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Vibrant Environment

Oh, SNAP! D.C. Circuit Limits EPA’s Authority to Regulate HFCs

HFCs are powerful greenhouse gases (Photo: Wikimedia Commons).
By Robert Kelsey, Associate Editor, Environmental Law Reporter
Wednesday, September 13, 2017

On August 8, 2017, the D.C. Circuit held in Mexichem Fluor, Inc. v. EPA, No. 15-1328 (D.C. Cir. Aug. 8, 2017), that EPA overstepped its authority under the CAA when it banned the use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) in products. HFCs were adopted as alternatives to ozone-depleting substances (ODSs) in the 1990s under the Montreal Protocol. Their adoption was encouraged through application of EPA's Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) Program, which was created to help implement U.S.

The Death of Public Citizen in Pipeline NEPA Analysis

A natural gas pipeline under construction (Photo: Wikimedia Commons).
By Howard Nelson, Shareholder, Greenberg Traurig, Kenneth M. Minesinger, Shareholder, Greenberg Traurig, and Gus Howard, Attorney, Greenberg Traurig
Monday, September 11, 2017

Last month, the D.C. Circuit held in a 2-1 opinion that FERC was required to consider the downstream emissions created by power plants to be served by a proposed pipeline in Florida. The case not only raises questions about the scope of FERC’s NEPA review for new natural gas pipeline projects, but also about the application of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Department of Transportation v. Public Citizen, 541 U.S. 752 (2004).

FIFRA at 40: The Case for Stronger Criminal Penalties

Farm workers are at high risk of harmful pesticide exposure (Photo: Aqua Mech.)
Wednesday, September 6, 2017

In 2010, two sisters—ages 1 and 4—died after licensed exterminators misapplied pesticides too close to their home. In 2011, roughly 60 dead mammals and migratory birds were found on and near a private hunting preserve after pesticides were unlawfully applied in hopes of killing coyotes. And in 2015, an entire family was hospitalized, and now suffers from neurological damage, following the improper pesticide fumigation of their house. Yet, the perpetrators in each of these cases were only charged with misdemeanors.

Going for Gold, and for Green: Olympics Offer Paris and Los Angeles the Chance to Showcase Environmental Leadership

Sustainability will be a key focus of the 2028 Olympic Games in Los Angeles (Pho
By Emmett McKinney, Former Research Associate
Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Paris and Los Angeles are set to host the 2024 and 2028 Olympic Games, respectively. Hosting the games will offer these cities the chance to showcase not only their countries’ finest athletes, but also their technological innovation and cultural vibrancy. However, preparing for the Olympics also presents massive infrastructural, economic, and environmental challenges.

Climate Change Meets Green Infrastructure: Deploying New Stormwater Infrastructure Techniques Against Flooding and Water Quality Threats in the Chesapeake Watershed

A Maryland shoreline was designed for climate resilience (Photo: Will Parson).
By Cynthia Harris, Staff Attorney; Director of Tribal Programs; Deputy Director of the Center for State, Tribal, and Local Environmental Programs
Monday, August 28, 2017

Home to nearly 18 million people, the Chesapeake Bay region is expected to be hit hard by climate change-driven increases in sea level, flooding, and precipitation. Sea level is already rising in the region at a rate of 3.4 mm per year—double the worldwide average—negatively impacting peoples livelihoods, swallowing up land, damaging property, and threatening military readiness. Further inland, heavy rains will lead to more intense flooding, as seen last summer in Ellicott City, Maryland. Increased precipitation also means more polluted runoff will be carried into the Bay, which is already overwhelmed with excess amounts of nitrogen and phosphorus pollution.

Helping Communities Participate in the NEPA Scoping Process

The Mississippi River Delta.
By Amy Reed, Staff Attorney
Wednesday, August 23, 2017

In mid-July, I traveled to Louisiana with fellow ELI Gulf Team member Teresa Chan to host three workshops with the Restore the Mississippi River Delta coalition. Held in three different parishes, these workshops were intended to help the community meaningfully participate in the “scoping” process for the Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion by providing some background on the project, explaining what scoping is, and discussing how the public can participate. Nearly 60 people attended the workshops, where there were lots of lively discussions! 

As Nations Shift Toward Low-Emission Vehicles, Roadblocks Remain

An electric car charges at a station in Newcastle, England (Photo: Wikimedia Com
By Robert Kelsey, Associate Editor, Environmental Law Reporter
Monday, August 21, 2017

As reported previously in the Environmental Law Reporter's Weekly Update, several countries have expressed their desire to move away from vehicles powered by diesel and gas in recent months. Most recently, the British government committed to ban the sale of diesel and gas vehicles from 2040 to curb rising levels of nitrogen oxide.

Is Marijuana the Next Big Thing? Environmental Opportunities in the Cannabis Sector

A cannabis sativa plant (Photo: Wikimedia Commons).
By Dave Rejeski, Director; Technology, Innovation and the Environment Project
Wednesday, August 16, 2017

What is the most valuable crop in California? It isn’t almonds ($5.3 billion), strawberries ($1.8 billion), or grapes ($1.3 billion), but cannabis, now worth around $17 billion annually. In fact, cannabis is presently the fastest growing industry in the United States with over 30 percent per year compound growth according to preliminary 2016 revenues reported in Colorado by the Marijuana Enforcement Division.

Summer With ELI

Every summer, new interns, law clerks, and experts join ELI in Washington, D.C.
By Ian Faucher, Research and Publications Intern
Monday, August 14, 2017

Even after lawmakers leave the capital for their August recess, there’s still a summer buzz in the air at ELI’s offices in Washington, D.C. From June through August, nearly every open desk is filled by a volunteer, intern, or law clerk working to further ELI’s mission and support its many programs around the world. This summer, I was fortunate enough to spend a brief three months in the nation’s capital as one of those students. My fellow interns and law clerks hailed from as far as U.C.

Mixed Messages in the Corporate World

Featured News & Analysis Article
Wednesday, August 9, 2017

When a public company describes the impact of a proposed regulation, it must consider two audiences: regulators and financial markets. It would like to sway the regulator by emphasizing how stringent regulations could cause job losses or reduce investment. But it may wish to convince investors that the company will thrive in the face of any plausible regulatory outcome.