law and to discuss the implications of his retirement from the Court for the future of environmental law.

Managing EHS Compliance Through Chaos and Disruption

Walt Disney business envelope, circa 1921
By Kristin Morico, EHS Management Strategic Executive Director, AECOM
Wednesday, July 18, 2018

I’ve witnessed some tumultuous times throughout my professional journey, which has mostly involved the industrial sector. The current global political climate, industry takeovers, mergers, and portfolio rationalization, as well as companies vying over a competitive talent pool of leaders, has resulted in a fair amount of distraction and turbulence across all industry functions, including Environmental, Health & Safety (EHS). Observing these circumstances, how does an organization proactively manage EHS compliance? Below, I share some thoughts I’ve gathered over the years.

Sea-Level Rise and Climate Migration: The Story of Kiribati

Fanning Island, Kiribati, by RomonaMona (Pixabay)
By Samantha Goins, Research & Publications Intern
Monday, July 16, 2018

Most people probably haven’t heard of Anote Tong, the former president of Kiribati, but he is somewhat of a celebrity in the international climate sphere. His ideas were radical and often subject to criticism, even within his own nation. Yet, radical action may be the very thing that Kiribati, and so many other island nations, require.

MBTA Takings: A Bird’s Eye View

Migrating Canada Geese (Pixabay)
Wednesday, July 11, 2018

The Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) prohibits the taking and killing of migratory birds. But the statute is silent about indirect or unintentional taking or killing that occurs in connection with an otherwise lawful activity. Dueling DOI Solicitor’s Opinions issued by the Obama and Trump Administrations have only served to highlight the ambiguity in the MBTA’s requirements. In A Pendulum Seldom Stops in the Middle: Shifting Views on “Take” of Raptors and Other Migratory Birds, David Freudenthal (former Governor of Wyoming) and attorneys Steven P. Quarles and Rebecca Barho argue that congressional action ultimately is needed.

Helping NGOs Use Environmental Law to Combat Pollution: ELI Launches Environmental Public Interest Litigation Capacity-Building Project in China

ELI worked with the China Environmental Protection Foundation  and Tianjin Unive
By Zhuoshi Liu, Staff Attorney; Director, China Program
Monday, July 9, 2018

The neck-breaking growth of the Chinese economy since the late 1970s has alleviated hundreds of millions of people from poverty and is one of the biggest economic achievements that the world has ever seen. However, the amazing growth and all of its benefits came at terrible expense to the environment and ecosystems.

Talking Trash About Plastics

Plastic bag or jellyfish? Research suggests there will be more plastic than fish
By Cynthia R. Harris, Staff Attorney; Director of Tribal Programs; Deputy Director of the Center for State, Tribal, and Local Environmental Programs
Monday, July 2, 2018

It’s official: China isn’t taking our garbage anymore. Literally. Effective this year, China started restricting the import of 24 types of waste and established new thresholds for contaminants such as food residues and metals. Why does that create a significant problem for the United States? Consider this: China imported 776,000 metric tons of reclaimed plastic and 13 million metric tons of recycled paper from the United States in 2016 alone.

States Craft New Policies for Protecting Indoor Air Quality

Houses along San Francisco street
By Tobie Bernstein, Senior Attorney; Director, Indoor Environments and Green Buildings Program
Wednesday, June 27, 2018

June is National Healthy Homes Month, a good time for policymakers to consider strategies for reducing exposure to air pollutants inside homes. It’s also a good time to highlight new policies in California and New York that aim to improve home indoor air quality and that are likely to have impacts beyond those two states.

Restoring and Protecting Water Quality

ELI organized the 2018 National Training Workshop for CWA 303(d) Listing & TMDL
By Adam Schempp, Senior Attorney; Director, Western Water Program
Monday, June 25, 2018

Restoring and protecting our country’s lakes, rivers, and streams is difficult, especially with populations increasing and budgets in decline. It requires innovation, partnerships, sound science, and effective means of communicating.

ELI has long worked with the agencies tasked with restoring and protecting our waters. Earlier this month, we held the 2018 National Training Workshop for CWA §303(d) Listing and TMDL Staff at the National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown, West Virginia....

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