ELI Primary Menu

Skip to main content

Vibrant Environment

The Future of Waste Management: Shifting Toward Circular Economies

By Hannah Dale, Research & Publications Intern
Monday, October 1, 2018

It is hard to ignore the pervasiveness of waste in our daily lives and around the world. Whether it is mounds of garbage piling onto beaches in the Dominican Republic, the enormous amounts of plastic that marine animals accidentally consume, pollution from industries and transportation in our air and water, or daily individual waste, we cannot look past the impacts of generating unnecessary waste.

The Fate of the Dusky Gopher Frog: ELI’s Discussion on Implications for Habitat Conservation

By Hannah Dale, Research & Publications Intern
Wednesday, September 26, 2018

The dusky gopher grog is a little-known endangered species only found in a few isolated pond habitats of southern Mississippi. This playful amphibian is apparently rather shy, covering its eyes and playing dead when held by a human. Unfortunately, the species has been struggling to survive for decades, encountering threats such as habitat loss, drought, and disease decimating its fragile population.

ACE Proposed Rule: Part II

By Cynthia Harris, Staff Attorney
Monday, September 24, 2018

In Part One of this two-part blog, we looked at EPA's recently proposed Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) Rule and how it generally compares with the Obama Administration's Clean Power Plan (CPP) Rule. But with many environmental lawyers being closet economists, no contemplation of new environmental regulation is complete without a discussion of cost-benefit analysis.

ACE Proposed Rule: Part I

By Cynthia Harris, Staff Attorney
Wednesday, September 19, 2018

On August 21, EPA introduced its much-anticipated Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) Rule to replace the Barack Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan (CPP) Rule for regulating carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from our nation’s aging fleet of power plants. This proposal checks off another item on the Donald Trump Administration’s deregulatory agenda and elicits a number of profound questions. What are the main differences between the ACE and the CPP? What are the implications for public health, the environment, and the electric power sector? More philosophically, why, in the 21st century, do we continue relying on a Victorian-era source of energy to power our cell phones?

Tackling Environmental and Social Exploitation in Supply Chains

By Eleanor King , Graduate Sustainability Consultant, AECOM, and Sally Vivian, Technical Director of Business Sustainability, AECOM
Monday, September 17, 2018

When the Modern Slavery Act of 2015 went into effect in the United Kingdom, businesses were challenged to better understand their own supply chains. The Act applies to any commercial organization that does business in the United Kingdom (U.K.), and not just for its U.K.-based operations. The Act requires businesses with an annual turnover of more than £36 (USD $46.5) million to declare to the public their efforts to increase supply chain transparency and reduce the risk of environmental and social exploitation in their operations. Since the Act’s passage, there has been a marked increase in the urgency of efforts to improve Environmental and Social Governance (ESG) in businesses across all sectors. Despite this, research by the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply (CIPS) shows that over one-third of businesses covered by the Act are still not meeting the requirements.

A New Paradigm for Environmental Protection

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

An increasingly fast-paced technological world requires a restructuring in environmental protection strategy. In A New Environmentalism: The Need for a Total Strategy for Environmental Protection, ELI President Scott Fulton and Dave Rejeski, Director of ELI’s Technology, Innovation, and Environment Program, discuss how environmental protection could be organized and implemented in the future.

French Environment Minister’s Resignation: A Frustrated Call for Climate Action

By Miriam Aczel, Visiting Researcher, Environmental Law Institute
Monday, September 10, 2018

On Tuesday, August 28, French environment minister Nicolas Hulot announced he was quitting Emmanuel Macron’s government—on live radio. During his interview with France Inter, a frustrated Hulot explained, “I don’t want to give the illusion that my presence in government means we’re answering these issues properly—and so I have decided to leave the government.”

Finding Legal Avenues for Bottom-Up Management of Small-Scale Fisheries in the Mesoamerican Reef

By Sierra Killian, Research Associate
Wednesday, September 5, 2018

According to the World Bank, small-scale fisheries (SSF) in developing countries produce over one-half of total fish catch and employ almost 90 percent of part- and full-time fishers. Despite the subsector’s clear importance to food security and the financial sustainability of fisheries-dependent communities around the world, there are considerable gaps in both knowledge of and management strategies for small-scale fisheries. Because fishers in the SSF subsector are widely dispersed, it is difficult for governing bodies to collect data and make management decisions based on incomplete information. Given the precarious state of global fisheries, one-third of which are fished beyond biological sustainability, managing SSF despite the lack of data is a crucial component of sustainably feeding the world into the future.

Federal District Court Enjoins EPA Rule Suspending 2015 Waters of the United States Rule

By Hunter Leigh Jones, Associate Editor, ELR
Wednesday, August 29, 2018

On August 16, 2018, a federal district court in Charleston, South Carolina, enjoined EPA’s rule suspending implementation of the Waters of the United States Rule (WOTUS Rule), which was finalized by the Agency in 2015 under the Barack Obama Administration. The WOTUS Rule was enacted to clarify that wetlands, seasonal streams, and tributaries qualify as “waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act (CWA), replacing a 1980s regulation that included interstate waters and wetlands adjacent to those waters as “waters of the United States,” but specifically excluded “waters that are themselves wetlands.” The suspension rule, which was finalized in February of this year, effectively delayed the WOTUS Rule until 2020 and reinstated the definition of “waters of the United States” under the 1980s regulation.

China’s Gas Shortage

By Miriam Aczel, Visiting Researcher, Environmental Law Institute
Monday, August 27, 2018

Recent strategies and policies to phase out coal in China have led to an increase in demand for natural gas. In October 2017, China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection unveiled plans to cut harmful air pollution, especially the particularly damaging fine particulate matter known as PM2.5. The plan, or “Coal Ban,” has set strict targets on air quality levels in addition to a ban on burning coal in 28 of its northern cities, including Beijing. However, while the air quality improved significantly in Beijing this past winter, the rapid ban on coal burning and the transition to natural gas has left thousands without heat.