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Vibrant Environment

Making the Most of the Watershed Approach

By James M. McElfish, Jr., Senior Attorney; Director, Sustainable Use of Land Program
Wednesday, May 30, 2018

The Oil Pollution Act and CERCLA allow for the recovery of more than just cleanup costs following an oil spill or the release of hazardous substances. These laws also provide for the recovery of damages to restore or replace natural resources to the conditions that would have existed prior to the spill or release, as well as to compensate for interim losses of ecological services. Natural resource trustees—states and tribes acting on behalf of the public—are tasked (along with federal trustees) with planning and implementing the restoration of these lost natural resources and services.

The Burden of Unburdening: Administrative Law of Deregulation

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt (Gage Skidmore)
By Serena Choi, Research and Publications Intern
Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Over the last year, the Trump Administration has launched an extensive regulatory rollback effort, which notably included Executive Order No. 13771 and its two-for-one provision. On May 16, ELI hosted a seminar, “The Burden of Unburdening: Administrative Law of Deregulation,” which examined this deregulatory shift.

The Importance of Wetlands: The 2018 National Wetlands Awards

2018 National Wetlands Awardees (Roxie B. Photography)
By Kathryn R. Campbell, Staff Attorney; Senior Editor; Manager, National Wetlands Awards
Monday, May 21, 2018

“These places hold the world together,” said National Wetlands Awardee Latimore M. Smith of wetlands during his award acceptance speech. Simple words spoken to him early in his career as he explored a Louisiana bog, they continue to hold profound meaning and inspire him to this day. At the National Wetlands Awards ceremony that took place on May 9, 2018, in Washington, D.C., each of the six awardees shared stories about what inspired them in their efforts to protect and preserve wetlands.

Taking Innovative Environmental Law and Policy Proposals From Academia to Practitioners and Policymakers

2018 Environmental Law and Policy Annual Review
By Linda Breggin, Senior Attorney, and John Hare-Grogg, Former Research Associate
Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Some of the smartest people in our law school classes became law professors. But, chances are you don’t know much, if anything, about their academic work. Busy policymakers and legal practitioners simply don’t have the time to read long, heavily footnoted law review articles. Yet, buried in those dense law review articles can be important new and creative law and policy proposals. All too often, however, academics talk about those ideas among themselves, and their proposals are not informed by policymakers, let alone adopted in the law and policy arena.

Fishing For Opportunity: A Perspective on Vietnamese Community Engagement in Gulf Restoration (Why I Participate in Gulf Restoration)

Danny Le and family
By Azi Akpan, Science and Policy Analyst; Manager, National Wetlands Awards
Monday, May 14, 2018

This conversation with Danny Le, BPSOS, is part of the ELI Gulf of Mexico team’s “Why I Participate in Gulf Restoration” blog series. The series aims to highlight the views of community members impacted by the BP oil spill, and provide a glimpse of some challenges and successes they face in getting involved in the restoration processes.

ELI Supports Judiciary of Indonesia in Sound Adjudication of Environmental Cases

Smoke rising from Indonesia due to illegal burning of peatlands (NASA/GSFC)
By Christina Libre , Research Associate, and Alejandra Rabasa, Senior Attorney; Director, Judicial Education Program
Wednesday, May 9, 2018

This summer, ELI’s Judicial Program, in collaboration with the Indonesian Center for Environmental Law (ICEL) and experts from other corners of the globe, will host a week-long, capacity-building workshop to support members of the Indonesian judiciary in soundly adjudicating cases related to the degradation of natural resources. The project is funded by the Swedish Postcode Foundation, an innovative organization dedicated to seeking long-term solutions to local and global challenges.

Infrastructure Review and Permitting: Is Change in the Wind?

Devil’s Elbow Bridge in Waynesville, MO (Photo: Chuck Coker)
By Serena Choi, Research and Publications Intern
Monday, May 7, 2018

On February 12, 2018, following President Donald Trump’s announcement to rebuild the nation’s “crumbling” infrastructure in his first State of Union address, the White House submitted to Congress the Legislative Outline for Rebuilding Infrastructure in America, a legislative roadmap on the Administration’s ambitious $1.5 trillion infrastructure plan.

Recycling Household Waste: A Ten-Year Report

In this month's ELR, Viscusi et. al examine household recycling behavior
Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Recycling is perhaps the most prevalent pro-environmental activity at the household level. Household recycling efforts may be influenced by supportive nudges and, in some cases, laws that mandate recycling behavior. But unlike efforts such as decreasing household energy usage, success in recycling also hinges on governmental support: there must be some mechanism for collecting the recycled materials and converting them into useable commodities. Government entities, and in some cases private waste collection firms, provide for these recycling amenities.

Environmental Justice Panel Spotlights Women Activists and Scholars

Environmental Justice Panel
By Lovinia Reynolds , Research Associate
Monday, April 30, 2018

On Monday, April 16, ELI, the Environmental Justice Committee of the American Bar Association’s Section of Civil Rights and Social Justice (CRSJ), Georgetown University Law Center, Georgetown Environmental Law Society, and the D.C. Bar Association hosted a seminar entitled: Environmental Justice in the 21st Century Part 2: Threats and Opportunities. The event focused on changes and challenges in the environmental justice movement and featured a panel of environmental justice experts and a keynote speech from Rep. Raul Ruiz (D-Cal.). Representative Ruiz, a medical doctor from Coachella Valley, California, delivered a passionate speech describing the struggles facing communities of color in his district who are often disenfranchised from the environmental decisionmaking process. His bill, the Environmental Justice Act of 2017 (H.R. 4114), the companion to Sen. Cory Booker’s (D-N.J.) bill introduced in the Senate (S. 1996), aims to empower communities to have meaningful input into environmental decisions.

Everglades Author Would Back Kids

Marjory Stoneman Douglas, a prominent environmental activist.
By Stephen R. Dujack, Editor, The Environmental Forum®
Wednesday, April 25, 2018

The survivors of the horrible massacre at the high school in Parkland, Florida, have created a national movement in favor of measures to reduce gun violence. Firearms kill roughly as many Americans as does pollution and thus represent an equivalent threat to public health.

In bringing their message to the nation’s capital in a huge demonstration in March, with sibling gatherings around the country, they were consciously following in the tradition of their school’s namesake.