In this month’s issue of ELR—The Environmental Law Reporter, Alejandro Camacho, Melissa Kelly, and Ya Wei-Li discuss challenges to effective implementation of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and present concrete recommendations to improve the Act. The authors distilled these recommendations from workshops that featured a variety of perspectives across the conservation community.
In a rural community in North Sumatra, Indonesia, an environmental NGO recently filed one of the first natural resource liability suits for illegal resource exploitation against a zoo holding critically endangered animals. Extending the “polluters-pay” principle, the case has the potential to set a global precedent for holding illegal wildlife traffickers accountable for repairing the harm they cause—not only to individual plants and animals, but also to species survival, ecosystem health, and human well-being.
Industrial fisheries imperil sharks and rays. The populations of most species of sharks and rays are on the decline, and many populations are down to just 10 to 30 percent of their levels just a few decades ago. Although international agreements are in place to manage fisheries, restrict the trade of endangered species, and conserve migratory shark and ray populations, they have not been sufficiently effective in stopping the decline of many of these species.
On January 31, the United Kingdom’s long and tumultuous departure from the European Union concluded with Brexit Day. This monumental, and by some, staunchly condemned, process ushered in a breadth of legal impacts, especially in regards to national environmental law and policy. EU directives previously served as the foundation for a large contingency of environmental standards, environmental protection regimes, conservation schemes, and enforcement and compliance in the U.K. Additional implications of Brexit include those at the intersection of agriculture and the environment, business and trade implications, sustainability efforts, chemical regulation, renewable energy development, the Paris Accord and other climate goals, and a variety of multinational treaties and directives. In short, the impacts on environmental governance were, and are, enormous and far-reaching.
Effectively addressing the ever-evolving challenges for coastal communities is a daunting task, one that requires the coordinated effort of government, nongovernmental organizations, and corporations. In a time of limited resources and increased requirements for cost-sharing to obtain government funding for local projects, the support of all stakeholders is required if we are to effectively address community and environmental needs.
I am honored to be invited as a guest blogger for ELI’s Vibrant Environment Blog. As a first-year student at Carnegie Mellon University, I am studying computational genomics, statistics, and water sustainability.
As we celebrate National Wetlands Month in May, one of the Washington State Department of Ecology’s best and brightest—and a longtime “hero” of Washington State’s wetlands—Lauren Driscoll has been recognized for her lifetime of wetlands program development work by ELI.
Climate change and environmental degradation not only pose visible threats to the well-being of millions today, but also present hazards to future generations—challenging the principle of intergenerational equity. Intergenerational equity, a concept that calls for fairness and justice between generations, requires that past, present, and future generations share the Earth’s resources in a fair and equitable manner. Related to this is the concept of intergenerational well-being, which calls on present generations to live and govern in a way that will allow future generations to live healthy and complete lives.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New Orleans District, is seeking comment on the draft environmental impact statement (EIS) for the Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion (MBSD) restoration project. If approved, the MBSD would reconnect the Mississippi River to Louisiana’s Barataria Basin and, through the controlled release of sediment-laden freshwater from the river, allow sediment and nutrients to flow into the basin with the goal of restoring wetlands and slowing the rate of coastal land loss. (Read more about sediment diversions in our earlier blog post.)
The trade of bats is an issue that has been brought to the forefront during COVID-19, a zoonotic disease outbreak that likely originated in wildlife trade and may even be linked to bats. However, we still lack sufficient understanding of the issues involved with bat trade at both the national and international levels.